Michele Romanow

  • Age
  • Title
    Cofounder and president
  • Company

As a “dragon” on CBC’s Dragons’ Den—Canada’s answer to America’s pitch-contest show Shark Tank—Romanow’s role was to listen to other entrepreneurs’ startup ideas. But the show also gave Romanow an idea for a company of her own: Fast-forward about five years later, and Clearbanc has pioneered a new founder-friendly way of investing in startups: Instead of taking a stake in the company, as venture capitalists do, Clearbanc offers young companies the funds they need in exchange for a flat 6% fee, which the startups pay back as they earn revenue. So far, Clearbanc has invested more than $1 billion in over 2,800 companies, and recently launched a new valuation appraisal platform for startups that’s driven by artificial intelligence.