More news out of Western Canada and the BC Tech Fund as ScaleUP has closed a $100 million venture fund and announced a new expansion.
Today’s announcement details the third and final close of ScaleUP Ventures’ first fund, beating their original target by a whopping $50 million. The total capital commitment now totals over $100 million, with some of the new financing coming out of B.C., including the BC Tech Fund and other west coast LPs.
ScaleUp also announced the opening of a Vancouver office to better communicate with new companies and innovations from the area. The venture fund was first launched in May 2016 with a $50 million target to help early-stage technology companies work with corporate Canada and scale their global presences.
The first close of the ScaleUP fund came in August 2016 and totaled $38 million from over 12 well-known Canadian companies. That first close came after an original $25 million pledged from the province of Ontario.
“ScaleUP’s presence in Vancouver will be a tremendous asset to British Columbia’s rapidly expanding tech sector,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “The BC Tech Fund is doing what it was designed to do and that is to expand the availability of local venture capital in B.C. so promising companies to have sufficient access to capital in order to realize their growth potential in the province.”
ScaleUP Ventures tried to separate itself from other similar funds by offering a two fold approach. They are both a capital venture and a leadership council, comprising successful business leaders, startup founders and tech investors. These leaders, representing companies including RBC, Scotiabank, Rogers and Weston, provide mentorship to high-potential companies and help bridge the gap between the sometimes walled-off corporate world and cutting-edge grassroots innovation.
“The ScaleUP model has been very appealing to entrepreneurs. Along with seeing great deal flow we are increasingly the investor of choice for entrepreneurs,” said Kent Thexton, general partner at ScaleUP Ventures. “The opportunity is large, and with this fund we plan to make 20-30 investments and have strong reserves to invest further in our businesses reaching global scale.”
The expansion into Canada’s west coast came to fruition as ScaleUP hired Vancouver-based Derek Spratt to guide the fund’s activity across B.C. There are a lot of startups coming from the area and having someone on the ground like Spratt, a serial entrepreneur, will only aid in discussions and investment ideas.
ScaleUP has reviewed over 500 companies so far and invested in 10, seven of which are based in Ontario. FundThrough, Naborly and Neuranet are all Toronto-based recipients of ScaleUP funds, while Fusebill comes out of Ottawa.
“It’s terrific to see the ScaleUP model working, and how leading Canadian corporates have embraced the need for innovation,” says Nadir Mohamed, chair of ScaleUP Ventures. “Engagement with startups has never been better and bodes well for scaling companies in Canada.”
A recent report from PwC MoneyTree outlines that ScaleUP has chosen the right areas to plant its seeds, as Ontario and B.C. are the frontrunners of Canada’s funding deployments in Q2 of 2017. There were 30 deals totaling $123 million and 12 deals at $57 million total respectively.