It may seem extraordinary to those that know the powerhouse that is Delilah Panio that she never dreamed of being a financial guru as a child. She grew up in a small prairie town in Saskatchewan, Canada and had a passion for reading and writing. It wasn’t until she was in her late 20s when she came into the finance world by “default” as she puts it. Following her MBA in Enterprise Development, she was very interested in entrepreneurship and helping companies to grow. She started working at the Canadian Venture Exchange in Calgary in 2000, just as the market was crashing and learned a lot about business and capital raising as the markets came back. Her role was primarily business development and relationship management in the sector, but she grew to understand and become passionate about helping entrepreneurs access the right capital.
Fast forward to today, and Panio’s time is predominantly spent in her role as Vice President of US Capital Formation for Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) based in Southern California. On top of this, she is the Founder of Fortuna Funding, Co-Founder and Executive Director of We Are Enough, Partner at Project Female Founder, Mentor at Global Mentor Program with the Government of Canada, an Advisory Board Member of MAPLE Business Council and WE Global Studios, and Chair of the Funding Committee at Women Leaders of Octane. She is a global voice in the finance world, speaking at countless functions and events, most recently at the Roth Capital Conference on March 15th, 2022 and at the Austin Technology Council on March 30th, as well as a guest on the podcast “Getting Deals Done” which aired in March 2022. There is little doubt why she was named in the “2019 Top People in Finance Magazine”.
“It has been such an incredible learning experience spending 10 years at TSX in Toronto, working hard and getting promoted, making more money than I knew was possible from how I grew up and getting access to incredibly successful people and events. I found my own voice and passion and am now able to help others do the same,” she said.
As a capital markets expert, including in her current role as Vice President of US Capital Formation of Toronto Stock Exchange, Panio advises companies on various capital sources including “public venture capital” in Canada. As part of Team USA for TSX, the Exchange saw a significant increase in US companies that went public on TSX/TSX Venture in 2021.
“Every CEO and management team should know and understand their capital options so they can make an educated and strategic decision on how best to fund their company’s growth. Taking the wrong capital can often be to the detriment of the company. It’s important to be going after aligned capital, the funding source and their motivation is in alignment with the company’s vision and growth trajectory,” Panio advised.
Panio moved from Toronto to Southern California 10 years ago, and rejoined TSX four years ago. Each year she crafts her business development and outreach strategy, which includes partnering with strategic organizations in the markets she serves (California, Pacific NW, Arizona, Austin). She frequents speaking opportunities at industry events and hosts events for key stakeholders. There are several factors that continuously need to be considered including market conditions, trends in capital raising, and in the past two years, how to reach clients in a pandemic without the travel and in person events. It has been a fascinating time for Panio, who enjoys the strategic planning process and the challenge of finding new and relevant ways to meet and interact with her target audience of US companies raising Series B+ capital.
“I love educating US CEOs on the option of raising capital in Canada, as an alternative to the traditional private funding options that may not be realistic or desirable for them. I love representing my home country and surprising people about the significance of the Canadian capital markets. And I just really enjoy getting to meet CEOs that are working on the next great product or technology. It’s a very cool job especially as I get to do it living near the ocean,” she said.
Panio is seeing great success with her efforts in the US. 2021 was a significant year for American companies to list on Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange with 25 new listings, up 150% from the previous year. Companies like Sabio (LA-based adtech company) and Edge Total Intelligence (Virginia based SaaS company) are grateful for her recent guidance in this area.
Panio also produced the first ever Guide to Listing for US Companies, recognizing the unique needs and challenges facing US companies going public in Canada. This will be another legacy product of hers at TSX, which is very rewarding for this prairie girl.
“Success is not just defined as how many companies listed, which is certainly rewarding, but also the increased brand awareness of TSX and TSXV as viable funding options for the right high growth US companies. Knowing that I have had an impact on CEOs considering their most aligned capital options for them and their shareholders, that is a really great achievement,” she concluded.