Laviva is an investment analyst at Luge Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage fintech companies and AI solutions applied to financial services. I first heard about Laviva through one of Luge’s partners, Karim Gillani and I was immediately inspired by her backstory (you can read more here) and her accomplishments to date. Laviva moved from Bangladesh to Montreal for undergrad and after falling in love with the culture and the booming startup ecosystem, she chose to stay in Canada after graduation. She provides tremendous value to the Canadian tech ecosystem and was selected as part of the 2017 Global Women in FinTech Powerlist.
How/why did you get into tech?
My introduction to tech was actually through venture capital and my interest in fintech. My first real exposure to fintech happened through a company called bKash, which launched in Bangladesh just before I moved to Canada, and was revolutionizing the country’s cash-based economy and bringing peer-to-peer, mobile money transfer to a population that was massively underbanked. In Canada, I had the opportunity to work with a fintech focused investment firm and startup foundry called Ferst Capital Partners, which is where I really got to dive into the world of fintech, working at an operational level with some of our portfolio companies.
What role do you play in the tech ecosystem?
I’m an investor at Luge Capital, which is a venture capital fund focusing on early stage fintech and AI applied to financial services. We work closely with entrepreneurs and their teams in their efforts to build world-class companies by sharing our extensive network, experience and industry insights. This is where I spend the bulk of my time as I truly enjoy meeting and working with founders solving big and important problems in the financial services industry.
I have the opportunity to work with some amazing organizations and people in addition to my role at Luge. I’m an advisor to Holt Accelerator – a fintech-focused accelerator – supporting them in their selection of companies and advising its cohorts of companies in various areas. I’m also an advisor to Front Row Ventures, Canada’s first student-run venture capital fund, and a mentor at Founder Institute Montreal.
What do you believe is the most exciting tech trend for 2019?
I think we’re living in very exciting times as fintech is totally transforming the way individuals and businesses pay, insure, borrow, manage and protect their financial lives. Within this broad trend the areas that I’m particularly keeping an eye on at the moment are insurance, home/property ownership, digital identity and regtech, and cyber security.
Who is a person in tech that inspires you? Why?
I’m constantly inspired by people I meet in the industry and it would be too narrow to name only one person. However, I find Angela Strange from Andreessen Horowitz very inspiring. I really appreciate her thoughtfulness around the evolution of financial services and its subcategories.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into tech?
There is something for everyone in tech. Find out what kind of innovation is happening in the subjects you care about and just reach out to someone relevant in the space for a coffee! You will be surprised by the doors that will open if you are proactive about it.