Saad Shah
IMPACT INVESTING

Sa’ad Shah

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Managing Partner, Noetic Fund

Identifying emerging strategies – Sa’ad Shah

“These emerging strategies have a natural life cycle to them and knowing how to extract the risk premia at those various stages of the life cycle is very important”

ABOUT

9 years at RBC Capital Markets in real estate banking, corporate credit, and derivative sales & trading.

9 years at DGAM (acquired by The Carlyle Group) – Head of Marketing and Client Services, helped build AUM to $6.8B at peak.

BA in Economics and Political Science from Columbia University.

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Sa’ad Shah

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the supporters fund ask an investor, I’m your host Jeffrey potvin and let’s please welcome Sa’ad shah noetic fund as our investor for today welcome sa’ad, I’m i’m i’m taking your name with the million sides that, I know it am, I okay i’m gonna get this right i’m gonna make sure, I say it right but it’s pleasure to have you join us today.

Sa’ad: Thank you very much jeffrey, I appreciate it and it’s saad by the way but appreciate it.

Jeffery: I like it, I like it it’s a great name and uh it uh, I think it’s the apostrophe that throws me off because in my brain i’m like okay this is how i’ve got to say it and then bam but either way pleasure to have you here today we’re very excited and, I can say i’m excited about everybody that, I get the opportunity to interview but today i’m i’m going to say i’m just one step a little higher excited that, I get to chat with you and i don’t want to take it away from all the other great investors that we’ve got to talk to but you’re doing some really creative things that are really going to change the world and i’ve been following what you’re doing what this space is doing and, I got goosebumps just talking about right now if you could show this on camera because, I think it’s exceptionally cool uh the areas that you guys are really focused in on and before, I steal that thunder i want to see if you could give us a little bit more about your background all the way from your rbc days share a little bit about yourself and then what you’re up to today and then i’m going to interject throughout that and then one thing about you that nobody else would know.

Sa’ad: Oh dear okay well my my professional career has been in investment management and in banking so, I started off at rbc in real estate markets and then moved on to the corporate credit side of the table corporate banking and then ultimately on to the derivatives desk um and, I was in sales uh for fx and commodity derivatives and became the um the head of global financial engineering for rbc uh capital markets financial engineering deal team that is, I left in 2000 and early 2007 to join the current co-founder of noetic um my partner in crime warren wright we were looking to build an asset management firm that was focused on esoteric strategies, I think this is important to the equation because it tells you where the dna came from and these are strategies that were hedge fund strategies that were very uncorrelated to the markets so we’re talking about strategies that were the likes of reinsurance weather derivatives music royalty a lot of ip related businesses pharmaceutical royalty film financing uh we did a very sort of a large slate financing deal with 20th century fox um so you know complex commodity trades complex credit trades but strategies that you know were not dependent on whether the markets were up or down and those strategies served us well in years like 2008 and 2011 and then we sold our business through the carlisle group they came knocking on the door and it was uh it was a great sale for us and and then, I spent a couple of years at carlisle as a managing director and then you know wasn’t interested in staying with a large organization wanted to go back to focusing on the esoteric areas so, I focused on disruptive innovation worked with and have been advising folks at rose park advisors that’s professor clay christensen’s family office really professor christensen passed away a few years ago but is the father of disruptive innovation so disruptive innovations of interest to me education technologies of interest to me renewable energy a lot of the impact-related investments but psychedelics and in particular cns which is central nervous system focused investments are very important to me it’s it’s an area that i’ve been studying for 20 years and, I want to be very careful when, I say that um because it’s not like i’ve been you know sitting in some dark basement tripping for 20 years no i’ve been following the history of the culture the science the neuroscience the ethnobotany the pharmacology the pharmacokinetics behind many of these plant medicines that go back literally 10 to 12 000 years from what we can gather through history and have been you know incredibly profound and game changing and transformative through enough anecdotal evidence to show that they’re able to actually get to the root cause of our mental distress as opposed to it being a short-term remedy or treating the symptom so it’s an exciting area we launched noedic in 2020 very early um we have two funds our first fund is closed that has generated about 400 return the first dollar in that’s how um the growth has been in that fund so very exciting we’ve had five exits fund two where we’re looking to raise capital but we’re going to be closing fund two in short order uh by the end of september uh mid-october latest um so that that’s the that’s a bit of story about myself and and noetic in terms of one thing that that nobody knows about me um at all perhaps maybe very very few people is that um i’m a trained kenner, I i trained as a tenor throughout high school so, I i sing and, I sing right now only in the shower uh it’s not for um for for for anybody else for that matter, I don’t think they’d be they’d be very pleased with the my voice so um so there you go i hope that answers your question.

Jeffery: Well that’s amazing and and, I have to ask did you want to do a quick snapshot of the uh the tenor side of things, I would be, I think that would be pretty exceptional to see, I don’t think, I know anybody that has uh this background so i’m only uh being a little bit um off the rocker there to put you on the spot but very exciting and so cool that you have a background uh that’s so diverse but even being able to just jump in front of a room to be able to do that at a large scale is exceptional um i would be shaking like a leaf so, I think that uh it’s pretty cool to have an experience like that.

Sa’ad: Thank you thank you jeffrey.

Jeffery: So to kind of peel back to a lot of the back in the days of rbc and to where you are today, I think there’s been obviously a tremendous amount of of learning and and, I like that you shared that you haven’t spent uh 20 years in the basement testing and running through the psychedelic side of things to kind of get to the experimental and pass that to the investment stage but to go back in when you were working at the rbc side maybe you could share a little bit more about how the the derivative side the capital market side really operates and not just in um, I wouldn’t say it’s so much focused at all in this case on startup side but what it does do is it really helps you understand assets and i’m thinking the last couple years of the world has really started to learn publicly what assets are, I think everybody in the back of their mind were like yeah cool, I own a home maybe but, I think today the world through the pandemic has started to really educate themselves and this goes to that whole d5 and allowing people to learn more about how to self fund self-operate function maybe you can share a little bit about that experience and the learning because, I think that in today’s world it’s becoming more and more accessible on what assets are and how people are driving through instagram and sharing content a lot of it is about you need to build your own ice machine you need to do this you need to do that and everything’s about bringing dollars and finding ways to make money off assets on every aspect of life and as you said you’ve got assets that you were driving into but they weren’t failing they just grow over time it’s just a matter of letting time occur maybe share a little bit about that background and that experience if you could.

Sa’ad: Yeah no i the experience at rbc was invaluable because it allowed me to understand optionality and optionality is critical, I think to the equation and what does optionality mean you need to understand risk and how to manage risk and understand where the risks lie how to price those risks what is the risk premium that is needed um you know by investors to to take on the risks and and then how do you construct a portfolio with all these positions that are ideally orthogonal uh to the markets and orthogonal to each other and in a way you capture um you know the quintessential risk premia that your investors are looking for so in order to understand risk you are always in a situation even in life where you need to understand what is it that you’re long and what is it that you’re short and in particular you know there’s certain um greeks that you know like when, I say greeks t