We recently had some roof work done, we had to have all the flashing replaced around our skylights and chimney due to leaks during rain, (Great Company, highly recommend aledobestroof.com) My roofer happened to have a new generation Blackberry, which I teased him about until he showed me all the cool features it had. That reminded me of the person I am writing about today, Mike Lazadiris. One of Canada’s most influential businessmen. In fact he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and member of the Order of Ontario.
Mr. Lazaridis was born in Turkey to Greek parents. They immigrated to Canada when he was 5 years old. Lazaridis showed extreme intelligence during his schooling years. He took various honors classes for university while also taking an electronics and shop class where he read all the manuals for the new equipment that was donated to the school.
He attended University of Waterloo studying electrical engineering and computer science. He learned all the topics that he needed to know to develop smart phones. Lazaridis also attended a class about quantum mechanics and relativity.
- Won contract to create project for GM, 1984;
- founded Research in Motion, Ltd. (RIM), 1984;
- created Digi-Sync Film KeyKode reader, c. 1992;
- created the Interactive Pager, 1996;
- wrote “white paper” for concept behind the BlackBerry, 1997;
- launched the BlackBerry to marketplace, 1999;
- used wealth to fund the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Canada, 2000;
- funded the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo;
- Added new features to BlackBerry, 2001, 2002.
After founding Blackberry and Research in Motion, Lazaridis was able to fund the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. It was anchored around two pillars of 20th-century physics; relativity and quantum mechanics. Mr Lazaridis stated “Two years later we formed the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo as an experimental centre devoted to the emerging science of quantum information.” This institute was developed to research and learn about ways to produce clean energy, to produce electronics that exceed Moore’s Law. And to support scientists who learn about the universe and the applicability that may be 50 years away.
Mr Lazaridis also founded Quantum Valley investments which is a $100 million venture capital firm that only invests in companies that use quantum technology which he believes is the future.
- A Risk Taker, he dropped out of University to pursue the offer from GM.
- Innovative, he researched and revolutionized an entire industry that had not really been optimized.
- Determined, from a young age Lazaridis studied electronics and computing.
In 2000, Lazaridis founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and has donated more than $170 million to the institute. In 2002, at the University of Waterloo, Lazaridis founded the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC).He and wife Ophelia have donated more than $100 million to IQC since 2000.
In 2015, Wilfrid Laurier University was given $20 million by Lazaridis for a new technology-focused management institute at the renamed Lazardis School of Business and Economics. In 2016, Lazaridis Hall which is a new facility at another location on University Avenue in Waterloo, will house the School, as well as the new business management institute.