Hey 👋 thanks for coming by! If I haven't met you yet, I'm Dominic. In this blog, I’ll be writing everything from startups, to venture capital, to life. You can learn more about me on my personal website.
You can find me on:
Founder’s Bag (another publication I run)
Apply to join my private Discord server for founders
To get to know me well, I'm going to share where I like spending my time with respect to a few key themes.
Investing @ Ripple Ventures: As you may have read, I'm investing in early-stage startups building tools for enterprises, creators, and developers. My job is to partner with founders in the earliest days and support them through understanding their markets, ensuring they're building the right products, exploring go-to-market strategies, and raising capital with a compelling story. I want to be the first check into the company, and be the empathetic yet pragmatic coach in the corner for the founders. My goal is not to tell founders what to do, but to pose questions and share frameworks to ensure that the best decisions are being made. I truly believe in what we're doing at Ripple Ventures because I see the lack of support and resources that early-stage founders receive with my own eyes. With companies that I have and have not invested in. Our approach to investing in tandem with rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty, building alongside our founders is truly unique. From helping bring on early key hires, to helping make the first sales, to supporting the company in raising their next round, it's all so rewarding to see the founders succeed. That's what keeps me going every day.
Building the RippleX Fellowship Program: When I was a student trying to learn about startups and venture capital, it was extremely hard. Resources were siloed in blogs, videos, newsletters. People were busy and tough to reach as a student. There were only three people from my program that had gone into anything remotely close to venture. Student programs ran by VCs were broken because they were using students as deal sharks, and not giving them the tools to become a proper investor. I saw a lack of resources for founders to really understand fundraising and company building. That's why I built the RippleX Fellowship Program. It's an education-first program where I bring roughly 20 of the brightest founders/aspiring VCs across North America into one cohort every semester. I teach the intricacies of company building and startup financing from both sides of the table. Our student alumni have gone on to become venture-backed founders by top tier accelerator and venture funds, as well as full-time investors at leading firms. I'm extremely proud of what the program has turn into, and could not have done it without Arielle, Naz, and Turja.
Advising Companies: Ever since I started working with founders formally and informally in 2016, I've never stopped. From doing drop-in office hours with accelerator programs, to one-off warm intro calls with founders looking for fundraising advice, to formally advising founders outside of the portfolio. I don't like calling myself an advisor because that means I give advice. I rarely give advice because I don't think it's ever useful unless you've been in the exact same position as someone before. Given I don't have decades of experience under my belt, I revert to posing questions and exploring frameworks for decisions. Ask any company I've worked with and they'll tell you how I like to "give advice" is by sharing "what I would ask myself in your situation is...". I feel like that's the best way to help founders, especially in my position, because I don't know the company and situation as well as they do. I never will. But what I can do is be a very solid sounding board for founders to bounce ideas off, double click on, challenge, and prioritize themes for decision making. I'm always looking to work with more founders if there's a good fit, so reach out to me if you want to chat :)
Friends and Family: Over the past few years, I've come to appreciate friends and family more than I ever have in my life. There's nothing I enjoy more than hanging out, shooting shit, and laughing with people that you love.
Journaling: I love writing both in public and in private. I got back into writing in a physical journal and haven't looked back. I thought I forgot how to write with a pen, but now I'm pretty proud of my penmanship. I am an extremely introspective person, so self-reflection is something I enjoy doing frequently. Learning about self is exponential for changes in the right direction. Being real with myself has helped me be more real with others around me.
Traveling: My goal in life is to see more of the world. I've been to most parts of Asia, and will be exploring more of Europe very soon. I'm born and raised in Toronto, but am feeling/scratching the deep itch to work and live in other places. Hong Kong will always be one of my favorite places in the world because it feels like a second home to me (family, culture, # of visits made). Spending a month in a new city is magical IMO. No rush of doing all the touristy things in a week or less, getting a vibe of what it's really like to live in the city, making new friends you see more than once. I want to do more of that.
Sports: My favorite sport to play is basketball. It's the one thing that I can get into flow instantly, and can take my mind off of just anything. The pandemic has pushed me to get into running, cycling, golf, and tennis which I also really enjoy. Nothing like safe outdoor activities to do with friends at a 6-feet distance am I right?
Coffee: If you know me, you know where to find me. At a small coffee shop sipping a cappuccino and taking a bite out of a croissant (almond or chocolate, almost never plain). I like floral, fruity, vibrant coffee. I don't like dark, chocolatey, spiced coffee. I like iced espresso with a dash of whole milk in the summertime. I don't like cold brew or nitro brew too much.
Local Bars: My friends are annoyed with me talking about natural wine, craft beer, and japanese whisky. The places we go when there isn't a lockdown are small local bars that serve at least one of the above. Regular wine tastes weird to me. I like the funk. Regular beer tastes bland. I like the hops (and the funk). Whisky though, I honestly like to try and drink Japanese just because it's Japanese (not sure why). There's good whisky from everywhere, that I will admit.
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