Since writing my first blog post a staggering twelve years ago I have branded myself as an athlete, and I let that define me in the public eye. I shared adventure filled stories from the Olympic campaign trail, bringing you along for highs such as standing on the ISAF World Cup podium, and opening the doors to the lows by filling internet pages with emotion filled words. I published a cookbook to enlighten my supporters on how an athlete fuels their endeavours while sharing my culinary passion, but never have I shared what really enthrals my mind.
3D printing, machine learning, block chain, big data – say these words and you will immediately have my attention. I love technology, I day dream about how technology will continue to change the way we live our lives, and I am fascinated by people that innovate. One of my favourite magazines is the MIT Tech Review, the thing I am most looking forward to in 2017 is TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, and my favourite topic of research is Machine Learning. Why machine learning? Well, giving a device the ability to become smarter as it processes more data is opening doors in health management and disease prevention that would otherwise be shut, and as a bonus, there are some pretty cool athlete applications, ex: Triton Wear – what’s not to love?!
Following my graduation from the Sauder School of Business I accepted a position as analyst at Relentless Pursuit Partners, an investment and consultancy team dedicated to healthy, active living in a connected world. In short, the Relentless team invest and work with new companies “startups” that are developing technology based businesses that help people live a healthier life. For those that actively follow the tech ecosystem, the industry that Relentless Pursuit Partners operates in is known as Venture Capital. While I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers (because there is always a right answer!) so I have been pleasantly surprised to learn what I enjoy most about venture capital. Apart from being in the know on the latest and greatest technology (seriously love that part of the job!) I really enjoy meeting entrepreneurs, following the companies, and assisting where I can. In fact, I find myself in a unique position in that, having recently graduated, I can share an academic perspective combined with personal industry bias from years of managing the startup known as “Isabella the Olympic sailor”. I can relate to the feeling of being strapped for cash, constantly needing to push forward by setting both short and long-term goals, and the importance of a team both internally and advisor based. I believe in the concept of fail fast learn fast, and I’ve also learned that sometimes the timing just isn’t right. All of that being said, I really shouldn’t be surprised that when working with new businesses it was the idea and people side of the business that caught my attention rather than the numbers. I mean the numbers are really just a best guess (and therefore there is no right answer) and working with entrepreneurs is like planning a strategy for a sailboat race. You come up with a plan, you research the plan, you adjust the plan, and then when things still don’t go to plan you quickly adjust your sails or tack the boat and head in a new direction.