Atlantic Canadian startups raised a gangbuster $170 million of venture capital funding in the first half of 2021, according to data from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, or CVCA.
Some $135 million of that money was raised in the second quarter, led by the US$100 million round closed in June by Introhive, which helps enterprise customers find sales leads within their own systems. And Halifax posted the fifth-highest deal count in Canada for the first half -- 14 raises -- beating out major urban centres including Ottawa at seven.
The roster of high dollar-value deals is unseasonable for Atlantic Canada, which has historically seen its biggest funding rounds in the fall. And venture capital alone has already blown past last year’s total funding in the region, which was just over $120 million.
“More than half of the VC dollars in the first half of the year have gone towards later stage or growth opportunities, including in the record Wealthsimple investment,” wrote CVCA Chief Executive Kim Furlong in the report. Wealthsimple, a Toronto fintech startup, raised $750 million.
“Specific growth opportunities like these have helped to make this quarter spectacular.”
Nationally, the second quarter was much stronger than the first -- with companies raising $5.6 billion of capital compared to $2.7 billion in the first quarter -- mirroring the trend in Atlantic Canada.
The CVCA’s quarterly reports include only VC deals, meaning smaller rounds that Entrevestor covers via interviews with entrepreneurs may not make the list. Angel investment and stock market funding -- two important sources of capital for Atlantic startups -- are also not included.
While New Brunswick led the Atlantic provinces in capital raised for the quarter, Nova Scotia edged it out slightly on deal count. The CVCA recorded six deals in New Brunswick and eight in Nova Scotia. Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, both failed to book any raises recorded by the CVCA in the second quarter. Newfoundland and Labrador had booked two deals in the first quarter.
New Brunswick startups raised $112 million in the second quarter compared to $23 million for Nova Scotia.
Entrevestor’s data shows New Brunswick’s strong second quarter was driven largely by Fredericton- and Miami-based Introhive’s US$100 million, or C$126 million, funding round in June, which fell just short of cracking the top 10 largest deals nationally.
As well as Introhive, Entrevestor data shows several other later-stage companies closing sizeable rounds by the standards of Atlantic Canada, if not national standards.
Halifax medtech company Audioptics Medical raised $1.9 million in April. Natural language processing firm QRA Corp., also based in Halifax, raised $3.8 million the same month. And dairy supply chain specialist Milk Moovement raised $4 million.
Dwarfing every other funding round that did not include public markets, meanwhile, was Cape Privacy’s US$20 million, or C$25.2 million, raise.
The company is headquartered in New York and not eligible for inclusion in the CVCA data. But it was founded three years ago by a nucleus of tech entrepreneurs who had worked at or orbited around GoInstant, a Halifax startup bought by Salesforce.com in 2013. GoInstant Co-Founder Gavin Uhma is Cape Privacy’s Chief Technology Officer.