Introduction Capital is a relationship-brokering business that specialises in the alternative investment industry. It has been built with mindfulness and precision since its inception in 2004. We interviewed the firm’s Founder & CEO Karen Azlen about this very unique avant-garde business.
Introduction Capital provides qualified introductions of sophisticated capital to the firm’s selection of investment managers and private opportunities. Introduction Capital uses focused qualitative analysis to elevate individuals and management teams in order for them to achieve the optimal level of excellence required to attract capital.
First of all, the firm acts as a placement agent/local dealer for established global managers who are marketing their funds in Canada, which is indeed a growing business. Law firms and prime brokers around the word refer Introduction Capital to these large players, who come to Canada to talk to the top 20 or 30 institutional investors and families, but they may not want to register in Canada.
“Introduction Capital is the leader in offering local dealer services in Canada” Azlen underlines, adding that “we are very proud of this growing area of our business.”
She then goes on to say that the second element of the firm’s work is in introduction services (precision matchmaking) which is where they choose “six or seven uncorrelated investment opportunities that are put on the IC platform.”
“We make select investor introductions for those opportunities, all of whom have a very unique investment strategy whether they are private or an alternative investment fund. Our goal with each mandate is to get the introduction right so that there is a high likelihood of raising our chosen clients the sophisticated capital they are seeking.”
“We do not call ourselves third party marketers, because we find that term does not apply to the distinct business that we run. We are an international firm headquartered in Toronto and we work with large family offices both domestically and globally. We are often sought out by investors outside of Canada who are looking for opportunities to invest here.”
The Introduction business is indeed exciting says Azlen, citing the example of the firm working with a best in class Canadian farmland fund, which is really a land appreciation and conversion investment opportunity with a ten-year time horizon.
Going into 2017, Azlen says that Introduction Capital is very excited about working on the launch of a private venture fund and top tier and well branded owner/operator in the seniors’ living space.
“Other plans include working with a long standing Canadian risk arbitrage manager who has some new capacity and also a manager that has expertise in identifying cutting edge Ontario-based medical technology businesses.”
Azlen goes on to say that as the CEO of the firm she tries to spend much of her time meeting with investors to find out what they are looking for. “We find out what investment strategies investors are seeking first – so that when we come across a match – we will then make that introduction for them. We are trying to streamline our attention to the investor and their needs, and build our database filled with this intelligence.”
The third aspect of work includes the firm’s 7th and well-respected annual conference which attracts 180 delegates, including family offices and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. “Our thought-leadership event incorporates expert speakers who discuss various alternative investment strategies, and this year we will include artificial intelligence, medical technology as well as cannabis in relation to compliance and security,” Azlen reveals.
In addition, the firm has a network that is second to none, indeed Introduction Capital is very well branded globally, and one of their biggest challenges is that “we get the first call from early stage managers seeking capital, and we then forward those leads to other groups who may be able to help them or invite them to our conference to meet investors and learn about the industry.”
“Although we are inundated with opportunities, we do try to ensure we only work with established and high-pedigree managers. The challenge is always to find a great match, and provide an investment opportunity that is worthy of a significant amount of capital.”
“The other challenge is that we are coming across opportunities that are more illiquid in nature, without quick redemption options so an investor has to take a longer-term view which they will not always understand or be willing to take part in.”
“If institutional or family office investors are seeking unique access to interesting alternative investment opportunities, then I would encourage them to reach out to us. Do feel free to get in touch with us to learn more about complimentary attendance to our conference being held on April 6th in Toronto, Canada.”
Company: Introduction Capital Inc.
Name: Karen Azlen, Founder & CEO
Web Address: introcap.com
Address: Suite 200 – 1920 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4S 3E2
Telephone: +1 416 550 8243
Note: This article was originally published in Wealth & Finance International, February 2017 and available here.