Q&A with Bonnie Chau, portfolio manager, BCF Ventures

Sergio Escobar, chief executive of BCF Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of Canada-based law firm BCF, said of portfolio manager Bonnie Chau: “Prior to navigating the challenging venture capital ecosystem, Bonnie was at the forefront of one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in Canadian history. Having masterfully executed management projects in partnership with the firm’s CEO, Bonnie developed an impressive repertoire of operational skills for (1) deal sourcing and (2) investment skills. Beyond her seasoned experience, technical and strategic expertise and relationship management skills, Bonnie remains a pivotal team member at BCF Ventures.”

Regarding Chau’s deal sourcing capabilities, Escobar said: “With the objective of unlocking the previously untapped potential of corporate venture capital, Bonnie launched, led and executed BCF Ventures’ Corporate Innovation Program in partnership with Canada’s Scale AI supercluster and OVHcloud Corporation. Working closely with investors, corporations and startups alike, Bonnie was responsible for coordinating and facilitating business development among all parties. Through her innovative approach, start-ups benefitted immensely from greater accessibility to funding and product validation. In turn, investors and corporations gained unparalleled value through business synergies and deal sourcing. More recently, during the summer of 2021, she championed ‘Next Steps’, which is a new Pan-Canadian initiative with MNP to train startups in intellectual property matched with a pitch competition with international investors.”

Escobar also elaborated on Chau’s investment skills, saying: “Bonnie is also leading active due diligence and portfolio company support at BCF Ventures, plus manages the work of our analysts and interns. Leveraging the unique corporate advantages at the fund’s disposal, Bonnie utilizes the resources at her disposal to produce superior investment outcomes. In addition to providing a unique perspective to investment analysis, Bonnie is passionate about the startup community and regularly provides mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs for startup accelerators like McGill X1 Accelerator, Yes Elle Initiative and FoundersBoost Toronto.

“The culmination of Bonnie’s interpersonal, management and technical expertise has proven invaluable to the BCF Ventures team. Her contribution to the wider startup ecosystem and venture capital landscape is undoubtedly deserving of fond recognition.”

Chau said: “I work as a Portfolio Manager at BCF Ventures. I am leading the sourcing and the due diligence of B2B SaaS enterprise software, and I manage a team of analysts to work on the investments and support our portfolio companies. I have been at the firm for over two years now.

“I was attracted to CVC because of the entire support our team could get from the powerhouse of the Corporation. In our case, BCF is a reputable business law firm with over 500+ lawyers based in Montreal, Canada. We have worked closely with the IP team of the law firm, for example, they are extremely helpful in assessing the patents that startups claim to have, and we would invite them to our technical due diligence calls. We tend to leverage the relationship and the resources that we have with the Corporation for deal sourcing and networking. Depending on the startup’s solution, our Corporation could potentially be a good candidate for the startup’s proof-of-concept.

“I think CVCs could do better at supporting other CVCs and finding a unique way to provide value to both startups and corporations. This is essentially why we had launched the BCF Ventures’ corporate innovation programme in partnership with Canada’s Scale AI supercluster and OVHcloud Corporation. We worked closely with CVC, investors, corporations and startups alike to unlock the previously untapped potential of corporate venture capital. Through the initiative, startups benefitted immensely from greater accessibility to funding and product validation. In turn, investors and corporations gained unparalleled value through business synergies and deal sourcing.

“Prior to working as a CVC, I knew that I had wanted to pivot out of accounting after my University graduation, therefore I joined one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in Canada to gain experience in the startup ecosystem. Having successfully executed management projects for the CEO, I have developed a repertoire of operational skills that proved useful when I am supporting BCF Ventures’ portfolio companies today. During my spare time, I love playing a good game of badminton with friends, and I will continue to build my wealth through investments, which has been something that I have done for over a decade now, even prior to becoming a VC, so I am simply continuing what I love to do.”