Meet the Canadians spearheading the $100 million enterprise SaaS-focused Leaders Fund

Leaders Fund

Under the direction of three experienced enterprise software leaders, the $100 million Leaders Fund launched today with the mission of investing in high-potential enterprise SaaS companies.

The fund is led by David Stein, the founder and CEO of Toronto-based performance management platform Rypple, which was acquired by Salesforce.com, and co-founder of workforce management software Workbrain, which was acquired by Infor for US $227 million. He’s joined by fellow Canadian Gideon Hayden, an OMERS Ventures investor who worked with its SaaS portfolio companies, which included Hootsuite. Steve DeBacco, who worked with Stein as COO of Workbrain and is the sole American, will also be leading the fund. Ottawa-based Howard Gwin, who has worked as corporate director of Vision Critical and Rypple, will be joining as a venture partner.

“We decided to create a fund that enables us to sit, uniquely, on both sides of the entrepreneur and investor table.”

“I’ve been where many of today’s enterprise SaaS leaders want to go,” Stein told TechCrunch. “By bringing all that experience — both the good and the bad — to Leaders Fund, my team and I can lend our expertise to this next wave. We’re excited to help these entrepreneurs grow faster and more efficiently, to positively impact their trajectory, by providing them with the capital, insights and connections they need at key inflection points.”

The team also said that, as an evergreen venture capital fund with an indefinite fund life, it will work with companies “without the traditional constraints” of ownership and investment thresholds, minimum return hurdles, and liquidity timelines that venture capital funds face. LPs have the ability to exit or change their investment in the fund every so often; the portfolio is then valued and carry incentive is calculated for the general partners. Leaders Fund’s founders hope that this structure will be attractive to investors, as the fund can partner with others on more flexible terms, at various stages and in different roles depending on the goals of the portfolio company.

Stein told TechCrunch that this investment model will allow them to make the right investments without unnatural timelines for exiting.

“After years of successfully growing, operating and exiting enterprise SaaS companies, we decided to create a fund that enables us to sit, uniquely, on both sides of the entrepreneur and investor table,” said DeBacco. “We are business leaders in our hearts and minds. “By seeing the best and worst of venture capital partnerships with entrepreneurs, we’ve built Leaders Fund with a flexible structure that allows us to engage deeply where leaders need support while working in conjunction with other investment partners.”

Image courtesy Leaders Fund.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor.