Canada’s OMERS Ventures to more than double tech investing, says CEO-Reuters

(Reuters) – The venture capital arm of one of Canada’s largest pension funds is raising a second, larger round of funding to invest in Canadian technology startups, its chief executive said on Thursday.

OMERS Ventures has already secured some funding from its parent, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, for the second round and has invested some of it, but is now negotiating for more funding from outside sources, CEO John Ruffolo told Reuters on the sidelines of a technology conference.

“It will be a very large fund. It will be larger than our first fund, which was C$200 million ($183 million),” he said.

OMERS was the sole provider of funds for the initial round, which sought to support Canadian tech startups, an area in which funding has floundered since the Internet bubble burst.

OMERS Ventures is negotiating for an additional capital injection from at least one external strategic partner.

“I never anticipated for our next fund to be anyone but OMERS and now there is unsolicited interest,” Ruffolo said. “We’re not looking for capital, but some of these partners have some very interesting strategic value for us that we like a lot,” he said, adding that a deal should be closed soon.

The VC arm has already put the second fund to work in its four most recent deals, Ruffolo said.

In recent months, OMERS Ventures has led a C$100 million funding round for Shopify, an e-commerce and retail platform, and participated in smaller investments in password manager PasswordBox, big data infrastructure company Ranovus, and brainwave-sensing technology company Interaxon.