How the Wade Institute Venture Capital Catalyst (VCC) program propelled my investing skills

Solai Valliappan
5 min readFeb 3, 2023

I was a participant in the 2020 cohort of the Wade Institute Venture Capital Catalyst program. This post is going to be about my experience beyond what you can read on the website. I’ve also included some tips on how get the most out of it.

The program was recommended by an Australian venture capitalist. At the beginning of 2020 I had been angel investing for about 3 years, this VC could see I was looking to further feed my curiosity and knowledge on early stage investing and made the suggestion of the course.

I spoke to a couple of people who had gone through the first cohort and they all raved about how great it was. Now having been through it I can see exactly why they felt those sentiments!


The course touches on all of the main features of venture capital investing from deal sourcing and due diligence to portfolio management. It’s facilitated by an experienced VC, Rachael Neumann who has both Australian and US investment experience.

There are also a number of sessions facilitated by Colin McLeod (Professor, University of Melbourne) and Pedram Mokrian (Adjunct Professor, Stanford University). It was great to have academics who have practical and extensive experience in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Throughout the course many Australian and international investors are also weaved into different sessions. You’ll definitely feel spoilt hearing from an array of experiences and voices of the venture investment landscape.

The cost of the program is an investment. Whilst not a small outlay, it has significantly helped upskilling my knowledge and has changed the trajectory my career. The people I was able to connect with and the alumni network has been invaluable.


I was part of the second cohort (2020) and it was also the first cohort they ran the course virtually. It’s been conducted virtually since that year. I liked that there was a relatively structured delivery of the content. This suited my style of absorbing information, more of a Socratic method format.



Solai Valliappan

Tech investor with an actuarial background interested in technology, startups, investing and data driven insights to influence system change.