Hitlab

Our team

SENIOR MANAGEMENT

Pierre Gauthier

Pierre Gauthier

Founder, Chairman

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In the last 20 years Pierre Gauthier has been involved in raising over $500 Million dollars of financing in various projects. As founding shareholder and responsible for completing the Initial Public Offerings for various companies, Pierre has had a focus on financing innovation and disruptive technologies in artificial intelligence, entertainment and mining industries. Mr. Gauthier’s attributes and skills include financial literacy, managerial experience in addition to the knowledge obtained through his service as a director of multiple public and private corporations. After graduating with an MBA, he worked as an investment banker and became involved in corporate finance, institutional sales (as manager) and research (as director).

Michel Zgarka

President, CEO

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Michel Zgarka is an experienced executive with a successful career of over 35 years in the productions, communications, marketing, financial engineering and business development fields. He is highly skilled in strategic and creative planning, marketing and personnel management for the media industry. Mr. Zgarka has produced, directed and distributed numerous film and television productions for the international marketplace, including “GUMMYBAR” which garnered over 6 billion views on YouTube. He has been a guest speaker at over 50 international entertainment industries events as well as the Delegate general of the Montreal Israeli Film Festival whose celebrating its 13th year anniversary in 2018. He is persuasive and possesses excellent communication skills that help build strong relationships. Mr. Zgarka holds a B. ED. (McGill University), B.A. (Concordia University) & a Master in International Communications (University of Nice).

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Richard Groome

Richard Groome

Executive Chairman

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Richard Groome is Managing Partner of Notre-Dame Capital Inc., a Montreal-based merchant bank, formerly licensed as an Exempt Market Dealer. His expertise is in the financing of small and mid-size emerging growth companies. Mr. Groome was a co-founder and founder of two different securities firms that specialized in the financing of small and mid-sized companies in technology, biotechnology and consumer products. Having been involved in the formation and capital raising for some 600 companies raising over $4 Billion, Mr. Groome is a seasoned veteran in the governance, structure and financing of early stage companies. With a BA in Economics from McGill University, Mr. Groome has actively participated on the board of several public and private companies. He was a member of the Board of the CDNX until 2001 and member of the National Advisory Committee of the TSX Venture Exchange until 2004.

Todd Rupert

Todd Rupert

Board Member

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R. Todd Ruppert is CEO of Ruppert International, a firm with diversified interests globally in various fields including education, financial services, disruptive technologies, publishing, arts and entertainment, and strategy consulting. He is a member of numerous for profit and non-profit boards around the globe including INSEAD Business School and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Todd has over 40 years of experience in the financial services industry. He retired from T. Rowe Price, the global asset management firm with over $1.0 trillion under management, where he was CEO and president of T. Rowe Price Global Investment Services and co-president of T. Rowe Price International. He is a venture partner at Greenspring Associates, a $12 billion venture capital firm, and advisor to other firms in the financial services industry. He is the executive producer of four films.

Peter Rafelson

Peter Rafelson

Executive Vice President

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With a strong background in Media and Technology, Rafelson began his career writing and producing with notable success in the Entertainment industry. Creating over thirty #1 hits and selling over 300 Million copies for such artists as Madonna, Elton John and Britney Spears, he grew his business into an international reach and presence, developing diplomatic and strategic relationships. As an advisor, Peter focused on developing and managing International business opportunities. He has spent the last 25 years consulting and providing strategic business development services to a large variety of international Media and Technologies companies, helping to establish diplomatic ties to international markets, worldwide. With extensive experience in legal contracting and business development, Rafelson currently serves as presiding at co-founded ElectraCast Media and Interglobal Trade Group with satellite offices throughout Asia EU and the Middle-East. Rafelson manages online PaaS, DigiRAMP which provides administrative solutions for the entire digital content supply chain. He also is a co-owner of The US Blockchain Company, which serves the industry of fintech, crypto and blockchain development.

ADVISORY BOARD

Joseph Vangieri

Joseph Vangieri

Strategic Advisor

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Joe Vangieri is a serial entrepreneur who successfully raised capital and led the development, launch, and branding of "first of its kind" music performance products. He helmed the R&D, patenting, licensing, marketing and manufacture of the first digital DJ software package, and launched the karaoke industry’s premier streaming platform. He is now pioneering an Artificial Intelligence technology set to disrupt the music creation market with a patented, proprietary Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) engine that creates new, original, copyrightable music. In development since 2008, this AI technology has been granted 7 US patents.

 

This patented AI has  the ability to detect copyright similarity before a piece of music is released and provide feedback on what may need to be changed to minimize this risk, he additionally createdan  improvement in song or music recommendation that crosses genres in ways that has never otherwise been achieved. Our analysis engine is already able to derive the music data required for the advanced song recommendation.

Ysé Brisson

Ysé Brisson

Strategic Advisor

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Ysé Brisson is a media, entertainment, marketing and business development expert for over a decade, experienced in building business ecosystems based on a strategic communications plan and a good data organization. She is a skilled leader who knows how to identify the market trends and how to attract new talents. With a specific knowledge of the film industry and an international network, she has served as a consultant in numerous TV programs and feature films for different groups and various broadcasting companies such as Panini media, Endemol group, Vision Film, XII Tribes Entertainment, Lionsgate or Casablanca. Founder of the FDFC women rights film festival in Paris, Ysé is promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in the media industry. For the last years she established herself as advocate for ESG and is recognized internationally. Through GEMM, a fund management company, she created a new label to ensure that both women and diversity will be respected during a movie making process. At the moment Ysé is collaborating with - VR 4 GOOD, a startup that provides immersive healing films for hospitals and retirement homes in order to reduce pain, anxiety and isolation; and - HITLAB, a digital media company that is revolutionizing the music industry by using a very innovative AI software.

Nicolas Pourcelet

Nicolas Pourcelet

Strategic Advisor

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Nicolas Pourcelet has over 28 years of combined Investment Banking and Capital Markets experience spanning across the key financial centres in North America, Europe and Asia. Mr Pourcelet spent over 18 years with Lehman Brothers where he held several key leadership positions including Managing Director – Europe, Chief Country officer for France and Head of the European Credit Business. He was a member of the firm’s European Fixed Income Operating Committee and Global Credit Steering Committee. He was a founding partner of Rosenquist Capital ltd, a boutique Investment Bank based in Hong Kong specialising in cross border M&A and Capital Markets advisory transactions. He subsequently joined the Mizuho Group, a leading Japanese Conglomerate, as a senior member of the Executive Committee, overseeing the Groups EMEA platform across Capital markets products. Mr Pourcelet started his career in Finance at Drexel Burnham Lambert, specialising in High Yield and Mezzanine Finance. He is a graduate of McGill University and holds a Post Graduate degree from the London School of Economics (Msc).

Tina Singh

Tina Singh

Strategic Advisor

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Tina Singh, an entertainment industry professional, has worked with several world-renowned music composers, celebrated artists and entertainment power houses. Working on a wide variety of creative projects associated with names like Amitabh Bachchanji, Akon, Shakira, Wyclef Jean, Jerry Wonda, Sean Kingston and T-Pain along with many other luminaries and stalwarts of the entertainment industry in India and overseas. Tina gained momentum in international business development for entertainment with over 16 years of experience and rose to prominence with collaborations with successful artists and projects ensured success for many well-known entertainment endeavors.

Bjorn Niclas

Bjorn Niclas

Strategic Advisor

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Bjorn Niclas is a seasoned music and music-tech industry veteran with over fifteen years in the music space. His previous ventures include artist and tour management, a record label (Spundae recordings), and several music-tech start-ups, Vidiam, Grooveo, and Choon. In late 2020,Bjorn founded ROCKI, a leading blockchain music streaming, and music NFT marketplace, built to provide more value and new revenue streams for artists and their fans.

Jeff Hochman

Jeff Hochman

Strategic Advisor

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Jeff is a passionate investment professional with over 30 years stock picking and macro asset allocation experience, employed as a fundamental analyst/strategist/thematic expert for top tier global asset managers. Equally passionate about the mainstreaming and execution of ESG/SDG principles into investment strategies. Additionally, he is invested in, and advisor to, a broad range of technology driven early stage start-ups, from digital HealthCare, FinTech, SportsTech, and Media, including several excellent Music industry investments with cutting edge and very differentiated tech. Finally, investments in AR/VR and Gaming help him keep abreast of the latest trends in the rapidly evolving Metaverse and NFT space.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

Jocelyn Desbiens

Jocelyn Desbiens

Chief Technology Officer

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Jocelyn Desbiens Ph.D. received his M.Sc.(1977) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees from Université de Montreéal in Topology and Non- Linear Analysis. He worked for the Mathematics/Computer Sciences Departments at the Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean, Canada, from 1980 until 1995. He was a full-time professor at INRS-Télécom (Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique) in Montréal, Canada, from 1995 to 2002. While at INRS he helped launched a startup that was acquired later by Ubisoft, and in 2002, switched to the private enterprise working in Data Mining and A.I. He is currently working as the Chief Scientist of Intelligent Retinal Screening Systems (IRIS), a leading ophthalmic telemedicine company, in Pensacola, Florida. Jocelyn drives his research around Deep Learning disease detection from fundus images conjointly with Microsoft within the “AI for Health” initiative.

Julia Kastner

Julia Kastner

Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer

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Julia Kastner is a finance graduate from McGill University with deep knowledge of the music industry. Her role as Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Hitlab merges her unique capabilities of creating marketing and selling strategies with executing her B2B and B2C outreach initiatives. She is consistently monitoring the day-to-day pulse of the music and streaming industry analytics, in addition to the strategies in play by important and evolving market players. Julia came from a background working as a financial analyst at a New York hedge fund. Her deep analytical skills and financial analysis were used by portfolio managers and traders for real-time investment decisions in local and international markets. Julia also worked as the Operations Coordinator for Halcyon Brands (Furla) acting as the interface between Italian offices and North American centers as they opened and operated new retail locations across Canada.

Xavier Gauthier

VP A&R

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Since the beginning of his professional career, Xavier Gauthier aka ZEEKY has managed to be an A&R, label, CEO and an artist himself. With guidance from multi-platinum selling artist Akon and music business mogul Master P, XAV started his independent record label ZEEKY ENT in 2015. The label went on to sign Sahbabii and its latest venture is ATL Artist & Producer Kc Da Beatmonster who has now reached the top 10 on billboard and collaborated with the likes of: Migos, Gucci Mane, Future and many more. Xavier has all the while been an A&R for music/tech company HITLAB. The Montreal tech-savvy singer/song-writer has managed to drop bodies of work, discover superstars, create groundbreaking platforms and keep an avant-garde business mindset throughout.

Tiffany Cifuentes

Manager, LATAM

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Tiffany Cifuentes graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor's in Political Science. She was born and raised in Colombia and possesses extensive experience in the Latin American music industry. She has worked with Canadian mining companies managing and facilitating projects in Latin America. She’s passionate about using music and art to positively impact communities around her. Her work and life experience give her a unique perspective on how to carry out successful projects in Latin America that generate an impact and appeal to the communities where the projects take place.

Tara Asbour

Tara Asbour

VP Strategic Affairs
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Ms. Asfour is an experienced executive consultant with over 10 years of management, investor relations, communications and marketing experience, specialized in capital markets. Ms. Asfour holds a Master’s degree in Business Management, a Financial Markets Certificate from Yale University, and Certificate in Alternative Investments from HBS. As Chief Development Officer for FairGreen Capital Partners and Managing Director of its Canadian regional division, Ms. Asfour has led over US$550 million worth of fundraising and strategic development initiatives. Ms. Asfour is the Director of Investor Relations of Auxico Resources. Ms. Asfour's previous positions include Investor Relations executive at Red Pine Exploration Inc., Communications Director at Dominion Water Reserves and advisor to various publicly listed firms.

Charbel Khawand

Project Manager
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Charbel has been with Hitlab since 2014, also presently a teacher of computer science, with an educational and professional background in software development and project management and more than 15 years of experience. Charbel plays a role in planning and coordinating the work between the business and R&D teams. After completing studies in computer science and project management, Charbel worked as a software engineer and then project manager on a variety of software projects some of which are large scale and governmental projects including AI Algorithms, online media, websites, intranets and mobile apps.