May 5, 2017

We recently asked our Director of Western Canada, Caterina Papadakos, to talk about her career highlights and what prompted her to join the Espresso team. Here’s what she had to say.

Tell us about your experience prior to Espresso Capital.

I grew up in Toronto but I actually started my career overseas at the European Parliament in Brussels. Living in Europe and exploring the region in my mid-20’s was incredible. I was then drawn to Vancouver in 2007 for the west coast lifestyle – a great city and all the world class outdoor activities I could handle. It was a perfect fit for me as I had been a professional white water river guide during the summers during my undergrad, and I love snowboarding and hiking in the mountains!

One of the more unique jobs I’ve had was with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games (VANOC). I managed the Cypress Mountain Media Centre which had non-stop action because the venue had to ship in snow by helicopter due to a random February heatwave, and we hosted lots of Canada’s gold medal performances!

Then, while completing a MBA at UBC I worked at Trade and Invest BC helping local companies, many in the tech sector, with their export development and investment attraction strategies. Most recently I held the role of Director, Technology and Innovation at BMO where I had the opportunity to lead the bank’s technology sector coverage in Vancouver. I worked with a portfolio of tech companies, creating new financing and banking solutions for them.

Why did you decide to join Espresso Capital?

I love working with entrepreneurs in the tech and innovation community. I really enjoy hearing their story and seeing how we can help them reach their goals with founder friendly growth capital.

I also moved to Espresso because I believe in our team, which has an impressive combination of senior level experience in finance including investment banking and venture capital, as well as experience with growing successful tech companies. Many of our clients have said that working with our team provides great value beyond the capital due to the advice and network we provide.

What are your short-term goals/priorities?

Since joining Espresso, I’ve made an effort to travel to different cities in Western Canada to get to know the key players in each market and to let them know about our offering. It’s a balance between supporting our existing portfolio of clients and bringing on new companies that could benefit from flexible growth capital. I’m very committed to being an active member of the tech community, and I enjoy participating in local tech panels and events whenever possible.

How do you see technology changing/shaping in the west coast of Canada?

In Western Canada, in addition to our thriving tech hubs, we also see a lot of great tech companies innovating some of the more traditional sectors like mining, oil and gas, and agriculture. Technology will continue to permeate every industry whether a company develops a technology solution for their clients, or a company becomes more tech enabled to run their business more efficiently. It is exciting to see traditional industries transform and Canadian companies being recognized as industry leaders.

What do you think is the most exciting trend in happening in Canada?

I think it is exciting to see young founders successfully building and scaling businesses in a very short period of time and creating corporate cultures that their staff are genuinely passionate about. It’s also exciting to see new tech hubs popping up, proving that you can build and scale great tech companies without having to move to a major urban centre. We have a great support system in Canada through the accelerators, industry associations, investors, mentors and government programs to help make these success stories possible.

What is your caffeinated beverage of choice?

Americano – black.