Build Ventures, the new Atlantic Canadian venture capital fund, launched Tuesday with a new name, new headquarters, new co-manager and $48.5 million in committed capital.

And soon it will have its first investment in its portfolio.

“We’re in the process of closing our first investment,” co-manager Patrick Keefe said in an interview, without naming the company nor its home province or sector.

Build Ventures – which until now has been known simply as the regional fund – is operating out of the new Volta co-working space on Spring Garden Road in Halifax, where it can offer mentorship to the 10 or so young companies that share the space.

Keefe, who spent the last several years as Vice-President Investment with Innovacorp, is co-managing the fund with Rob Barbara, also a seasoned investment manager. Barbara is a Halifax native who has moved back home after spending  11 years with Burgundy Asset Management, a Toronto-based global investment management firm. The pair will be joint heads of the new fund.

One of Build Ventures’ early decisions has been to sponsor Entrevestor, and we appreciate their support of this site.

The fund will be allotting as much as $5 million to about 10 companies in the first few years. That will translate into initial funding of $500,000 to $2 million for each company, setting aside some money for follow-on rounds.

“We don’t have a top-down investment philosophy about focusing on one sector at the expense of another,” said Keefe. “It’s an entrepreneur-led investment strategy.”

The fund’s launch has been two years in the making, as it was mid-2011 when Premier Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia announced that province would invest $15 million in an Atlantic Provinces VC fund and invited other provinces and private investors to join in.

In the end, the fund received commitments from New Brunswick ($15 million), Prince Edward Island ($2.5 million), BDC Venture Capital ($10 million), Moncton-based Technology Venture Corp. ($5 million), and the fund managers ($1 million).

The managers have said they hope for more funding in the future, and several people in the startup community have expressed the hope that Newfoundland and Labrador will contribute to the fund.

“I hope NL Government joins this fund,” Mark Dobbin, the Founder and CEO of Killick Capital in St. John’s tweeted after the announcement yesterday. “Many local companies could benefit; VC investment drives growth.”

Build has launched as the Atlantic Canadian startup community has been attracting more financing from both VC funds and angels. Though the funding has been light so far in 2013, there are deals in the works by VC funds in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, including the first deal by Build Ventures.

Last year, there were 29 VC deals in Atlantic Canada amounting to more than $27 million. But only five of those deals involved funding from firms outside the region, and Build Ventures, Innovacorp and others aim to attract more co-investors in deals in the region.

So far in 2013, the Atlantic Canadian firms that have attracted VC financing (including family offices) have included: Xiplinx Technologies, $100,000 from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation; TotalPave, Store-it Squirrel and Black Magic for winning the NBIF Breakthru Competition; Health Outcomes Worldwide, $1.5 million from NSBI Ventures; Neurodyn, from the Regis Duffy BioScience Fund Inc. of Charlottetown and Mertz Holdings, a family-owned investment fund based in Houston, Texas.