Getting to know White Star Capital’s new joiners

White Star Capital
Venture Beyond
Published in
6 min readMay 17

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L-R: Cameron Coombes, Sara Schein, and Jevyn Ong

With some major milestones upcoming, we’re delighted to have welcomed three new joiners to our investment team.

Cameron Coombes has joined our Digital Asset Fund team in New York as an Associate, Sara Schein is the latest Analyst to join our Early Growth Fund team in London, and Jevyn Ong is the newest member of our growing team in Singapore having joined as an Analyst earlier this year.

All three bring a diverse range of experiences, so now that they’ve settled into their new roles we sat down with them to understand their interests and what brought them to a career in VC.

  1. What brought you to a career in VC?

Cameron: I came to VC to work with the best and brightest minds leading technological innovation. It’s always been my belief that those who love what they do will dually be the best at it, and effortlessly exude the passion necessary to inspire others around them. I simply love working with founders and being a part of their journey, and hopefully along the way my passion for that can be a valuable resource in their journey. That way we can all win, and have some fun in the process.

Sara: I’m fascinated by the world of startups and the concept of disrupting the status quo. As someone who loves to learn and be constantly challenged, it was clear that venture capital was a great fit for my interests combining social, analytical and entrepreneurial skills. Identifying and supporting innovative ideas, and building relationships with founders while working in an ever-changing industry is really exciting!

Jevyn: After accumulating a diverse set of experiences across hedge fund investing, M&A advisory, venture capital, acceleration, and media advertising, I quickly realised that venture capital appealed to me the most as it presented a unique opportunity for me to contribute to the growth and success of innovative ventures and truly make an impact on the geography that I invest in.

2. Are you currently focused on a particular sector?

Sara: My previous roles and experiences have included time in financial services, e-commerce and as a generalist management consultant which included projects spanning all the way from ESG to logistics. Having an open mindset has allowed me to identify exciting opportunities and business models in various industries, a perspective shared across our geographically distributed team at White Star Capital. I focus primarily on our investments here in Europe, and as a Swedish native I feel excited about the ecosystem in the Nordics as well, but it is always important to remember that innovative ideas can emerge from new or unexpected places.

Cameron: I believe that blockchain presents a new modus-operandi for consumers to interact within the digital realm — underscored by self-sovereignty that can only be enabled by trustless global coordination at scale. I also believe that it presents businesses with a way to build increasingly scalable business models that create even more value for their customers, regardless of whether or not those customers even understand that they are interacting with a blockchain.

Jevyn: Technology is constantly evolving, and I believe staying ahead of the curve is crucial. Rather than fixating on a specific sector, my focus lies in staying up to date with emerging technologies and trends, providing an element of foresight on the next sector or technology that is likely to thrive in the geography that we invest in. This is precisely why I am thrilled to be joining White Star Capital, which is renowned for its flexibility and ability to deploy capital across different sectors, geographies, and strategies. Our agile approach allows us to seize promising investment opportunities in various industries as technology continues to evolve.

3. Has anything surprised you since joining the industry?

Cameron: If any one thing has surprised me — it’s the level of coordination that exists within the venture-capital ecosystem, specifically, the extent to which venture firms work together to fund the next generation of technological innovation. It’s easy to feel like a little fish in a big sea when you first jump in, but I can see now that only speaks to the depth of like-minded individuals looking to support start-ups all along their growth journey.

Jevyn: Since entering the industry, I have been intrigued by the wide range of strategies employed by different venture capital funds. Each fund brings a unique approach to the table, encompassing factors such as portfolio construction, sector focus, stage focus, and geographical coverage. These diverse strategies highlight the dynamic nature of the industry.

Sara: I didn’t realise until I started my career in VC how tightly-knit the ecosystem is, and I have really come to appreciate the community of individuals including founders, investors and other stakeholders who make up this ecosystem. The industry is relatively small, and it’s not uncommon to find investors and founders who know each other or have worked together in the past. This sense of community and familiarity fosters a collaborative environment that I believe is a unique strength for the sector.

4. Do you have any advice for people looking for their first role in VC/PE?

Jevyn: I’d recommend focusing time on accumulating knowledge. This can be achieved by immersing in various resources like podcasts and books that delve into the nuances of the industry. It is also crucial to actively seek out mentors. Learning from the experiences of seasoned professionals can accelerate your growth as an investor. Their guidance and insights offer valuable perspectives which help us to navigate the intricate complexities of the industry with greater effectiveness.

Sara: Breaking into VC can seem daunting, with few available roles and often a lack of transparency around hiring processes. There are actually multiple paths to VC and diversity is increasingly recognized as a valuable asset. Be curious, start building your network and form opinions, read up on subjects and emerging technologies which you find interesting, and seek out internships in VC to get a foot in the door. Don’t forget to do your due diligence on the funds you apply to — check their investment thesis and approach to make sure they align with your own values and interests — and remember that timing can play a role in your success!

Cameron: Don’t listen to (unnamed) chat board sites that tell you that you need to do “X, Y, or Z” to break into this industry. I would argue that those who are able to break in are often the ones that go off the beaten path. That said, if I had to say that there was one trait every prospective Venture Capitalist needs to be able to demonstrate, it is a passion for a particular sector or industry and the willingness to spend time at the frontlines of innovation.

5. Finally, if you could have been an early investor in any company, which one would you choose and why?

Cameron: As VCs, we often have a tendency to assume that we are the target customer for something, and can miss opportunities because they don’t fit our mould. Working backwards from that logic, I think it’s fair to say that being the target customer of something can give you somewhat of an “edge” in assessing the viability and product market fit (particularly relevant for the early-stage investors out there). As a top .01% customer of Uber Eats, I think I’m going to have to go with Uber. Beyond investor-market fit, I would argue that any app that builds a brand so strong that the name of the company becomes a verb is clearly doing something right.

Sara: I’ve always been impressed by Canva and the story behind it. The founders started early in testing and iterating the idea, and eventually managed to convince investors, persisting through over a hundred rejections. What’s even more inspiring is how Canva has become a global sensation, offering localised versions that make it accessible to a diverse range of users worldwide. Personally, I can attest that it has significantly enhanced the visual appeal of my designs over the years! I’d support a company like theirs — backing a strong founding team with the drive to keep pushing boundaries.

Jevyn: A prime contender would undeniably be Google. Google has integrated its technology into our daily lives, by fundamentally altering the way we access information, communicate, and navigate the digital and physical realm. The wide array of products offered by Google has significantly improved productivity and connectivity for individuals and businesses. An early investment in Google would have yielded substantial returns which are reflective of the company’s profound impact on our daily activities.

White Star Capital is a global multi-stage technology investment platform that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs building ambitious, international businesses. Operating out of London, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Paris, Tokyo, and Singapore. Our global presence, perspective, and people enable us to partner closely with our founders to help them scale internationally.

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White Star Capital
Venture Beyond

White Star Capital is an international venture and early growth-stage investment platform. We partner with founders who aspire to scale globally.