How to catch a VC’s attention: Tips from OMERS Ventures

Author: BC Tech Association
OMERS Ventures Lunch n' Learn

On June 24th, over 50 technology entrepreneurs came out to the Hub for an afternoon lunch n’ learn with OMERS Ventures. Sid Paquette, Director, and Gideon Hayden, Senior Associate, both from the OMERS Ventures Investment Team, discussed various topics around seeking capital, including where OMERS Ventures is currently investing and what catches their interest when it comes to a company and a pitch.

In addition to recognizing that “Vancouver is a great technology hub”, Sid Paquette share some key advice, including: “Do the research on the VC. What are they interested in? Do research on the fund itself. This will help you not only on your meeting with them, but also in determining whether you want to meet with that VC. It needs to be a partnership/marriage.” Gideon Hayden also noted that “Some VCs are not focused on growth” but that OMERS is.

Here are some highlights from the audience questions, as well as the answers from Sid and Gideon:

Q: It is important to be audacious, but how do you balance that with your short term goals?
A: You need to sell VCs on something greater than your niche. It is really important to make them believe in something bigger than your tactical strategy. However, you do need to have both a long term vision and a tactical goal.

Q: What is OMERS active management of each portfolio? What does it look like?
A: OMERS doesn’t want to just write a cheque and have that be it. We always want to be active with the companies we invest in and often sit on boards to offer support.

Q: What is the timeline of the fund that OMERS offers?
A: OMERS is structured differently than most venture capitalists in North America. Companies need capital and time. We hold investments for a lot longer than most funds.

Q: What was the most effective slide deck you have seen?
A: The best slide deck we have seen had no words in it. We actually focused on the CEO when there were no words and there was visuals to go along with what he was talking about. We ultimately invested in that company. Get to the problem and the solution that your company has created immediately. Don’t focus on the other stuff, such as your management team.

We at the BCTIA would like to thank OMERS Ventures for sharing their experiences and providing great insight about the industry to our community!

To learn more about OMERS Ventures, click here.
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