Mike Lazaridis is a businessman, investor, and founder of RIM (Research In Motion) which created and manufactured the BlackBerry wireless handheld device. Lazaridis is a passionate advocate for the power of basic science to improve and transform the world and he co-founded Quantum Valley Investments in March 2013 with the vision to provide financial and intellectual capital for the further development and commercialization of breakthroughs in quantum information science.

“We transformed the way

people communicate.”

Lazaridis was born March 14, 1961 in Istanbul, Turkey, to Greek parents with original lineage to the island of Chios. His family moved to Canada in 1966 when Lazaridis was only 5 years old, and settled in Windsor, Ontario.

When he was 12 years old Lazaridis won a prize at the Windsor Public Library for reading every science book in the library. He enrolled at the University of Waterloo in 1979 in electrical engineering with an option in computer science. In 1984, and just 2 months before he graduated, Lazaridis responded to a request for proposal from General Motors to develop a network display system for them. GM awarded him the contract and Lazaridis dropped out of university that year. A loan from Lazaridis’ parents, along with this GM contract and a small government grant allowed Lazaridis, Mike Barnstijn, and Douglas Fregin to launch Research In Motion (RIM). In 1999 RIM introduced to the world the groudbreaking BlackBerry wireless mobile device in 1999.

Mike Lazaridis, keynote speaker, Stavros Niarchos Foundation: