Making a smooth-as-butter transition to RBC Ventures | RBC Ventures

Making a smooth-as-butter transition to RBC Ventures

I’m Derek Szeto, the founder of Butter - a hub for your memberships and subscriptions.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my life. I started my first company, RedFlagDeals, when I was in my final year of high school. It was never intended to be a business, but I was passionate about deals and fortunate enough to find a business model that created value for both consumers and merchants. Ten years later, I sold the company to Yellow Pages and continued on to become a co-founder of Wirkn, a job search and recruitment platform. Now, I’m here at RBC Ventures embarking on a new journey with Butter.

It’s probably no surprise that I have many subscriptions myself, and unlike some friends who were using spreadsheets, I had no way to manage them. We took a problem I had, and thought: why not create a subscription hub where consumers can manage all their subscriptions in one place? And that’s how we came up with the idea for Butter.

We, the Butter team, fundamentally believe that subscriptions are changing the traditional consumer purchasing and consumption model, and this will only accelerate as new types of subscriptions we have not even yet conceived come to market. We constantly ask ourselves how we can create a product for that world that is be both useful for consumers and makes their wallets happy.


(L-R) Derek Szeto, Vinny Liu and Steve Evans

After joining RBC Ventures, my goal was to get a product out on the market as quickly as possible. Once we come up with a solution that we think users will love, RBC Ventures is focused on getting a minimum lovable product (MLP) out to the market fast and then iterating continuously to make the product better. It’s never once and done.

When it came time to build, I was able to bring in some great partners, including Steve Evans and Vinny Liu, to work on Butter with me. We had to change the original vision of Butter since including all the components we originally envisioned would have held us back from getting a product to market in a timely manner. I do think we made the right tradeoffs, and in the end, we were able to launch Butter four months after I joined RBC Ventures - which I’m told is not a typical timeframe for a bank.

A lot of people ask me why I would work for RBC (a bank!). I joined RBC Ventures because I was impressed by RBC’s foresight and commitment to invest ahead of the curve. I also love a challenge and saw this as an opportunity to use my previous experience as an entrepreneur to contribute to a bigger vision. While I continue to learn new things every day from being surrounded by so many smart people with diverse backgrounds, I am excited that I also get the opportunity to play a mentorship role to many other Imagineers at RBC Ventures.

During the creation of Butter, RBC Ventures has proven to be a huge accelerator as we deliver our ideas to critical mass. RBC Ventures is a progressive, forward thinking group powered by smart and driven individuals who have come together to help Butter become a reality.

So what does the future look like for Butter? This is just the beginning! We have big plans to make Butter better for our users – stay tuned!