Founder and Managing Partner at Blue Vision Capital
Selling a future – Meir Rabkin
“You are selling a story, you are selling a future”
Investor, entrepreneur, founder, accumulating 18 years of experience in the institutional asset management space and the international investment industry. Currently launching a climate tech fund called Blue Vision Capital.
Jeffery: Welcome to the Supporters Fund Ask An Investor. I’m your host, Jeffery Potvin. Let’s please welcome Meir Rabkin from Blue Vision Capital as our investor for today. Welcome, Meir. It’s a real pleasure having you join us today. Meir: Thank you, Jeffery. Having a pleasure being here. Jeffery: Super excited to dive into all the great things that you’ve, not only accomplished in your past, but what you’re doing today because you’ve really jumped into a new area, not only for yourself, but just in the investment world. You’re kind of taking that next leap, which I think is fantastic. Every investor should be taking new leaps every day. And you guys are moving into some really amazing areas of investing so we’re excited to dive in. So the way we like to start our show is, Meir maybe you could give us a little bit of a background from… you know all the way from your investment day, CIBC, all the way through. And then one thing about you that nobody would know. Meir: Awesome! Alright, sounds good. I’ll start with my background and I’ll think about the one thing that nobody knows about me. There’s quite a few actually but in any event I think I got a good one. So I started off my career honestly at Investors Group, which is a financial services company. We’re in portfolio management and you know as a very driven individual and very perseverant, I built my book of practice at a very young age I started 22. And that’s kind of how I started you know getting my my experience in the investment universe in the investment world. After a few years of doing that I entered CIBC where I was more on the corporate side banking, so got some exposure there. Then decided to pursue an MBA in Spain and Madrid to… you know I guess gain strategy in my career and move my career in a more strategic direction. Came back and worked with Mckenzie Investments were over overseeing you know you know large institutional asset management company with 100 billion of assets under management. And so my career was actually going on a really good trajectory. And you know but at the same time I did feel that there’s got to be more to life I guess than than just you know making wealthy individuals wealthier, right? Just generating higher returns for investors. I was looking for a higher purpose and this is how my journey began into how I ended up at Blue Vision Capital, which is saying you know what let me let me use the networks and the skill set that I’ve developed over the course of my career but let me do that to something that I’m very passionate about but also for a cause that I’m deeply concerned about, which is the climate you know the climate crisis that we’re facing. So about three years ago, I took the decision to launch a climate tag venture capital fund and fast forward to today I’m about to close a 40 million dollar fund so it’s it’s been a hell of a journey. Jeffery: Well, that’s amazing! One thing about you that nobody would know and now you got a good story because you’ve lined it up so I’m excited to hear this one big or two things that you’ve got. Meir: Yeah. So one thing that most people don’t know is that I was actually supposed to become a rabbi. I was prior to doing investors group was in rabbinic school and I dropped out so I’m a rabbinic school dropout who entered the venture capital space. Jeffery: That’s actually pretty cool. That’s a different experience that most people can say that they’ve I would say have not gone through. I’m gonna guess there’s a small majority of people that would have that type of experience. And just because I have to dive into it, what made the change? What forced you to decide to go into the financial side versus kind of moving into the rabbi space and then maybe jumping from over from there? Meir: Honestly you know it just wasn’t a lifestyle I was excited about I’m someone who loves life and when you’re in rabbinics you’re to some degree restricted right what you can can’t do and also felt I was always under the microscope and I’m very much of a free spirit. So I think I’m too much of a free spirit to be under (inaudible). I mean I think that’s the end of it. I like everything else about it but you know thrilled with my decision. And at the end of the day like I’m still preaching, just preaching to a different choir. Jeffery: Well I still think that that’s an amazing experience that you had. And I would love to share this great book which is called “Think Like A Monk” and it’s by Jay Shetty. And the reason why this relates so well to your story is that he, at the same age, I think it was 19 / 20, decided to go in to be a monk. And nobody could understand why he was doing this and as he spent the two / three years in this facility. When he came out, he’s now doing a million other things and he learned a lot. But the stories that he shares and how it related back to his life today and what he went through, it was pretty impressive. And you have to check out the book because it just really summarizes it. And there was an interview that we did with another gentleman and he actually was in… he was a priest for 10 years and then became a venture capitalist and went through all other things. So I think there’s a lot of experience that you can take from working with people, understanding people. So like you said, you’re still helping people. You’re utilizing that value so I think it’s actually a really impressive skill set to have because you can really relate to people and go a little bit deeper than maybe the average person would when it comes to beliefs and how you move forward in life. Meir: Yeah. I think you’re right jeff. It’s an interesting point. But you know I think also a rule of rabbi is to inspire and and I think as a venture capitalist you also need to inspire. so I think there’s definitely (inaudible) and overlap. Jeffery: Ah! It’s brilliant. Agreed. There’s a lot of support mechanisms that get in there and help people move forward and different ways of doing it, different ways to see it. So pretty impressive and pretty amazing. So regardless that you didn’t go all the way through, you still gained a lot of experience and I think that counts for a lot. So amazing to hear that. Now if we pull back all the way to your kind of analyst and investment side I wanted to kind of get a better learning for what the portfolio side because I think there’s a lot of value that that’s seven years of your background really drives forward to what you’re doing today. You know a lot of people that get into venture capital do come from the financial space. They understand a lot of it because they understand the numbers. They understand how the numbers work with inside the business. Now taking seven years of running a lot of portfolio even into your CIBC days, you’re really driving for big portfolio companies. You’re understanding the numbers in and out of a business. Managing a lot of finance and you know you made the comment that you don’t want you didn’t want to maybe make a lot of people a lot of money but at the same time you were good at it. And you understood how that process worked and that really trickles down to helping an early stage company get off the ground. I would say 90 of them may not have that same understanding of the financials of how a business operates. Wow the numbers need to be managed in order to get to that scaling side. So maybe step us back into when you first dove into this. And you said you were young, 22, pretty driven. What were the things that you did that kind of stood out in your career today from back then that really propelled you forward? Was it understanding the numbers? Was it understanding business? Was it operations? What were the key factors that really supported you back then and helped you today? Meir: Yeah. You know, it’s funny but I think a lot of a lot of what I was doing back then has been a great school to prepare me for for what I’m doing right now without me necessarily realizing it. But I’ll start off even you know outside of the financial realm of you know diligence in companies and you know doing a deep dive in the financial side of things you know my first step was was really to build a book of business, right? And that was a really tough process especially coming out of schools like welcome to life you know. And it was growing, right? I really had to be out there finding new clients which is the same thing as as raising capital, right? And I was successful at it because I was persevering, because I didn’t allow the demons in my head to try t