Michelle Killoran, Principal OMERS Ventures


Pemo Hi Michelle, great to speak to you again. I know we did it live last time but things have changed drastically since I met you? 

Michelle Killoran Sure hello nice to chat with you again.

Pemo So great and how’s it been for you guys? 

Michelle Killoran Happy to report that we’re starting to do more in person again which has been nice.

Pemo That’s great. That’s good. I guess everyone’s just learning to live with Covid now right? It’s like it’s not going to go away. 

Michelle Killoran Exactly.

Pemo But has investing changed for you guys during the crisis?

Michelle Killoran At the beginning I guess in 2020. The main focus in that year was really changing processes and getting used to the remote deals and kind of doing diligence without meeting people in person and getting comfortable with that approach.

Pemo Okay.

Michelle Killoran And then I would say 2021. We’ve already mastered that so a lot of companies and venture funds had done deals fully remote by that time and then we did see a lot more this year. There has been a lot of activity. So a lot of companies are going out to raise. Especially in the real estate space I would say that I think the crisis helped with adoption and some of these technologies. So some areas of real estate For example in the past year and a half people had to resort to different types of ways of communicating or visualizing things on the construction site which led to an increase in adoption of technology maybe faster than the original curve.

Pemo Great. Yeah yeah.

Michelle Killoran We weren’t sure what was going to happen when you couldn’t go into people’s homes and then a lot of technology that was already around really ramped up around digital closings, digital showings and I think that that technology is definitely here to stay.

Pemo Fantastic and have you got any special portfolio companies you want to speak about in this time of change. You know that has emerged or that you’re investing in or you’re interested in? So one of our portfolio companies recently announced their Series B. This is a company called Landed. We led their Series A in 2020. Their focus is helping teachers and essential workers purchase homes by providing down payment assistance. It really follows our thesis around democratizing home ownership and this is one company that I think we’re seeing a lot of growth and potential, especially around as they move to different areas of essential workers. They expanded into health care workers which was really amazing as well. So we’re really excited for what they’re doing and their impact on the community.  I think across the three so residential, commercial and construction. I think there’s still a lot of opportunity to make really big differences especially in the construction space. We’re excited about transforming what the leasing process looks like. Whether that’s through innovation around the mortgage product itself or how people get mortgages. We’re still very bullish there I think right now like just seeing the convergence of a technology. We’re seeing a lot in the real estate space, specifically some really large companies that are seeing some really positive exits and IPOs. I think that also leads to lots of new companies being formed as people have experience and go out to start things themselves. So I’m also excited to see a potential new wave of really early stage companies trying to tackle some of these problems.

Pemo So what about the supply chain crisis? How has that affected you?

Michelle Killoran I think the business models that rely on some of these commodities and supplies are seeing changes to their model and their margin. I think we’ll see that first. It is just around the business model and profitability and some companies. It’s a positive for some companies. It’s a negative depending on where those sit on your statements. But I think there’s still lots to learn on how it’s impacted. I think one impact that we’re starting to see is people trying to think of different alternatives to their supply chain if they are more vertically integrated. 

Pemo It’s just interesting isn’t it to see the two sides to the coin you know.

Michelle Killoran Yeah I know in the past year and a half there has been movement to emerging tech hubs such as Austin or even more on the east coast to Miami or New York I haven’t seen any major impacts to our business I find that.”

Pemo Personally have you seen any movements of people you know out of the Bay area?

Michelle Killoran Yeah I think we’ll start seeing a lot more movement of people and maybe having multiple offices or hubs across the country.

Pemo Yeah I know that a few VCs have said that it’s recently on the podcast.

Michelle Killoran Thank you so much for having me on bye.