Throughout his career, Davide Pisanu has fostered a passion, bordering on an obsession, for solving structural inefficiencies.
His talent for identifying waste and redundancy has changed both public and private institutions for the better, and now he is endeavoring to make an oft-neglected part of life as painless as possible, under the circumstances: the settling of a departed loved one’s financial affairs and specifically the cumbersome paperwork involved in estate settlement.
The former corporate attorney, McGill University lecturer and Senior Counsel with the federal Foreign Affairs ministry under Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper segued from law to management in recent years, joining the ranks of McKinsey & Co. and later co-founding the Montreal-based consultancy Juniper.
Following a nearly four-year stint at the circus — leading up transformation in Las Vegas and several US cities for revitalized Cirque du Soleil operations — Davide now feels ready to lead a more product-focused operation aimed at transforming an inefficient part of the financial system as the first CEO of ClearEstate.
“I'll admit that since childhood, I have always wanted to put my name to a product I passionately believed in, and now I’m privileged to be doing just that,” Davide admitted. “Government is a big machine with few opportunities to feel any sense of ownership. I knew that, eventually, I would have to change directions completely but always knew I had to help make life easier on everyday working Canadians.”
Davide set out for a career in international law after earning an MBA and LL.B from McGill University, as well as a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics, focused on international relations. Early in his career, he even tried his hand at startup consulting in the gaming space, and has also invested in real estate.
A self-described “lifelong student”, Davide recalls how his time at McKinsey was an invaluable learning experience, teaching him about “the way wealth is transferred worldwide and deployed in the economy”. Some of the most complex multinational mergers and acquisitions, he noted, can still be far less complicated than many individual estate settlements.
“I started my career as a securities regulation lawyer so I was familiar with financial systems to an extent, but really got to dig into the business side of things in consulting,” Davide said. “Not personal finance but more structurally, how is the industry organized, the pockets of value, and what working people need from the system.”
The events of the past year would be a huge blow to the entertainment industry, and Davide knew his time with the Cirque would be winding down, so he set out to find a new venture that would address his need for meaningful reforms in the financial system.
“Obviously ClearEstate is not performance art, so to speak, but I think the same level of human connection and production value applies,” he explained. “To me, people are paying for empathy and expecting a functional, sympathetic support system. Whether it's a show or software, it doesn't really matter; we must maintain more empathetic systems.”
Together with his partners Alexandre Gauthier and Pascal Brisset, Davide has set the bar high with his commitment to easing the burden of estate executorship.
“This will be the reason we succeed as ClearEstate: not because of our sales tactics or a viral idea, but because we're going to deliver estate services in a way that nobody else does,” he added. “I’ve experienced what it’s like to settle a loved one’s affairs, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Having spent the better part of my professional career working to reduce inefficiency, to get to do this in such a meaningful capacity is my most rewarding experience yet.”
ClearEstate CEO Davide Pisanu can be reached at email@example.com