BDC Venture Capital, one of Canada’s largest and most active venture investors, has announced that it is committing $1.5 million to 10 recent graduates of three Canadian technology accelerators, including, for the first time, two graduates of Launch36, a New Brunswick-based accelerator for Atlantic Canadian startups. This brings to 49 the number of accelerator graduates supported since BDC Venture Capital launched this program in mid-2011, totalling investments of $7.35 million.
“Making first-time investments in such promising startups is part of our strategy to build a healthy Canadian ecosystem,” says Senia Rapisarda, the vice-president at BDC Venture Capital in charge of these initiatives. “We’ll also be looking at connecting these entrepreneurs with angel and venture capital as well as providing them with other forms of non-financial support.” BDC Venture Capital undertakes several other strategic ecosystem-building activities and intends to amplify the support it has been providing within the Canadian early-stage venture ecosystem. “We continue to explore additional ways we can support Canadian graduates of top accelerators both within the country and abroad,” says Ms. Rapisarda.
BDC Venture Capital is investing $150,000 in RUMAnalytics and AnalyzeRE respectively, two of the companies that completed Atlantic Canada’s Launch36 accelerator program this past March. Members of future cohorts will also be eligible for $150,000 seed investments. A joint BDC Venture Capital and Launch36 committee will identify the most promising investment candidates among the companies judged to be “venture-ready” upon completion of the program.
BDC Venture Capital is also investing $150,000 in five graduates of Kitchener-Waterloo-based Communitech HyperDrive‘s April cohort (BeanEvo, ViewsIQ, Groupnotes, Dandy and Cream.hr) and three companies who recently completed Toronto’s Extreme Startups accelerator program (BRIKA, Instaradio and Koge).
Investments in these companies are in the form of convertible notes, which are short-term loans that are usually converted into shares later on in the company’s life. The seed investments are intended to help these very early-stage startups weather a period that can be very tough for them, as they continue working to generate revenues and position themselves for more substantial rounds of financing.
BDC Venture Capital is also a major investor in the FounderFuel, GrowLab, Extreme Startups and Execution Labs private-sector accelerators, as well as a strategic funding partner of HYPERDRIVE and of Montreal’s Notman House. It is an investor in a number of seed and early-stage VC funds, such as Version One Ventures, Real Ventures, and Atlantic Canada’s Build Ventures fund. It is working with NACO on Canadian angel group development, and is a strategic partner of DFAIT’s Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTAs) in the United States. In addition, it is Startup Weekend Canada’s national partner, a sponsor of hackathons and other entrepreneur-matching and development activities across Canada, as well as a premier partner of the C100.