The main monitor of venture capital investment in Canada is showing a decline in VC deals in Atlantic Canada in the first half of 2020, though there are signs the news on funding is not all bad.

The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, or CVCA, on Wednesday released its first-half data report, which said Atlantic Canadian companies closed 19 VC rounds worth $41 million in the first six months. Those numbers mark a decline from 26 deals worth $64 million in the first half of 2019.

However, there may be some under-the-radar deals that went unreported to the CVCA. Also, the association’s focus on venture capital and private equity omits stock market transactions, meaning its data set doesn’t include the publicly listed life sciences companies that have raised $52 million this year. Dartmouth-based immunotechnology company IMV raised $25 million in May and Appili Therapeutics, which develops cures for infectious diseases, has twice raised capital this year for a total of $27 million.

The CVCA data for the first two quarters breaks down as follows:

Province Q1   Q2   1H  
  Deals Value Deals Value Deals Value
NS 4 2 2 25 6 27
NB 6 2 1 3 7 5
NL 4 2 1 1 5 3
PEI 0 0 1 6 1 6
Total 14 6 5 35 19 41


It appears that the biggest VC deal in the region so far this year was Halifax-based Proposify’s round in June, which its founders described as “substantial”, though they declined to reveal the value. The round was led by new investor Canadian Business Growth Fund of Toronto, while returning investor Innovacorp of Halifax also participated.

Innovacorp Managing Director Andrew Ray said Wednesday some funding rounds by its portfolio companies may have gone unreported. In the second quarter alone, it was involved in four funding rounds of more than $100,000 each and seven deals of no more than $100,000 each. In the first quarter, Innovacorp closed seven deals, each worth $100,000 or less.

The most notable deal in New Brunswick so far this year was the $2.5 million raised by Fredericton-based Potential Motors, from Build Ventures and New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. 

There may still be smaller deals to be reported, and for some reason most of the big VC deals seem to close later in the year. So Atlantic Canadian innovation-driven companies, including those listed on stock exchanges, should be able to break the $100 million mark in funding this year.

In 2019, the region’s innovators raised more than $680 million in funding (including stock market transactions), led by the record $515 million equity and debt deal by St. John’s-based Verafin.

The CVCA said in its statement Wednesday that Canadian startups raised $1.7 billion in 145 deals in the second quarter, which is 23 percent higher than the same quarter in 2019 and more than double the funding for the first three months of 2020. About 70 percent of the money raised in the second quarter came from deals worth $20 million or more.

“VC investment activity in Q2 was driven by government stimulus coupled with a slight adjustment in valuation,” said CVCA Chief Executive Kim Furlong.​“We saw fewer deals, larger injections in portfolio holdings and VCs reviewing and re-evaluating deal flow that they may have passed on last year. The key is that VCs are continuing to invest.”