New Vice President of Research at CVCA

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It is our pleasure to introduce you to Christiane Wherry, the new Vice President of Research at CVCA. Take a look at what they had to say in response to the mix of questions we asked.

Can you give us a snapshot of your background and how it prepared you for your role at the CVCA? 

I started my career in 2008 on the cusp of the previous financial crises and spent ~6 years as an economist at the Government of Ontario working on various policy issues, a foray into management consulting at Deloitte, which was my practical MBA, before delving into the venture space focusing on providing alternative sources capital for Canadian SMEs as a Principal and GP at Quantius.

It was at Quantius where I witnessed first-hand how Canadian private capital helped to grow, scale and elevate Canadian businesses. I took those lessons and joined a high-growth tech startup where I helped to secure funding from global capital sources. During my time working in venture debt I gained a better understanding of capital needs in Canada’s knowledge-based industries, which also highlighted, for me, the need for greater and more diverse human capital to fuel the growth of Canada’s innovation economy. This led to my founding of Quantius Education Foundation, a not-for-profit organization (now a national charity) focusing on increasing the size and diversity of Canada’s knowledge-based workforce, including women, new Canadians, LGBTQ+ and indigenous people, through mentorship and education programs. Part of my focus at the foundation was also to quantify the long-term economic impact of diversity initiatives in Canada.

I hope to bring my experience and perspectives from both the funder and founder sides of private capital, and also from not-for-profit, through the lens of diversity & inclusion to this role at CVCA. These experiences and perspectives will help drive best-practices in research, providing high quality analysis, and advocating for policies and initiatives that advance the role of private capital in the Canadian innovation economy.

What is your view of the Canadian private capital industry today and your vision for growing it? 

I believe we are heading towards a new era of growth for Canadian private capital. The past decade has been exceptionally friendly to private capital with record-level fundraising and valuations. The economic aftershock of the pandemic will undoubtedly hurt many private capital funds, at the same time the current crises will supercharge some of the factors that have powered the growth of industry. As with the dot-com bubble and the global financial crisis in 2008, growth will follow recession and the COVID-19 pandemic will be no different. Technology and life sciences are emerging as winners and private capital investment into these sectors will continue to buoy the growth and recovery of the economy.

Responsible investment and Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) have become increasingly important given lessons from this year, as investors globally become more engaged with these concepts and seek to gain a fuller understanding of the companies in which they invest. My focus at CVCA will be to build capacities in research and analysis to promote best practices, better understand risks, and paint a holistic picture of private capital investment in Canada.

You’re part of a unique club of professionals who’ve started a new role with a new organization during the COVID-19 pandemic and the new era of working from home. Do you have any recommendations for a healthy and productive WFH environment that sets the stage for success?

The challenge of joining a new team during WFH is to become a part of the common culture, building trust, and maintaining relationships virtually. Luckily for me, the CVCA team has been extremely helpful in this regard and has made it easy for me as I’m ramping up interactions with the team and engaging with CVCA members in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or awkward. I believe remote and virtual work is here to stay as I certainly have come to appreciate the upsides of flexibility. My emphasis has been developing a sense of shared identity and belonging which in the past has inspired me to do my best work.

And for some fun: What are you reading, watching, listening to in 2020? Any recommendations? 

My favorite book this year has been Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. Like his previous work The Black Swan, his take on building resilient systems, organizations and mindset has had one of the greatest influences on my thinking this year. Bloomberg’s Odd Lots Podcast is another favorite with interesting takes on current markets, finance and economics.