When I was 7 years old, my aunt asked me a very simple question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” 

I didn’t say I wanted to be an astronaut or a firefighter or even the next big pop star. I said I wanted to be a businessman, as if I knew what that meant at a young age. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs made it easy for me to want to be one too. I saw first-hand how rewarding entrepreneurship can be while simultaneously witnessing the inevitable challenges and obstacles along the way. Through watching my parents, I had the opportunity to witness the absolute highs and lows of being your own boss and being responsible for hundreds of employees.

Due to the fact that my parents are immigrant entrepreneurs, my upbringing was anything but normal. Growing up, I would tag along with my mom to her restaurants to help the cooks prep for the upcoming day. Even at that age, it was essential to know simple unit economics for each dish. Ultimately, to ensure that we could make a healthy profit off each dish while taking into account other costs. Whether I knew it or not, I was learning the fundamentals of running a business. I was hooked.

MWC_PicToday I am a 4th year Finance student at the UBC Sauder School of Business. I am also serving as an Analyst at Vancouver Founder Fund (“VFF”). Through VFF, and previous employment at Creative Destruction Lab (West) and mimik technology, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting and interacting with some of the city’s top entrepreneurs, specialists, and investors. There’s no doubt in my mind that this city is full of exceptional talent building world-class companies. Through Maple Ventures, I hope to expose the amazing people that are driving BC’s startup ecosystem forward. I’m always happy to meet new and ambitious people, so please don’t hesitate to connect and chat.


John Najafi

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