Innovator of the Week: Patrick Lor, Managing Partner of Panache Ventures

Venture capitalist Patrick Lor is an active member of Calgary’s business community who invests his time and money into growing the local innovation ecosystem.

Patrick Lor. Photo by Kelly Hofer.

This series is part of Avenue‘s innovation newsletter. Sign up to get more news about Calgary’s innovation scene delivered directly to your inbox every Monday.

Patrick Lor is a fixture of Calgary’s innovation economy. Over the past few decades, he’s had many roles as co-founder of iStockphoto (which sold to Getty Images in 2006), Creative Destruction Lab’s Associate of the Year (2019) and a recipient of the University of Calgary’s 2021-2023 Jarislowsky Fellowship in Business Management. Nowadays, the entrepreneur-turned-investor is managing partner at Panache Ventures, a pre-seed and seed-stage venture capital firm that has invested in more than 100 ventures and has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

As an investor, Lor says working directly with people building successful startups and face time with the people investing in those companies is what sets Calgary apart from bigger cities or more established ecosystems. “The golden opportunity is to talk to people like me, and all my colleagues [who are] the first generation,” says Lor, referring to the first generation of money makers, investors and tech entrepreneurs.

“Look at all these people that have created multi-million, and sometimes billion-dollar, companies,” says Lor, explaining why he invites his contemporaries like Derrick Hunter to join him on campus to mentor students and would-be-entrepreneurs. “If you ask them, they’ll show up on campus and just talk to you guys.”

Much of Lor’s time is also spent working with other individuals and institutions focused on growing Alberta’s innovation sector to make Alberta the “number one place where you would put your technology dollars.”

So, we asked Lor, what could be the next big thing here?

“I think it’s in the next wave of energy, which will involve carbon management,” says Lor. “And carbon management will not only be incredible, as far as the hard sciences go, but will also require a massive amount of digital infrastructure. Alberta really should be the number one place in the world that you would put your money if you’re interested in investing in the future of saving the world, from an energy standpoint.”

Learn more about the people and organizations moving Calgary forward with Avenue's Innovation Newsletter.

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