Investing To Create A Better World

CommunityNow Magazine chats with Managing Partner James Lochrie on His Approach To Investing in Community - Pt. 1

“It’s easy to compare investing in and building tech companies to poker. They utilize some of the same skills like risk mitigation, probabilities and capital planning. They also utilize some of the same principals such as optimism, long-term thinking, patience and timing. Games like poker have provided me a lot of different attributes and it has made me a pretty good player at the game of life.” – James Lochrie

James Lochrie is well known as an investor, founder, volunteer and creator.

But what makes him Different? What makes him stand out?

First: James is a self-taught entrepreneur, who believes life is to be lived to the fullest. “We need to keep moving, we need to get busy with life, ” said James when speaking about education, experience and knowledge.

“Get busy with life!” This is a powerful statement and one James lives by every day. James doesn’t shy away from the fact he dropped out of University (more than once) and he takes pride in the knowledge he has gained through experience over the years. He is self taught in nearly every area of life.

“Research, risk taking and finding your passions are important factors in the progress throughout life,” states James.

Second: James thrives on the challenges he faces and accepts risk as a form of learning and growth. Risk taking is exciting for James and he incorporates it into his daily life.

“If you are unhappy with the status quo it will never change unless someone takes a risk. Progress only comes with the risk of going the wrong way, invention only comes with risk of rejection, businesses don’t get created without the risk of failure. Anything meaningful comes with some type of risk and the trick is being able to understand how to balance the risk and the reward.”

Third: James wants to build community and he wants to be a part of the bigger picture.

“I could go buy a beach house and sit around but what good is that doing me or our ecosystem? I want to see our community grow and be successful and I want to constantly improve and keep playing the game of life and enjoy the process of learning, teaching and impacting,” says James.

James’ first love and his first realization of pride of a creation was being a founder of fintech start-up Wave. Wave was one of the largest technology exits in Canadian history.

James had the opportunity to create, fail, recreate, and learn in a company that he created … an experience that only comes from taking the risk of starting and believing in a new venture.

When asked: what is the most interesting investment you have made / or most interesting company you have invested in and why James responds with:

“That’s a very difficult question to answer because they are all so interesting in their own ways. Most unique would be Virgin Galactic because it is essentially a science fiction startup that is at cutting edge but in the public markets. The one with the most interesting potential is Syantra which will change breast cancer diagnostics and potentially save millions of lives. But my favourite is still my seed investment in Wave because of my role in the building of that company. That one is going to be hard to replace.”

Alberta has an amazing ecosystem of investors, believers, amplifiers, storytellers and creators but one of the strongest elements is the knowledge that is being shared. Thin Air Labs, founded by James Lochrie; Capital Partner, Gregory Hart; Design Partner and Jim Gibson; Community Partner is one ecosystem that is making waves … not only in the innovation community but the global health, education and gaming communities.

Thin Air Labs is an innovation investment company composed of experienced entrepreneurs, investors, designers and community leaders, like-minded and experienced like James who believe in and invest in the ecosystem to generate a return on investment as well as meaningful impact for people and the planet.


Thin Air Health: Thin Air Health was founded to help transform how the convergence of capital, communities and ideas can lead to healthier lives. We believe that the Health system needs not to be broken and rebuilt, but rather be set free to iterate, experiment and unlock.

Thin Air Education: Thin Air looks at education through a new lens. Partnering with InceptionU where people learn to think critically, collaborate, communicate and problem solve while they adopt new skills in technology that will prepare them for the changing workforce.

Thin Air Games: Thin Air Labs & New World Interactive partner together to provide the support, funding, and expertise needed for new gaming ventures to successfully build and launch video game projects. With a team of video game developers, entrepreneurs, and investors we offer, business, and financial support to small venture teams from around the world to build a prosperous ecosystem.

Thin Air Work: Thin Air Labs identifies future-fit companies that are building enterprise software solutions for businesses. The strategic injection of Design, Community and Capital has helped several high profile companies scale more quickly.

An amazing example of the work James does is outlined in the success of Symend.

Symend’s science-driven digital engagement platform enables service providers and financial institutions to better engage their at-risk customers with empathy, contributing to the dignity and welfare of individuals while building lifelong value for the company and the brand. In May 2020, Symend announced the closing of a $73 million dollar Series B fundraising round, one of the largest Series B rounds in recent Alberta history.

With initiatives like Thin Air Labs James is teaching others how to play the game of life by showing up, by taking risks and by moving opportunities forward.

James is living his full potential! Imagine what the world would be like if everyone lived their full potential!

Build what's next with us