Meet the GD1 team - Alchae Cansana, Investment Analyst

29.5.2022
GD1 Team

With the ability to leverage relentless curiosity as a tool for unlocking truth; a talent for identifying promising early stage teams and a passion for seeing founders succeed, meet Alchae...

Why venture capital? 

“I did a science degree at the University of Auckland and what I discovered through that experience is that very often, we leave important research behind in the lab. So many good ideas cannot be actualised and achieve impact because there’s simply no support, funding or expertise to bring them to life. To me, VC is a way to get behind those daring enough to take great personal risk in order to have a real and lasting impact. VC helps support those companies paving the way for a better future. It’s startups who will challenge the status quo; and through backing them, VC is one way we make the world a better place.”

More importantly, why GD1?

“One of my favourite quotes is that ‘I didn’t come this far; to only come this far!’ GD1’s  mindset for kiwi founders is similar - they challenge them to ‘Believe and act bigger’. They refuse to accept that we’re (geographically) small; or that we’re isolated; or even that our destiny is defined by our current resources. Instead, they talk the language of outsized talent and ability to scale. The alignment was there around mindset and values; and because they’ve fostered such a familial environment - I knew I wouldn’t have to hold back on being myself. I believe that when you hold back,  it has a flow-on effect on how well you do your work. I knew they were leaders who got the best - the genuine, unfiltered best - from  everyone, especially their team.”

What do you do at GD1, 9-5?

“My key responsibility is to analyse potential portfolio companies with the goal of finding startups that match our investment mandate. I spend a lot of time talking to founders and their teams about the intricacies of their business, including  their product, go-to-market strategy, expansion plans, competitive landscape and product and pricing strategy. In short, a lot of due diligence!

While I help uncover the more ‘serious’ details, it’s also key to learn more about the founders and teams behind a company; including what drives and motivates them and their strengths and weaknesses. A good product with an average team; will never do as well as an average product with the best team.  I support the partners in identifying both incredible products and incredible teams. You can always improve on product, but foundational talent is important to get right from the get-go.“

What makes a good analyst?

“In a word - curiosity. You need to have an insatiable desire to get to the core of why a team is filling a particular gap and how they will deliver on that promise. You also need to be curious about people, trends, industries and how a solution fits into the larger ecosystem. Being relentlessly curious always pays dividends in important company intelligence.

A good dose of ‘team-mindedness’ helps as well…you’re working with a wide range of people with unique skills, knowledge and experience. A belief that collaboration and communication between different team members lead to optimal solutions is key.”

What’s your superpower?

“Empathy. My ability to form genuine and deep connections with people - getting to the core of who they are and what drives them; figuring out their ‘why’ - is the reason I joined VC. I can place myself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. I believe we need more empathy within the ecosystem, especially with how collaborative it is.  Empathy garners trust, builds respect and fosters growth. We have the tech skills to bring so many powerful solutions to reality; but do we offer the appropriate emotional support as well? When it comes to founders, the ability to understand them as well as their product or service is crucial.”  

What gets you up in the morning?

“Another day to hit the gym!...

Jokes aside, I find passion infectious and I find myself drawn to the excitement of meeting passionate founders on a daily basis. That passion comes from a place of wanting to do better for the next generation; to reshape societal norms. It’s bold; and it’s inspiring. In truth - sometimes, it doesn’t feel like work.” 

If you won the lotto, what would you do? 

“I would travel around the world and use my fortune for large-scale philanthropy. I would either help out existing charities or start my own - very likely focused on animal welfare. 

I’d also  love to give back to my very special parents and grandparents in the Philippines because without their sacrifices, I wouldn’t be where I am. I would likely pay off their mortgages; and bring my grandparents over to New Zealand. It would make me so happy to see them thrive, not just survive. Importantly, I’d stay connected to the ecosystem and I’d find a way to keep on giving back, probably through GD1!”

What would you say to someone wanting a career in venture capital? 

“Be curious! Attend as many workshops and events as you can. Don’t always aim to talk to ‘the most important person in the room’; but rather, there are so many people you can learn from as you embark on your journey. Talk to everyone; learn all you can.” 

Alchae Cansana - LinkedIn





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