CVCA New Member Profile: TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good
We’re excited to welcome the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good to the CVCA membership!
The CVCA caught up with the fund to find out more about their operations, team, and what they’re excited about.
Tell us more about the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good.
At $100 million the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good is one of the world’s largest corporate social impact funds investing in for-profit companies and founders whose core business seeks to make the world a better place. The Pollinator Fund invests in companies at Seed to Series A, and leverages the full strength of TELUS’ global leadership in technology and commercial networks to support portfolio companies. From providing strategic guidance and insights, to meaningful introductions and opening doors, we optimize corporate relationships and our broad network to enable each portfolio company to maximize its competitive differentiation, growth, and impact.
We invest in four key investment areas and assess impact at every stage of our investment process:
- Supporting responsible agriculture by promoting sustainable and healthy practices throughout our food systems from farm to fork.
- Transforming healthcare to enable equitable access to healthcare, prevention, and harm reduction.
- Caring for our planet by advancing a low-carbon and circular economy, and supporting climate resilience.
- Enabling inclusive communities to improve lifelong educational opportunities and employment outcomes, while helping address systemic inequalities in funding, access, and opportunity.
Tell us more about the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good team.
Blair Miller, Managing Partner, TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good
As Managing Partner of TELUS’ Pollinator Fund for Good, Blair has made it his mission to leverage TELUS’ resources to fund and empower the next generation of startups focused on doing good and driving social impact for Canada. From transforming healthcare, to supporting sustainable agriculture and reducing environmental footprints, Blair is passionate about creating space for underrepresented entrepreneurs.
With over 20 years experience in marketing, product management and product development, Blair played an integral role in launching and scaling best-in-class products. His leadership has driven numerous industry-first innovative partnerships and developments for TELUS.
Ka-Hay Law, Investment Director, TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good
Ka-Hay sources evaluates, and executes investment opportunities that align with the Pollinator Fund’s sustainability and sustainable agriculture sectors while also leading the development of the Pollinator Fund’s impact management practice. Prior to joining TELUS, Ka-Hay spent 10 years focusing on international impact investing in agriculture, financial inclusion, low-carbon solutions, and developing corporate sustainability strategy. Ka-Hay found her passion for impact when she worked for Engineers Without Borders and has lived in Ghana, Zambia, and Kenya.
Shafiq Vallani, Investment Director, TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good
Shafiq is responsible for deal sourcing, overseeing due diligence and portfolio management for the Pollinator Fund’s investments. Shafiq is an active angel investor and mentor in the Canadian venture ecosystem. He brings to TELUS over 15 years of global experience in banking, private equity, management consulting and venture capital along with expertise in accelerating high-growth businesses through his previous role as a Senior Partner for BDC’s Advisory practice.
What is the fund excited about (in the immediate horizon and in the long run)?
The TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good has had amazing growth since its inception from TELUS CEO, Darren Entwistle in 2020. As the social ventures landscape evolves, launching the Pollinator Fund under the backing of TELUS has allowed us to be an example for other corporates to launch similar funds while following a profit with a purpose model.
To make a difference today and solve our world’s current social challenges, we continuously look for mission and values-driven entrepreneurs with innovative solutions and connect them with the capital needed to scale effectively and sustainably. We are intentional about creating opportunities for women and minority-led startups to gain access to capital and investment networks to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the impact investing space. A notable portfolio company of ours is Virtual Gurus: a talent-as-a-service platform that connects organizations to virtual assistants from underrepresented communities. For founder and CEO Bobbie Racette, it is the company’s north star to provide individuals from all backgrounds an opportunity to advance their skills and work at a living wage.
In addition to investing directly in companies, we also find ways to accelerate the growth of the impact investing ecosystem. We are proud to be working with GIIN as a founding member of the Corporate Impact Investing Initiative. Through this partnership we are excited to continue to demonstrate the unique role that corporate impact funds can play in advancing the profit with purpose business model and create unique solutions for our people, communities, and planet.