After tracking rising technology startups for a number of years with its annual Technology Fast 50 list, Deloitte Canada is getting into the venture capital business itself. Deloitte Canada announced that it has launched Deloitte Ventures, a $150 million CAD investment fund.
Deloitte Canada said its new venture capital fund will make minority investments in emerging technology companies, and is designed to accelerate Canada’s technology sector.
Deloitte is a multinational professional services network that provides audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and related services to business clients.
While this is Deloitte Canada’s first venture fund, its parent company Deloitte already operates a venture capital investment arm that includes such services as assistance with raising venture capital, and legal help with the structuring of transactions and deal closing.
It has not been the easiest road for Deloitte to arrive at its new fund.
Deloitte Canada expects to invest in verticals such as financial technology, health and life sciences technology, consumer technology, cyber security, governance risk compliance, and sustainability and cleantech.
Deloitte Ventures said it also expects to accelerate the adoption of technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and explore other emerging technologies “crucial to the future of Canada’s economy and global competitiveness.”
It has not been the easiest road for Deloitte to arrive at its new fund. According to an individual with knowledge of the firm’s plans, Deloitte has been working on the fund for several years, hoping to launch the fund at $175 million in support of its Canada at 175 research initiative and coinciding with the firm’s own 175th anniversary in 2020. Deloitte was unable to launch the fund in time or at the target amount.
According to another source with knowledge of the VC funding space, Deloitte asked numerous VCs to come in and run the fund, but was unable to hire an external individual with general partner experience. According to the source, it’s because the fund doesn’t look “fully committed.”
In addition, “they’re an auditor, which raises conflicts that are very hard to navigate,” the source commented.
Instead, Deloitte has taken a different tact, naming Talia Abramowitz as the managing partner of Deloitte Ventures, responsible for launching the fund. Abramowitz has significant experience navigating the particulars of a Canadian auditor. Previously, she served as the chief operating officer for Deloitte’s national financial advisory practice, and for Omnia AI, the firm’s artificial intelligence practice in Canada. Abramowitz also co-founded Deloitte Canada’s AI practice in 2018.
Abramowitz also has more than a decade of experience providing valuation and M&A advisory services to a variety of companies, with a particular focus on and interest in the technology sector. She has extensive experience in strategy development and complex execution, specializing in driving operational improvements and enabling growth through strategic investments.
Deloitte Ventures is looking to invest in emerging technology companies with a validated product-market fit that have reached $2 million or more in annual recurring revenue.
As well, startups looking for funding should be scaling in a B2B market, looking for a strategic partner to accelerate growth in Canada, and be “poised to meaningfully contribute to Canada’s innovation leadership and ecosystem,” according to Deloitte Ventures.
Besides tracking rising tech stars through its annual Fast 50 list, Deloitte Canada has been an active acquirer of startups itself. Deloitte Canada chases merger and acquisition opportunities that bolster the firm’s digital, data and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Story updated 01/26/22 with additional files from Douglas Soltys.