I am excited to announce that I have started a new role here at Wittington Ventures (WV), and, amongst other things, will be focusing on investments in the food and sustainability areas. During my high school years I worked in the restaurant industry and with that my interest in all things food and hospitality quickly became a passion. There was just something about the pace of a restaurant — a unique chaos orchestrated seamlessly — that I admired. A few years later I packed my bags and moved from Vancouver to Montreal to embark on my studies at McGill, double majoring in finance & accounting. It should come as no surprise that I inevitably found a job in hospitality alongside my studies, but this time my degree really altered my view of the industry. I now saw the restaurant as a business — the difficulties of managing a bottom line, hiring and motivating a customer-facing team, the limited capital to invest in new technologies, unpredictable demand, and the impact of the industry on the environment. As I started to understand these difficulties, my appreciation for the industry deepened.
At the end of my studies, I knew I needed to acquire real-world skills to help me reshape industries, particularly with all of these difficulties in mind. I naturally sought exposure to new technologies and business strategies, which my degree had only begun to scratch the surface of. I ended up accepting a position at Accenture in their Financial Services, Technology Strategy & Advisory group, and packed my bags to move to Toronto. As a business strategist, I worked alongside architects and engineers, and developed my understanding of automation, data platforms, and decoupling architectures, among other things. Yet while working with clients in the space, I couldn’t help but admire the impact that startups were making on the industry, and I knew my next career move had to be within the venture ecosystem. I wanted a career in which I could leverage the skills I acquired while at McGill and Accenture to solve problems through technology, and continually explore new topics. The venture ecosystem is naturally the best space to do both things concurrently.
With all of the above having been said, I was naturally incredibly excited to get introduced to the team at WV a few months ago. As a stage-agnostic, $100m fund, investing in technologies across retail, healthcare, and foodtech, WV’s M.O. is to operate with exceptional levels of insight, and their ability to do this through a strategic LP base impressed me. I was drawn to their thesis-driven approach and was eager for the opportunity to dive into the world of food. Backed by the Weston Group — the controlling shareholder in Canada’s largest grocer (Loblaws), largest pharmacy (Shoppers Drug Mart), largest REIT (Choice Properties), and numerous other brands, WV can validate new concepts, test market demand, and understand complexities around scale like few other funds can. In a market proliferated with capital, WV’s vision and ability to be a strategic partner sets them apart. The more I spoke with the WV team, the more enthusiastic I became. While the firm is still young (founded in 2020), their success to date is notable, winning allocation alongside major venture names such as General Catalyst, Benchmark, Union Square and Kleiner Perkins. I’m impressed by the portfolio they’ve built, with companies such as: Motif, a synthetic biology company enhancing plant-based foods; Gatik, an autonomous vehicle company focused on B2B deliveries; or Foxtrot, a digitally native convenience store.
As I start this chapter with Wittington Ventures, I am excited for the opportunity to work with amazing founders, and to get back to my love for hospitality and food. The past few years have stood the sector on its head. Restaurateurs fought tooth and nail, pivoting to ghost kitchens and delivery to stay afloat. Grocery stores battled supply chain constraints and consumer demand for ultrafast delivery. And all of this continues down a path where we need to focus more on environmental sustainability.
I’m looking ahead to see how cultivated agriculture and precision fermentation matures into our markets, how restaurant tech and delivery robots enhance kitchen efficiency and change the way we experience hospitality, and how we’re going to sustainably feed our growing population while eliminating hunger. Bold? Yes. But that’s what this whole industry is built on, isn’t it?
If you’ve got some thoughts, are building, or just want to chat, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.