Canadian VC Funding Hits Record While U.S. Investors Scale Backby and
It’s a good time to be a startup, as long as you’re in Canada.
Canadian startups raised a record amount of money in the first quarter of 2016, according to PitchBook Data, which tracks venture capital and private-equity investments. That’s a notable achievement when venture capitalists in the U.S. are tightening their purse strings. The first three months of 2016 saw the lowest number of U.S. venture deals in four years.
Private companies in Canada raised C$881 million ($692 million) across 103 rounds of funding in the first quarter, thanks in part to big deals closed by startups Blockstream Corp., Real Matters Inc. and Buildscale Inc., owner of Vidyard. DalCor Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. and Toronto-based health care company Medgate Inc. roped in C$100 million each, according to PitchBook.
In the early 2000s, Canadian entrepreneurs bemoaned a lack of VC support, but now more funding from Canada-based VCs including OMERS Ventures, iNovia Capital and Version One Ventures has made it easier to grow companies in the country.
The success of Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc., which pulled off an initial public offering last year, and mobile messaging provider Kik Interactive Inc. show it’s possible to build a fast-growing technology company north of the border. U.S. venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital are taking notice, making investments in 500px Inc. and VarageSale Inc. Bloomberg LP is an investor in Andreessen Horowitz.
The creation of big new VC funds could mean there’s more capital to come. In March, Kensington Capital Partners closed a C$306 million fund to invest in Canadian VC firms and startups. Leaders Fund, Globalive Capital, and iNovia Capital have also started new funds recently.
Despite the healthy quarter, Canadian startups aren’t immune to the weakening funding environment in the U.S. At the end of 2015, Fidelity Investments cut the value of its stake in Vancouver-based Hootsuite Media Inc. Payfirma Corp., a payment processing startup also from Vancouver, cut a third of its workforce late last year rather than risk raising money at a lower valuation.