The University of Waterloo will host innovators from around the world who have revolutionized business through disruptive technology for its fifth annual Waterloo Innovation Summit on September 14 and 15. This year’s conference – Hacking the Future – will offer perspectives on the chaos and opportunities of disruption through conversations among industry leaders, policy makers and entrepreneurs.

Trailblazers at the forefront of disruptive technology will weigh in on topics such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things, policy, and more. Attendees will come away with actionable insights from senior leaders in government, business and academia.  

Canadian business journalist and Bloomberg TV Canada anchor Amanda Lang, has said she is “keen to return for a second year to an ecosystem that lives and breathes innovation.” Lang joins Michael Serbinis, founder of Kobo and LEAGUE as summit co-chair.

The summit offers dynamic and thought-provoking speakers, including:


JB Straubel headshotJB Straubel, Tesla CTO and co-founder. Straubel is also on the Board of Directors for SolarCity and is a lecturer at his alma mater, Stanford University, where he teaches the popular Energy Storage Integration class in the Atmosphere and Energy Program.


Sam Pasupalak headshotSam Pasupalak, CEO and co-founder of Maluuba. Pasupalak leads strategy and execution for Maluuba, an AI company based in Montreal. Maluuba is defining the roadmap for breakthrough research, building commercial partnerships and establishing collaborations with the world’s premier academic centers for deep learning.


 Jared Cohen headshotJared Cohen, president of Jigsaw.  Cohen leads Jigsaw, an incubator within Alphabet that builds technology to tackle some of the toughest security challenges facing the world today. Cohen is the youngest person to serve in the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and was recently named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.


Melissa Hathaway headshotMelissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies LLC. Hathaway is a leading expert in cybersecurity who played key roles in the Cyberspace Policy Review for U.S. President Barack Obama and the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) for U.S. President George W. Bush.


Michael Serbinis headshotMichael Serbinis, founder and CEO of LEAGUE. Serbinis is one of the conference co-chairs. He founded Kobo in 2009 and has now turned his focus to LEAGUE, a digital health and wellness startup. Serbinis has been described as a “visionary entrepreneur.” He has built multiple transformative technology platforms.


Amber Case headshotAmber Case, Geoloqi founder and Cyborg anthropologist. Case studies interactions between humans, information, and computers. She is on Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 under 30 list and featured among Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology.


Thomas Dolby headshotThomas Dolby, award-winning musician and producer, pioneered new wave music, creating hit singles and playing alongside Def Leppard. From laser disks and computer games to interactive TV and virtual reality installations, Dolby has had a hand in almost every emerging entertainment platform.


Meet all of this year’s speakers, sponsors, and conference agenda.

About the conference

Through thoughtful discourse, the summit will influence change, drive prosperity, and create the conditions in which innovation-based economies grow and flourish. This year’s focus will include global issues such as cybersecurity and the relationship between humanity and technology.

Conference attendees have the opportunity to tour Waterloo’s renowned innovation ecosystem, including exciting locations like Velocity, the world’s largest free start-up incubator, the Communitech Hub and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. The conference will combine networking keynotes and panel discussions over a 48-hour period.

At the centre of a high-tech and innovation hub, the University of Waterloo is perfectly positioned to lead these conversations of global innovation. Canada’s most innovative university for 25 years, Waterloo’s focus on experiential education and entrepreneurship, and its global reputation for research excellence have positioned it at the forefront of the changing Canadian economy for the past 60 years.