Atlantic Canada has a range of groups providing early-stage equity investment, whether they are angel groups, venture capital funds, or a hybrid of the two. There is now at least one early stage investment group operating in each Atlantic Province. The regional seed-stage investor, Build Ventures, announced the initial close of its second fund in late 2019. The investment community will continue to evolve in coming years with the development of such groups as the Atlantic Women's Venture Fund.
Click on the logo for more information on each organization.
Rob Barbara/Patrick Keefe
Backed by five governments and private limited partners, Build Ventures invests in scaling companies, usually in tranches of $1.5 million to $3 million. In the fall of 2019, Build announced its second fund with an initial commitment of $50.5 million.
Creative Destruction Lab – Atlantic
Jeff Larsen/Louis Beaubien
CDL-Atlantic has established itself as the main angel funding group in Atlantic Canada, with its members investing about $7 million into 23 companies in its first two years. The CDL is primarily a mentorship group that assembles wealthy business people to mentor and invest in young innovation companies. It emphasizes deep technology in its portfolio companies and works closely with academic institutions.
East Valley Ventures
Founded in 2012, East Valley Ventures provides investment, mentorship and acceleration support to early-stage ICT companies in Atlantic Canada. The organization says its most important contribution is human capital. Its six employees have in total more than 100 years of experience and a world-wide network to help navigate the complex startup world.
Nova Scotia’s public early stage venture capital agency provides a range of equity and non-dilutive funding alternatives for startups. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, it made seven investments in the $350,000 to $2 million range, and made 10 investments of about $100,000 each in “emerging” companies.
Volta in 2017 launched the Volta Cohort, a pre-seed funding program that as of May 2019 had provided more than $500,000 to 21 companies. The companies, from across Atlantic Canada, each received a $25,000 investment. The initial funding for the program has all been invested, and Volta and its partners are now reviewing how to continue to fund startups.
Concrete Ventures, which has more than $17 million to invest, offers investments from $100,000 to $750,000 to pre-seed companies. It is backed by the Nova Scotia government and private investors, and has a mandate to invest in companies based in Nova Scotia and other parts of Atlantic Canada.
New Brunswick Innovation Foundation
NBIF is a not-for-profit organization that makes pre-seed and seed equity investments committing roughly $6 million a year. The organization hosts its biennial business plan competition Breakthru, which is designed to encourage the creation and development of innovative business ventures in New Brunswick.
Opportunities New Brunswick
The New Brunswick government’s economic development agency offers two sidecar funds, which invest in companies based in the province that have landed investment from approved funding groups. Its Seed program offers funding of up to $500,000 per company and the Series A program offers up to $1 million.
Managing the holdings of the Dobbin family of St. John’s, Killick Capital invests in early stage companies, and is especially active in backing companies based in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the past few years, it has co-invested frequently with the Venture NL fund.
The Venture NL Fund
Managed by Pelorus Venture Capital
Backed by provincial and federal governments and private investors, Venture NL makes pre-seed and seed investments in high-growth companies based in Newfoundland and Labrador. Its first fund’s investment period will end in 2020 and its managers are now raising a second fund.
Natural Products Canada
NPC invests in early stage Canadian companies that are developing products or services derived from natural sources. NPC also helps companies connect with its network to prepare for and identify suitable investors and strategic partners.
Island Capital Partners
Island Capital Partners launched in 2017 with the goal of making pre-seed investments in companies based in PEI. It has also become a pillar of the Island’s tech community, providing leadership and mentorship.
Venture Grade Student Investment Fund
The Venture Grade Student Investment Fund is an evergreen venture capital fund managed by students at Saint Mary’s University. So far, it has raised more than $200,000 for the fund and has invested (or is poised to invest) $80,000 in several high-growth startups.
Sandpiper is the first fund of the Atlantic Women's Venture Fund, and is dedicated to funding startups founded and/or led by women. Its representatives have said they plan to launch its first fund, worth about $20 million, in the autumn of 2020.