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Small Fish, Big Pond with Eva Lau

Photo-Eva Lau
Eva Lau

Episode Summary

Some like to be a big fish in a small pond, while others enjoy the hustle of being a small fish in a big pond. For the founder of Two Small Fish Ventures, Eva Lau, swimming with the sharks of Silicon Valley was more her speed. Along with her husband Allen Lau, the co-founder and CEO of Wattpad, Eva launched the investment firm to give back and help nurture the startup ecosystem in Canada, and has since raised $12 million for the fund. As part of her role at Two Small Fish Ventures, Eva mentors startup founders to share the lessons she’s learned in her own career and pass the torch to the next generation of business leaders.

Episode Notes

Give a little bit
Eva explained that the philosophy behind Two Small Fish Ventures is backed by a strong desire to reinvest in Canada’s startup ecosystem, not only through financial means but by sharing wisdom gleaned from years of experience. Silicon Valley grew into the ecosystem it is today as a result of this ideology of giving back, and Eva suggests it’s time we adopt a similar mindset north of the border. What you give, you tend to get back, and Two Small Fish Ventures lives by this mandate.

Learn from mistakes
In her role as a mentor to other startup founders, Eva believes in sharing all the benefits of her experience—not just the success stories. She notes that during her career, she’s often learned more from her mistakes than her wins, and she considers it part of her duty as a mentor to provide these insights to other aspiring leaders. The key to learning from mistakes, according to Eva, is understanding the thought process behind your decisions so you can make more informed choices moving forward.

Invest in homegrown talent
According to Eva, Canada is equipped with all the talent, support and infrastructure required to see massive success, but the country’s startup ecosystem needs more investment. In order to harness this potential, more people need to invest in early stage startups here at home. Eva says that whenever there's an inflection point in the ecosystem, we will see a new breed of companies that are in the making to help advance the world in a new model, which is why now is the best time to invest.

CIBC Innovation Banking is a trusted financial partner to entrepreneurs and investors. Get in touch with our team at cibc.com/innovationbanking.

Show Contributors: 

Eva Lau

Two Small Fish Ventures

Michael Hainsworth

CIBC Innovation Banking