As an investor, what is the most rewarding aspect of your work with those startups?
“That’s a good question! A bit like the rest of the Centech team, we all have this curiosity to be exposed to innovation. Personally, I really like the early stages. When I say early stage, I mean innovations that are quite young. It is rewarding to work with entrepreneurs.
To give you a concrete example, we recently closed a transaction. Little by little, we have developed a certain expertise in the market, which leads us to opportunities like this. This particular company was looking for financing and was hitting walls, given that investors had little or no understanding of their sector.
When we met the team, we already knew and understood this field. Not only because we have seen and invested in a lot of business in this sector, but also because we have a network that is able to add value to our investment and to the entrepreneur. We were able to introduce advisors who helped them review their marketing strategy. It improved their pitch and their business model.
We also have investors in our fund who have joined the business of Boréal Ventures as private investors. We were therefore able to act with even more capital than that of Boréal. It created an advisory board that led to tremendous added value through the introductions that were made. The advisory board made it possible to review the business model in its entirety and we seem to have found a niche that is super interesting. Entrepreneurs are excited, just as we are excited about this opportunity that is bigger than we thought. In addition to acting as an investor, we had a round of financing with over-subscription, which means that we had twice as much commitment as we wanted to get. You can see the appetite is there.
Once all of that is tied together, that’s where I feel like I’m adding value and it’s reciprocated. We were able to make introductions to the right people, to the right advisors, to the right investors, and that’s what lays the groundwork for the next few months.
I would say the word “connection” is the right term to speak globally of what is rewarding in my work. Being able to mobilize a network around a common goal where everyone mutually enriches the network in question is very advantageous for everyone. Creating these connections adds value, and even if this term is overused, this is how we feel gratification in our work. ‘’
If you could invest in a company that doesn’t exist yet, but that you dream of becoming a reality, what company would it be?
“I’m passionate about health technologies. I have the ultimate dream where all health platforms are connected. We see startup initiatives that try, but there is not one that succeeds in doing it completely. The scope of the health field leads to a number of incentives and people to be involved that are difficult to measure. This creates obstacles for connected health platform initiatives.
What I would like is to have a sort of assessment, a real-time state of health using all the biomarkers and parameters. Imagine, as an example, having access to our real-time insulin level and having access to proactive suggestions for a grocery list that follows those levels. I believe there is an enormous value in connecting existing applications optimizing our health (nutrition, sport, monitoring, advice, meteorology, etc.)..
With generative AI, we can create this interaction between solutions and humans.
It’s clearly a combination of my personal values and the startups we have encountered as investors. There is a direct link with our role as creators of value using connection.”
Communications – Centech
Mélina Cyr St-André