Mike Lazaridis, O.C., O.Ont., is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Quantum Valley Investments (QVI), which he and Doug Fregin established in Waterloo. In March 2013, they launched QVI with $100 million to provide financial and intellectual capital for the development and commercialization of quantum physics and quantum computing breakthroughs. QVI aims to help transform ideas and early-stage breakthroughs into commercially viable products, technologies, and services. It is Mr. Lazaridis’ latest venture in more than a decade’s work aimed at creating a “Quantum Valley” in Waterloo by bringing the world’s best minds in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and materials science together to collaborate on cutting-edge quantum research.
In 1984, Mr. Lazaridis co-founded BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) with Mr. Fregin. They invented the BlackBerry device, created the smartphone industry, and built Canada’s largest global tech business. Mr. Lazaridis served in various positions including Co-Chairman and Co-CEO (1984-2012) and Board Vice Chair and Chair of the Innovation Committee (2012-13).
Mr. Lazaridis is the Founder and Board Chair of Perimeter Institute, where he helps generate important private and public sector funding for the Institute. He also founded the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Quantum-Nano Centre, both at the University of Waterloo. He has donated more than $170 million to Perimeter, and more than $100 million to IQC.
Among his many honours, Mr. Lazaridis is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has been named to both the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. He was listed on the Maclean’s Honour Roll as a distinguished Canadian in 2000, named as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, honoured as a Globe and Mail Nation Builder of the Year in 2010, selected as the 2013 Visionary of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum, and awarded the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award, Canada’s most prestigious innovation prize.
Mr. Lazaridis holds an honorary doctoral degree in Engineering from the University of Waterloo (where he formerly served as Chancellor), as well as a Doctor of Laws from McMaster University, the University of Windsor, and Laval University. In addition to his many professional and personal accomplishments, Mr. Lazaridis won an Academy Award and an Emmy Award for technical achievements in the movie and TV industries for developing a high-speed barcode reader that greatly increased the speed of editing film.
Mr. Lazaridis was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He moved to Canada in 1966 with his family, settling in Windsor, Ontario.