Podcast/Video Interviews by Stephen Ibaraki
A Chat with Matt Cohen, Founder of Ripple Ventures; founding investor, Turnstyle Solutions and Dominic Lau, Partner, Ripple Ventures; founder, RippleX Fellowship program
This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Matt Cohen and Dominic Lau.
Ripple Ventures was founded by Matt Cohen, an operator turned investor. After leaving a successful career in institutional finance, Matt was the founding investor of a Toronto-based startup, Turnstyle Solutions. From the early days, Matt helped with everything from building desks in their first office, to hiring and helping them navigate sales strategies with customers. Though the company did raise some capital, Matt saw a gap in the early-stage ecosystem where founders needed more than capital to succeed.
Shortly after this experience, Matt went on to work and live in Boston at a fintech startup, selling enterprise software solutions to the top financial institutions in the world. After returning home to Toronto, Matt built up a successful angel portfolio with significant exits including Turnstyle, Tokyo Smoke, and others. Given the strong performance of these angel investments, family offices and high-net-worth investors in Matt's network supported him to launch Ripple Ventures in 2018.
Dominic Lau began his career in accounting and finance at KPMG while he became deeply involved in the startup ecosystem. His first experiences with early-stage companies included mentoring student founders at the DMZ Sandbox Basecamp program, as well as through freelancing for startups & emerging VC managers. Through this lens, he saw the strong, positive impact that initial mentors and investors could have on startups when founders are resource and time constraint. As a result, he kickstarted his venture career with a local venture firm, EVP and helped build out the UWaterloo Student Venture Fund. Now, Dominic is continuing his journey in working closely with founders at Ripple Ventures.
In 2019, Dominic founded the RippleX Fellowship program, the fund's core initiative in democratizing access to venture capital & startups for students across North America. The program has diversity, equity, and inclusion targets of a minimum of 50% gender diversity as well as 50% minimum of BIPOC in each cohort.