7 takeaways from the RBC Ventures’ Ignite Series conversation with Sid and Cheesan Chew

Sometimes, you can be sitting at the other end of a virtual meetup in another part of the city, or even another part of the country, and somehow feel the speaker’s passion bursting through the screen. That’s exactly how it felt listening to our latest Ignite speaker, Sid Paquette. Sid is the Head of RBCx, leading a highly specialized team to deliver industry tailored capital, financing, business advice and solutions that go beyond traditional banking to support the growth of technology and innovation companies.

Sid has spent his career in the tech and innovation sector as an investor and board member. After a bit of convincing—Sid never pictured himself working for a bank—he saw the potential for RBC to have an impact in the tech space, but knew that they needed to rethink how they approached those relationships.

Sid’s insights on the innovation and technology space were bold, so we thought we’d share some of the top takeaways from our conversation:

1. When creating a structure for RBCx, Sid wanted to eliminate traditional modes of operating.

“We’ve created a career curriculum within our structure to where you actually don’t need to go anywhere else to get career growth. Building that is really important because most of our team only want to do tech for the rest of their lives. You either give them that career growth internally or force them to do something they don’t want to do in order for them to further their career.”

2. Sid has a really simple formula when it comes to hiring

“Hire the absolute top talent in the country. I can’t stress this more. You need to do everything to attract those people, because they attract top talent. We’ve literally hired the best talent in the country and now they’re attracting more talent.”

3. There are lots of trends in tech and innovation, but Sid lists these three as his top to watch.

“Crypto. I truthfully believe the rails are here to stay. We’re going to see a ton of fluctuation there, but the rails behind that technology is here to stay, so we need to figure it out. The other one I have a lot of personal interest in is the synthetic biology space. There’s so much complexity and potential application in this space. It’s going to be ridiculously exciting to see what’s created. The last one is climate. The renaissance is here and now people want to work for companies with a climate agenda.”

4. Sid thinks banks can and should be doing more than advancing capital.

“The one thing that fascinated me in a very negative way was my perception of how little value a bank adds to tech and innovation companies other than capital. Looking at this, I always wondered why the banks didn’t do more.”

5. What about RBCx? What role does Sid see this organization playing in tech and innovation?

“We’re not just here to provide capital. What we will do is help tech and innovation companies scale and you do that by adding value at the core. The big differentiator for our platform is building out that operational stable of individuals that can go deep into our clients and help them scale. I don’t want anyone on our team selling a product or service. What I want them to do is have a business discussion with the client and see what the client needs are. Because there’s virtually nothing the client is going to say that we can’t provide directly or indirectly.”

6. Sid describes the importance of culture and not getting too prescriptive on how that culture is defined.

“You’ve got to have a killer culture. Culture is not one size fits all, but you’ve got to create a culture that aligns with the type of people you want to hire. If you speak to anyone on our team, they all have the exact same passion that I have. So anyone coming in, they’re going to be impressed and they’re going to want to come join.”

7. What’s next for RBCx?

“The next part of the platform that we’re going to be devoting dollars to over the course of 2022 is we’re building a platform to systematically connect our clients to revenue. A relationship manager will be able to go to any RBCx client and ask them to list the top 10 accounts they most want to get in front of. The relationship manager will be able to map that list against every relationship that RBC has and connect the clients to those accounts. This does not exist anywhere. The goal is to drive revenue or partnership opportunities to our clients, so we will be building that over the course of 2022. It’s absolutely game changing.”

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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