CVCA report: Life sciences companies received a fifth of dollars invested in 2017

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Canadian venture capital investment grew 11 percent in 2017 with $3.5 billion invested over 592 deals, according to a Canadian Venture Capital Association report analyzing VC activity for year-over-year 2017.

This increase is compared to the $3.2 billion invested over 534 deals in 2016. The organization says Canadian venture capital investment is now approximately double the size it was just five years ago.

$739 million was invested over 153 deals in the fourth quarter, while and the average deal size of $5.98 million remains unchanged from last year’s high-water mark since 2013 ($5.19 million). The top 10 VC deals accounted for 27 percent of total dollars disbursed in 2017, slightly below the 31 percent share of 2016 dollars invested.

The report called out three deals in 2017 over $100 million, which were all based in Quebec. These companies included Lightspeed, which raised a $207 million Series D; a $137.5 million Series A from Montreal-based Element AI with participation; and the $128 million Series C of Quebec City-based LeddarTech.

“The excitement many of us are feeling in the Canadian venture capital ecosystem is being validated by the data,” said Mike Woollatt, CEO of CVCA. “We’re seeing historic investment in cutting-edge businesses across the country underlining the confidence in Canadian innovation.”

Information communications technology (ICT) companies received the majority (71 percent) of total VC dollars invested ($2.5 billion over 375 deals) while life science companies received a fifth of the dollars invested ($696 million over 105 deals).

The report also notes that the market for exits rebounded from last year’s slump with 39 exits totalling $1.7 billion compared to only 33 exits totalling $0.6B in 2016.