Real Ventures’ Janet Bannister shares the most important thing Canadian companies should focus on (#BetaKit1on1)

janet bannister

While many of our past #BetaKit1on1 videos have featured established founders from companies like Kik and Bridgit, today, we turn to Janet Bannister, a founder in her own right (Kijiji), but also the general partner at seed-stage VC firm Real Ventures. In the video below, Bannister explains what she thinks is the key to scaling up businesses in Canada.

“I think the most important thing in order to be a scale up and to be the next unicorn is how do you scale your sales and marketing?” says Bannister, who was recently appointed as a board member at Toronto-based VarageSale. “I think that’s the most important thing that Canadian companies need to focus on.”

“Follow your passions and seek out help from other people where needed. You’re not on this journey alone.”

Bannister also shares a few words of advice that she received when she was working 100 to 120 hours a week as an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company.

“A friend of mine said you know what, ‘this is a marathon. It’s not a sprint,’” says Bannister. “I think that helped me adjust my own work-life balance a little bit so that I’m still here today.”

When thinking about Canada’s rapidly growing tech sector, Bannister says it’s companies like Shopify that will have a huge impact on Canada’s economy.

“The way I look at it is you take a company like Shopify. That is not just creating one company,” says Bannister. “What that is creating is a generation of tech and business people who have been trained how to scale a successful tech company and that will go on to create dozens of successful companies subsequently.”

For people who dream of becoming entrepreneurs, Bannister says to “follow your passions and seek out help from other people where needed. You’re not on this journey alone.”

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.