GCVI Summit 2018
Skip Content

22 May 2017

GCV Powerlist 2017: Richard Osborn

The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Richard Osborn, Telus Ventures

Author: James Mawson, Editor-in-chief

It might not seem an obvious leap for a Canada-listed telecoms company to hire a heathcare venture capitalist to run its corporate venturing unit but it is a move that has paid off handsomely so far.

In February last year, Richard Osborn left his managing director role at healthcare investment fund RecapHealth Ventures for a similar role at Telus Ventures, effectively succeeding the unit’s founder, Mathew George.

Osborn has been managing director of health and wellness-focused investment fund RecapHealth Ventures since it was founded in 2010, before which he was a partner at private equity firm Second City Capital Partners.

Earlier, Osborn co-founded venture capital fund Greenstone Venture Partners in 1998 and non-profit investment organisation Social Venture Partners in 2001.

As an experienced venture investor, he has two of the most powerful attributes required – experience in deal-making across a wide sweep of disruptive technologies and a strong network.

Since March last year, he said Telus Ventures had made 16 investments, new and follow-on, including cybersecurity startup Zenedge’s $6.2m round in March, and achieved six exits, including the $600m-plus sale of Veracode to CA Technologies, a $23m trade purchase of Rx Networks by China-based BDStar Navigation, and a $75m undisclosed secondary exit from Vision Critical Communications, a company it first backed in 2004. Just half a dozen previous exits had returned more than $37m to Telus from sales of Clairmail, Kinlogix Medical, Ruckus Wireless, Teradici, TigerText and Widevine Technologies.

Osborn said he had made a number of new team hires across Canada, including moving Jonathan Wolkin to ventures from within the corporation, and adding its first entrepreneur-in-residence.

He has also moved to expand the ventures unit’s connections inside and outside Telus. He said of last year’s highlights: “Launched 1st Step, a market forces workshop exercise to help entrepreneurs understand their environment in a more structured way; struck and expanded a number of national incubator and accelerator partnerships; invested in our first fund, Scale Up Ventures, backed by Ontario’s provincial government; launched Telus Ventures bench, from which Telus’s mid-level staff act as resources for our portfolio companies, and held our first annual ventures Carrier Summit.”

More than 300 people attended the summit, including entrepreneurs, executives, investors and representatives of eight international carrier corp development and venture groups.

Telus appears ubiquitous as a phone operator, alongside peers Bell Canada and Rogers, but, under Paul Lepage, Telus Health is a powerful provider of healthcare technology connecting doctors and healthcare practitioners to one another and to their patients.

Lepage is also chairman of Telus Ventures and was instrumental in hiring Osborn, who promptly launched a “catalyst” program for “ventures-led growth initiatives in a number of areas, such as precision medicine and primary care plus, in which we incubate, invest, partner or acquire in a series of thematic areas”.

From an impressive base, therefore, Osborn has quickly made his mark in a company that, almost uniquely among Canadian corporations, has taken venturing seriously.

Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said: “Telus Ventures has played a critical role in ensuring we embrace innovation opportunities that advance our country’s digital economy and Teluss’ leading performance.”

Copyright Mawsonia Limited 2010. Please don´t cut articles from www.globalcorporateventuring.com or the PDF and redistribute by email or post to the web without written permission.