Michele Romanow

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Michele Romanow
Romanow in 2023
Born (1985-06-12) 12 June 1985 (age 38)

Michele Romanow (born June 12, 1985) is a Canadian tech entrepreneur, television personality, board director and venture capitalist. She co-founded Clearbanc, a Toronto based provider of revenue sharing solutions to fund new online businesses, and other e-businesses, and made the list of 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015.[1] She was named as one of the Forbes Top 20 Most Disruptive "Millennials on a Mission" in 2013[2] and Canadian Innovation Awards’ Angel Investor of the Year in 2018.[3] Romanow joined the cast of CBC’s Dragons' Den in Season 10.[4]

Early life[edit]

Romanow was born in Calgary, Alberta, but grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan.[5] She is of Ukrainian descent.[6] She attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and graduated with Civil Engineering and MBA degrees. She was the sole winner of the highest tribute at Queen's, the Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award, in 2007.[7] Michele is the daughter of Marvin Romanow, the former President & CEO of Nexen.


Romanow launched her first business, a coffeeshop,[7] in 2006 while studying at Queen's University. Romanow then partnered with two colleagues from her engineering class, Anatoliy Melnichuk and Ryan Marien. Together, they founded Evandale Caviar, Buytopia.ca, and SnapSaves without raising any external capital. Romanow graduated and started Evandale Caviar, a vertically integrated fishery that distributed high end sturgeon caviar to luxury hotels and restaurants. She then became the Director of Strategy for Sears Canada. In 2011, Romanow started Buytopia.ca which, by 2013, had 2.5M subscribers and had provided over $100M in savings through deals for products, services, events, and travel, with merchants including brands like Cirque du Soleil, Porter Airlines, and Staples.[8] Buytopia also grew by acquiring six competitors.[9][10] By 2018, Buytopia joined Emerge Commerce Inc., an e-commerce consolidator founded by Ghassan Halazon, that also acquired other deal sites like WagJag (the Toronto Star deal site), Shop.ca (previously raised $51.5M), under the Emerge parent company.  Romanow started SnapSaves, a mobile couponing app that gives shoppers cash back when they buy certain items in the grocery store by partnering with consumer packaged goods companies. Groupon purchased SnapSaves in June 2014, relaunched in the U.S. as Snap by Groupon.[11]

She co-founded Clearbanc in 2015, a venture capital firm, alongside Andrew D'Souza.[12] In June 2017, Ruma Bose, the former president of Chobani Ventures LLC, founded the Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative with support from Michele Romanow and Entrepreneur in Residence, Richard Branson. According to the Globe and Mail, the not-for-profit is meant to help small-business owners get inexpensive financing, and Romanow promised female entrepreneurs applying through the initiative a 10 percent discount on loans obtained through her financial services platform, clearbanc.com.[13]

Clearbanc rebranded itself to Clearco in 2021, and in June 2022, launched in Germany with a pledge of €500 million to local online businesses.[14][15]

Romanow is currently a director for Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN),[16] Freshii (TSX: FRII),[17] Shad,[18] Queen’s School of Business [19] and League of Innovators.[20]  She is a former director for Whistler Blackcomb (TSX: WB).[21]

Romanow was also an investor (minority shareholder) of Goldie nightclub in Toronto, which lost its liquor license after violating social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Following the events that led to the suspension of the liquor license Romanow publicly denounced the management of Goldie, stating that she had no involvement in the day-to-day operation, and that she would exercise her option to sell her shares.[22]


Romanow is the youngest cast member of the Canadian reality television series Dragons' Den. She joined the cast on Season 10 in 2015, alongside Joe Fresh founder Joe Mimran and Manjit Minhas of Minhas Breweries after the departure of Arlene Dickinson, David Chilton, and Vikram Vij,[23] and continues to appear in 2018 alongside new Dragons Lane Merrifield and Vincenzo Guzzo.[24]


Romanow has been recognized with several honors and awards including:

  • Canadian Innovation Award Angel Investor of the Year[3]
    1. 31 Fastest Growing Company on Profit Magazines Profit Hot 50 Ranking[9][25]
  • #21 Fastest Growing Company on the W100 (3,163% 3 year revenue growth)[26][27]
  • EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist[28][29]
  • WXN 100 Most Powerful Women[1][30]
  • RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award Finalist[31]
  • Toronto Board of Trade Business Excellence Award[32]
  • Forbes only Canadian, "Millennial on a Mission"[33]
  • Michele Romanow Wins The PWI Next Gen Woman Entrepreneur Of The Year Award 2020-21[34]


  1. ^ a b "Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 – Current Winners". Women's Executive Network. Archived from the original on February 10, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Top 20 Most Disruptive Millenials On a Mission – Michele Romanow". Forbes.
  3. ^ a b "Announcing the Winners of the Seventh Annual Canadian Innovation Awards". Techvibes. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  4. ^ Truman, Nancy (March 25, 2015). eries-founder-manjit-minhas?__lsa=409a-69ad "Dragons' Den adds Snapsaves creator Michele Romanow, Minhas Breweries' founder Manjit Minhas". Financial Post. Retrieved March 26, 2015. {{cite news}}: Check |url= value (help)
  5. ^ http://www.canadianbusiness.com/leadership/michele-romanow/
  6. ^ "Ten things Dragons' Den star Michele Romanow can't live without". torontolife.com. November 30, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Jemison, Lisa (April 5, 2007). "Tea Room Manager Receives Tricolour Award". Queen's Journal.
  8. ^ Restauri, Denise. "Technology Is The Fastest Way For 20-Year-Olds To Get Rich". Forbes.com. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Czikk, Joseph (11 September 2013). "Toronto's Buytopia Named #3 on Hot Profit List + Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist". betakit.com.
  10. ^ "How we acquired six companies in a year". The Globe and Mail. July 10, 2013.
  11. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "After Quietly Acquiring SnapSaves, Groupon Launches Snap, Paying You To Shop". techcrunch.com.
  12. ^ Zubairi, Amira (19 December 2018). "Clearbanc Raises $67 Million CAD to Service Dramatic Spike in Interest from eCommerce Entrepreneurs". Betakit. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  13. ^ Rendell, Mark (June 15, 2017). "Initiative launches to support more diverse Canadian entrepreneurship". The Globe and Mail.
  14. ^ Bharti, Bianca (2021-04-20). "Clearbanc to rebrand as Clearco in wake of $100-million fundraising round". Financial Post. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  15. ^ "Clearco launches in Germany with €500m". Ecommerce News. 2022-06-07. Retrieved 2022-06-14.
  16. ^ "Michele Romanow Appointed to Vail Resorts Board of Directors". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  17. ^ "Freshii Inc. - Corporate Governance - Board of Directors". ir.freshii.com. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  18. ^ "SHAD Board - SHAD - Uncommon Purpose". www.shad.ca. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  19. ^ "Smith School of Business - Advisory Bodies". smith.queensu.ca. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  20. ^ "Board of Directors". League of Innovators. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  21. ^ "Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. Announces Appointment of New Director". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  22. ^ @MicheleRomanow (6 July 2020). "Please read this" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ "Meet New Dragon Michele Romanow! - Blog - Dragons' Den". Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  24. ^ "Your first look at the Dragons for Season 13 - Blog - Dragons' Den". Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  25. ^ "Profit Hot 50 – 2013".
  26. ^ "Profit W100 Ranking 2013 #24 – Michele Romanow".
  27. ^ Pearce, Tralee (January 10, 2014). "Meet the 28-year-old who's started three companies already". Chatelaine.
  28. ^ "EY announces 2014 Ontario Entrepreneur Of The Year™ finalists today". Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  29. ^ "EY announces Ontario Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 finalists today". Archived from the original on October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  30. ^ "Clearbanc Co-Founder, Michele Romanow named Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women". Financial Post. Nov 29, 2017.
  31. ^ "2013 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Finalists".
  32. ^ Shenker, Mira (November 22, 2013). "Toronto Board of Trade Recognizes Entrepreneurs". Profit Guide.
  33. ^ "Millennials On A Mission - Forbes". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  34. ^ Inspire, People Who (11 January 2021). "Michele Romanow Wins The PWI Next Gen Woman Entrepreneur Of The Year Award 2020-21". DKODING.