July 31st, 2019

Raseel Sehmi: Asking the Bigger Questions, Clarifying Goals

Meet Raseel Sehmi

Asking the Bigger Questions, Clarifying Goals

Three things you will learn from Raseel’s Journey:

  1. Everyone’s journey is different. Our new investors get clear on what matters most to them (team, product, market, traction), and craft their investment thesis with a mix of self-reflection, community & mentors.

  2. Having diverse perspectives complements any companies ability to grow: “Having investors that are very diverse in their thoughts and in their perspective is only going to complement any companies ability to grow”

  3. Get Started now. You need to take a risk to get a good return. Solidify the knowledge you’ve gained in your career and be risk astute in your approach.

What's Your Path?

Raseel's first exposure to investing was through impact investing. “In my previous life, I was working for the UN and in the non-profit world in international development. I came across an organization called the Acumen Fund, a social impact investment fund based out of New York that really thought about triple bottom line investments. For a while, I was the fund’s Vancouver chapter leader.”

Acumen was raising several millions of dollars, and her exposure to the fund led to an interest in venture capital and tech. “I ended up working for a local technology association, where I represented a lot of technology companies to government. I was putting together policy platforms on behalf of the tech community, and capital was a big part of that. I talked to a lot of investors in Vancouver and abroad to see how we could support technology industries.” 

In this role, she was looking at investing from the perspective of selling companies to investors and pushing policy forward.

“If I'm exposed to these companies,” she thought, “why am I not looking at this from my own perspective of investing?” 

She connected shortly thereafter with Female Funders. Going through the Angel Academy helped her set a foundation for future investments, learn the basics of investment language and terminology, and connected her to a community of women on a level playing field. The program also set her up with a mentor who was aligned with her interests in technology software and venture funds. 

“With my mentor I think I was learning a lot about investing, but also a lot about life.” Beyond investment tips and tricks, and how to be critical about opportunities and deals, Raseel’s mentor asked her to think about bigger questions of motivation and passion. “It's really about understanding yourself so much better…am I going to follow through with something like this, or am I just doing this because it sounds cool? There were some much deeper questions that came up for me as part of the program.”

Through the program, I also gained a new lens through which to evaluate opportunities, which helps me in my current role. I now ask more questions when exploring strategic partnership opportunities, and how my organization should align for maximum impact. The knowledge and confidence I gained through this program have positively influenced multiple aspects of my life.   

Making Her First Investment

She is still considering her options for her first investment. “My goal remains to make my first investment by February 2020. But over the course of this, I ended up coming to a point where the questions led to more questions. I'm still figuring it out, and realize I have to overcome some internal hurdles about that first step.”

Raseel is in no hurry to jump head first into an investment just for the sake of it. Instead, she has chosen to enjoy the process of learning and refining her goals. “I'm really looking forward to it. I'm confident I will make an investment by my goal date, but I feel like taking the time to answer these questions and do this research gives me more clarity.”

“It’s been a really interesting process, a lot of seeing the pros and cons. I’ve really appreciated the guidance, and I’m staying flexible and open to what comes my way. “

Meet Raseel

Current job: ATB's Innovation Lab, leading global business development and partnerships.

Education: She holds an MSc in International Relations & Development Studies from SOAS University of London, a BA in Political Science & Sociology from UBC; is an alumnus of the prestigious Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference; and a mentor with the Immigrant Employment Council of BC. 

She graduated from Female Funders Angel Academy in October 2018.