June marks six months since I started at InBC and in that period there have been remarkable changes, both internally to our organization, but also across the province, and globally. The current economic climate is causing increased uncertainty within the fundraising environment, resulting in many entrepreneurs and investors pausing as they consider next steps. The “grow at all costs” mindset that has dominated headlines over the last few years, is no longer applicable in the current environment of accelerating costs and reduced access to capital. Impact investing has always emphasized sustainable and capital efficient growth, and it is with this view that InBC is approaching its investment. Sustainable growth considers multiple dimensions including people, planet and profit. It is the entrepreneurs and investors who are taking a proactive and holistic view that are most likely to thrive in periods of scarcity. After years of positive growth supported through low cost and abundant capital, a shift in mindset is needed to recognize the value of different growth pathways. New opportunities will emerge for those who are able to adapt, and we look forward to exploring these opportunities with investors and innovative companies.
I am proud of our progress to date including achieving some key milestones in the past few weeks such as the finalization of our Investment Policy Statement (the document outlining our investment goals and objectives), welcoming our first two Investment Associates, forming two strong partnerships and engaging with companies and investors to prepare for an active fall. These are key steps, bringing us closer to being ready to begin investing.
A strong foundation consisting of a myriad of tools, people and processes is required prior to investing capital. The InBC team has been working tirelessly on developing the necessary technology infrastructure, risk management frameworks and policies and procedures for each step, as well as an impact measurement framework. This is alongside the development of the Investment Policy Statement (IPS), which was finalized earlier this month, after significant engagement and feedback. This document outlines our investment strategy and guidelines to ensure effective stewardship of the $500M fund. This fall, we will primarily begin evaluating investment opportunities in venture capital funds aligned with our triple-bottom line mandate, and will then progress to opportunities to invest in early stage and later stage ventures.
To help move this work forward, we are excited to welcome both Crystal Lo and Shivani Chitroda to our team as of June 13th. With a deep-rooted belief in the power of capital to create a positive impact, Crystal brings a high level of multi-faceted experience to InBC in gender-lens investing, impact investing, commercial lending and real estate development. Her professional experience spans across three different continents in North America, Asia and Europe. Shivani brings a myriad of knowledge from areas in wealth management, corporate finance, equity research and ESG integration. Most recently at BCI, Shivani worked on the Canadian Small Cap Equity team where she covered a variety of sectors, and prior to this, she worked on the ESG team and US Small Cap Equity team.
As of this month, InBC has two partnerships in progress. We have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with InnovateBC, PacifiCan and the Digital Supercluster, aims to map out capital flows in BC and identify the gaps that InBC can address. It will also help to identify other investors in the ecosystem that align with InBC’s impact objectives, so that we can help to crowd in local capital. Our second MOU, with B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy, allows InBC to join the Hydrogen Changemakers Consortium, which brings together hydrogen industry leaders, investors and government to accelerate the demand and support of infrastructure for hydrogen hubs in BC. InBC is now at the table to contribute to the development of a Hydrogen investment blueprint and share our investment thesis with the hydrogen ecosystem.
June also marks National Indigenous History Month, where National Indigenous Peoples Day recognized on June 21st and we recognize the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Metis in Canada. As we work towards advancing reconciliation across Canada, and specifically at InBC as one of our key impact objectives, we want to recognize the Indigenous communities in BC and work towards more learning, understanding (and future healing). As said by Carol Anne Hilton, Indigenous business leader and author of Indigenomics, “today’s Indigenous reality is formed on the historical fragmented reality of our communities and families – learning my language is an important aspect of healing that fragmentation.”
Pride Month in June is also recognized in many communities across Canada, as we embrace diversity and inclusion of LGBTQ2+ communities and acknowledge the history, hardships and progress that has been made. At InBC, our core values are centered around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and we will be using an inclusive lens for everything we do at an operational level from hiring, onboarding and training through to our investment decisions and impact tracking.
In the Community:
- Earlier this month the InBC team attended Inventures, a tech startup conference in Calgary, Alberta, to meet and connect with other investors, entrepreneurs and businesses within Canada’s startup ecosystem. Among these entrepreneurs and startup businesses, a number of BC-based companies were represented in Corporate Knight’s top 50 fastest-growing green companies in Canada including Modern Plant-Based Foods, Loop Energy, Greenlane Renewables, Vicinity Motor, and Village Farms to name a few.
- HerStory 2022 – organized by Alberta Innovates and Inventures Banff – was also attended by the team. It is a national pitch competition that invites women and gender-diverse entrepreneurs to share their ideas and how they are creating value and impact through innovation. Dr. Karolina Valente, a Victoria-based entrepreneur with VoxCell BioInnovations, was among one of the four winners for creating a new method in 3D bioprinting by using human-like tissue models.
- The Collision Conference – North America’s largest tech conference – was held in Toronto last week. We were thrilled to see a large presence of BC tech companies on stage and participate in a number of these interactive panels.
- We are planning a provincial tour to launch the details of our Investment Policy during Fall 2022. We’re interested to hear about any events that are happening across the province and are related to our core impact objectives. If you know of any events that might be of interest, please send them to email@example.com.