Jim Orlando, managing partner at OMERS Ventures, is leaving the multi-stage investing firm to reportedly lead a new $100 million venture fund created by Canada’s billionaire Weston family.
The news of Orlando’s departure was shared with the OMERS team earlier this week, according to The Globe and Mail, which later confirmed with OMERS managing partner and head of ventures, Damien Steel. The Globe is reporting that Orlando is set to join a new investment arm of the Weston family’s holding company, The Wittington Group of Companies. Wittington Investments is apparently looking to make an investment play in emerging technologies with Orlando at the helm.
Orlando’s departure comes less than nine months after former OMERS CEO John Ruffolo left the firm.
Orlando will reportedly join the private family firm in order to develop “a meaningful corporate venture capital program and strategy,” with a focus on areas of innovation that align with The Wittington Group’s interests. Its holding companies include Loblaws Companies Ltd., President’s Choice Financial, luxury retail-focused Selfridges Group, and Wittington Properties Ltd, among others.
Orlando joined OMERS more than 11 years ago, originally serving as managing director of OMERS Private Equity. He later joined the venture team in 2013 and is responsible for key investments in a number of Canadian success stories including Shopify, Wattpad, Nudge, and Jobber. According to his LinkedIn page, Orlando has more than 17 years experience in VC. Prior to joining OMERS, Orlando, who graduated from McMaster University, “held key roles” at Bell Canda’s Venture Capital arm and Silicon Valley-based Battery Ventures.
The departing managing director will apparently leave the board of Wattpad and four other OMERS board positions he holds when he leaves the VC, which is expected to happen in the coming week. His departure comes less than nine months after former OMERS CEO John Ruffolo left the firm, after joining in 2011 and kicking off its first $200 million venture fund. Ruffolo also led some of OMERS most notable Canadian tech investments including Shopify and Hootsuite.
Wittington Investments itself already has a variety of investments under its belt including controlling interest in George Weston Ltd, the Selfridges Group, and Wittington Properties Ltd. It has also supported the philanthropic activities of The W Garfield Weston Foundation (founded by Willard Garfield Weston and his wife Reta in the 1950s). The investment firm has made recent investments in Toronto’s tech scene. It has backed League, as well as Jordan Jacob’s AI-focused Radical Ventures, with its new $471 million fund.
BetaKit has reached out to OMERS regarding Orlando’s departure but the firm had not returned request for comment by the time of publication.