Trieste Reading, FrontFundr investor turned shareholder turned employee

Trieste Reading
May 9, 2024
8 min
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Head of Campaigns and Marketing, Trieste Reading, gives us her money story and how her journey with FrontFundr has led to holding 7% of her portfolio in private equity

The excitement of being your own investor is how my journey with FrontFundr began. If you've tuned into our podcast "From Funding to Fame" or caught me speaking at events, you might have heard a snippet of my story. But for those who haven't, let me take you on a quick tour.

While pursuing my Masters in The Netherlands, I stumbled upon an equity crowdfunding platform in Europe and immediately, the idea of playing the role of a shark or dragon in the startup world intrigued me. So, upon my return home, I went straight to Google and found FrontFundr - Canada’s leading equity crowdfunding platform. 

The first company that caught my eye on the platform was The Very Good Butchers, a plant-based meat company hailing from Vancouver Island. The market for plant-based meats was taking off, they had incredible traction and a very strong brand. I was impressed! And so, I made my first investment through the FrontFundr platform.

Fast forward a few months, and FrontFundr itself was raising capital on its platform. This was my chance to invest in the very company that was making all of this possible. I loved that FrontFundr was driving Canadian innovation and democratizing these wealth-creating investment opportunities for people like myself. Because of that, I made my second investment, becoming a shareholder in FrontFundr and marking a significant milestone in my journey.

Soon after, an unexpected opportunity arose: a job opening at FrontFundr. Suddenly, I found myself in a position to help coach the companies - the same companies I was investing in - in raising capital on their marketing and communications strategy. This was my dream job and still is. It combined my educational and career background in marketing with my interest in personal finances. So my story with FrontFundr evolved from an investor to a shareholder to an employee - who continues to invest on the platform.

My strategy has always been focused on long-term investments that will compound over time

From a young age, I was always interested in learning about business and money. Having a strong understanding of money and your own personal finances leads to security, independence, and freedom - all of which were goals I had for the future. This helped shape my research on investing as I looked to learn as much as I could. Through my research, I set some objectives for my investment strategy:

  • Building generational wealth
  • Creating multiple income streams
  • Securing retirement income through investments
  • Pursuing passive income opportunities
  • Having freedom and flexibility in my future
  • Investing in companies aligned with my values
  • Not letting the stock market consume my life

My investment philosophy is to find companies that I love, that have great leadership teams, and strong competitive advantages or moats - just something that sets them apart. Being a marketer by trade, I also look for companies that have an undeniably strong brand. And then when I invest, I have the mentality that I’m going to be a shareholder of this company for at least ten years. Having a dependency on daily stock market performance with all its ups and downs is something I knew from the beginning of my investment journey that I did not want.

With these objectives guiding me, I've cultivated a diverse, six-figure portfolio comprising various asset classes, including public equities, ETFs, registered accounts, and real estate investments. Notably, approximately 7% of my portfolio is allocated to private equity investments, predominantly sourced through FrontFundr.

Start by automating saving and investing for your future

Before diving headfirst into investing, especially higher-risk investments, I prioritized establishing a solid financial foundation. Paying off student loans, building an emergency fund, and contributing to retirement accounts like my RRSP and TFSA laid the groundwork for my investment journey. I find that I can get quite caught up in work so I started automating much of my savings and investing which proved to be a game-changer for me. A book that does a wonderful job highlighting the importance of automating your savings and investing through a fantastic story is The Latte Factor by David Bach and John David Mann.

Every month, contributions go towards my RRSP and TFSA at my financial institution. I also automatically transfer funds to Wealthsimple’s managed investing portfolio in a TFSA. Another financial app I like to use is Moka, they round all your transactions and invest the difference (say you spend $3.75 on a coffee, Moka would round the transaction to $4.00 and invest the $0.25).

Investing with Dividend Reinvestment Plans to have your money work for you

In my early 20s, I read The Lazy Investor by Derek Foster which opened my eyes to dividend investing. The book details strategies for enrolling in a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP) and Share Purchase Plan (SPP) with established Canadian companies that will continue to grow over time with minimal to no work or fees for the investor. I started with a relatively small investment and have been purchasing more shares over the years while my dividend payments are also reinvested every quarter increasing the number of shares I own. 

For this type of investment, I’m looking for companies that have been around for decades and will continue to be around for decades. I hold shares in banking, energy, and telecommunications - including Canada’s first company to pay dividends. These are investments that I don’t plan on selling until retirement. 

Understanding value investing and the importance of diversification

As with most investors, I’ve always been drawn to the teachings of Warren Buffet and the idea of picking a few good companies, at a good value, that should be doing great things for years to come. For a deep dive into Buffet’s strategy of ‘value investing,’ I recommend reading Invested by Phil and Danielle Town and The Education Of A Value Investor by Guy Spier

Investing in any form requires risk. It’s important to do your due diligence and to understand your own limitations to try to best mitigate that risk. I know I’m not a day trader - I don’t have the time, nor the skill for it. I also don’t think I can time the market. In addition to picking a few great companies to invest in long-term, I also allocate a percentage of my portfolio to Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) that buy an index like the S&P 500. Historically, investors who keep their money in the S&P 500 have seen a 10% annualized stock market return.

Investing in startups that are making a positive impact on the world

With FrontFundr, I know that these investments in startups are high-risk and that there’s a chance these companies might fail before I ever have a chance to sell my position. But that’s okay. Investing through FrontFundr is my way of putting my money behind companies that are creating products and services that I want to see more of in the world. 

Whether it’s wanting to see more plant-based meat products, an easier way for charities to collect donations, a financial education platform for kids, a company making sustainable period care products, or wanting to see Canada become a soccer nation - I love that my investment can be a small part of making those ideals a reality. I also try to apply the same principles of value investing in the public markets to investing in private companies.

Trieste’s FrontFundr portfolio breakdown from 2018-present.

Knowing when to sell is as important, if not more important, than knowing when to buy

While it’s important to buy shares for a good value, I think it’s almost more important to learn when to sell an investment. You need to have the emotional intelligence to not be influenced by herd behaviour through the ups and downs of the market, and to not be emotionally attached to the companies you invest in that you don’t sell when you probably should.

The investment that brought me to FrontFundr - The Very Good Butchers - became the top-performing initial public offering (IPO) of 2020 globally. Yes, you read that right - the top-performing IPO across the world. I purchased my shares through FrontFundr, at an equivalent value of roughly $0.12 per share, and they listed publicly at $0.25 per share, the stock going as high as $9.50 CAD per share. 

If I had sold at the height, that would have been a 7817% return on investment. That kind of return is still incomprehensible to me. However, I didn’t sell at the height. I still made all of my original investment back and more. In that way, I did follow Warren Buffet’s first rule of investing - never lose money. But hindsight offers valuable lessons and looking back I learned a lot.

It can be intimidating to start investing. In fact, I’m still learning every day. A key mindset about investing that I’ve come to adopt is that, at the end of the day, it’s a practice. Just as yoga is an ancient practice that promotes a healthy body and mind, investing cultivates discipline and a dedication to continual learning.

I have always found books and podcasts to be a great resource for learning about different investing strategies along my own journey. This helped me find and test different approaches that worked for my goals and lifestyle. With TikTok and apps like Blossom Social there’s never been a better time to learn from financial influencers and your peers as well. 

One final note that I’ll leave you with for those of you just getting started on your financial journey - when you hear people talking about saving for their future, those who become truly wealthy are not putting all their money into a savings account, they are investing.

Thanks for listening to my story. Now, are you ready to share yours? Together, we’ll explore the diverse paths and perspectives of the 40,000 investors in our community. I look forward to hearing your story!

Join Trieste in our new investor story series as we dive deeper into the stories of investment strategy, personal finance, and wealth creation from our FrontFundr community. Complete our brief survey or reach out to us at to share your narrative.

Trieste Reading is an investor on FrontFundr, turned shareholder in FrontFundr, and turned the head of Marketing and Campaigns at FrontFundr. She is a private and public market investor and owns an investment property in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. She is passionate about sports, design, and gluten-free cooking.

This blog post is for information purposes only and should not constitute financial advice. Investors should conduct their own due diligence on any investment they may be considering on FrontFundr.

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Trieste Reading