26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Richard Osborn, Telus Ventures

In February 2016, Richard Osborn left health and wellness-focused investment fund RecapHealth Ventures for a managing partner role at Telus Ventures, the venturing unit of Canada-based telecoms firm Telus, replacing the unit’s founder Mathew George.

Osborn had been managing director of RecapHealth Ventures since it was founded in 2010, before which he was a partner at private equity firm Second City Capital Partners.

And this has been an area he has helped Telus Ventures push into. Telus Ventures invests in six primary areas – healthcare IT, internet of things, big data, fintech, digital security and identity.

Osborn, who believes in social impact investing, told YouAreUNLTD in February this year: “Our thesis is that all good healthcare, now and in the future, is going to be a mix of in-person and technology-supported care. In-person care might occur in a hospital or a doctor’s office, or increasingly it might be delivered at home. All of those groups are going to use technology to improve the diagnoses, the treatment, the follow-up, the care coordination and more.”

For 2017’s GCV Powerlist nomination, Darren Entwistle, president and CEO at Telus, said: “Telus Ventures has played a critical role in ensuring we embrace innovation opportunities that advance our country’s digital economy and Telus’s leading performance.”

As an experienced venture investor, he has two of the most powerful attributes required – experience in deal-making across a wide sweep of disruptive technologies and a strong network. This has helped deliver exits, such as last year’s sale of US-based cybersecurity technology provider Zenedge to Oracle for an undisclosed size.

Another portfolio company, data preparation and analytics provider Lavastorm, was acquired by US-based software company Infogix in March last year.

In 2018, Telus Ventures participated in 13 investments, with nine being new and four being follow-on investments. Since the unit’s inception, it has been involved in 119 total investments – 69 new and 50 follow-on deals. The total amount of investments participated in has been C$41.5m ($31.6m) per financial year.

Under Osborn’s leadership, Telus Ventures seeks partnerships actively with portfolio companies:

  • Alithya – partner to assist in the IT development within Telus Health and the acquisition of non-core businesses from Telus.
  • Get Real Health – partnership towards significant contract deals in Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and potentially other provinces for their province-wide PHR solutions, or condition-specific PHR.
  • iStore – consultant to the Telus retail stores for Telus Retail 3.0 which drove a four-time increase in accessory sales in same-store sales.
  • Moj.io – solution provider for in-car connectivity across Telus’s more than 1,000 nation-wide retail stores.
  • Skyroam – Telus was the sole provider of connectivity services for Skyroam through global carrier partnership across a network of more than 90 partners around the globe.
  • Taulia – the company was the provider of dynamic discounting services which have generated over $8m in benefits to Telus and Taulia also recently won a competitive RFP for additional financial management services.
  • Vigilent – the company’s solution is deployed across 11 locations (Central Offices and International Data Centres) which has reduced cooling and electricity demand.
  • Vox Mobile – provides mobile device management services, which are resold by Telus to its customers – medium-sized to large enterprise and Telus represents over 20% of the Vox’s total revenue.
  • Zenedge – a scenario in which Zenedge’s solution was used internally by Telus to protect its tier-one sites, then Telus resold to it to customers and then invested in it.

Furthermore, Osborn sought to expand the venturing unit’s connections inside and outside Telus through participating in venture capital-focused conferences and associations:

  • BCtech Summit – speaking position.
  • Canadian Financing Forum – speaking and host positions.
  • Creative Destruction Labs – board position.
  • Board member of Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA) and chairman of the Annual Conference in June 2019 in Vancouver.
  • CVCA – Invest Canada – panel member.
  • Canadian Innovation Exchange CVC – panel member and speaking engagement.
  • Mars Resi – panel member.
  • New Ventures BC – award presentation.
  • Sinet Canada – panel member.
  • Social Impact Documentary – panel member.
  • Startup Week – panel member.
  • Telus Ventures Summit – host, with CVC panels and speaking engagement.

In November last year, Telus Ventures also invested in Canada-based venture capital firm Panache Ventures’ first fund with a C$50m ($37.8m) corpus.

Telus appears ubiquitous as a phone operator, alongside peers Bell Canada and Rogers, which has refocused its ventures activity back into Canada and effectively shuttered its Silicon Valley team under Paul Sestili, but, under Paul Lepage, former chairman of Telus Ventures who hired Osborn, Telus Health is a powerful provider of healthcare technology connecting doctors and healthcare practitioners to one another and to their patients.

From an impressive base, therefore, Osborn has quickly made his mark in a company that, almost uniquely among Canadian corporations, has taken venturing seriously.