23/30: Thank You Joseph Fung

No words could ever capture the gratitude I have for Joseph Fung. Joseph cut me my first ever investor cheque. He gave me a shot.

Building Trust

I met Joseph in October 2016. My GoFundMe to get to Silicon Valley as one of the few women in the world selected to be in the Women’s Startup Lab was in full swing. Chelsea Prescod, who helped me write the copy for the GoFundMe, shared it with her mentor Anne Toner Fung. Anne graciously introduced me to Joseph.

As with all early investor relationships there was a 15-min call. Then a 30-min video call. When it was time for the next meeting, I insisted we meet in person. If I want to play the game like everyone else then I need to operate the same way, even from Sault Ste. Marie.

I took a day of unpaid leave from work and drove down to Kitchener, ON and back to the Sault in a day for that 1 meeting with Joseph. Plot twist: it snowed heavily overnight. It was still storming. My mother was worried because I was taking her car. Naturally, she got a day off from work to drive me down so that I could concentrate on preparing my presentation and financials. Thank God she did because we passed 4 cars upside down in the ditch–I’ve never that many before or since. It was unnerving to say the least.

As we continued communication Joseph sent me out to be vetted by anyone who’s anyone in the Toronto and KW angel investment tech scene. He was well connected and wanted to see what his colleagues would think.

Canadian Conviction

This is the part of the story where my respect for Joseph sky rockets. Not a single one of his friends came in on the round. And yet Joseph maintained his conviction to invest in me in June 2017. It’s rare to lead a round. Many angels and firms follow. It seems to be even more rare to have a Canadian lead.

Imagine my surprise that Joseph chose to invest after countless painful meetings. No after no after no after no. Even more lukewarm yes’s than outright no’s, that I now know are just polite no’s. I was too sure of my idea to be discouraged. I was mostly just perplexed. And, if I may be so candid, slightly angry.

Joseph’s investment completely blew me away. It was the miracle I needed.

0 to 100

Joseph took a chance on me even when 0 of his friends/colleagues in KW or Toronto would come in on the round.

Exactly a year later I led the company to win the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies in Canada. Coincidentally right alongside Joseph’s new company, Kiite, too.

Achieved after two investment rounds, including multiple Silicon Valley Venture Capital firms and signing some of the biggest banks and insurance companies in Canada as early customers.

Walking the Talk

Joseph, you know how endless my gratitude is for you giving me a shot. More than that, I cannot thank you enough for your ongoing support. You spend so much time helping me build, develop, and grow both the company and myself as its leader. Thank you so much for everything, always. You are extremely knowledgeable and very good at what you do.

Beyond your direct help, watching you is also wonderful. Your executive presence and communication skills are mind-blowing. You give top tier advice, demonstrate extreme competence, and somehow also make the founder journey relatable between our paths. Thank you so much for all of it.

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