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OMERS Ventures founder John Ruffolo paralyzed in bike accident

Ruffolo, who left the venture arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System in late 2018, was reportedly launching a new private equity firm called Maverix Private Equity.

Canadian tech investor John Ruffolo, who founded OMERS Ventures in 2011, was in a bike riding accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

The accident occurred last Wednesday afternoon when a transport truck jackknifed and hit Ruffolo while he was on an afternoon bike ride in Markham, Ontario. No other injuries were reported.

Ruffolo, 54, had left the venture arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System in late 2018. He was reportedly in the midst of launching a new firm called Maverix Private Equity, which was aiming to invest in growth-stage tech companies in Canada and was targeting 2021 for a first close.

Ruffolo posted on his LinkedIn that he was “committed, and as able as always, and will be back in full force as soon as humanly possible on the pending launch of my Private Equity fund and to continue my advocacy work for Canadian Innovation.”

Ruffolo is also co-founder and vice chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators, a Toronto nonprofit that helps growth-stage tech companies in Canada scale worldwide.

While at OMERS Ventures, Ruffolo oversaw the firm investing in several major Canadian tech success stories, such as Hootsuite, a Vancouver social-media dashboard, and Shopify, an Ottawa e-commerce software provider that went public in 2015.

Damien Steel, managing partner and head of ventures at OMERS Ventures, issued a statement to Venture Capital Journal: “John has always been a tireless supporter of innovation in Canada, well preceding his time at OMERS. I had the pleasure of working with John for 7 years at OMERS and witnessed him overcome obstacles time and time again. Safe to say the tech community has benefited from his tenaciousness over the years.  I have little doubt in my mind that we will all get to witness that drive and resilience as he works his way back to health. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, Carryn his wife and his two amazing kids.”