Toronto- and Montreal-based venture capital firm Brightspark Capital has raised C$60 million for its new fund. The target is C$75 million. The fund’s investors include Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative, managed by BDC Capital for the Canadian federal government, BMO Capital Partners, Fondaction, Investissement Québec, RBC and Teralys Capital Fonds Amorçage Québec, managed by Teralys Capital.
TORONTO – September 8, 2020 – Brightspark Capital, one of Canada’s most experienced Venture Capital firms, today announced the third close of its new Brightspark Canadian Opportunities Fund (BCOF) with commitments of $60 million towards an ultimate fund size of $75 million. Investors in the new fund include capital from the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI) managed by BDC Capital for the Canadian Federal Government, BMO Capital Partners, Fondaction, Investissement Québec, RBC, Teralys Capital Fonds Amorçage Québec (TFAQ2019) managed by Teralys Capital, and individual investors and family offices from the Brightspark network.
BCOF is Brightspark’s third traditional institutional VC fund with a standard venture investing structure. Over its 21-year history, the firm has generated top-quartile returns through two successful VC funds and a series of direct investments. In 2014, Brightspark led the charge in the evolution of venture capital in Canada when it began investing in early stage companies with a deal-by-deal structure using a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and capital from a pool of accredited investors. Through this innovative approach, more than $40 million has been invested in 16 companies, with investments made by members of Brightspark’s growing network of more than 5,000 high-net-worth individuals and family offices.
Now, with the addition of BCOF, Brightspark will further capitalize on the investment opportunities it is seeing in the Canadian technology market. With both its BCOF and SPV investment models investing in parallel, Brightspark anticipates it will invest an estimated $125 million in early-stage companies over the next few years.
Across its funds, Brightspark’s investment strategy remains focused on early and Series A investments in entrepreneur-driven technology companies throughout Canada, with a particular focus on those that have the potential to become a category leader. Brightspark leads investment rounds when appropriate. Since BCOF’s first closing in January, Brightspark has invested from this fund in six companies: Potloc, BuyBack Booth, Prevu3D, Elevate Farms, Classcraft, and Potential Motors.
“Over the past 21 years, we have seen some of the industry’s best companies emerge from the most challenging times,” says Mark Skapinker, Managing Partner at Brightspark. “As a result of COVID-19, we are seeing changes in habits being entrenched into society – with technology at the forefront of it all. There is enormous growth in the tech industry, and we expect some major winners to emerge in Canada. Our focus right now is to connect with the companies that are driving this new wave of innovation.”
“RBC’s investment in the fund furthers our commitment to support the development and scaling of early-stage Canadian innovation, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and the broader technology sector in Canada,” says Mike Dobbins, Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, RBC. “The current pandemic has been transformational. As we reimagine the relationships among businesses and consumers we need to think bold and invest in ideas and opportunities that will redefine society – our investment in the fund will help us be at the forefront of these breakthroughs and partner with companies that are aligned with our strategy and share our values.”
Brightspark is based in Montreal and Toronto, and features VC veterans Mark Skapinker, Sophie Forest and Jacques Perreault, as well as recently promoted Eleonore Jarry as Principal. With over two decades of VC experience, the team is no stranger to investing during downturns and is well-positioned to keep an active investment pace in the current market environment.
“Canadians are entrepreneurial and resilient. Our government is committed to helping innovative venture capital firms like Brightspark grow and succeed—amid the COVID-19 pandemic and on the road to recovery. Through our government’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative, we are supporting diverse industries and entrepreneurs in the technology sector and creating good jobs for Canadians as together we rebuild a strong and inclusive economy.”– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
Brightspark is one of Canada’s top-performing venture capital firms, actively investing in exceptional entrepreneurs since 1999. The firm provides growth capital and expertise to disruptive, market-transforming Canadian tech companies in seed to growth stages. Brightspark made it easy for investors of every size to invest in venture capital opportunities that are sourced, vetted and fully-managed by their investment team. For more information, visit www.brightspark.com
About BDC Capital
BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs. With over $3 billion under management, BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers a full spectrum of risk capital, from seed investments to transition capital, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who wish to scale their businesses into global champions.
About BMO Capital Partners
The BMO Capital Partners team facilitates growth for middle-market companies, providing subordinated debt and equity capital to enable shareholder changes, business expansion, acquisitions and to support the broader growth aspirations of our customers.
A precursor for the past 25 years, Fondaction is the investment fund for those who are actively fostering the positive transformation of Québec’s economy, making it more productive, equitable, inclusive and green. As a labour-sponsored fund, Fondaction represents tens of thousands of investors and hundreds of businesses committed to stimulating Québec’s progress. It manages net assets of more than 2.26 billion dollars invested in hundreds of businesses and on the financial markets, favouring investments that generate positive economic, social and environmental spinoffs in addition to a financial return. Fondaction helps create and maintain jobs and reduce inequalities while contributing to the fight against climate change.
About Investissement Quebec
The mission of Investissement Québec is to play an active role in Québec’s economic development by spurring business innovation, entrepreneurship, ownership transfers and export and investment growth. Operating in all the province’s administrative regions, the Corporation supports the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes through investments and customized financial solutions. It also assists businesses by providing consulting services and other support measures, including technological assistance available from Investissement Québec – CRIQ. In addition, through Investissement Québec International, the Corporation also prospects for talent and foreign investment and assists businesses with export activities.
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 86,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.
TFAQ2019 is a $50M program dedicated to seed funds in Quebec, initiated by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). The Caisse is one of the largest long-term institutional investors in Canada. It manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. TFAQ2019 is managed by Teralys Capital, a private fund manager financing private venture capital funds investing in information technologies, life sciences, and clean or industrial innovations. With $2B assets under management across four venture capital funds and two additional legacy portfolios of funds, Teralys Capital is the largest innovation-focused investor in Canada.