IB - Insights - Podcast - Banner

Designed for curious minds

Discover a cross-section of content from industry leaders and experts shaping the future of our innovation economy.

IB - Insights - Podcasts - HeadLine

CIBC Innovation Banking Podcast

On our #CIBCInnovationEconomy podcast series, hear from leaders, entrepreneurs, experts and venture capitalists about the changing dynamics of the North American innovation economy

Navigation Menu

Asset Publisher

The end of free money with Maria Pacella, Managing Partner at Pender Ventures

Photo-Maria Pacella
Maria Pacella

Episode Summary

Maria Pacella has over two decades of experience investing in emerging growth technologies, and thinks that the best venture capitalists have a range of experiences gained through working in different roles. As an investor, Maria looks for three things: people, product and pent-up demand. She would prefer to invest in a strong team and founder with a smaller market than one with a large market and weak team, and brings this people-first approach to everything she does. In this episode, join host Michael Hainsworth as he and Maria dive into the Canadian investment landscape, what the current economic climate means for venture capital, and why now is the best time to start a business.

Episode Notes

It's all about the people
Maria's journey to venture capital was anything but straightforward, but she embraced the learning opportunities along the way. She emphasizes that your career is shaped more by what you gain from the journey, rather than formal education alone. Additionally, she advocates for corporate cultures that prioritize diversity of thought in decision-making, believing that such cultures flourish. 

People, product, and pent-up demand
A mentor once shared valuable advice with Pacella - a good investment comprises three essential elements: people, product, and pent-up demand. Taking this guidance to heart, she seeks out products backed by exceptional teams with smart capital allocation strategies. She also looks for products that offer tangible value propositions and address pressing problems. Especially in the current challenging climate, entrepreneurs and products that meet these criteria are more likely to attract investment and achieve success.

Now is the best time to start a business
In today's economic climate, the era of "free money" has come to an end. Entrepreneurs now face greater challenges in securing capital, while investors have become more discerning with their investments. Pacella believes that this situation calls for businesses to be capital efficient and deeply focused on their mission and value proposition. Companies that can thrive amidst these conditions are well-positioned for future growth and success. 

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


Show Contributors: 

Maria Pacella

Pender Ventures

Michael Hainsworth


CIBC Innovation Banking