Working side-by-side with you
When we say, “We get invested,” we mean financially, and by bringing every other means of support to the table. You get our whole team on your side. Hands-on business guidance, customized to meet your company’s evolving needs. Plus an extensive network of mentors and advisors who help you determine what you need to stay competitive and grow strong. Long-term strategy, tactical action plans, and everything in between.
VICE PRESIDENT, INVESTMENT (INTERIM)
Dr. Lidija Marusic is interim vice president of investment and managing director of the Nova Scotia First Fund. As part of the senior management team, she leads Invest Nova Scotia's work to find, fund and foster innovative Nova Scotia start-ups that strive to change the world.
Previously, Lidija was an investment director at Innovacorp, where her focus was on pre-seed and seed investment opportunities in the life sciences (i.e., human health) sectors.
Joining Innovacorp in 2006, Lidija built the organization’s life sciences commercialization and venture capital practice. Today, in addition to her senior management role at the organization, Lidija manages a thriving portfolio of companies and fosters the commercialization of new medical innovations by guiding researchers and emerging start-up founders.
Prior to joining Invest Nova Scotia, Lidija worked at MDS Capital and its seed fund MedInnova Partners, focusing on commercializing biomedical discoveries.
Lidija holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, a PhD in molecular genetics from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy, and an MBA from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Lidija is a board member at Covina Biomedical, Audioptics Medical, Axem Neurotechnology, Emagix, CVCA (Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association) and BioNova. She is a board observer at Densitas and Spring Loaded Technology, and a member of the investment committee at MEDTEQ.
Ahmed Farooq is an investment director at Invest Nova Scotia, where his focus is on identifying attractive pre-seed and seed investment opportunities in deep technology sectors.
Farooq has a great deal of experience spanning multiple continents. He started his career in Silicon Valley building software companies. In the Middle East, Farooq worked on creating funds in the private equity and venture capital sector and worked in the investment banking industry.
Most recently, Farooq was an executive committee member and acting CFO for TONS, an e-grocery company in Kuwait. He is currently a senior investment advisor with Digital Founders, an Abu Dhabi seed fund that invests primarily in start-ups in the consumer internet space.
A lifelong learner, Farooq is completing a master of science in engineering at the University of New Brunswick where he is researching the hydrodynamics of submarine motion. He holds a bachelor of technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, India, and a PhD from Stanford University.
Jennifer Fuccillo is an investment associate at Invest Nova Scotia, where she supports the organization’s mission to find, fund and foster innovative start-ups striving to change the world. Her focus is on identifying attractive angel, pre-seed and seed investment opportunities relating to the future of food and sustainable materials from the land and ocean, and supporting the growth of the industrial biotech, agritech, and oceantech sectors in Nova Scotia.
Jennifer is also passionate about supporting women-led start-ups and investments that are sustainable and make a positive impact on society. In her role, she identifies prospective investments and conducts all aspects of the investment review, approval, and closing cycle, such as screening opportunities, analysis, due diligence, and making recommendations to the investment team.
Prior to joining Invest Nova Scotia, Jennifer spent over a decade as an entrepreneur, founding businesses in Canada and the United States spanning plant-based foods, retail, e-commerce, and product innovation from design to production. Her volunteer experience includes mentorship and collaboration with community improvement organizations and business incubators.
Jennifer holds a bachelor of design from NSCAD University and an MBA from the Saint Mary’s Sobey School of Business.
Ben McDade is an investment associate at Invest Nova Scotia. In this role, Ben identifies prospective investments and conducts all aspects of the investment review, approval and closing cycle, such as screening opportunities, analysis, due diligence, and making recommendations to the investment team. He also works hands-on with Invest Nova Scotia’s portfolio companies to help accelerate their growth and achieve their milestones.
Prior to joining Invest Nova Scotia, Ben worked as an opportunity analyst with the First Angel Network, Atlantic Canada’s largest angel investor association. In this role, he was responsible for conducting due diligence, sourcing new investment opportunities, and managing portfolio performance reports.
Ben holds a bachelor of commerce degree (summa cum laude) in general business studies from Saint Mary’s University.
Lara Skwarek is Invest Nova Scotia’s investment associate focused on life sciences start-ups. She identifies prospective investment opportunities and conducts all aspects of the investment review, approval and closing cycle, including screening opportunities, analysis, due diligence, and making recommendations to the investment team.
Lara has worked in two biotechnology start-ups, with roles in research and development, technology development, grant writing, product development, and commercialization. More recently, she was a scientific consultant with Eva Garland Consulting (EGC) in Raleigh, North Carolina, a company focused on helping entrepreneurs advance innovative technologies through non-dilutive funding. Her clients at EGC included CEOs, chief science and technology officers, professors, clinicians, and graduate students working to translate their breakthrough discoveries into commercial products to solve a wide range of unmet needs.
Lara is trained in genetics, neuroscience, and cell and developmental biology. After completing an undergraduate degree in arts and science from McMaster University in Ontario, she obtained her PhD from the University of Toronto’s department of molecular genetics. In 2009, Lara earned a prestigious Cancer Research Fellowship award as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.