Navigating the Corridors of Power and Finance with Mark McQueen
There’s a lot going on in the world today, and one of the Canadians who has been plugged into the pulse of Ottawa, Venture Capital, and Banking is our guest, Mark McQueen, Founder of Wellington Growth Partners and former President of CIBC Innovation Banking.
We had a great conversation about what’s happening in Canada and globally in the markets, and how we should think about events as entrepreneurs and investors.
About Mark McQueen:
Mark McQueen is the Founder of Wellington Growth Partners, a family office and Angel Fund. He led the growth of Wellington Financial LP, a venture debt fund, from conception in 2000 to the firm's acquisition by CIBC in January 2018. He became President of CIBC Innovation Banking until his recent decision to leave the firm in 2022. Prior to his time in finance and banking, he served in Ottawa in various advisory roles to the Treasury Board and Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney.
Mark started working as a professional news photographer in High School. By the time he was 16, his photographs had appeared in such publications as Time Magazine, The Globe & Mail, and The Toronto Star. He received his bachelor’s from Western University.
In this episode we discuss:
(00:01:30) Mark’s life journey that got him here today
(00:03:13) Lessons he learned from his Father Rod McQueen
(00:05:18) Mark’s time as a photographer
(00:06:46) Working in government out of school
(00:10:16) Why meeting in person can give a lot of context to who someone is
(00:11:34) Jumping into banking instead of getting an MBA
(00:13:20) The importance of service in banking
(00:14:35) What his training was as a banker and how he views the markets
(00:17:25) The importance of doing what the work requires
(00:21:02) Raising his first fund in 2000
(00:23:27) On choosing the name Wellington (twice)
(00:25:27) Surviving the Global Financial Crisis in 2008
(00:30:22) Growing his loan book 10x after being acquired by CIBC
(00:31:13) How the market has evolved over Mark’s career
(00:33:42) The reason behind the SVB implosion
(00:36:42) Why the Canadian VC market is so much smaller than the US
(00:41:36) Reasons why mining and real estate companies are easier to fund in Canada
(00:45:45) Why Canadians seem fine with medium-sized exits
(00:48:21) The crisis of small-cap companies de-listing
(00:50:09) Has the venture industry left him jaded?
(00:51:34) Will Mark return to politics, as some have urged?
(00:54:29) On his love for Pearl Jam
(00:58:33) The farthest he’s travelled to see the band
(01:00:45) How he spends his days now
🎙- Favorite Podcast: Live On 4 Legs
📰- Favorite Newsletter / Blog: Paul Wells
📲- Favorite Tech Gadget: Eero
📈- Favorite New Trend: Taking the Summer off
📚- Favorite Book: The Last Best Hope
🤔 - Favorite Life Lesson: Be frank and authentic in all your endeavours