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BDC Venture Capital invests in four of GrowLab's latest graduates

(Credit: Business Development Bank of Canada) To help increase private sector investments in early-stage risk capital and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds led by the private sector, Economic Action Plan 2012 made $400 million available for venture capital activities. This increases the amount of funding available for innovative growth-oriented firms while focusing resources on those that are most likely to become global leaders. The government is considering how to structure its support to encourage the private sector to invest in and manage seed funds and large-scale venture capital funds.Business Development Bank of Canada Sign
March 4
10:34 AM 2013
👤by David Lee

It's a substantial shot in the arm and vote of confidence for these young startups. BDC Venture Capital, Canada's largest institutional venture capital investor, has provided four companies that recently completed the program of Vancouver-based startup accelerator GrowLab with $150,000 each in seed funding, for a total commitment of $600,000. ePACT, KarmaHire, Procurify and Spacelist were all judged to be "venture-ready" by a joint BDC Venture Capital and GrowLab selection committee. This means they each developed a solid product that showed significant early traction and, most importantly, they are each led by a team of entrepreneurs who proved they were determined, capable and eager to take on the world. The companies were free to turn down the investment, but all four took up BDC Venture Capital's offer.

"This seed investment is meant to help these promising companies keep going while they work towards a more substantial second round of financing," explains Senia Rapisarda, Vice President of Strategic Investments and Initiatives, BDC Venture Capital. GrowLab's graduates learned the good news from Dominique Bélanger, the director in Ms. Rapisarda's team who manages the partnership between BDC Venture Capital and GrowLab. After the program's three intensive months, the companies, Ms. Rapisarda says, "are now well equipped to further refine their product and grow their number of customers", which is what they will need to accomplish in order to attract more financing.

The current investment by BDC Venture Capital takes the form of convertible notes, short term loans that are usually converted into shares later on in the company's life. In addition to Vancouver's GrowLab, BDC Venture Capital is presently offering this type of financing to the "venture-ready" graduates of Montréal's FounderFuel and Toronto's Extreme Startups as well as to selected high-performing startups coming out of Waterloo's Hyperdrive.

"BDC Venture Capital has played a real leadership role in advancing accelerators in Canada," notes Mike Edwards, GrowLab's Executive Director. "Its convertible notes program certainly increases our flow of high potential applicants, motivates those who make it in, and leverages all the work done during the program by improving the startups' chances of success," he adds. "Ultimately, this is all great news for the entire startup ecosystem."

To date, $5.7 million has been provided by BDC Venture Capital in convertible notes to 38 Canadian startups, including $1.95 million to 13 GrowLab graduates since the accelerator's first cohort in 2011. 

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