Sid Paquette will now head RBC Ventures and RBCx

Paquette will lead some 500 staff members between the two groups.

Nearly two years after joining RBC, Sid Paquette is now the head of both RBCx and Ventures. Paquette joined RBC in 2020 to launch RBCx, the technology and innovation banking group of RBC. The announcement was made today following the banks’ annual meeting of common shareholders.

RBC Ventures, launched in 2018, invests in startups, acquires startups, and has helped launch and support firms such as Ownr, a startup that enables users to register or incorporate a business in Canada; and Arrive.

“Sid has a lot of cred in the startup ecosystem and now inside at RBC,” one VC told BetaKit.

RBC stressed that the announcement doesn’t signal the merger of the two groups so much as a connection of them together. Paquette told BetaKit that the two groups will have common leadership and will look to capitalize on the complementary skill sets and natural synergies in each group as the strategy takes shape in the coming months.

“This appointment will ensure that we have a coordinated approach to the market, where we will drive meaningful impact to RBC and the community by leveraging the deep expertise that we have on both the RBCx and Ventures teams,” Paquette said.

“We are laser-focused on creating new experiences, exploring new business models, and developing new relationships that add value to how people live and work,” he added.

The move places Paquette in charge of approximately 500 people across the two groups. Approximately 25 percent of the staff work for RBCx while some 75 percent work for Ventures.

Paquette said he intends to build on the momentum of Ventures, and look to create, acquire or invest in innovation platforms that will have a meaningful impact on RBC’s clients as well as the public.

“We have a number of themes that we believe are important to achieve this impact and will also explore new themes that have, as yet, to be developed,” he noted. “We look forward to speaking more about the vision and direction in the coming months.”

People with knowledge of the Canadian venture space say that Paquette makes sense as the “perfect internal/external candidate” having launched RBCx, but with significant work experience outside of the bank.

“Sid has a lot of cred in the startup ecosystem and now inside at RBC,” one VC told BetaKit.

Paquette’s appointment follows a year of significant change amongst the RBC Ventures leadership team.

RBC announced on September 21, 2020 that Mike Dobbins, the group head of RBC Ventures and corporate development, had decided to leave the bank on November 1, 2021 after more than a decade at RBC. No reason was given for his decision.

Cheesan Chew, RBC Ventures’ COO, departed in 2022 to join Manifest Climate as the startup’s chief strategy officer, while Alison Chick left her position as head of B2B Ventures and Health Ventures at RBC Ventures to become the senior vice-president of Lumino Health in 2022. Both are still listed on RBC Ventures’ leadership page.

Paquette’s appointment follows a year of significant change amongst the RBC Ventures leadership team.

Gabriel Woo, the head of Consumer Ventures at RBC Ventures, has also moved to a senior position in the Enterprise Payments and Digital Commerce practice within RBC. Woo still lists the role on his personal LinkedIn page, but is no longer listed on the RBC Ventures’ leadership page.

Paquette came to RBC from OMERS Ventures, where he was a managing partner and led multi-stage investments in technology and innovation startups.

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Under Paquette’s leadership, RBCx delivered banking services and products to technology and innovation startups, provided venture capital fund investments, and worked on direct investment strategies.

In terms of the latter, RBCx identified and supported deals while RBC came in as a new investor such as when Version One Ventures secured $100 million USD across two venture funds. Similarly, RBC joined Golden Ventures as an LP in 2021 when Golden Ventures closed two funds worth a combined $147 million CAD.

RBCx launched a venture debt offering in 2021, which was geared towards providing capital to early-stage startups at the Series A or pre-revenue stage.

The technology and innovation banking group partnered with the CAN Health Network the same year, providing medtech startups with a number of financial products including credit and specialized banking, sector expertise, and other custom banking services such as wealth management and personal finance.

RBC Ventures is primarily focused on investments in the fintech, AI, data analytics, commerce and payments, information security, enterprise IT, marketing and customer experience sectors. Its portfolio companies include League, SecureKey Technologies (which was recently acquired by Avast), and Wave Financial (which H&R Block acquired).

The bank’s venture capital arm acquired Smart Reno, a home renovation platform that connects consumers to renovation contractors in 2019.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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