OMERS taps ex-CPPIB exec Mark Shulgan to lead new growth-equity strategy

OMERS appointed Mark Shulgan to head the Canadian pension fund’s new growth-equity platform, Venture Capital Journal has learned.

OMERS announced Shulgan’s hire as a managing director in September, though at the time did not mention the new strategy.

He will now run OMERS Growth Equity, recently set up for long-term investing in high-growth companies committed to innovation in sectors like healthcare and tech, according to OMERS’ site.

The platform’s strategy is to partner with entrepreneurs as a minority investor, deploying equity of $50 million to $250 million and taking board seats.

Previously, Shulgan was a senior portfolio manager in Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s thematic investing group.

He co-founded the CPPIB group, an investor in private and public companies in North America and Asia, a decade ago.

Before then, Shulgan spent nearly three years as a vice president at Fortress Investment Group.

Shulgan could not be immediately reached for comment.

Along with Shulgan, OMERS Growth Equity has a team of five investment pros.

They include Paul Manias, a managing director and OMERS veteran of close to 10 years. He previously served as a vice president of OMERS Infrastructure.

The team also includes Lisa Conway, a director who joined last year from U.S. investment bank PJT PartnersOlivia Aylon and Peter Hass, both associates, and Grant Wallace, an analyst.

OMERS Growth Equity represents a third division of OMERS Private Equity, filling a space between the PE group and OMERS Ventures, both of them pioneers of in-house direct investing by a major pension fund.

OMERS committed C$10 billion ($7.6 billion) to new private investments last year, according to its annual report, helping push PE to 15 percent of total assets.

The PE portfolio returned a net 13.5 percent in 2018, up from 11.1 percent in 2017.

OMERS, which invests on behalf of Ontario municipal employees, finished the year with net assets of C$97 billion.

OMERS’ new platform is the latest in a series of Canadian growth-equity initiatives, most of them focused on opportunities in North American and global tech sectors.

They include the first such fund of Inovia Capital, which this month closed at an initial $400 million as part of a broader $600 million fundraising.

Georgian Partners also raised $550 million last August for its fourth growth-equity offering.