OMERS, BMO top up District Ventures’ inaugural fund to $70 mln

District Ventures Capital, a Canadian consumer-goods venture capital firm founded by Dragon’s Den star and entrepreneur Arlene Dickinson, has raised additional capital.

Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) and Bank of Montreal (BMO) provided the commitments, increasing District’s debut fund to $70 million. OMERS committed $33 million.

Calgary-based District invests in early-stage consumer-goods companies, including innovative brands in Canada’s food, beverage and health sectors. The firm also sponsors an accelerator.

Fund I was initially capitalized in 2017 by George Weston Ltd, the Saputo family, ATB Financial, Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss, Retail Ready Foods and other limited partners.

Photo: Arlene Dickinson, founder and general partner of District Ventures Capital.


OMERS and BMO Invest in District Ventures Capital

TORONTO, July 10, 2019 /CNW/ – District Ventures Capital (“District Ventures”), the consumer goods venture capital fund founded by Arlene Dickinson, announced today funding commitments from OMERS, the defined benefit pension plan for municipal employees in Ontario ($33mm) and the Bank of Montreal (“BMO”), two very highly regarded institutional investors. These investments take the fund size to $70 million dollars.

“We are pleased to have these institutional investors backing our Fund,” said Arlene Dickinson, General Partner of District Ventures Capital. “Their commitment underlines our strategy of investing in early stage food, beverage and wellness consumer goods companies and the significant and global growth opportunity these categories represent. These sectors have long been ignored in Canada with the majority of VC funding in our country focused on technology. Our country has a global and expert reputation in AgriFood and Health, and District Ventures is uniquely qualified to build consumer goods companies in these sectors to scale. All of this, combined with innovative entrepreneurs, translates into products consumers will buy and love anywhere in the world.”

OMERS is pleased to support the Fund and entrepreneurs in this burgeoning sector. Investment in District Ventures will create real impact in the AgriFood and Health consumer goods sectors.

“At BMO, we’re focused on helping early stage companies in Canada scale and grow. District Ventures provides a holistic support model for entrepreneurs in the AgriFood and Health sectors and is making an impact. We are proud of the relationship we have already fostered with District Ventures and look forward to seeing the portfolio grow,” said Allison Hakomaki, Senior Vice President and Head, Prairies Region, Corporate Finance Division, BMO Financial Group.

District Ventures continues to build a unique VC platform aimed at investing in and supporting the growth of Canadian companies in the food, beverage and wellness consumer goods categories. Truly one of a kind, the fund also incorporates an accelerator, commercial kitchen and distribution program.

About District Ventures Capital

District Ventures Capital is a venture capital fund investing in innovative companies in the food & beverage and health & wellness sectors. The fund is led by General Partner, Arlene Dickinson. District Ventures is the leading ecosystem in Canada that focuses on the CPG space and brings capital, marketing support, programming and commercialization as support to the companies it invests in.

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Founded in 1962, OMERS is one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans, with more than C$97 billion in net assets, as at December 31, 2018. OMERS invests and administers pensions for nearly a half a million members through originating and managing a diversified portfolio of investments in public markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate.

About BMO

Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider – the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $830 billion as of April 30, 2019, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

For further information: Media Contact: Jerry Nasr, PR and Social Communications Manager, District Ventures Capital, 416-585-2090,