Several years ago, venture investor Aydin Senkut just showed up at Shopify’s headquarters in Ottawa. He had heard about them from the organizers of the Grow Conference in Vancouver and decided to stop by apropos of nothing.
“At the time, no one really knew who we were,” said chief platform officer Harley Finkelstein. “But we knew of Aydin’s reputation and that he was an early employee at Google. It was not only really exciting. It was really humbling.”
They hit off and Senkut’s Felicis Ventures would go on to participate in Shopify’s Series A and then its subsequent rounds. Today, Shopify has 150,000 active stores and led to $7 billion worth of sales.
So there’s a little bit of “pay it forward” happening now.
Finkelstein is now joining an advisory council that Felicis is stacking with successful founders out of their previous investments. Jack Abraham, who founded Milo, is one of the others. He came up with an idea that Felicis would automatically vote its shares with the founders. Senkut later adopted it.
“It’s a very unique group of people,” Senkut said. “It’s very small, but we’re happy that we’re expanding it with some unusual characters and unsung heroes.”
Finkelstein expects that he’ll probably help Felicis source deals out of Canada too.
“It’s great for the Canadian startup scene .We don’t have these super connected experienced investors out here like you do in the U.S., he said. “So it’s quite flattering to see U.S. investors turning their experience toward Canadian experience.”