David Dufresne has decided to step away from Montréal-based Panache Ventures, the early-stage venture firm he helped launch.
Dufresne shared the news Tuesday with Panache’s portfolio companies, limited partners and co-investors. The founding partner noted that he has been transitioning over the last few weeks to a part-time venture partner role with Panache.
“Those of you aware of Panache’s origin story will understand how hard it is for me to move on from the firm I helped conceive and launch.”
“With Panache Ventures we are in the last year of the investment period for the first fund,” said Dufresne. “As we started discussing a second fund, my partners and I have found ourselves diverging on the topics of strategy, investment decision process, fund operations, and team management for Fund II. So we have decided to pursue alternative directions.”
Dufresne is set to continue to support a group of Panache’s portfolio companies for a time, but will soon look for a new full-time role. He noted plans to remain in the early-stage venture capital and startup ecosystem.
“Those of you aware of Panache’s origin story will understand how hard it is for me to move on from the firm I helped conceive and launch,” said Dufresne. “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far, from fundraising in record time and oversubscribing a first-time fund, to building a mighty team that includes a few of the star venture capitalists of tomorrow.”
Panache was created in 2017 and is led by managing partners Mike Cegelski and Patrick Lor. Dufresne, Cegelski, Lor, and Nicolas Jacques-Bouchard (principal at Panache) were part of 500 Startups Canada prior to launching Panache. In 2017, 500 Canada announced its decision to terminate the fund’s investment period in the wake of allegations of 500 Startups founder Dave McClure’s sexual misconduct and resignation. The group launched Panache with a $25 million fund in March 2018 with plans to replicate the 500 Canada model, including providing deal flow and co-investing with 500 Startups.
In late 2019, Panache held the final close of its inaugural fund, pulling in $58 million. The firm’s LPs include Telus Ventures, Alberta Enterprise Corporation, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, and Investissement Québec, National Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal, and BC Tech Fund. Since its launch, Panache has become one of the most active venture funds in Canada.
“I’m looking forward to having many conversations about future opportunities in the coming months,” Dufresne said about his decision to depart Panache. “I will approach those conversations with an open mind, an open heart, and enthusiastic curiosity.”
With files from Douglas Soltys.