Simon Constantineau: Combining Investment and Entrepreneurship for an Equitable World
Welcome back! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Simon Constantineau, an Montreal-based analyst with Inovia Capital.
Spiffy: Simon, it’s great to have you here with us today to talk about your work with Inovia Capital. What challenge are you addressing?
Simon: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! I am a venture capital (VC) investor. VC’s role is to invest in tech companies and support them with insights, mentorship, and network as they scale. I am an analyst at Inovia Capital, which is a leading Canadian-based VC firm. We invest in great company founders that have global ambitions to tackle important problems. We are looking to partner up with the next AirBnB, Instagram, or Pinterest and work together to change the world.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Simon: VC is the perfect industry for me since it combines my two passions: investment and entrepreneurship. I get to break down businesses and analyze financial forecasts to make investment decisions and I also get to support our portfolio companies’ growth. I am curious, I love to learn about new industries, meet people with different backgrounds and different perspectives, work with inspiring teammates, exchange ideas and think about the future, which are all things I have to do on a daily basis as a VC. I’m motivated when I feel I can make a difference in people’s lives and that’s what we're doing at Inovia.
Spiffy: That sounds wonderful! Can you elaborate on how the work you do is aiding a more equitable world?
Simon: VC firms often help shape companies from inception and are in a unique position to influence their culture and approach towards a more equitable world. Diverse teams and points of view inform stronger business decisions and drive better outcomes. We are uniquely positioned to provide inclusive and equitable access to high-quality career opportunities. We are committed to pursuing inclusivity and equality through our principles and partnerships (e.g. clauses in our contracts, partnerships with companies promoting diversity and equity).
Spiffy: Is there a recent company milestone or initiative you want to share? What impact does it have on your target community?
Simon: We've just raised a US$325 million fund to invest in early-stage companies, the third fund we’ve raised since January 2021. We now have seven funds to invest in innovative startups that will have a positive impact on society by becoming global and sustainable companies. We’ve already made investments in outstanding Canadian companies such as Lightspeed and Hopper, to name two. Together, this portfolio currently employs 17,000 people.
Spiffy: Tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make.
Simon: The first investment I worked on at Inovia was Signal 1, a health artificial intelligence (AI) start-up with the mission to transform patient care through responsibly deployed AI. This Toronto-based company provides hospitals with an end-to-end solution for integrating AI-driven insights into existing hospital workflows. Its first application, CHARTWatch, is an automated patient risk predictor that helps hospitals improve care quality and save lives. We are excited about its impact in the healthcare space and thrilled to see the company’s growth in the coming months.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Simon: Two important things so far in my life: curiosity and relationships. Curiosity is so important; it opens up new worlds and possibilities. There’s so much to learn and to experience in life, so many cultures to discover, so many areas to explore. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and I think curiosity enables us to learn so much. Relationships are the cornerstones of my life. They’re the main reason I have a job in VC, and the main reason companies partner with us. Never neglect the importance of relationship building. The cool part is that you don’t have to wait until you have a job, you can start focusing on these two elements even as you turn five years old!
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Simon—it’s been an honor!
Simon Constantineau joined Inovia Capital full time in January 2022 after completing an internship with the team. Prior to Inovia, Simon completed an internship in VC at VU Venture Partners in San Francisco. He has also completed internships in wealth management at RBC Dominion Securities and in asset management at Mackenzie Investments. Simon holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Finance from HEC Montreal and graduated with Honour mention. He passed the CFA Level I exam in 2021. (First published on the Ladderworks website on August 17, 2022.)© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.