On April 26, 2021, the Grade 8 class had the pleasure of speaking with Balmoral Hall School graduate Katheleen Eva about her career path and the choices that led her to where she is today. Ms Eva graduated from Balmoral Hall in 2011 and enjoyed her time here, being involved in the arts and debate and developing a love for science in Grade 5. Because of this, she became interested in a neuroscience program at McMaster University, which she enrolled in after graduation.
While at McMaster, Ms Eva explained how she became very passionate about research and participated in many competitions. She discussed how studying a topic like science was useful if you wanted to pursue medicine, law, or dentistry, as well. After entering a start-up competition at McMaster, she realized that it was something she really enjoyed, and, with the experience she had gathered, her transition to start-ups would be easy. So that’s what she did. The start-up that she was a part of addressed problems in the research space, especially in neuroscience. She entered an incubator, which is where start-ups at an early stage go for support and guidance. After this, she was accepted into the Venture for Canada program, which was for people who had graduated and wanted to start a company.
Ms Eva went to Queen’s University for this and started working in marketing at a start-up but then left to join an at-home fertility start-up, which was focused on kits to help women know more about and be updated on their fertility levels. Shortly after, Ms Eva moved to San Francisco and headed for Silicon Valley. She became interested in becoming an investor and helping start-up companies grow. She explained how being an entrepreneur means being open to risk and failure, as well as being persuasive and having strong sales skills. She wanted to become part of the venture capital industry because it “incentivizes invention and innovation” and “allows for redistribution of wealth.” Ms Eva currently works at StandUp Ventures and invests in different companies that she thinks have the potential to make a difference in the world.
Ms Eva also spoke about the two main ways to get into venture capital, which are early-stage technology experience, which is what she did, or investment and finance. She then addressed the problem of gender equality in venture capital, as only 2.3% of $7 billion in funding went to women-led companies in 2020. She attributed this to only 12% of venture capitalists being women. She encouraged us to explore and discover topics we were interested in, especially in male-dominated industries, and try new things. We thank Ms Eva for taking her time to speak with us, and we learned a lot from her presentation!