SHARP The Book for Men - "The Eccentric Aesthetic" Spring, 2015

SHARP The Book for Men - "The Eccentric Aesthetic" Spring, 2015

Michael Wekerle won’t take off his sunglasses. Not that we asked him to. Or that we care. It’s just that we’re here at his home, in his bathroom, and he’s still wearing his aviators. Fair enough. The Wek pretty well does as he pleases—in business, life and, it turns out, home decorating.

You know him best from CBC’s Dragon’s Den, the popular show where Canada’s richest people bid to finance the entrepreneurial dreams of Canada’s least self-aware. Wekerle is the show’s shining star, a lovable eccentric with a knack for finding value where you might not otherwise see any. Rumour has it that off the show, on his own dime, he purchased Toronto’s El Mocambo, a crumbling music venue most famous for once hosting The Rolling Stones. Whether he owns it or not, he’s played the venue a few times himself. What else do you do with two rooms full of guitars?.

CTV News: High-tech hub? Former BlackBerry buildings almost ready for new tenants

CTV News: High-tech hub? Former BlackBerry buildings almost ready for new tenants

It’s one of the most prominent intersections in Waterloo’s once-sprawling BlackBerry campus – but for some time now, it’s been far from a hub of high-tech activity.

When the smartphone maker began shedding local jobs as it grappled with a declining market share, it also started leaving properties behind.

WEKERLE NOW OWNS SIX FORMER BLACKBERRY BUILDINGS IN WATERLOO

WEKERLE NOW OWNS SIX FORMER BLACKBERRY BUILDINGS IN WATERLOO

•70 Columbia St. W. with 30,000 square feet of space. It is currently vacant, but potential tenants are looking at it.

•176 Columbia St. W with 144,000 square feet. It is leased to BlackBerry.

•180 Columbia St. W. with 62,000 square feet. About one-third is leased and there are term sheets out to other potential tenants.

•450 Phillip St. with 30,000 square feet. It is 16 per cent leased.

•460 Phillip St. with 40,000 square feet. It is fully leased.

MICHAEL WEKERLE: THE BAD BOY OF BAY STREET

MICHAEL WEKERLE: THE BAD BOY OF BAY STREET

One of Toronto’s most iconic venues, El Mocambo, was due to shutter for the final time on Nov. 6 of last year. The legendary ElMo had once played host to the Rolling Stones and U2 but had lost its lustre over time.

A charity concert had been planned as the last hurrah for the beloved, yet aged venue. Except it wasn’t the last hurrah. With just hours to go until El Mocambo was due to slide into history, a buyer suddenly emerged with a pitch to purchase the venue. The media went into a frenzy: the El Mocambo could be saved.

Canada's Olympic Freestyle Skiers Brave Dragons' Den

Canada's Olympic Freestyle Skiers Brave Dragons' Den

Canada’s freestyle skiers cleaned house in Sochi, picking up multiple Olympic medals in moguls and slopestyle, but the team was so broke it could barely afford to finish the season.

That’s the state of amateur sport funding that led them to think outside the box, stand before some of the biggest names in Canadian business on the CBC’s Dragons’ Den and come away with a four-year sponsorship deal worth $2 million.

 

CANADIAN TECH WILL CHANGE THE WORLD

CANADIAN TECH WILL CHANGE THE WORLD

Small Cap Power managed to corner and interview two ‘friendly dragons’ from the CBC show Dragons’ Den at last week’s Cantech 2015 Investment Conference. Although Mr. Wekerle enjoyed a good joke at his expense, there was definitely ‘fire in his belly’ when he revealed what he thinks is the ‘next big thing’ in technology.

Wild, Wild Wek

Wild, Wild Wek

Michael Wekerle has entered a new era of his life with a new company, a new TV show and a new outlook. Dolce Magazine catches up (or tries to) with the untamable merchant banker to get to know the man they call “Wek” 

When Michael Wekerle says he’s going to do something, he does it. It’s a quality many have come to appreciate, including Ralph Lean. For the past three years, Lean, counsel at the Toronto office of international law firm Gowlings, has taught a course at Ryerson University titled “Law, Business, Politics: The Real World.” The course features a speaker series where high-profile politicians, lawmakers and business professionals give talks and answer students’ questions to let them compare what they’ve been taught in school with what’s effective in practice.

Wekerle Joins ‘Maple Syrup Mafia’ in Next BlackBerry Hunt

Wekerle Joins ‘Maple Syrup Mafia’ in Next BlackBerry Hunt

Michael Wekerle, who made millions trading Canadian oil and mining stocks, has joined the “Maple Syrup Mafia,” backing technology startups in his quest for the next BlackBerry. It hasn’t been an easy transition. 

His Difference Capital Financial Inc. (DCF), which funds fledgling companies such as social media manager Hootsuite Media Inc. and data provider Vision Critical Communications Inc., is one of Canada’s worst-performing stocks.

Dragons' Den Star Plans Wahlburgers Expansion in Ontario

Dragons' Den Star Plans Wahlburgers Expansion in Ontario

The big green and white ‘W’ logo in front of the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel’s newest restaurant stands for Wahlburgers, but there’s actually a lot of Wek behind that letter.

Bay Street financial whiz Michael Wekerle — known as Wek to his many pals, among them actor Mark Wahlberg — is a major force behind bringing the Wahlburgers gourmet burger concept to Canada. He even helped the famous Wahlberg brothers get the original eatery off the ground in Hingham, Mass., in 2011.

The high-flying investment guru and new judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den is full of surprises, stepping in at the 11th hour a week ago to save Toronto’s famed El Mocambo Tavern from closure, and accidentally blowing up his rare Porsche 918 Spyder at a gas station in Caledon in September.

El Mocambo saved by Dragons’ Den star Michael Wekerle

El Mocambo saved by Dragons’ Den star Michael Wekerle

With Mick Jagger swagger, a Bay Street investment maverick has saved the El Mocambo Tavern.

Michael Wekerle, co-founder and CEO of merchant bank Difference Capital and new panelist on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, revealed Thursday that he has rescued the legendary music venue at Spadina Ave. and College St., which was slated for closure that very night.

“I made a very quick decision,” he said while clutching a tall can of beer at the legendary bar Thursday night. “Toronto without the El Mocambo? It just doesn’t exist.”

The Star: Mike Wekerle brings some spice to Dragons' Den

The Star: Mike Wekerle brings some spice to Dragons' Den

The heat in the Dragons’ Den will hold no terror for Mike Wekerle. After all, this is the entrepreneur who escaped 20-foot flames last month when his $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder burned up at a Caledon gas station.

Canadian Business: The rise and fall and rise of Michael Wekerle

Canadian Business: The rise and fall and rise of Michael Wekerle

Let’s pause here and savour this image. Because, in many ways, Wekerle is on the verge of something big. Some would say we’re witnessing the second coming of Wek. He already has a well-earned reputation as perhaps the greatest trader Bay Street has ever seen, and his freakish talent for playing the markets has made him (and a host of other people) very rich. But he also spent two years lost in a dark place, grappling with a devastating personal loss and being spurned by the capital markets firm he helped make great. It was not that long ago that he found his way out. He has a new venture, Difference Capital Financial, a merchant bank he co-founded in 2012 to invest in privately held, late-stage tech, health-care and media companies. And starting Oct. 15, he will embark on his highest-profile gig yet: the newest dragon on CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den. He’s already a legend on Bay Street, and soon every small business owner and mompreneur from Victoria to St. John’s will know (and probably love) Wek.

The Globe and Mail: How ‘Wek’ became a finance whiz while looking like a rock star

The Globe and Mail: How ‘Wek’ became a finance whiz while looking like a rock star

Michael Wekerle’s known as the Oracle of Bay Street – a straight-talking finance whiz who has made a mint in the corporate world (even if he looks more like a rock star). On Oct. 15, “Wek” will make his debut on the new season of CBC’s Dragons’ Den, bestowing his bootstrap-style business sense upon Canada’s aspiring entrepreneurs. Here, he shares some of the secrets to his success, including why you don’t have to be a wolf to win.

Waterloo Region Record: Investor buying up former BlackBerry buildings to welcome startups

Waterloo Region Record: Investor buying up former BlackBerry buildings to welcome startups

WATERLOO — A colourful and legendary Bay Street financier, who helped raise millions for BlackBerry nearly 20 years ago, is betting the next big thing in tech comes out of this region.

Michael Wekerle, founder of Toronto-based Difference Capital, purchased 156 Columbia St. W., formerly known as BlackBerry 5, and filled it with tech companies in the past few months.

Toronto Life: The Oracle of Bay Street

Toronto Life: The Oracle of Bay Street

When a video game player loads NBA 2K13, say, or Madden NFL on his Xbox, he’s invited to join a social media platform where he can play online against other gamers for money and prizes. The platform, which was developed by the Toronto company Virgin Gaming, is poised to become the Facebook of the gaming world. But, until recently, chances were good that Virgin would go the way of many promising Canadian tech companies and get scooped up by foreign multinationals, decamp for the U.S. or simply die due to a lack of financing.

Meet the New Dragon

Meet the New Dragon

Described as “Mick Jagger meets Warren Buffett,” Michael Wekerle reigns as a rock star in the world of Canadian finance. “Wek” has made many fortunes investing in tech and media companies. Most recently he founded and was appointed CEO of the merchant-banking firm Difference Capital. Now, Michael Wekerle is ready to use his investing acumen in the Den to fund the best start up businesses in Canada.