Unique Venture Capital Fund Leverages Private Sector Investment, Knowledge and Networks
April 27, 2015 – The government is partnering with private investors and business leaders to create Scale Up Ventures, a new venture capital fund designed to support Ontario’s most promising start-ups through a unique combination of investment and mentorship.
“Start-ups need both capital and mentorship to succeed at every stage of their development. Scale Up Ventures specifically addresses the need for new companies to be able to grow to meet demand. This unique program will give businesses access to capital and world-class mentors from Ontario’s business community to guide their success. We are proud to partner with private sector investors on this unique initiative that will further strengthen Ontario’s innovation economy.”
— Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation
As part of the 2015 Budget, the government is contributing up to $25 million to establish the venture capital fund. A further $25 million in matching funds will be provided by private investors. Scale Up Ventures will invest the resulting $50 million in Ontario start-ups that have shown initial market success and that demonstrate strong growth potential, but require new investment and mentorship to expand their operations.
That mentorship will come from the new Scale Up Leadership Council, which will be led by Nadir Mohamed, former CEO of Rogers Communications. The council will be made up of approximately 30 senior business leaders and successful entrepreneurs.
“The value of mentorship is hard to overstate, especially for a young entrepreneur with a promising innovation. Ontario is fortunate to have many civic-minded business leaders who believe that fostering the next generation of start-ups in Ontario is critical to our economic success. Through the Leadership Council, some of our most successful businesspeople will make a personal investment in Ontario’s future.”
— Nadir Mohamed, Chair, Scale Up Ventures
This investment model, which pairs capital investment with high-level mentorship, makes Scale Up Ventures the first venture capital model of its kind in Canada.
Support for start-ups and providing access to venture capital for entrepreneurs is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
“Ontario is home to a vast wealth of business knowledge and a robust start-up ecosystem. By providing new sources of capital and pairing seasoned business leaders with ambitious entrepreneurs, our government is creating a dynamic business climate where new ventures have the opportunity to grow.”
— Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
- The Scale Up Ventures Fund will be managed by a professional fund manager with experience in venture investments.
- Initial investments in promising start-ups are expected to range from $500,000 to $3 million, with the potential for follow-on investment as the company progresses.
- No salaries or investment management fees will accrue to the chair or the Scale Up Leadership Council for their role in the fund’s operations.
- Scale Up Ventures is one of the many programs launched by the Ontario government designed to support youth entrepreneurship, including the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund and the Youth Innovation Fund.