Sydney Wong
IMPACT INVESTING

Sydney Wong

#23

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Entrepreneur | Angel Investor | Speaker

Sydney Wong – How happy is your customer?

“Your attention in marketing is the most expensive thing that you can ask for from your audience.”

ABOUT

I grew up in Victoria BC. I’m the first generation of my entire family born in Canada, or any first-world country for that matter. Growing up, I sold a lot of chocolates and cookies to raise funds for UNICEF and things like that at school. Fun fact: After my first year in University, I was qualified for zero jobs so I ended up selling knives. I once cut myself during a demonstration, which did not work out well.

After graduating from McGill, I did a Master’s in Paris at a school called ESEC in International Marketing. I came back to Montreal, worked in online marketing and web marketing since then. Those were booming industries back in 2009 when I started. I actually did my internship at Ogilvy and Mathers, which is one of the biggest advertising firms in the world. Technology was moving fast at the time and it was the only place where innovation was taking off like crazy.

That’s where my career started in fields like marketing automation and CRM. I began managing websites for Procter & Gamble in Montreal. I also worked at WebMD, where I did online marketing for 112 pharmaceutical clients – mainly newsletter and email marketing. After that, I worked as a consultant for marketing automation. That allowed me to travel a lot, and I even lived in Silicon Valley for a while. I met with friends there, and went to tech conferences. I was told that if I wanted to learn more about tech, this was the place to be. Luckily I was offered an opportunity from my friend and just hopped on a plane to move there with a one way ticket. I moved back to Montreal to start my company.

I started this when I knew who I wanted to help after my life in technology. I wanted to help startups who were going to change the world one day. A friend of mine then said that if I was serious about tech and startup, I should move to Silicon Valley so I did. I moved in with him. When I returned to Canada, I wanted to bring that kind of startup structure and energy. So I traveled across Canada on a shoestring budget to research the biggest pain points from startups and investors and how to help.

The biggest pains for startups are that they do not know how to get to that next step in their business and have trouble with funding. Currently, VenturX has both cross-industry startups from across the country and investors on our platform. We provide a dashboard to measure product market fit, runway, conversion and engagement. The startups can compare their business metrics to other companies in that similar industry; when they feel ready, they can submit it for funding to our investors. The metrics help startups know where they stand and help investors cut their due diligence time. These metrics were constructed from our Board of Advisors which includes investors, grantors and bank partners who fund startups.

Since starting VenturX, we have won Startup Canada’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, won top 6 startups in Montreal by Startup Canada, featured in Innovate Montreal Book in 2019, nominated for RBC’s Woman of Influence and, nominated for 3 Small Business BC Awards.

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Sydney Wong

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
Welcome everybody. Today we are — I should check the number of course — but I believe this is somewhere in the range of say 30 to 50 people we’ve interviewed. I don’t remember the number but i think what’s exciting about this is that today we’re with Sydney Wong and she’s going to be fantastic. She has a lot of great insight and that she’s a new investor which makes things even more exciting because she’ll have a whole different perspective of what’s going on in this early stage world so without further ado I’d like to introduce Sydney. And Sydney maybe you can give us a little bit of a background on yourself where you’ve come from the things that you’ve done and one thing about you that nobody else will know.

Sydney:
Great. So my name is Sydney and well I’ll tell you how it got kind of got started in this industry and then I’ll go into something that no one else will know. So a few years ago when I was working in marketing and tech, i was invited by a friend of mine down in San Francisco who said if I was very very serious about learning more about startup and tech then I needed to move down to the valley. So within that conversation I bought a plane ticket within 10 days and I moved down there and i moved in with him. I felt like that was an invitation. And then I was there for several months trying to find my own place trying to get anybody to accept my Canadian credit report which I didn’t know was that different from an American one. I felt like it should have been way easier than it was. So I went through a lot of ups and downs but most importantly I met a lot of really great startup founders. And that’s when I felt that great passion to want to help in this industry. I felt that this was a very unique time, and very unique industry where this is the kind of thing where people look for innovation on a daily basis and yet the industry in itself has not been innovated for many generations and this was the right time to do it. So I came back to Canada because the IRS was very polite to explain to me that my visa was up. And so i moved back to Canada and then I started VenturX, and it’s a platform that helps startups with their metrics and their analytics in order to get the best chances for funding. And then this year in 2020 as Jeff mentioned, we have launched our new angel arm Venture Capital and we are starting to close our first investment. Ao it’s been a very exciting journey from start to finish and yeah so now we have both the platform for startups as well as the investment arm for angel investments. We write about 25 paychecks as early stage investors and it’s really exciting to to get to do that. One thing that I think that a lot of people didn’t know about me is that I lived in a lot of very interesting places. One of the places is it’s been 19 years since I last traveled back to Hong Kong in China which I went to last year. And it was so incredibly different. A few things that really stood out for me from my trip there was that I was living with family so that was great, i do speak the language which is helpful, and i was there to actually do a conference. Well it is in English but it would have been very impressive if they asked me to do it in Chinese for Hong Kong fintech week. And yeah so a few things that really stood out to me was how incredible it was to see Hong Kong kind of come onto the scene the way that they did in the last hundred years when you know British was occupying it and everything and the relationship with Hong Kong and China I must say don’t want to get too much into the political scene but as an outsider it was definitely very interesting to see. One thing that I didn’t tell a lot of people mostly because I’m probably afraid to was that I was doing a lot of business calls, people kept asking me how the protests were and if i was safe, and if I was okay. When I was in China and I was answering like everything’s fine, this was just small talk right.. Clients are being nice, investors are being nice, they’re just asking to make sure you’re okay. The wi-fi would drop and it would scare the living like hell out of me because the wi-fi would drop so i felt like I was immediately being monitored and that fear went on for several months while i was there. So that is something that I didn’t tell a lot of people mainly because I’m not sure if I’m being monitored now. I’m usually not a superstitious person.

Jeffery:
So was it the whole internet that was dropping like down on the city street or just your internet connection?

Sydney:
Mine. Just m