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Bonus Episode – Adam Demuyakor of Wilshire Lane Capital – On Ghost Kitchens, Self Storage and other Prop Tech Opportunities

Adam Demuyakor is the founder and managing partner at Wilshire Lane Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm that focuses on PropTech solutions based in Los Angeles California. Born in the US to a family originally from Ghana, Adam started out on Wall Street in investment banking and held a number of private equity and venture capital roles before found in Wilshire Lane. He also holds a number of Board roles and is a Board of Trustee of the education nonprofit 9 Dots.Our conversation starts with his family roots, and the expectations that accompanied his schooling and career choices. We hear how he came to be interested in real estate and how he gained experience in both the private and public side of the business, and ultimately the vision with which he launched his own firm. This is an opportunity for our discussion to dive into PropTech and discuss what the technology that is transforming real estate looks like, and how these theses are playing out. Among some of the concepts discussed are Ghost Kitchens and the new look Self Storage outfits, and we discuss some of the business models that are exciting him most at this juncture.As an early stage venture capital firm, Wilshire Lane Capital, is highly focused on the entrepreneurs and their vision that they support, and many of them are diverse founders themselves. In fact in an industry in which female and black and brown founders are poorly represented, Wilshire Lane is breaking the mould – 36% of their companies are led by women outright, 29% of their companies have a black founder on them, and 79% of their companies have an underrepresented minority or a female in the C suite. Wilshire Lane Capital recently entered into a strategic partnership with Nile Capital which sponsored our original diverse founders and VCs series, and we speak about how these ideas came together. We speak about 9 Dots, a nonprofit, based in Los Angeles, that focuses on providing subsidized computer science courses for the poorest students in the city. Adam shares why this is one of the most fulfilling of all of his roles. Finally, we discuss some highs and lows of his career so far, what Adam looks for in a founder and what it means to pass the “Shower Test”. This podcast will feature in our mini-series featuring professionals from the Ghanaian diaspora as well as our second diverse founders and venture capitalist series.

Seema Hingorani of Girls Who Invest – Beyond the Dream

Seema Hingorani is the founder and chair of Girls Who Invest and a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Mangement.  She previously was CIO at her own hedge fund and Chief Investment Officer of NYC Retirement Systems where she spent 4 years following a long career in asset management.

Avigail Bar-Timor Rosen – Scaling the Heights of Hi-Tech

Avigail Bar-Timor Rosen  is currently a Business Operation Associate at Payoneer. Prior to this she was a community manager at  “Women in Hitech”, which has more than 14 thousand members.  Avigail continues to  promote and work for the  representation of women in the Israeli tech industry. 

Minh Tsai of Hodo Foods – A Culinary Journey from Vietnam to the US

In this episode of the Intersections Podcast, hosted by Gaëlle Beltran-Grémaud, an INSEAD classmate now based in Philadelphia, we listen to the story of Minh Tsai the co-founder and CEO of Hodo Foods. Minh shares how he arrived from Vietnam to the US as a child, speaking no English; and that with luck, the support of one woman and hard work, he went on to study at Columbia University. After a stint in investment banking and management consulting, he took the risk to follow his passion for food and started Hodo to bring the tofu he grew up with in Vietnam to the US.

Avigail Levine – Amplifying Voices; Restoring Belonging

Avigail Levine is head of marketing and ecosystem relations at Samsung Next TLV in Tel Aviv. She originally studied law, and spent the first years of her career in legal roles, and moved into the tech industry in 2013, where she has held a series of roles including head of portfolio development at a venture capital fund. She is a co-founder and advisor at Restart, whose goal is to help wounded soldiers reintegrate into “real life” after a life changing event. She is also a fellow podcaster at Ma Batafkid, where she broadcasts about non-techie roles in the start-up ecosystem.

Our discussion covers Avigail’s decision to leave law and build a career in tech, even if it meant starting at a lower level on the career ladder, and how she advanced through the area.

Shanna Fuld – Thinking Differently about Grit and Hustle

Shanna Fuld is the founder and CEO at the Israel Daily News Podcast. She has worked as a freelance reporter, and creates her own content including the Israel Daily News Podcast, The Israel Weekly Newswrap, Women in Israel and The Corona Business Report.

Our conversation traces how a chance meeting with Wolf Blitzer in Tel Aviv kindled the flame that was already alight in her for broadcast media. We follow her journey in education and then in the business and some of the long hours and high expectations that it entailed.

Carolyn Saunders – The Art of Playing Many Parts

Carolyn Saunders is a Partner and Head of Pensions at Pinsent Masons, one of the largest specialist pensions law teams in the UK. She focuses not just on traditional areas of pensions law, but also on issues at the cutting edge of current discourse, particularly around areas such as sustainable investing, climate risk governance and trustee fiduciary duties in this respect. She is an active participant in affinity groups such as the Fawcett Society and has a passionate interest in theatre and the arts.

Our discussion tracks Carolyn’s career, her love of London and her passion for theatre, the return of life to lockdown London and her thoughts on diversity in the profession.

Judge Victoria Kolakowski – Authenticity On and Off the Bench

The Honorable Judge Victoria Kolakowski, is a judge of the Superior Court of Alameda County, in the Bay Area of California and in November 2010 she was the first Transgender person to be elected a Trial Judge. Judge Kolakowski is a committed advocate for transgender people and makes herself available throughout the United States and internationally for conferences, seminars and interviews acting as a role-model and providing support.

This conversation with Patrick Devitt, guest host, is a powerful description of one woman’s trans journey, her struggles and triumph and where she found her niche in the practice of the law.

Bob Snigaroff of Denali Advisors – Highs and Lows from the Land of the “High One”

Bob Snigaroff, who is President and CIO at Denali Advisors, based in San Diego. The firm is named after Mount Denali, the highest peak in the USA located in Bob’s native Alaska (and the name for the mountain means “High One or Great One”). The firm is classified as a minority run firm due to Bob’s native American heritage and we discuss his upbringing in a fishing village in Kenai Alaska and how this influenced him in both striking out from the area and remembering his roots.

A unique insight into Native American heritage, a childhood in Alaska, and how it informed a career in finance.

William Bourne – Bridging the Gap in Investments and in Life

William Bourne is a long-time adviser to the local government pension schemes in the UK, and has over 30 years experience on all sides of the asset allocation business. He is the founder of Linchpin, which provides advice on investments and governance to institutional investors, and has worked in sales as well as investment roles, and has spent a considerable amount of time in Japan. He is a frequent commentator and participant on the investment advice conference circuit and a co-host of an occasional webinar series with me in which we bring together a lively group of investors and their advisers.

An enjoyable reflection on a varied and full financial career which is now rounded out with a portfolio career and twin passions for Bridge and Sailing.