We are so thrilled to welcome Alyssa to the OMERS Ventures team!
In her role as Analyst at OMERS Ventures, Alyssa Spagnolo is responsible for researching and executing on investment opportunities in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications sector. Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Alyssa was an Analyst at ScaleUP Ventures, focusing on evaluating and investing in early stage technology companies in North America. Prior to ScaleUP, Alyssa co-founded a consumer hardware company called Mindset which enables deep focus through brain sensing headphones. Her role spanned multiple business units, including operations, marketing, and business development, along with successfully leading the raise of a seed round. Alyssa has also worked in a Business Development role at League, an OMERS Ventures portfolio company.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I hail from Ottawa, Ontario and completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University. Upon graduating, I joined The Next 36, which is an early stage incubator based in Toronto. Through that process, I co-founded a consumer hardware company, building brain sensing headphones to optimize for concentration. It was transformative, and led to many extraordinary experiences, including moving to Shenzhen, China. Above all, it led me to admire all those who choose to be entrepreneurs! Following this experience, I worked at a tech startup in Business Development, and most recently worked on the Investment team at a Toronto based Venture Capital firm.
What differences do you find in the Canadian tech ecosystem in comparison to China?
I believe Shenzhen, China is the best place in the world to build a hardware startup (at least when in the pre-production phase). Hardware startups thrive in China — they have greater access to capital, lower costs, better access to materials and manufacturers, and are surrounded by peers who are also building physical products. Canada does not have a significant focus in competing with China, which is already light years ahead when it comes to hardware development — so in that sense, the infrastructure, network, and capital does not compare here.
What are your main investment areas of interest right now? Any particular sectors that excite you?!
One area I am bullish on is developer platforms and the API-ification of software development. If “software is eating the world” and developers are creating the software, then developers are arguably one of the most compelling target customers to build products for. APIs make software significantly easier to build, creating opportunities to build more software businesses. More interestingly, this has resulted in the emergence of start-ups entirely built around offering APIs, API gateways, or API marketplaces. Another area of interest is E-commerce, but more specifically, the pressures that E-commerce creates on its supporting infrastructure. For example, supply chain and logistics is a category that has needed to evolve as more and more goods are being moved around the world directly to consumers, instead of consumers purchasing from brick-and-mortar stores — which has created more global and multi-modal shipping requirements, and new distribution and transportation models. The pressure on these systems, and the innovation it creates, excites me.
What was the last book you read?
I recently read the sequel to Homo Sapiens — Homo Deus, which has been on my reading list for a while! Although it’s fascinating to learn where we have been and all that we have accomplished since the beginning of our species existence, it’s even more fascinating and challenging to predict what we will become in the future.
Finish this sentence! The future will be…