ScaleUP Ventures Inc. has announced the third and final close of its first fund, over-achieving on the original target of $50 million, bringing the fund’s total capital commitment to over $100 million. The final closing brings fresh capital out of B.C., including funds from the Province of British Columbia (via the BC Tech Fund, managed by Kensington Capital Partners) and several west coast LPs. ScaleUP has also opened a Vancouver office.
“We are excited about the opportunities presented by the ScaleUP fund, with its unique investor base and strong entrepreneurial team,” said Gerri Sinclair, managing director of Kensington Capital, the manager of the BC Tech Fund. “The BC Tech Fund is proud to be investing with ScaleUP as it extends its platform across Canada with the launch of its new Vancouver office.”
ScaleUP was launched in May 2016 with a target to raise a $50 million early-stage technology fund to work with corporate Canada and help startup technology companies achieve global scale. The fund over-achieved a first close in August 2016 of $38 million from over a dozen of Canada’s largest corporations. The $38 million was in addition to the original $25 million commitment 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 B.C. 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 brings together two key components: a venture capital fund and a Leadership Council comprised of some of Canada’s most successful business leaders, startup entrepreneurs, and technology investors. Leadership Council members (including RBC, TD, Scotiabank, Rogers, Bell, Telus, Magna, and Weston) provide strategic guidance and mentorship to the fund’s high-potential companies, and give corporate Canada more exposure to leading-edge 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. 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,” said Kent Thexton, general partner for ScaleUP Ventures.
On July 1, 2017, ScaleUP brought on Vancouver-based serial entrepreneur Derek Spratt as partner and managing director to expand the fund’s activity across Canada. As B.C. continues to bolster its startup ecosystem, having a partner on the ground will enable ScaleUP to engage directly with the best-in-class startups and build a strong west coast investment pipeline.
To date, ScaleUP has reviewed over 500 companies and has made ten investments; seven of which are based in Ontario. Investees include Fusebill, an Ottawa‐based company that develops software to manage subscription billings; FundThrough, a Toronto‐based small business lender; Naborly, a Toronto-based company using machine learning for tenant screening; and Neuranet, a Toronto-based AdTech business with its market-leading Flexitive platform.
Following ScaleUP’s $1.7 million Series-A lead investment in Toronto-based Crowdcare Inc., the company landed an expanded deployment with Rogers, one of ScaleUP’s active corporate LP members. This successful case deployment has since led to secured contracts with emerging carriers internationally, including BT (British Telecom) and Sprint.
“It’s terrific to see the ScaleUP model working, and how leading Canadian corporates have embraced the need for innovation. Engagement with startups has never been better and bodes well for scaling companies in Canada,” says Nadir Mohamed, chair of ScaleUP Ventures.