Fireside Chat with OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman

I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s fireside chat between OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman and Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke!

Despite the downturn, it is a super exciting time to be an entrepreneur and an investor in tech startups. We are in the midst of a “once-in-a-decade” paradigm shift as a number of new tech trends emerge. Generative AI is one of them. When these new transformative technologies achieved mass adoption, they changed behaviour, democratized access, and unlocked values that weren’t possible previously. New startups will more easily challenge the old guards. An exciting time indeed!

Specifically, Altman said: “It should be a big moment for Toronto,” which I couldn’t agree more. In the last decade, Toronto has become one of the world’s AI epic centres. TSFV has already invested in many Canadian AI companies. Look forward to seeing the proliferation of a new crop of moonshots born and raised in your home and native land!

Thanks Lisa Zarzeczny and team Elevate for organizing!

3D Generative AI

No doubt Grand Tourismo 7 is one of VR’s killer apps! Although my Thrustmaster setup already has a brake pedal with an adjustable spring, a seatbelt and a manual transmission with a clutch to maximize the immersiveness, PS VR2 brings it to another level. Watch the video if you don’t believe me!

Although Two Small Fish Ventures does not invest in games, we invested in platforms like Horizon Blockchain Games and Masterpiece Studio. These platforms transform how games are created and unlock new values for gamers and game creators in unprecedented ways.

For instance, creating game-ready 3D assets is very challenging and time-consuming. Using Masterpiece’s 3D Generative AI, one can now create 3D assets with just a few words, such as “blonde viking with a beard.”

Millions of people are already creating games. Unity, one of the most popular game engines used by 2 billion monthly gamers, already has over 1.6 million monthly creators. Platforms like Masterpiece will further democratize game creation and unlock creativity amongst millions who never thought they would become game creators.

Check out Masterpiece Studio’s 3D Generative AI here.

Bags 2 Riches

Episode 4 of Bags 2 Riches is live! The docuseries features the roots of seven notable immigrants’ journeys while sharing their new life in Canada. The series relives the lows and celebrates the highs as each individual recounts the tests they faced.

I am honoured to be featured alongside NBA star Chris Boucher, Syrian-born chocolatier Tareq Hadhad, broadcast pioneer Shushma Datt and a few others. We are all immigrants who call Canada home, and we all want to contribute to this amazing country.

Thanks Simplii Financial for giving me the space to share my story!


Despite two (!) flight cancellations and catching two (!) snow storms in Toronto and Halifax, my trip to Halifax last week was a blast!

First, I hosted an oversubscribed “office hours” at Volta. For those who couldn’t book a time, there is always a next time.

After that, I hosted a tech ecosystem dinner, where we had terrific conversations with many investors and accelerators in the tech ecosystem, and of course, some good food too 🙂

From left: Malcolm Fraser, Andrew Ray, Jeff Larsen, Rhiannon Davies, Jevon MacDonald, Ted Graham, me, Jonathan Saari, Matt Cooper

Lastly, I participated as a judge at Saint Mary’s University in Canada’s only VCIC (Venture Capital Investment Competition), an educational competition that provides students real-world experience in venture capital by simulating the venture capital investment process. The student VCs from across the country (e.g. University of Waterloo, University of Alberta, University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management, Queen’s University, Schulich School of Business – York University, University of New Brunswick, etc.) listened to pitches from real entrepreneurs and defended their investment choices to a panel of senior partners (i.e. me and other real investors).

I was super impressed by the quality of the students’ analysis, the term sheets they put together and their explanations. Equally importantly, we had a lot of fun, including the celebration and the after-party networking chat. Congrats again to all the winners!

It was such a (snow) blast. I will be back! Since Wattpad opened its second HQ in Halifax a few years ago, I have been coming to Atlantic Canada regularly. It is like a second home to me. No doubt this tradition will continue for many years to come!

Two Small Fish Ventures Goes Big With Third Fund

Today is a big day for Two Small Fish Ventures as we reach first close of $24M for Fund III that targets $40M!

With the new and bigger fund, TSFV will continue to back early-stage startups using game-changing technology to achieve global scale. That has not changed. The difference is that we’ll be writing bigger cheques and leading more rounds. It’s a great time to invest as tech touches everything. It creates previously unthinkable opportunities for massive disruption. We will back early-stage companies that shift paradigms.

You can read the announcement here. You can also read the coverage on Globe and Mail and BetaKit.

TIFF 2022

It’s a wrap! The massively successful 47th edition of TIFF is in the history books. For lack of a better term, this is the first ‘fully in-person’ TIFF since the beginning of the pandemic. There were many ‘behind-the-scene’ challenges that might not be obvious to the public. Kudos to the TIFF team for pulling this off.

A massive success also meant a disappointment to some who couldn’t get tickets because many screenings were sold out. For those who couldn’t get tickets, make sure you become a member before the next TIFF 🙂 In addition to supporting this iconic charitable organization, membership will give you many year-round perks, including early-access.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out this wonderful wrap-video!

It’s The Final Curtain Call. A New Story Begins.

After spending 15 years at the helm of Wattpad, today I am starting a new role as Executive Advisor to the WEBTOON family of brands. That’s right, I’m stepping aside as CEO of Wattpad to apply my experience and skills to this new role alongside my other activities as an investor and board member.

As I reflect on the journey of building Wattpad over the years I am amazed at what I’ve accomplished together with my co-founder Ivan Yuen and the entire Wattpad team.

What started as a place to read and write stories on your mobile device, has grown into a product and community loved by close to 100 million people.

We pioneered storytelling technology, changed how people read, write and engage with fictional stories, and transformed the entertainment and publishing industries. Leveraging our massive built-in fandoms and data, we turned numerous top Wattpad stories into hit movies, TV shows, and bestselling books. These movies and shows have topped the box office and ‘most watched’ charts on streaming services, gone on to win Teen Choice Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and even received Emmy nominations, and all have changed the lives of a new generation of creators. It’s been an honour and privilege to democratize who gets to tell their story and redefine how the world reads and shares fiction.

We raised record amounts of capital at the time from top-tier investors in Canada, US, and Asia. We were one of the first to commit to scaling our company in Toronto and then successfully proved you could build a world-class tech company here. We played a part in re-shaping the overall narrative of the innovation ecosystem in Canada.

These are the things you simply don’t think about when you’re starting out, writing code, and bringing an idea to life. To say I am incredibly proud is an understatement.

The past year was record-breaking for Wattpad. Since the acquisition – one of the largest for a Canadian technology company – we have never grown faster. With the Grand Plan in place, it’s the perfect time to pass the baton to Wattpad President Jeanne Lam and Wattpad WEBTOON Studios’ President Aron Levitz in leading the team to achieve the vision. With such strong leaders, Wattpad is in great hands.

I’ve always been a natural builder and I will continue to help build the “next big thing” as Executive Advisor to WEBTOON, as a venture partner of Two Small Fish Ventures, and board member of two of Canada’s most important cultural and innovation organizations, the Toronto International Film Festival and MaRS.

It has been a life-changing 15-year journey for me, my family, the Wattpad team, and millions of Wattpadders around the world. Thanks for all your support. Thanks for sharing all the emotions. Thanks for all the wonderful times and good memories. Thanks for being here with me. I can’t say thank you enough.

Calling this a new chapter or the next season would be a misnomer – it’s the final curtain call of my career as a CEO. But I’m not done yet! I’m still at the top of my game. I’m still hungry for more wins. I still want to make an even bigger impact. My new story begins today.

Little Canada

Recently Eva and I were able to take in the iconic Toronto skyline, hear the roaring of Niagara Falls, see stunning fireworks display against the backdrop of Parliament Hill, and visit the cobblestone streets and charming architecture of Quebec City — all in under an hour. 

How? We visited Little Canada, an exhibit that takes you on a journey of discovery through the sights and sounds of our great country in miniature scale. A scale of 1:87 to be exact. 

The Laus personally invested in Little Canada a few years ago, and one that’s been incredible to see come to life. We remember visiting the workshop in January 2018 and seeing the skill and dedication of Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer and his team in creating the beauty of Canada’s vistas, its famous landmarks, and iconic cityscapes in miniature form. Now that the exhibit is open, it’s jaw-dropping to see the level of detail involved: every time we looked there was something new to discover. 

As part of the Little Canada experience, Eva and I also got to try out the Littlization Station. We were scanned and our likeness will be 3D printed into our very own Little Me figurine that will get placed inside Little Canada. Way cooler than a bobblehead! 

But perhaps the coolest thing about visiting Little Canada was this:

Can’t see it? Hang on, let’s get closer:

That’s right: Wattpad HQ exists in Little Canada, too. It was so fun to see our logo on a miniature building in the miniature St. Lawrence Market area of miniature downtown Toronto. 

Here are a few more pictures from our visit. I hope you have a chance to explore Little Canada soon and see for yourself how this tiny experience delivers a big wow factor. 

C100 Dinner

Last evening the Laus hosted an intimate dinner with a dozen of fellow C100 members in our backyard. After locking down for 18 months, we all appreciate what in-person gatherings can bring while pixels cannot. We had meaningful conversations about how the fantastic Canadian tech ecosystem can win in style on the global stage even more and many other topics. Thanks C100’s Lauren Howe for organizing and Andre Perey from Osler for co-hosting.

Look forward to more in-person gatherings as we are slowly but surely winning over the virus!

You are the CEO of Your Own Career

In honour of Asian Heritage Month, BenchSci hosted Showing Up, a discussion that delved into the experiences of four Asian panelists: Kepler’s CTO and co-founder Wen Cheng Chong, Wealthsimple Foundation’s CEO Leen Li, Backbase’s Regional VP of Customer Success Yuko Naka and me.

It was a wonderful conversation. You can find the summary on BenchSci’s blog or watch the whole panel on YouTube.

One thing I said that I would like to highlight: ‘You are the CEO of your own career.’

Culturally, many Asian parents have a strong influence on their children’s careers. Of course, it is great to listen to parents’ experiences and leverage their wisdom. However, your career decision is all yours. You are not your parents. Your interest is not the same as your parents’ interest. Most importantly, your career aspiration should not be a projection of your parents’ career aspiration. You are accountable for your career. Listen and learn, but chart your own path.

Because you are the CEO of your own career.