ScaleUP Ventures Second Closing now over $70 million committed
Includes $25 million from the Government of Ontario
Toronto - ScaleUP Ventures Inc. announced a second closing of $32.25 million, bringing the fund's total capital commitment to over $70 million. Today's second closing includes $25 million from the Province of Ontario. ScaleUP was announced in May 2016 with a target to raise $75 million as an early-stage technology fund to work with corporate Canada to help start-up technology companies achieve global scale. ScaleUP achieved a first close in August 2016 of $38 million, including commitments from over a dozen of Canada's largest companies. ScaleUP will have a third and final close in the coming months and expects to over-achieve on the original funding target of $75 million.
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, start-up entrepreneurs, and technology investors. Leadership Council members provide strategic guidance and mentorship to the fund's high-potential companies in Ontario and give corporate Canada more exposure to leading edge innovation. ScaleUP Ventures is managed by Kent Thexton and Kevin Kimsa, both formerly of OMERS Ventures. Kent is an experienced global executive and was CMO of O2 in Europe, COO of Rogers Wireless in Canada, founder of several companies and held extensive private and public company board roles. Kevin founded Toronto-based Solect Technology and built it into a global leader in IP billing, leading it to a US$1.2-billion exit. Kevin is a serial entrepreneur and has served on over 25 boards.
"We are pleased to be making such great progress with our second close and are delighted with Ontario's $25-million investment. Ontario is breaking out as a key global technology start-up market and, with the commitment from our investors, we expect to invest in 25-30 companies. With the help of the ScaleUP team and the Leadership Council, we will help more Ontario companies reach global scale," said Kent Thexton, General Partner, ScaleUP Ventures.
ScaleUP has made seven investments to-date, five 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 business in AdTech with its market-leading Flexitive platform.
ScaleUP is also pleased to announce its seventh investment of $1.7 million in Toronto-based Crowdcare Inc. CrowdCare is the provider of the world's most advanced cognitive digital care solutions for enterprises. Targeting carriers internationally, the platform has recently reached a milestone of housing close to 85,000 questions and answering 60 per cent of inbound queries from various channels, with no human intervention. intervention. "After tracking the team for a couple of years, we are very excited to have been given the opportunity to invest in CrowdCare. Their applied AI platform, targeting the carrier and financial services sectors, is designed to dramatically improve the customer experience and significantly reduce costs, both of which are, naturally, in high demand." said Kevin Kimsa, General Partner, ScaleUP Ventures, who led the investment. "We have received tremendous support from ScaleUP's Leadership Council members in conducting our due diligence which allowed us to accelerate our efforts in harmony with company's timelines; a true testament to our business model."
The Ontario investment is led by the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science. "We need to continue to strengthen Ontario's innovation ecosystems and that includes helping our start-ups and entrepreneurs succeed and create good jobs for Ontarians," said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. "The ScaleUP Ventures Fund gives high-potential technology businesses access to capital and, at the same time, provides mentorship from Ontario's business community to help them grow."
• Ontario ranked sixth in North America for venture capital investment in 2016, up from No. 14 in 2009. A 2016 review of start-up markets by Betakit ranked Toronto as "one of the fastest growing tech markets in North America".
• Mentorship is provided to the fund's firms by the ScaleUP Leadership Council. Led by former Rogers Communications CEO Nadir Mohammed, the council includes current and former senior corporate Canadian executives.