Praveen Varshney: A Visionary in Real Estate and Beyond

June 24, 2024 | 
IDG Insights


Praveen Varshney’s journey in real estate investing is not just about financial success; it’s a testament to his commitment to creating a positive impact on society. As a serial entrepreneur and dedicated family man, Praveen’s insights provide a compelling narrative on building wealth responsibly, raising grounded children, and leaving a meaningful legacy. His story is both inspirational and instructive, showcasing how one can integrate business acumen with philanthropic values.


A Foundation in Real Estate

Praveen’s real estate success began by observing his immigrant parents, who invested in rental properties. Inspired by their example, he and his family decided to take real estate investment seriously, establishing a family office over two decades ago. Their focus on real estate was strategic, recognizing it as an intergenerational asset capable of generating passive income.

“Real estate is one of the best ways to create passive income,” Praveen notes. His investments span diverse sectors, including RV parks, retirement homes, hotels, and warehouses. His primary focus areas have become warehouses, driven by the surge in e-commerce, and apartment buildings in high-growth cities like Atlanta, Georgia.


Innovative Investment Strategies

Praveen’s approach to real estate investment is both innovative and pragmatic. By adding value to properties and refinancing equity, he creates significant wealth while maintaining cash flow. This method allows for reinvestment into new opportunities, perpetuating a cycle of growth and financial freedom.

His ventures, including Stonewater Properties and Sarmaya Capital, are not just about financial returns. They emphasize impact investing, integrating sustainable practices such as solar energy and water conservation. More importantly, Praveen views the residents of his apartment buildings as an extended family, fostering community through initiatives like scholarships, rebuilding playgrounds, and developing computer centres with WIFI access. Praveen is changing people’s lives at the community level, as well as changing investors’ lives through the investment opportunities.


Philanthropy and Social Change

Praveen’s commitment to philanthropy is deeply embedded in his business ethos. His charitable endeavors have evolved from supporting children’s hospitals and schools to addressing homelessness. Through Covenant House and Foundations for Social Change, Praveen is pioneering solutions to help the invisible homeless, offering grants to enable them to regain stability and productivity.

His latest project with 3H Properties focuses on developing affordable rental housing, aiming to address the growing issue of homelessness. This initiative reflects his belief in creating a legacy that goes beyond financial success, embodying his philosophy of doing well by doing good. “One of our legacy projects is taking our interest in real estate and creating cash flow, refinancing, creating impact, and helping solve the problem of much-needed housing,” Praveen shares.


Family and Legacy

Coming from humble beginnings, Praveen’s family’s immigrant story is a powerful reminder of resilience and hard work. Praveen and his wife have instilled values of humility, gratitude, and ethical behavior in their children, emphasizing the importance of making money the right way and giving back to the community.

“Our end goal at Foundations for Social Change is to affect policy change,” Praveen states, highlighting his long-term vision of creating systemic solutions to social issues. “We are trying to catch people before they become visibly homeless and it spirals out of control.”

Praveen believes in the power of teaching his children interpersonal skills, ensuring they are equipped to navigate a future where human connection remains paramount. “As parents, we wanted to ensure our kids stayed grounded, humble, and hungry. We taught them the importance of interpersonal skills because, with robots and AI, a lot of jobs will be gone, but the interpersonal stuff is never going away,” Praveen explains.


Business Philosophy and Core Values

Praveen’s business philosophy revolves around four core buckets. These pillars guide his decisions and actions, ensuring a balanced and fulfilling life.

Life and Lifestyle: Praveen values enjoying life’s pleasures and believes in maintaining a full lifestyle bucket. This includes dining out, traveling, and experiencing new things without worrying excessively about costs.

Charity and Philanthropy: Inspired by his parents’ generosity, Praveen prioritizes giving back to the community. His charitable work is extensive, supporting numerous causes locally and globally, always with an attitude of gratitude.

Angel Investing: Praveen is actively involved in the startup community, helping entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. This engagement not only fosters innovation but also creates financial and time freedom for himself and others.

Random Acts of Kindness: Praveen believes in the power of small, spontaneous acts of kindness. These actions can have a profound impact on individuals and contribute to a more compassionate society.


A Legacy of Impact

Praveen Varshney’s story is a testament to the power of integrating business success with social responsibility. His innovative approaches to real estate investing, coupled with his commitment to philanthropy and family, create a blueprint for aspiring entrepreneurs who seek to make a difference. By focusing on legacy, Praveen ensures that his impact will be felt for generations to come, proving that doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive, but rather, inherently connected.

Praveen’s life is a powerful reminder that true success encompasses more than financial wealth. It’s about building strong communities, supporting those in need, and raising a family that values empathy and integrity. His journey offers valuable lessons for anyone looking to leave a lasting positive impact on the world.



About Praveen Varshney

Praveen Varshney has been a principal of Varshney Capital Corp., a Vancouver-based merchant banking, venture capital, and corporate advisory services firm since 1991. He is also a Founding Director of Pyfera Growth Capital and the Humanitas Smart Planet Fund, both focused on social impact. Mr. Varshney holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia and is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA, FCA).

He has held leadership roles in numerous publicly traded companies, including as Co-Founder of Mogo Inc., one of Canada’s largest fintech companies, and NEXE Innovations, a pioneer in sustainable single-use products. Praveen also co-founded Little Kitchen Academy, an innovative children’s culinary school, and served as CFO of Carmanah Technologies, Canada’s largest solar company, and The Plastic Bank, an organization tackling ocean plastic. Notably, he co-founded a predecessor of Mountain Province Diamonds, which developed the world’s largest new diamond mine in 2016.

Praveen’s influence extends to various entrepreneurial and non-profit organizations. He is a long-standing member of the Vancouver Chapter of EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization), Toniic, TiE Vancouver, and the Silicon Valley Blockchain Society. His philanthropic roles include serving on the boards of the Varshney Family Foundation, the Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education, and Instruments Beyond Borders. He is a partner at SVP Vancouver, a Director of Foundations for Social Change, and advises Room to Read Vancouver and The Thomas Edison Innovation Foundation.

An avid pickleball enthusiast, Praveen values the sports’ inclusive nature and dynamic gameplay. Alongside his wife, Praveen recently shared the court with IDG’s CEO Liz Priestman. Passionate about growing the sport, he serves on the board of the Vancouver Pickleball Association and advocates for more public courts to make pickleball accessible to everyone.

In collaboration with his daughter, Jaiya, Praveen co-founded Down to the Last Straw, a global initiative to reduce plastic waste with a focus on single-use straws. His dedication to mentorship and diversity has been recognized with Business in Vancouver’s 40 Under 40 Award and the 2020 Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Wendy McDonald Diversity Awards Outstanding Mentor recipient.



Investment Opportunity with Sarmaya Capital Corp.

Sarmaya Capital provides its clients with opportunities to invest in truly unique multifamily assets in Atlanta, Georgia: Live Better at Flint River. Sarmaya Capital aims to provide robust, long-lasting returns and an opportunity to implement Sarmaya’s Community Betterment Program, providing additional and upgraded amenities for the residents of the community. Flint River is in one of the highest rent growth submarkets in Atlanta and presents a unique value-add opportunity in Jonesboro.

Click here to learn more about this opportunity.