90% of Internet Startups in Vancouver Come to This One Superangel

In Vancouver, every internet startup seeking seeking angel funding is familiar with one name: Boris Wertz.

The CEO of W Media Ventures—the W standing for Wertz—Boris is the very definition of “superangel” in Vancouver. The 38-year-old, who came to Canada from Germany in 2002 to manage Victoria’s AbeBooks, is by far the city’s most renowned financial supporter of consumer internet startups.

AbeBooks sold in 2008 to Amazon for over $100 million, which gave Boris a serious boost in cash flow. But he was already doing angel work before that, having left day-to-day operations at AbeBooks in 2007 to start his own venture capital business.

Now, he owns his territory like no one else. “90% of consumer internet projects in Vancouver come through me,” Boris told The Globe and Mail recently.

As a result, W Media Ventures is invested in 30 business, with most being Vancouver-based, such as Indochino, Summify, Unbounce, and Techvibes. So it probably wasn’t a surprise to many when Boris won BC Angel Investor of the Year in 2011. 

But Boris doesn’t necessarily want things to be how they are. “I wish it weren’t that way,” he says of his monopolistic marketshare of angel investments. “It’s not healthy.”

Things are changing though, he argues. “Three years ago, there were virtually no internet startups in Vancouver. But we’re now witnessing a new wave of innovation.”