Newsroom > Meet Shikha Bhuchar, Head of Ventures Strategy

Meet Shikha Bhuchar, Head of Ventures Strategy

Shikha Bhuchar

Making Moves is a series that puts the spotlight on the people who drive our practice and our programs at RBCx. From ecosystem connectors to sector specialists, our people are integral to how we make moves in the tech and innovation ecosystem. Reach out to learn more.

If I had to describe our team’s role within RBCx Ventures…

RBCx Ventures’ mission is to create value beyond traditional banking by anticipating model disruption and serving as an innovation hub for RBC.

To do this, we look to the market to identify, acquire and nurture new venture opportunities across a variety of sectors we’ve identified that are strategically important to RBC. From there, we partner with these start-ups to scale them into high-growth companies within our portfolio of ventures.

In short, my team of strategists and corporate development experts defines and cultivates the future of financial services. Our deep connection to the tech ecosystem allows us to find ways to bring companies working on innovative technologies into our world and build that future together.

If I had to describe myself in a few words, they would be…

Authentically passionate: I have a passion for the work I do and strive to inspire that energy and tenacity in the teams I lead.

Committed to growth: I have an unwavering dedication to growth in my personal and professional life. I stay curious and open to finding new ways of doing things better.

Empathetic connector: I know that people are the backbone of any good business. I do my best to tune into the emotions of those around me, allowing me to connect on a deeper level.

If I had to briefly summarize the most pivotal moments in my career…

I have always been fascinated by the intersection of technology and financial services.

Most of my early career was spent within large enterprises in the financial services sector. During this time, I gained an appreciation for the complexities of leading large-scale programs and developing teams. I gravitated to roles that exposed me to using technology and digital channels to create great customer experiences.

A pivotal role for me in my career was when I took the step towards entrepreneurship in 2018 by joining RBCx Ventures. I founded one of the first organic, in-house built ventures at RBC, Arrive – a digital platform designed to help newcomers access the relevant tools, knowledge and expertise to settle into life in Canada. This exposed me to the incredible complexities that come with operating a business and helped me gain empathy for what founders go through.

In my current role leading our Ventures Strategy and Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) team, I find I’m constantly going back to the lessons that I learned as a founder. I bring this deep understanding of what it takes to run a business, while also honing my ability to leverage the best of what a large enterprise can offer to help companies scale.

What lessons from your personal hobbies have informed your leadership?

My experience as a former competitive athlete has taught me some of the greatest lessons on leadership. As a former international rhythmic gymnast, I gained a set of skills that I continuously bring into everything I do, both professionally and personally. These include:

  • Personal mastery: Having focus and a sense of discipline around the task at hand. I’m constantly looking to drive to outcomes (vs. output).
  • Teamwork: Winning together as a collective, learning from one another and leading by example.
  • Relentless prioritization: I had to juggle school and training, which forced me to learn the importance of prioritizing my time at a young age.

If I had to summarize my approach to M&A in three sentences…

Have a clear strategic focus: The starting point for any type of M&A is a focused investment thesis to provide both the breadth and guardrails of what to look for in target opportunities.

Become an expert: Develop a deep understanding of the market, having a view of historical trends, current challenges and future opportunities/disruption in each industry. It’s a long game—having a constant pulse on the market activity is key to success for future deal flow and keeps us prepared for when the right opportunity arises.

Plan for day two: With any opportunity that my team and I explore, we are constantly thinking about how we can plan for a successful day two. It’s important to build the right integration plan to optimize value for all stakeholders involved.

I’m passionate about leading Ventures Strategy because…

As a former builder and operator, my unique perspective allows me to bring a deeper understanding of the complexities and challenges that come with running a business. We connect with the companies we meet to ensure we’re finding ways to help bring the founder’s vision to life — backed by the power of RBC.

My passion for what we can do at Ventures Strategy is further fueled by my experiences throughout my career in financial services. I’ve seen the industry evolve and believe we are living through a massive generational shift in preferences and expectations — and I love that I can lead a team where together we can help shape the way the bank will engage and create value for our customers.

What brings me the most joy in this role is seeing the connections my team and I are building with founders. We get to meet passionate teams who are solving meaningful problems and get to figure out how RBCx can help them achieve their goals, which is incredibly fulfilling.

I’m excited by the tech and innovation community because…

The Canadian tech and innovation ecosystem is gaining momentum at a global scale because of the incredible talent and massive strides we’ve seen in innovation in key sectors including Biotech, green innovation and AI.

We’re seeing incredible innovation coming out of tech hubs across Canada, especially in our RBCx partnerships: Volta in Nova Scotia, FounderFuel in Quebec, L-Spark, Hub350, Accelerator Centre and Velocity in Ontario, Platform Calgary in Alberta, and entrepreneurship@UBC in BC. I also think that we’re seeing innovative government programs and funding focused on driving more capital and investments to the innovation ecosystem and making it easier for skilled international talent to come build in Canada.

For me, I’m personally excited about the continuous growth in funding we’ve been seeing over the past few years in Health and Biotech. We’re seeing innovative health companies for traditionally underserved segments (i.e., femtech), giving them the focus and attention that they’ve been lacking for so many years. I’m also thrilled about the SaaS solutions that are driving efficiencies for various practitioners. This could be everything from virtual care platforms, wearables and diagnostic monitoring capabilities to clinic productivity software, all with the goal of freeing up practitioners’ time for care delivery for better patient outcomes.

People can always ask me about…

  • Fintech and the evolving landscape of embedding financial services
  • Developing and scaling teams – how to build alignment, unlock potential and bring out the best in your people
  • Clarity in business decision making – building frameworks and assessments, getting alignment from stakeholders

Reach out to me if you are interested in…

  • Innovation and corporate venture capital
  • Strategy development
  • Performing arts and dance
  • Parenting young toddlers

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