Current Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Tell us what you’re up to these days. I’m currently an Associate with Chrysalix, a leading early-stage venture capital firm focused on energy technology innovation. We identify promising breakthrough technologies that could have a real impact on energy-intensive industries like electric utilities, oil and gas, chemicals, and mining, and then provide financing to help build fast-growing start-up companies. As an Associate, I’m responsible for identifying high potential technologies, performing due diligence on prospective investments, conducting deep dives into new spaces and developing investment theses, helping our existing portfolio companies as a board observer, and supporting the firm’s fundraising process (as we are currently in the process of raising a new fund). I am fortunate to work with a world-class team of investors at Chrysalix and to work alongside an exceptional group of entrepreneurs and operators within our portfolio companies. I am motivated and inspired by my work because I have the opportunity to address the challenges of climate change and ensure a more sustainable energy future.
How has having an MBA impacted your career? Pursuing an MBA at Harvard has helped jumpstart my career in venture capital. Before HBS, I was an engineer at a large industrial technology company and then a business development associate with a venture-backed cleantech start-up. I had no prior experience in investing whatsoever. After learning more about finance in my course work and interacting with my classmates with investing backgrounds, I became attracted to a potential career in venture capital. My first stint in venture capital was as a Summer Associate with Cue Ball, a Boston-based venture capital firm started by HBS alumnus Tony Tjan. After a phenomenal summer at Cue Ball, I knew venture capital was a perfect fit for me. My current role at Chrysalix allows me to combine my two passions, venture capital and energy technology. Had I not attended Harvard Business School, this career change would have been much more difficult to achieve and it likely would have taken much longer to make such a transition. The HBS MBA opened my eyes to a new career path and then provided me with the skills and connections to get a “foot in the door.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Where will the next chapter take you? I’ve definitely found my calling in venture capital. I feel like I could stay in venture capital for the next 5 years and still learn something new every day. As long as I’m learning, I’m very happy. My ultimate goal is to become a partner at a venture capital firm and continue fostering breakthrough technological innovation and enabling great entrepreneurs to solve the world’s most daunting problems.
– Joe Blair, MBA 2013