Think big and harness community: Eva and Allen Lau share top tips for entrepreneurs

Eva and Allen Lau, business leaders and co-founders of Two Small Fish Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, have some advice for entrepreneurs at the University of Toronto: leverage the U of T community.

“Notice your classmates, your professors,” Eva says in a newly released video. “One day they could be your customers, your co-founders, your business partners.”

“It’s up to you to leverage all the resources within the U of T ecosystem so that it can drastically improve the success rate of your startup,” Allen adds.

The U of T alumni and spouses are widely known for their roles in launching Wattpad, a digital storytelling platform co-founded by Allen in 2006, with Eva as one of its founding members, and sold in 2021 in a US$600-million deal.  

Last week, the venture capitalists announced Two Small Fish Ventures had secured the final close of its third venture fund, meeting its $40-million target.

Earlier this year, the pair delivered a keynote titled “School of Fish: Lessons from Swimming Upstream” at the Desjardins Speaker Series during U of T’s Entrepreneurship Week.

In the video, the Laus share their top tips for entrepreneurs and startup founders, including the importance of picking the right key performance indicator (KPI), taking investors through your story and thinking big.

“In the pitch, what I’m looking for is, will the startup be the category winner or – even better – the category creator?” Allen says.

“What I’m looking for are people who are ambitious, who want to be the game changer,” Eva adds. “To me, that’s what innovation looks like.”

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