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Janet Bannister

The Entrepreneur


Janet Bannister

In Hot Pursuit of Your Next Success

Partner at Real Ventures
Founder of Kijiji.ca

Janet Bannister is one of the highest profile, most successful venture capitalist in Canada. She’s also a leading thinker and authority on technology and innovation. The founder of Kijiji.ca and an early director at eBay, she has seen and managed stunning shifts in business and tech. Now, she shares her decades of knowledge with the many startups she funds—and with fortunate audiences in her inspiring keynotes. We’re entering a new era of business, where only those who create or embrace transformative technologies will survive. Janet reveals what your organization needs to know to thrive in the innovation economy.

Janet Bannister is a partner at Real Ventures, where she leads investments in companies and works actively with Real’s portfolio organizations to help them accelerate growth and create meaningful impact. She sits on many boards, including Tread, a platform that is automating the construction industry, as well as PartnerStack and BenchSci. She’s also working to bridge the gender gap at VC companies, where the percentage of female partners is mostly still in the single digits.

Janet is the founder of Kijiji.ca, which grew to become one of the most visited websites in Canada. Subsequently, she led the Kijiji Global business, accelerating growth in North America, Europe, and Asia. Prior to launching Kijiji, Janet was at eBay in Silicon Valley where she helped transform eBay from collectibles to a mainstream marketplace. She also founded and built a successful consulting business and was CEO at a venture-backed start-up in the online content and commerce space. Janet has won numerous awards including Adweek’s Brand Stars and PaymentsSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments. She is also profiled in two books: “Women Who Venture” and “Canada 150 Women: Conversations with Leaders, Champions and Luminaries.”


Enable or Disrupt? The New Innovation Economy 

We have entered a new phase of business. Transformative technologies are disrupting every single industry on the planet, and whether you know it or not, your business will not only have to adapt—it will have to fundamentally change.

In this eye-opening talk, venture capitalist and founder of Kijiji.ca Janet Bannister takes a look at three key things that are reshaping business right now: AI and transformative technologies, platform businesses, and the democratization of creative production. In the midst of all this change, two types of companies will emerge, says Janet: enablers (the ones building the transformative tech stack) and disruptors (companies that will use the transformative tech stack to redesign or create new markets, processes, models, products, and services). Where will your organization fall on this scale? What implications will it have on your line of business? And what are the new requirements, opportunities, and challenges you will face?

An authentic and down-to-earth speaker, Janet shares case studies and insights that illustrate the importance of the innovation economy. In a time when everything in business is changing, this direct keynote is absolutely essential. Janet reveals what your company needs to hear, right now.

There and Back Again: Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Change

Janet Bannister started her entrepreneurial journey quite early—at age 15 she founded her own healthy baking business. With significant grit and determination, her fascinating path led her to Silicon Valley and back, eventually resulting in the creation of one of Canada’s most successful websites ever: Kijiji.ca. Now a partner at Real Ventures, Janet is a high-profile, successful venture capitalist—a powerful female leader in a still incredibly male-dominated field.  

What strategies has she implemented for innovation, for problem-solving, for leadership? And how has she kept herself and her people inspired? Her extraordinary keynotes reveal a career spent in motion, always at the edge of the next big shift, and fuelled by balanced risk-taking, determination and perseverance. Yet Janet balances this relentless drive with a sense of humour, modesty, deep care for others, and a passion to give back. In this talk, Janet shares the most important leadership principles and entrepreneurial values that have led to her massive success.  

Contact us to learn how Janet Bannister can craft a message for your audience. 

Photo Cred. Ivey Business School, Peter J. Thompson (National Post)

It’s a small world and it’s a long life, and you better treat people well.
— Janet Bannister