Réseau Capital has brought together all active players in Québec’s investment capital industry for the past 30 years. It is also the voice of this industry in the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as in the public sphere—a voice that will be getting louder and louder.
When Québec’s investment capital industry—which includes venture and development capital—started to become more structured 30 years ago, it created Réseau Capital--an association facilitating dialogue and collaboration among the different players. Today, it is transforming and accelerating under the direction of the person who took the reins a little over a year ago, in August 2020, Guillaume Caudron.
Introduction to Réseau Capital for 2021 and beyond.
Act together and speak with one voice
“Since joining Réseau Capital, I’ve been impressed by the level of cooperation among members and by their ability to find common solutions for key issues facing the industry, irrespective of the very broad range of particular—and not necessarily converging—interests that they represent,” explains Guillaume Caudron. “There clearly was an understanding, within this industry and the association, that when industry stakeholders act together and speak with one voice, the resulting impacts increase tenfold.”
This is because Réseau Capital brings together all players in Québec’s investment capital industry—from angel investors to large investment funds, from banks to the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and from venture capital firms to private equity investors. Réseau Capital’s membership also includes various professionals, such as attorneys, public accountants and financial advisors who support investment capital activities.
More than just an association
Guillaume Caudron specifies that although the association is inclusive on all levels, it is much more than a gateway for stakeholders wishing to carve out a place in the industry. “While we bring together everyone involved in the financing chain, membership is not open to all: the companies and individuals must truly be directly and actively involved in the transactions and must understand that our membership is cooperative as well as being associative in nature.”
Réseau Capital operates within Espace CDPQ for a reason. Its CEO believes that the culture and atmosphere that are created within Espace CDPQ are fully consistent with the role that Réseau Capital wants to play for its members and for the entire ecosystem. “We serve a community of players and Espace CDPQ allows us to be in the heart of this community. I couldn’t see Réseau Capital operating anywhere else.”
Committees that are fully engaged
The Réseau Capital permanent team, which is growing and recruiting to deploy an expanded mission through its new strategic plan, has a capacity to intervene compounded by the work of a dozen extremely active committees. Under the leadership of the Board, which itself includes 24 members representative of the industry, these committees are responsible for specific mandates that involve promoting parity, diversity and inclusiveness in decision-making roles in the industry, managing public affairs or leading a network of “junior” industry stakeholders, and that even include creating a new centre of investment capital expertise in Québec for the benefit of its members and the entire ecosystem.
“The members of each committee are recruited from network members and demonstrate a remarkable level of involvement and collaboration. Their action must always be more focused on a shared understanding and the general interest rather than their individual interests.”
A shift based on business acumen and outreach
Réseau Capital also collaborates with its partner outside of Québec, CVCA, in different areas to make sure that important levers for developing the industry in Québec are taken into consideration.
Guillaume Caudron considers this type of external collaboration to be an eloquent example of Réseau Capital’s potential range of action as well as the concrete impact on key public policies for the industry. He was also the chief of staff for Québec’s Finance Minister and Treasury Board Chair and worked as a consultant for SECOR for a number of years, making this presence one of the organization’s strategic priorities.
“Over the last month, we have deployed our action around three main components. The first involves pursuing our mission to speak, discuss and network in the community of investors: this work remains the foundation of our existence. The two other components will take us even further. The second is to amplify our capacity to showcase the industry by making representations to different key players to foster the implementation of policies and projects that will stimulate investment in and development of the industry. Lastly, our third component, which is a major and structuring project for the ecosystem, involves implementing an investment capital centre of expertise in Québec, which has been operational since last September and allows developing a shared understanding of the realities and issues of our industry and take the Québec ecosystem to another level of development, maturity and performance.”
Guillaume Caudron notes that this initiative is not limited to collecting and disseminating data, but involves developing analyses that call upon the willingness of members to pool their knowledge: a willingness to share market intelligence and expertise in order to advance more rapidly and collectively, and make our industry in Québec a model known for its performance and competitiveness.”
“This level of collaboration and type of progress could not be achieved without Réseau Capital.”
Behind the numbers
What Guillaume Caudron likes the most about his profession
“Contributing to a vibrant industry that plays a key role in Québec’s economic and social development.”
What he likes the least about his profession
“I generally hate when nothing is getting done. I like to see that things are moving and plan to make this happen!”
A person who inspires him
“My parents, for the values they handed down, but also my previous boss and mentor at SECOR, Marcel Côté, whom I was close to. It seemed difficult to follow sometimes, but, as I grow older, I understand more what he was trying to communicate to young people.”
On his bedside table
“When I started, the Chairman of the Board of Réseau Capital told me: “If there’s only one book to read to really understand our industry, it’s Mastering the VC Game by Jeffrey Bussgang.” A close second is 2023: World War III, and book both passionate and worrying by Carl Berryman, to satisfy my interest in geopolitics.”
The series that he liked the most
“I tend more to watch sports. And I especially play sports! Since I come from the South of France, I really love rugby. At 47 years of age, I still play rugby as a member of the Montreal Irish Rugby Football Club. I am the president of the Celtics, a youth team based on the South Shore of Montréal, which I co-founded with several former players with a love for the game. I also coach the team. Rugby teaches players important life lessons and promotes great values such as commitment, team spirit, integrity and respect.”
The playlist that he is currently listening to
“I have three children: two boys (16 and 14 old) born in France and a daughter (8 years old) born in Québec – she has taken over my telephone. My playlist includes a number of songs that I don’t even know but they make me feel as though I’m still young”.