MindBridge founder Solon Angel joins Fresh Founders as managing partner

Following MindBridge departure, Angel wanted to explore another “specific idea in accounting tech.”

The founder of Ottawa-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup MindBridge, Solon Angel, announced that he has joined Fresh Founders as a managing partner.

Fresh Founders is an early-stage investment and advisory firm that calls itself “an exclusive, invite-only, mastermind group of founders, CEOs and high-impact individuals.”

Fresh Founders calls itself “an exclusive, invite-only, mastermind group of founders, CEOs and high-impact individuals.”

Angel posted on LinkedIn that he is “Excited to be helping founders start, turn around and grow their startups via Fresh Founders.”

MindBridge raised $60 million USD from Boston growth-stage investment firm PSG Equity in July, according to a report from The Globe and Mail. That was shortly after Angel, who also acted as chief development officer for MindBridge, left to explore another “specific idea in accounting tech.”

Founded in 2015, MindBridge describes itself as “the world’s leading AI-powered financial risk discovery platform.” The startup sells software that claims to help auditors spot fraud and accounting anomalies using AI. MindBridge caters to auditors, accountants, and financial professionals in the accounting, advisory, enterprise, government, and finance sectors.

Solon has been a volunteer member of Fresh Founders since 2014. Solon told BetaKit that he eased into the managing partner role over the last few years, working with MindBridge during the days and Fresh Founders at night. Now that he has left MindBridge, he is working full-time with Fresh Founders.

“When I founded MindBridge, I had very clear goals I wanted to achieve with that venture. From day one, I did not want to be the operator that runs it,” and instead aimed to have a reliable management team in place, Angel said. He noted that essentially he had been waiting for MindBridge to have a certain level of revenue, among other things, and that’s what PSG brought with its raise.

“I wish it had happened even earlier, but for various reasons we could not raise the money earlier like we wanted,” Angel said. “Then there was COVID that happened. There were a lot of things that delayed my departure. I will never run anything I do for more than five years. As soon as things are running well, I want to get out.”

Angel notes the founder of Fresh Founders is Sam Zaid, who is also the founder and executive chairman at Getaround, a marketplace for peer-to-peer car rentals that won TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2011 and went public on the NASDAQ exchange in 2022 (it has since received a delisting warning earlier this year). Zaid studied engineering physics at Queens University and was also an early investor in MindBridge.

Companies in Fresh Founders include Calgary-based billing software provider PayShepherd, crypto accounting and tax platform startup Bitwave, and construction insight software startup Mercator.AI.

Other partners in Fresh Founders include Aydin Mirzaee, co-founder of Fresh Founders and co-founder and CEO of Fellow.app, a meeting productivity platform that claims to help organizations have fewer, better meetings. Prior to Fellow, he co-founded Fluidware in 2008 and grew it to 90 staff before selling it to SurveyMonkey. Stephany Lapierre, founder of TealBook, is also a partner.

With Fresh Founders, Angel said he wants to keep building that magic: “There’s something very different when a founder helps another founder. The first thing is to empower other founders as much as possible.”

Fresh Founders do dinners and off-line events that are closed-door and open only to founders. Angel noted that the first three or four investors in MindBridge came from Fresh Founders. He described it almost as an investment club for founders. “We’re not really VCs. We’re not incubators. We’re different,” he said.

Upon leaving MindBridge, Angel posted on LinkedIn, “I am leaving an organization I wished existed when I started my career in tech, with competent executives, a clear market, global recognition, and people that care to build things the right way.”

After the big news this year, there’s “more to come,” he wrote.

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MindBridge ramped up its sales efforts and the company said its annual revenues grew more than sixfold between 2021 and 2022, surpassing $20 million in 2022.

In April 2023, MindBridge inked a big global deal with accounting giant KPMG to incorporate its software into KPMG’s digital-accounting platform.

PayShepherd secured $3.8 million CAD ($3 million USD) in seed funding towards its goal of becoming the “system of record” for financial transactions between industrial facilities and contractors in 2022.

As part of the round, Angel joined PayShepherd’s board of directors. (Following the announcement of its pre-seed round last year, PayShepherd closed $200,000 in additional pre-seed funding in 2021 from Ottawa’s Fresh Founders, led by Angel).

Angel was also one of a group of Canadian entrepreneurs, including Kostyantyn Khomutov, CEO of GBatteries, and Fahd Alhattab of Unicorn Labs, who launched a nonprofit organization, Ukrainetocanada.org, in 2022 to help Ukrainian refugees reach Canada.

Angel had also posted stories of Ukrainian refugees on his LinkedIn, shared available job openings, and called for aid.

Feature image courtesy of Startup Canada.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in Wired.com, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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