Jennifer Renda
IMPACT INVESTING

Jennifer Renda

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President & CEO at Diverso Solutions Inc. & Angel Investor

What Criteria do you require in an a startup? -Jennifer Renda – Angel Investor

“When things are going well, it’s easy to have passion. But when things are not going well, they must have the perseverance to navigate those difficult times.”

ABOUT

Jennifer is a serial entrepreneur with extensive knowledge of the Technology and Consumer Electronics industries, where she has more than 15 years of experience. Following a successful exit, she founded her most recent company, which collaborates with OEMs to execute market emergence, growth and support functions within North America.

Jennifer has grown her investment portfolio to include primarily MedTech and early-stage Life Sciences opportunities, where she aims to maintain an active investor role. She is a member of the York Angel Investors network which provides a supportive linkage between investors and entrepreneurs seeking early- and mid-stage capital and was recognized as Angel of the Year in 2019.

Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business with a focus on Entrepreneurial Studies, Finance and Strategy.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Jennifer Renda

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
Welcome everybody to OPN and today it’s OPN Ask an Angel, our 76th OPN event. Very exciting day today, when we started OPN ask an angel we have been running these every two weeks and including all of our other program so we’re very excited for today. We have a fantastic investor and we’re excited to dive right in so without further ado I would like to introduce Jennifer who’s a serial entrepreneur with an extensive knowledge of technology and consumer electronics industry where she has more than 15 years of experience following a successful exit she founded her most recent company which collaborates with OEMs to execute Market merchants growth and support functions within North America. Jennifer has grown her investment portfolio to include primary MedTech and early stage life science opportunities where she aims to maintain an active investor role she’s a member of the York Angels investor network which provides a supportive linkage between investors and entrepreneurs seeking early and mid-stage capital and she was recognized as angel the Year in 2019 Jennifer’s a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds an MBA from Schulich a business with a focus on entrepreneurial studies and financial strategy.

Jennifer:
Good morning everybody. I’m so glad to be here. Happy Monday

Jeffery:
Welcome.

Jennifer:
Thanks for having me.

Jeffery:
This is fantastic. Sorry I’m juggling 8 million screens here now adjust to doing this all at one time so thank you very much for welcome and thank you very much for taking the time today Jennifer so the first question I want to ask is why do you invest?

Jennifer:
That’s a great question Jeffery and I think understanding, kind of, what goes on behind the scenes is not just a return but there are many other things that happen in the mindset of an angel investor in particular that really guides them to to invest and, at least for me, I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family and an immigrant family as well and as an entrepreneur myself I’ve seen a lot of things that you experience first and the ugly essentially and I feel that the entrepreneurial spirit and energy is really contagious. It’s kind of exhilarating, it’s very thought-provoking.I believe startups and the startup ecosystem is where a lot of innovation happens. Where things are limitless where you get to really push boundaries and think outside the box and you become happily accountable for the good and difficult things that come along with it. So I guess really being part of that energy is really soul satisfying so I think that’s one of the driving factors as to why I invest.

Jeffery:
That’s awesome and it’s it’s a very good position to be in where you’re not just looking at this as a financial piece. You are looking at how is it going to better the economy how’s it going to help other people and take the knowledge that you’ve gained over the years and really help push other people and their business to grow and move forward. Fantastic. How did you get started in investing I guess would be the next follow-up to that.

Jennifer:
Sure, so my current company is focused in the consumer electronics space and as I was looking for ways to grow my business I wanted to really reach out to the health-related technologies and health related equipment and so I stumbled within the medical device space and spent a lot of time looking at opportunities for my company but as well opportunities within the startup ecosystem, from an investment perspective, and that’s how my first investment evolved. And started to look at other medical device companies and then it sort of snowballed so you end up being a part of a lot of Industry related events and need a lot of amazing people and somehow, some way got into some life science opportunities more of the early stage therapeutics in particular and alongside of the amazing resources I met along the way whether they be individual scientists doctors and other groups that focus in these areas they’ve allowed me to make some pretty interesting business decisions so it wasn’t a really common path, I’d say, but an interesting path nonetheless

Jeffery:
Know, I like that and you know sometimes we fall into things that we fall in love with and enjoy that we’ve got to keep doing them because they helped you and everything else around you. So what is your favorite part of investing what do you really enjoy the most when you’re working with companies and founders?

Jeniffer:
Sure. This is really interesting so I would consider myself to be a really curious person. I like to learn, I think knowledge is power and, so that being said, being an investor allows you to be part of many journeys that you may not have otherwise been able to be a part of firsthand, let’s say. So simultaneously you really get to engage in different opportunities and experiences you get to learn about emerging technologies about different industries you get to capitalize on your expertise and share that knowledge as well and I think above all, you meet amazing like-minded people along the way and and it sort of just breeds more of that and you kind of refer your reflection of who you surround yourself with so I think it really encourages that learning cycle that continuous learning cycle so I think that’s the most exciting and my favorite part of investing.

Jeffery:
And I have to agree with you on that I also enjoy the learning aspect of working with so many great entrepreneurs so I think that’s a great piece to keep in mind that when you are making these investments that you’re learning at the same time on all parties are so it’s a great synergy to while you’re working together. how many companies do you look at investing at per year do you have a quota that you say you know what I got to do at least five companies a year or you kind of just ad-hoc this as you go what is your metric that you look for when you’re working with companies.

Jennifer:
I think you don’t really want to force, at least in my opinion, force an opportunity to meet sort of a benchmark criteria of what you wanted achieve per year. I would say on average, I engage in about five per year. And that’s kind of in light of the time I spend doing that and running my business as well and also kind of the trajectory of the opportunities that come your way and how engaged you aren’t looking at these opportunities so I guess that’s sort of what’s in line currently with my efforts and energy in the space.

Jeffery:
That’s fantastic and it’s a great number. It’s my favorite number, so I love five, that’s great. You mentioned earlier, in the bio, and of course and all of the talks that we’ve had over the years is that you do have a few verticals that you focus on. Is there a couple that you want to touch base on now to kind of give a better perspective of if I’m trying to reach out to you that I know that if I’m reaching out in these categories that there’s a better chance that you’d pick this up

Jennifer:
Sure. I guess the verticals that are most interest to me are health-related opportunities so the med tech biotech life science more recently like blue biotechnology and how we use aquatic organisms for food etc. That’s really what I find most interesting however that’s not to say that I would dismiss an opportunity in a different vertical. I’ve invested in other verticals and other tech related opportunities, so a great opportunity is a great opportunity. However that being said I would say I’m sort of a generalist but I have an affinity towards health related opportunities.

Jeffery:
Ok, and now the healthcare is kind of taken a bit of a turn, based on the circumstance, it seems to me, that there’ll be a lot more openness I think