Why Venture Capital is the Perfect Fit for Me

If you told me a few months ago that the next chapter in my career would be in venture, I may not have believed you.  But now, it makes perfect sense.

Working on my PhD was often a lonely activity.  I found myself seeking human interaction by leading every committee, captaining every team, and teaching every course that I possibly could.  Through these experiences, I discovered my passion for leadership development and championed it into University of Toronto Engineering in two ways:  a program that equips graduate students with leadership theory and practice, and what is now an institute for leadership education in engineering – the first of its kind in Canada.

This crusade was fun and absolutely rewarding, but certainly affected my academic productivity.  Fortunately, I was able to make a move to the Bay Area after getting married.  With over 4000km between me and my family and friends in Toronto, I was determined to write my thesis without distractions.

And I did!  With an interest in quantifying qualitative factors, I proved bankruptcy prediction models are more accurate when variables reflecting managerial decisions are included with financial data.  I also learned how to draw actionable insights:  to not just focus on the numbers (i.e. output), but to address the cause of a problem (i.e. input and process) in order to offer tangible targets for improvement.  Overall, I gained a great appreciation for data science.

With high enthusiasm after graduate school, I partnered with the founder of Insight Data Science, and together, we launched a training program that places PhDs as data scientists at the top tech firms in the Bay Area.  Running and growing a company was an incredible experience, but as the PhDs ramped up on their math and programming skills through the data projects that they worked on during their training, I felt the urge to be a nerd again.  I was inspired by the ability to create products from openly accessible datasets and open source tools, and how this can empower anyone, located anywhere, at anytime, to make a difference.

I left Insight to search for opportunities to work at the intersection of data science, people development and entrepreneurship.  Along the way, I met Boris and knew that joining Version One would be the best move forward.  Today is my first day, and I’m very excited about identifying up-and-coming startups with a data-driven approach, interacting with and supporting portfolio companies, and working on a small team where I can make the greatest impact in a rapidly changing world. Above all, I’m looking forward to learning from the brightest minds while pursuing the things I’m most passionate about.

P.S. Follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, or find me on the field playing Ultimate Frisbee in Palo Alto and San Jose.

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