Early this week, iNovia Capital announced that experienced tech executive David Nault has joined the iNovia team, complementing the already excellent mix of talents in the firm. We all remember the Fund III announcement, and Chris Emergui has also been announced as a new partner, paving the way for a great year at iNovia Capital.
For tech entrepreneurs, Chris Arsenault’s blog post on how they crafted the position and how David Nault joined the team is a must-read. It shows how the firm works and the focus they put on talent. It’s not always about numbers!
For me, it was also essential to know more about David, on a new position that not many VC firms in Canada have. What does exactly an Entrepreneur-In-Residence do? Read the following to know more.
Can you present yourself, in terms of experience, successes or failures that you would like to share?
I am an entrepreneur with a love for venture building and working with great companies. I graduated from John Molson School of Business in commerce then went to the school of hard knocks. I learnt early on the meaning of lean start-up while at VIPswitch when he had to first get large customer validation before raising capital. We raised $15 million but when the market changed we didn’t pivot quick enough. A mistake I would not make again. I then joined Pivotal Payments, an emerging payment processor and learnt all about creating traction when the company grew from a few to over 60,000 customers, 400 employees and more than $8 billion in transaction volume. After that I was named president of Callio Technologies whose intellectual property was acquired by Bell Canada soon after.
What will your role be as Entrepreneur-In-Residence? What will be your relationship with partners and the iNovia staff?
The full title is Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Quebec Investment Director. My focus is to work closely with the Quebec tech community, seek bright entrepreneurs with big ideas to back and finally help existing portfolio companies succeed any way I can.
Are there any special market(s) you are going to focus on?
Leveraging knowledge, relationships and providing direct value to portfolio companies is a key success factor for a VC fund. So we tend to invest in companies we understand and can help. The partners have deep experience in e-commerce mobile apps/ games, digital media and personally I am more familiar with e-commerce, software and the electronic payments space. What is important is that as a team we understand the company’s business and can help grow it. One of my favorite quotes: “markets come and go, good businesses don’t”.
Now for a bit of a more open question, any good advice you share with Montreal Tech entrepreneurs?
Validate the business by speaking to potential customers.
Convince the smartest people you can to work with and help connect you.
Speak to smart investors that can bring value add.
Get ready to work your tail off and deliver, deliver, deliver ! Rewards will follow.
Follow David Nault on Twitter : @VentureBuilder