Our Mission

SilkStart is led by Kellan Higgins and Michael Coughlin, two Vancouver tech guys driven to help associations better grow their membership and promote their causes. SilkStart was started over the frustration of managing and collecting dues and event fees for small membership associations.

Today, SilkStart has built a platform that helps organizations accept payment online for dues, events and a host of other things. Both Kellan and Michael are involved in a variety of membership organizations, so chat with us if you have questions about how to help your organization. Kellan can be reached at kellan.higgins@silkstart.com. We are also looking for the right team members to help us grow our company, if you think you would be a good fit, head over to our careers section.

Our goals for our platform

  • Create the easiest possible interface for membership organizations
  • Focus on the most important aspects of membership management
  • Design systems to help organizations increase retention rates
  • Show dashboards that help associations see how their organization operates over time

Who we are:

Michael Coughlin

Michael Coughlin

Founder

Michael is an experienced software architect with 10+ years of hands-on enterprise software experience at IBM, TELUS, and MDA. Michael received his BMath in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.

The Rocky Mountains are Michael’s backyard on weekends.

Kellan Higgins

Kellan Higgins

Operations Manager

Kellan is a dedicated, hardworking young professional. Born to a family of scientists, Kellan proceeded to take the path less travelled and obtain a degree in History from the University of British Columbia. His passion to create new systems to improve old ways of thinking led him to the university newspaper. At the Ubyssey, Kellan created a new culture by reinventing the purpose of the student newspaper as it moved into the digital age. Following graduation, he moved to Chicago to help his 178-year old membership based fraternity improve its relevance in the modern world.


In his spare time, Kellan serves a director for two volunteer organizations, the Vancouver Historical Society and the alumni association of his local fraternity chapter. He also enjoys a good game of Ultimate and adventuring around Vancouver with his camera.

SilkStart Fellows

Boris Wertz

Boris Wertz

Boris Wertz is one of the top tech angel investors in North-America and the CEO and founder of w media ventures. His portfolio encompasses over 25 early-stage consumer internet and mobile companies, including Chloe & Isabel, Edmodo, Flurry, GoInstant, Indochino, Suite101, Sparkbuy (acquired by Google), Summify, Tynt, Wattpad and Yapta. Boris is a venture partner of Munich-based Acton Capital Partners, a consumer Internet fund that is focused on later stage companies with an established track record of revenues and profitability. He is also one of the founders of GrowLab, a Vancouver-based start-up accelerator.

Before founding w media ventures, Boris was the Chief Operating Officer of AbeBooks.com, the world’s largest marketplace for new, used and rare and out-of print books which got sold to Amazon in 2008. Boris joined the company in 2002 after JustBooks, the German company he co-founded in 1999, was acquired by AbeBooks. At AbeBooks, Boris was primarily responsible for marketing, business development, product, customer service and international operations and lead a team of about 60 people.

He successfully finished his PhD as well as his graduate studies at the Graduate School of Management (WHU), Koblenz, majoring in Business Economics / Business Management. In 2005, Boris was named the Pacific Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award winner and in 2011 a Top 40 under 40 nominee by Business in Vancouver.

Read more: http://www.wmediaventures.com/about-us/#ixzz1bjqYVaOM

Vik Khanna

Vik Khanna

A recipient of the “40 under 40” award by Business in Vancouver, Vik is the co-founder and COO of Faronics Corporation, a multi-million dollar bootstrapped software company focusing on delivering absolute control of computing environments. Vik is also the President-elect of TiE Vancouver; TiE is the world’s largest entrepreneur network. As a board member, Vik directs SilkStart on its customer acquisition and business strategy.

Vik enjoys taking his family to drive across the country once a year.

Pankaj Agarwal

Pankaj Agarwal

A recipient of the “40 under 40” award by Business in Vancouver, Pankaj is a successful serial entrepreneur, and an angel investor with an engineering degree from Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA both from Indian Institute of Management. After selling his Enterprise IT Management Services company to Sopra group, a billion dollar French IT Consulting Company, Pankaj is now the Founder and Managing Partner of Optimus Information Inc. Pankaj advises SilkStart on business development strategy and its overall technology platform.

Pankaj enjoys running and spending time with his wife and daughters.