TELUS Ventures introduces its first Entrepreneur-in-Residence
By: Rich Osborn, President & Managing Partner, TELUS Ventures
As one of Canada’s most active corporate venture capital funds, TELUS Ventures is constantly iterating and seeking new ways to invest in entrepreneurs. After decades of learning through and alongside strong operators, we are taking the natural next step and bringing some of that expertise in-house to our internal investment team. In today’s dynamic and competitive funding environment, we recognized the need and the opportunity for thoughtful founders and executives to catalyze new sectors and support our role in scaling organizations within our portfolio. As such, we are delighted to announce our first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) position at TELUS Ventures.
I’m excited to welcome Ohad Arazi to this role. Ohad brings a dynamic 20-years of experience as an entrepreneur, public company executive and CEO in the digital health, device and communications space. He most recently served as Chief Executive Officer for Zebra Medical Vision, an award-winning, Israeli-based TELUS Ventures portfolio company focused on imaging AI. Ohad previously worked with TELUS Health as Chief Strategy Officer. Before joining TELUS in 2017, he served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager for US firms Change Healthcare and McKesson.
I had the chance to (virtually) sit down with Ohad this week for a brief conversation:
RO: Ohad, what enticed you about this role? OA: It all starts with the team – the opportunity to work with the top tier TELUS Ventures team to build on what has emerged as a leading venture fund platform was compelling. In particular, the chance to increase our exposure to sectors where we’ve started to focus – such as digital health and AgTech – and concentrate on geographies such as Israel while supporting best-in-class founders working with emerging technologies was an amazing combination.
I see the EIR role as one in which I can work through investment themes, stitch ideas, people and assets together and hopefully create compelling investment opportunities. Learning from you and the talented TELUS Venture s team in terms of how you think about thematic analyses, industry trends and the particulars of structuring investments is invaluable. Lastly, as a corporate venture fund, being able to access the collaborative ecosystem across various business units with in the broader TELUS ecosystem allows our Ventures investments to experiment with various ideas, test them out, develop MVPs and iterate multiple times on all these steps. Accessing the end customers, channel partners and global footprint for solutions is a unique advantage for our fund – I look forward to trying to help accelerate it.
OA: As the President & Managing Partner for TELUS Ventures, what drove you to pursue this model for driving your next investments?
RO: Well, the basic building block of s uccessful ventures is great people. It starts and ends there. So the truth is, we are constantly searching for the best and brightest. Once we find them, we try and figure out a way to keep working with them! In my view, the EIR role is a win-win situation for both sides. Entrepreneurs get a great vantage spot to strategically evaluate sectors, trends and emerging value pools while enjoying the resources, expertise and capital of a thoughtful, global venture capital firm. In turn, the venture fund learns from someone who has built and scaled successful companies and the benefit of their thinking and skills across a wide range of situations. TELUS Ventures is also focusing on making global investments that align with the company’s ambition to grow interna tionally, dovetailing the success of our TELUS International IPO. Given your experience working in the vibrant tech hubs in the US and Israel, I know you can contribute.
OA: Absolutely, I’m looking to activate my network to strategically bring together capital, commercialization and innovation that allow TELUS Ventures to expand and invest
internationally. In the healthcare domain, for example, as you know, we offer fast-growing companies a true triple play: we can invest in them as equity partners, use them across our rich portfolio of provider, pharmacy, payer and consumer products and even resell them through our vast go-to-market channels. Canada is a natural stepping stone for many international digital health companies looking to enter the US market. TELUS Ventures, alongside our partners at TELUS Health, can play the dual role of strategic investor and business partner.
RO: Completely agree. The recent investments we have made in agriculture, smart cities, digital transformation and others being developed as we speak all offer similar triple play opportunities. Ohad, I am so happy to be working together again – your intellectual curiosity is a solid complement to our team, coupled with your experience in scaling rapid growth. I am looking forward to this journey to expand our international footprint and work toge ther on your next big idea.