We are so thrilled to welcome Eugene to the OMERS Ventures team!
Eugene is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and is responsible for helping our partner Michael Yang build out the Silicon Valley office, not only from an operational perspective but also with investment opportunities. Eugene is joining the venture world for the first time after being a long-time operator across various industries (Consumer and SaaS), stages of companies (seed to public company), and roles (everything except engineering).
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I was born and raised in North Carolina but have lived on the East Coast, the Midwest and have been in the Bay Area so long, I now call it home. My sports teams pretty much reflect where I’ve lived, as each of my favorite teams in their respective sports represents that — Carolina Panthers (NFL), Charlotte Hornets / Golden State Warriors (NBA), San Francisco Giants (MLB), Duke Basketball (NCAAB), and the Michigan Wolverines (NCAAF). I’m only a default Golden State Warriors fan as Stephen Curry is from Charlotte. That being said, I love all sports and grew up playing them competitively in school. Someone once told me that as a former athlete, I use “athlete” very lightly, you always remember yourself as faster and better than you probably really were. It’s probably true.
Outside of cheering for my teams, I’m chasing around my two young children (and molding them into future athletes, of course).
How do you think your former experience will benefit you as a venture capital investor?
Over the last 15+ years, I’ve sat on the other side of the table and been in the shoes of the start-up, whether that be fundraising, executing a sale, leading operating teams or partnering with the executive team to help build and scale start-ups. Having experienced that life cycle of a company across industries and functions, I can empathize with what startups are facing, help solve complex problems, and partner with them through the journey.
What are your main investment areas of interest right now? Any particular sectors that excite you?!
I’m generally excited about all things consumer, as it’s what I love, know, and interact with more often on a daily basis. While consumer is such a broad category, I’m particularly interested in companies where they change pre-existing consumer behaviors, whether that’s in the way we live, how we live, or the way we discover and interact with things that “spark joy.”
Also, having come most recently from the SaaS startup world, particularly focused on the SMB space, I’m excited about the extension of the consumer mindset from above and how either work place platforms or tools change our pre-existing conditions of how we work, where we work or the pure infrastructure of work.
What was the last book you read?
Quite honestly, having 2 young kids, my book reading has been dominated by children’s books from classics like the Dr. Seuss book series to new ones that even I find hilarious like “Cookie Fiasco” and “The Day the Crayons Quit.”
On my actual list of books to read are “The Score Takes Care of Itself” and “The Inner Game of Tennis,” which obviously are and sound like sports-oriented books but have a much more level of depth around leadership and self-improvement.
Finish this sentence! The future will be…
Way more complicated but absolutely better than today. And the Carolina Panthers will win the Super Bowl.