By our Head of Story, Leah Sarich (December 2021)
Kristina Komarek is the newest member of our Funding Catalyst team. She’s excited to be diving in with her colleagues to help ventures find non-dilutive funding.
The innovation space piqued Kristina’s curiosity while she was still in grad school earning her Masters Degree in neuroscience. Kristina originally planned to do a PhD but after some soul searching, she decided further academic pursuits were not in her future.
“I realized you have to be a very specific kind of person, and I just wasn’t that person.” Plus, there was this growing start-up ecosystem in Calgary that continued to attract her attention.
“I learned about the exciting things that were going on and how Calgary was shifting away from oil and gas and how the tech industry was booming. I was trying to find my way into the innovation sector when I met Crystal Phillips [Thin Air’s Health Lead] and other cool people who wanted to create impact.”
And when a position on the Funding Catalyst team popped up, Kristina jumped at it.
“My entire education has been writing, writing, writing, a lot of technical writing. It's always something I’ve been comfortable with and that I’m good at. And in grad school, I was writing scholarship applications to try and get some funding, so stepping into the Funding Catalyst role has allowed me to do that work with ventures.”
And as Thin Air Labs partners often with health companies, Kristina’s expertise is going a long way to support numerous ventures that will be part of the province’s future economy.
“I’m very passionate about helping diversify the Alberta economy and helping grow the tech industry, specifically the health tech industry because that’s my background." ---Kristina Komarek, Funding Catalyst
“I’m very passionate about helping diversify the Alberta economy and helping grow the tech industry, specifically the health tech industry because that’s my background. I have a lot of friends and family that work in oil and gas who have been affected by the highs and lows,” says Kristina. “I really want to have a hand in making this new tech industry grow to provide Alberta with another foothold, so when there’s another crash in energy, the province is not left floundering, that we still have a thriving economy that can support everyone.”
Building this thriving new economy means constantly listening to what start-ups need.
Kristina says she likes how Thin Air Labs services, like Funding Catalyst, were born out of great empathy for founders. And she sees the Funding Catalyst service continuing to iterate on their offering, so that they can help even more founders grow their companies.
“We’re trying to develop product offerings for any stage of venture. Right now, we’re seed or pre-seed. But we’re also trying to think of ways that we can support ventures even earlier than that, who might not qualify for non-dilutive funding and who may need additional support first,” explains Kristina. “Conversely, we’re also potentially looking at how to support ventures that are huge, and may need help elsewhere.”
"I’ve been wanting to do something that would help ventures in a meaningful way and I knew Thin Air Labs was doing that and it seemed like a great place to do that kind of work." ---Kristina Komarek, Funding Catalyst
It’s about putting the founder first and staying focused on what they need to grow their companies, create massive human impact and #BuildWhatsNext. This mission continues to keep Kristina motivated and inspired. She says she’s very glad she made the transition to innovation.
“Since grad school, I’ve been wanting to do something that would help ventures in a meaningful way and I knew Thin Air Labs was doing that and it seemed like a great place to do that kind of work. Supporting founders in this way is really exciting.”
Read more about the Funding Catalyst service here.
Or, if you’d like to contact the Funding Catalyst team directly, go here.
In the meantime, something you may not know about Kristina:
“I am an immigrant. I immigrated to Canada from Serbia when I was five. That’s a big part of me. I’ve seen everything my parents have given up and gone through to bring me here and give me a better life and now it’s paying off. It’s so inspiring.”