A leading Canadian entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, Arif Bhalwani is best known as CEO of Third Eye Capital (TEC), an alternative capital provider which he co-founded in Toronto in 2005.
Arif Bhalwani came to Canada as a refugee from Austria, where he spent years in a refugee camp after his family was expelled from their home in Uganda. His family lost everything and came to Canada with less than $60. Arif Bhalwani’s career was shaped by the adversity he had to overcome. From a very young age, Arif Bhalwani has been a self-starter who combined his intellect and imagination to find opportunities, solve problems and discover new businesses in sometimes uncertain markets. As a teenager, he helped start, build and eventually sell a personal computer services company targeted to SMEs. By the time he was 23 years old, Arif Bhalwani had helped found and manage eight different businesses with annual sales ranging from $40,000 to $4,000,000, including an auto rental agency that was franchised across Canada and in the Caribbean. In 1994, Arif Bhalwani partnered with Pinnacle Investments in California to create Pinnacle Capital, and its credit affiliate, Pinnacle Credit, which provided credit support, trade finance, and equity capital to distressed, special situation, and venture opportunities primarily in Canada. He led the turnaround investment of a near-bankrupt Canadian construction company that once boasted revenues of $1 billion and helped sell the company within three years for significant value. Arif Bhalwani’s start-up and turnaround investment experience exposed him to almost every challenging aspect of managing a company: from raising capital and obtaining key customers to building competitive advantages and motivating the team. At the same time that he was engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits, Arif Bhalwani also earned a Master of Business Administration from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University (formerly, Queen’s School of Business), completed post-graduate work at Harvard Business School, and obtained the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Arif Bhalwani has built a solid reputation as the founder and leader of a range of companies, including two successful investment firms.
He is currently the CEO of Third Eye Capital (TEC), which provides capital and strategic guidance to asset-rich companies undergoing change or transition. Through its unique combination of tailored financing and value-added business expertise, TEC empowers talented management teams to seize opportunities and realize growth potential more quickly and effectively.
TEC has made more than $4.5 billion in investments across a diverse set of industries, including technology, sustainability, traditional and alternative energy, mining, construction services, transportation, and healthcare.
TEC offers a unique combination of tailored financing and value-added operational expertise so that companies have the full backing of its substantial resources, relationships and experience.
One of the company’s core philosophies is to see challenges and opportunities through the eyes of a business owner. Arif Bhalwani has extensive experience building and financing successful ventures and a demonstrated ability to generate substantial investment returns in various markets and industries. As a result, he is able to identify and capture value in companies and situations where other investors refused or neglected to go.
Arif Bhalwani believes that good companies should not be judged on their financial performance alone, and that a company’s most valuable assets often do not appear on the balance sheet. Through TEC, he helps businesses monetize hidden assets with financing that looks beyond numbers to see over-the-horizon potential and opportunities.
Succeeding in business is not easy even when capital is available. Growing sales, managing costs, and retaining people, while trying to innovate and stay ahead of the competition at the same time, can be daunting tasks. TEC provides broad and talent-rich networks to help companies accelerate their plans — not simply by providing capital, but also by utilizing knowledge and networks that other lenders often do not have.
Because companies have different financing needs and circumstances, TEC tailors its approach to fit each unique situation. TEC takes the time to understand both the business and the industry, in order to structure a unique financing solution that gives a business the flexibility to achieve key performance milestones.
Making this happen requires quick decisions, resolute action, and driven execution. Arif Bhalwani’s experience allows TEC to solve financing problems with speed and energy so that a business can quickly and effectively seize opportunities, eliminate threats, and realize its ultimate potential.
Arif Bhalwani is a director of the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation, which was formed to invest in human potential and the improvement of quality of life for children, immigrants, and marginalized communities. The foundation created the Bhalwani Familial Cancer Clinic and the Bhalwani Family Compassionate Care Fund at the Princess Margaret Hospital in order to democratize access to genetic cancer screening and counselling.
Arif Bhalwani is a director of the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation, which was formed to invest in medical research, human potential and the improvement of quality of life for children, immigrants, and marginalized communities.
Like so many millions of people around the world, inherited cancers have touched the Bhalwani family and uprooted their lives. In hopes of helping to eradicate the disease, the Foundation contributes resources for therapeutic research and early cancer screenings.
In 2019, the Foundation funded the creation of the Bhalwani Family Hereditary Cancer Fund at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. The PMCC is one of the world’s top five cancer research facilities, known for its scientific achievements, as well as its patient treatment and care.
With the support of the Foundation’s most recent gift, Dr. Raymond Kim, Medical Geneticist and Director of Cancer Early Detection, has announced a universal genetic testing pilot program called UNIFY, involving 1,300 breast cancer patients at PMCC’s Breast Site Group. The program is the first of its kind in Canada and aims to pinpoint effective treatments and illuminate the role of genetics in patients’ understanding of the disease.
The goal of this research is to demonstrate that universal genetic testing can lead to the identification of cancer-susceptibility genes that otherwise would have remained undetected, therefore allowing for earlier intervention, and better patient outcomes. Through the study, the patients will undergo a simple blood or saliva test as part of their standard treatment to screen for dozens of genes responsible for inherited cancers and other syndromes.
The Foundation has also created a Compassionate Care Fund to provide financial support to cancer patients seeking genetic testing who either do not meet the funding criteria set by the Ontario Ministry of Health, or do not have access to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. The Foundation’s support led to a 30% increase in patients seen over the past three years, and helped enable the implementation of a 100% virtual genetics clinic in response to the pandemic.
The Foundation extends its donations to other areas of need in the community, including schools, community food centres and the David Foster Foundation, providing resources for children in need of organ transplants.
Arif Bhalwani was a regional chess champion in high school, played competitive soccer, and was an aspiring open wheel race car driver in the Formula 2000 series. He is a devoted husband and father to four children.
Before founding TEC, Arif Bhalwani co-founded Pinnacle Capital, the Canadian unit of Pinnacle Investments, an early-stage and specialty venture capital firm based in California. Pinnacle Capital had a successful ten-year track record of investing its own capital and was eventually acquired by Arif to be his family investment office.
Before that, Arif was a major shareholder and director of a large, distressed Canadian construction contractor that he helped turn around. In addition, he has founded, managed and sold companies in the retail, automotive and computer services industries.
Arif Bhalwani has served as a director and advisor to several emerging growth companies and industry associations, including the Commercial Secured Finance Network. He is also a member of the CFA Institute, the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, the Association for Corporate Growth, the Alternative Credit Council, and the Turnaround Management Association.