More often than not, It’s the U.S. venture firms expanding from their home country into Canada in order to look for innovative young startups. This time, it’s a bit different.
OMERS Ventures today announced an expansion into Silicon Valley via a brand new office, as well as the hiring of a new VC partner, Michael Yang. OMERS Ventures is one of Canada’s most recognizable venture funds, currently managing over $800 million across more than 35 investments. The VC firm has invested in Canadian mainstays such as Hootsuite, League, Wattpad, and Shopify, in which they saw an exit through an IPO. One of the latest rounds led by OMERS Ventures was Hopper’s $100 million Series D.
“We are thrilled to expand our physical footprint with dedicated resources to deploy additional capital to startups in the U.S.,” said Damien Steel, managing partner and head of ventures for OMERS. “And we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Michael to lead this expansion of the OMERS Ventures portfolio and brand.”
Yang comes from a deep venture background, including spending time with Comcast Ventures and Atlas Ventures, as well as being part of a handful of exits. Along with Yang, Michelle Killoran, a principal at OMERS Ventures, will be relocating to the Valley to help with opening the new office.
This newest expansion comes on the heels of OMERS Ventures’ CEO John Ruffolo stepping down in September 2018. The firm will not hire a new CEO to replace Ruffolo and will instead rely upon Steel and the firm’s collection of partners to run operations.
“OMERS has such a compelling value proposition for startups looking for a strategic partner, with access to patient yet agile venture capital, a strong entrepreneurial network, steadfast resources to support scale and growth, and visibility into technology themes and opportunities spanning both private and public assets,” said Yang. “Michelle and I look forward to building a Bay Area presence.”
In mid-2018, OMERS Ventures also expressed interest via blog post in opening more international offices in London and Singapore.
OMERS Ventures is the venture arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension plans, with more than $95 million in net assets.