OMERS Ventures founder John Ruffolo paralyzed following biking accident

John Ruffolo

OMERS Ventures founder John Ruffolo has been paralyzed from the waist down following a cycling accident that took place in Markham, Ontario last week.

Ruffolo posted on social media on Monday, noting that on Wednesday of last week he was in an accident with a transport truck while riding his bike. A York Regional Police report made at the time called the injuries life-threatening. According to The Globe and Mail, Ruffolo was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital.

“I am as committed, and as able as always, and will be back in full force as soon as humanly possible.”
– John Ruffolo

As first reported by the Globe, Ruffolo is said to have suffered a broken spine and pelvis. Ruffolo noted in his post, that he did not sustain any head injuries, but is unlikely to regain the use of his legs.

“I want to thank all of the hospital staff for my wonderful treatment and care and truly appreciate all the love and support we are getting from our family and friends,” Ruffolo wrote in the post.

According to the York Regional Police, the incident took place before 1 pm in the area of Major Mackenzie Drive East and the York-Durham Town Line. The transport truck driver is said to have stayed on the scene. The police are currently investigating the incident and asking any witnesses or anyone who may have dashcam footage to come forward.

Ruffolo has been a major figure in the Canadian tech and innovation scene. In 2011, he founded OMERS Ventures, the venture capital arm of pension plan organization OMERS, kicking off the firm’s first $200 million venture fund. Ruffolo led OMERS Ventures into some of the most notable Canadian tech investments of the last decade, including Shopify and Hootsuite, among others. He has led investments in D2L, Wave, Vidyard, Wattpad, and more.

“Along with the entire tech community, we were shocked and saddened to hear news of John’s accident,” OMERS Ventures’ managing partner and head of ventures, Damien Steel, said in a statement to BetaKit. “Our thoughts are with him and his family right now.”

Ruffolo also helped found OneEleven and the Council of Canadian Innovators, where he currently serves as vice-chair.

In 2018, Ruffolo departed OMERS and has since been pursuing the launch of his own firm. According to the Globe, his new firm, Maverix Private Equity, is aiming for an initial close on its first fund in early 2021.

“I am as 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,” said Ruffolo in his post. He also asked that his family’s privacy be respected at this time.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.