Jim Laird, Finance Expert in Mississauga, Canada
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Jim Laird

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Mississauga, Canada
Toptal Member Since
September 27, 2017

Jim has managed investments for one of Canada's largest venture firms, founded and successfully exited a large entertainment software company, and has sat on more than 20 private, public, and non-profit boards. He is a 20-year corporate finance veteran and fractional CFO who is passionate about helping companies get to the next level by improving their operations, assisting with debt and equity capital raises, and executing M&A transactions.

Career Highlights

Managing Director
Laird Research
Chief Data Scientist
Espresso Capital Partners

Education Highlights

Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree
Osgoode Hall Law School

Certification Highlights

Work Experience

Director for Risk Management

2021 - PRESENT
Roynat Capital
  • Developed a high-risk technology lending program within the bank.
  • Built up the bank's expertise in risk management and underwriting technology borrowers.
  • Created and managed a detailed monitoring program to ensure continuous tracking of all the borrowers' operational results to manage risk in the lending program.
Focus areas: Credit Risk, Commercial Banking, Finance, Microsoft Excel

Managing Director

2011 - PRESENT
Laird Research
  • Served as a fractional CFO for many clients—stepping into situations wherein entrepreneurs needed trusted advice when their existing team had entered uncharted waters. Worked in varied industries, including entertainment, education, software (especially SaaS), oil and gas, and industrial products.
  • Assisted in the financing of small and medium-sized companies, including sourcing and negotiating debt and equity investments, successfully raising $10+ million of new capital.
  • Provided data science analyses for various clients in the entertainment, gaming, and SaaS industries with a focus in the area of customer modeling (customer lifetime value, churn analysis, and revenue cohort modeling) using R and Python.
  • Developed detailed Excel-based financial models for numerous clients to assist with cash flow planning and to determine required financing levels.
  • Reviewed key deal terms on multiple purchase and sale agreements, including the negotiation of asset purchase agreements for a $190+ million reverse takeover of a publicly traded firm, a go-private transaction, and a public company debt restructuring.
Focus areas: Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Cash Flow Forecasting, Revenue Optimization, SaaS, Data Science, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Budgeting, Accounting, Investment Consulting, Investments, Microsoft Excel

Chief Data Scientist

2013 - 2021
Espresso Capital Partners
  • Built financial models for an extensive private loan portfolio using an Excel-based Monte Carlo analysis of potential outcomes for the general partner.
  • Led the development of a next-generation underwriting process and trained the underwriting team on the new methodology.
  • Built tracking processes and software in Python and Django for monthly reporting of more than 40 portfolio companies.
  • Designed and built the credit scoring architecture for a loan portfolio, including real-time risk analysis features, in Python and R.
  • Served as the lead underwriter for the loan portfolio, managing diligence, deal structuring, and investment committee presentations.
Focus areas: Modeling, Budgeting, Forecasting, Cost Reduction & Optimization (Cost-down), Due Diligence, Statistical Analysis, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Equity Investment, Investment Consulting, Investments, Investment Committee Advisory, Financial Modeling, Microsoft Excel


2007 - 2011
Bedlam Games, Inc.
  • Raised $3.5 million in venture capital for the management buyout of a 40-person entertainment software company from its publisher parent.
  • Served as CFO and managed human resources, operations, and financial planning while working with the sales team to develop budgets and pricing strategy.
  • Managed successful filing for refundable tax credits, generating $3+ million in tax relief across multiple years.
  • Directed the sales process for the business, including leading the deal negotiations that led to a successful transaction.
  • Managed banking relationships with both asset-backed and charter bank lenders.
Focus areas: Capital Raising, Capital Budgeting, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Microsoft Excel

Vice President, Investments

2001 - 2007
Covington Capital
  • Managed high-technology investments from the cradle to the grave, including sourcing, term sheet negotiation, deal management, portfolio company oversight, and the disposition of investment stakes.
  • Identified, negotiated, and executed $44+ million in debt and equity placements in private and public companies using a variety of transaction structures.
  • Served as the board member or observer for 15 portfolio companies.
  • Managed a top-performing Canadian venture capital fund that ranked in the top quartile for returns.
  • Served as managing partner with a predecessor fund that was purchased by Covington, and was the only member of the original team asked to continue with the management of the fund post-transaction.
Focus areas: Board of Directors, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Early-stage Venture Capital, Equity Investment, Investment Consulting, Investments, Investment Committee Advisory, Financial Modeling, Microsoft Excel

Equity Research Analyst

1998 - 2001
HSBC Securities
  • Conducted equity research on publicly traded technology companies for institutional equity clients. The coverage universe included companies from the semiconductor, consumer electronics, contract manufacturing, consumer hardware, and enterprise software industries.
  • Provided support to the investment banking division, giving guidance on technology IPOs and M&A mandates.
  • Developed a global strategy for linking previously separate technology teams across Asia, North America, and Europe.
  • Wrote several widely-read research publications covering developments in the technology space.
Focus areas: Equity Research, Investment Consulting, Investments, Financial Modeling, Microsoft Excel
1995 - 1998

Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree in Law

Osgoode Hall Law School - Ontario, Canada

1991 - 1995

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

Wilfrid Laurier University - Ontario, Canada


Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

CPA Ontario


Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

CPA Ontario


Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

CFA Institute


Financial Modeling, Accounting, Capital Budgeting, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Cash Flow Forecasting, Due Diligence, Cost Reduction & Optimization (Cost-down), Equity Research, Revenue Optimization, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Forecasting, Budgeting, Capital Raising, Credit Risk

Output Software

Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel

Data & Analysis Software


Industry Expertise

Technology, Venture Capital

Geographic Expertise

Canada, United States


Excel Modeling, Analytics, Early-stage Funding, Data Science, Boards, Modeling, Statistical Analysis, Equity Investment, Investment Consulting, Investments, Investment Committee Advisory, Machine Learning, Python, SaaS, Django, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), Early-stage Venture Capital, Board of Directors, Commercial Banking, Finance

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