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CVCA Member Profiles

CVCA Member Profile: TELUS Ventures

This week we’re excited to find out more about TELUS Ventures.

TELUS Ventures is the strategic investment arm of TELUS Corporation and one of Canada’s most active and longest-standing corporate venture capital (CVC) funds.

The CVCA caught up with the TELUS Ventures to find out more about their team and what they’re excited about. 

Tell us about TELUS Ventures

TELUS Ventures strives to seamlessly connect millions of people, companies, and communities by strategically investing in the most advanced and innovative solutions that have the potential to drive significant growth, impact and scale while being strategically aligned to the broader TELUS mandate.

TELUS Ventures is one of Canada’s most active corporate venture capital funds having invested in more than 100 market-leading companies since 2001. With a global mandate, TELUS Ventures invests in companies from Seed to Pre-IPO with a focus on innovative technologies such as AgTech, HealthTech, Consumer Technology, IoT, AI and Security Solutions. There are currently 51 investees within the portfolio with AUM of approximately $500M.

TELUS Ventures is proud of its commitment to socially responsible investing as the first CVC in North America and the only VC in Canada to reach Diversio Level II.

What is TELUS Ventures’ thesis?

TELUS Ventures was created over twenty years ago with a goal to not only help portfolio companies achieve their full potential through capital, but also to provide strategic opportunities, insights, and connections across the world to support these entrepreneurs. We leverage the broader TELUS ecosystem and accelerate growth initiatives while maximizing the potential for long-term value creation in portfolio companies. 

TELUS Ventures invests alongside other Tier 1 investors, both financial and corporate VCs, as a lead or as part of a syndicate, commits to meaningful investment, helps guide corporate strategies and provides input at the board level.

As one of the most active corporate venture capital funds in Canada, the aim is to combine social and financial impact and support businesses who are driving change and finding solutions for complex societal challenges. The primary focus areas include agriculture technology, connected consumer experiences, digital health, and smart cities and IoT that work to leverage TELUS’ superior network.

Tell us about the TELUS Ventures team

  • Mario Mele leads TELUS Ventures and is also Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Planning at TELUS. Prior to joining TELUS Mario served as Chief Marketing Officer for Vodafone in the Czech Republic and in Turkey.
  • Brian Martin leads investments in smart cities, IoT and security. Brian is an experienced VC investor with expertise in go-to-market for early-stage companies, and as an engineer, he applies both a strategic and technical lens when evaluating investment opportunities and guiding portfolio companies.
  • Christopher Robertson leads investments in Consumer and Digital Health. Chris has nearly a decade of experience in technology-focused investment banking and technology startups investing.
  • Martin Cheski leads portfolio strategy and advises growth stage companies as they scale their business within the TELUS ecosystem. 
  • Omair Shah leads strategic portfolio development. Prior to joining TELUS Ventures, Omair was a Partner at Boston Consulting Group.

What is TELUS Ventures excited about (in the immediate horizon and in the long run)?

In the near term, the TELUS Ventures team will continue to combine technological expertise, a demonstrated venture investment track record, and an extensive ecosystem of customer and corporate partners to create value within and for our portfolio companies. TELUS Ventures is excited about exploring smart traffic, hyper-precise location, food traceability, supply chain logistics, connected workers, and smart energy management. 

Long-term will focus on three core areas including:

  1. Delivering market-leading value by scaling current portfolio companies and by investing in companies that have the ability to create meaningful competitive advantage in the sectors in which TELUS operates.
  2. Expanding the global presence of TELUS Ventures and portfolio companies among partner networks, including leading incubators, accelerators, co-investment partners, and a global consortium of companies with CVC arms; and
  3. Expanding the team on both the investment and value creation sides to become a significant global investment partner and best in class CVC.