The Talent Cycle: Attract, Empower, Flourish (and repeat)

by on January 20, 2014

A defining characteristic of iNovia’s investment thesis is the belief that technology alone is not a sustainable competitive advantage. Instead, we push our portfolio companies to create a platform for continued innovation. Our team has found that category leaders usually emerge as a result of management’s commitment to empower other team members to think and act likes owners of a company instead of employees. Talks of establishing a culture of transparency and teamwork seems cliché, but when talented individuals coalesce around an exciting opportunity without allowing their egos to impinge, magical things can happen.

iNovia operates under a similar set of principles. Having a good investment track record is not a guarantee of future success. We always push ourselves to work harder, think more strategically, and push against the status quo. Our team debates are best described as “fierce intellectual combat” underlined by a mutual bond of trust and respect. It’s easily said, but difficult to do. Every decision is made in the context of both the immediate opportunity and how it reflects upon our team, entrepreneurs, investors and our community.

Naming Karam Nijjar and Kevin Swan as Partners:

2013 brought many occasions to p ut this creed to the test. New opportunities emerged to restructure how iNovia would shape its coming future, with a shift of roles and responsibilities within our investment team. Some of these changes have already been announced, including David Nault’s transition from EiR to Principal in order to build a portfolio of investments and support our entrepreneurs. The team also grew in size, with the addition of Antoine Nivard and Kylie Toh as new members. Today, I’m pleased to announce the next big change – the promotion of Karam Nijjar and Kevin Swan from Principal to Partner roles.

“Karam has proven to be a valuable asset for iNovia as much as for the Entrepreneurs he has been supporting, such as Mike Litt of Vidyard, Chris Sukornyk of Chango or Mike McCaulley of BufferBox (which was acquired by Google last year).”


Both Karam and Kevin have spent the last 4 years of their careers at iNovia, focused on sourcing, evaluating, and leading deals while helping build iNovia’s presence across North America as a top tier Venture Capital fund. Shawn, Geoff and I have had the pleasure of watching them grow into capable investors who are well respected in the entrepreneurial community, essential to our understanding of new markets, and most importantly, reflective of the values and beliefs that we hold dear as a firm.

“Kevin has a deep understanding of the critical factors behind Enterprise SaaS success. His role in building the iNovia brand by attracting and supporting tier-1 Entrepreneurs such as Kristine Steuart of Allocadia, Jef Holove of Basis and Tom Hendrickson of Mitre Media are great examples.”


As I look ahead to 2014 and beyond, I am extremely enthusiastic about what the future holds. Our team is encouraged by the fundamental disruption occurring in a variety of markets, including our own. Ten years from now, we firmly believe that venture capital will not look anything like its current incarnation. Building a diverse and empowered team will position iNovia to ensure we ride that wave instead of being crushed by it.  It is a privileged position to be in, and these changes are just a small part of what it will take to accomplish that goal.