OMERS Ventures has announced its new $750 million USD fund, the first transatlantic commitment for the venture capital arm of Canadian-based pension fund OMERS.
The VC fund had been working on a global fund since last year. OMERS managing partner and head of ventures, Damien Steel, told BetaKit in November about OMERS’ plan to become a global fund, confirming a focus on Europe and North America. He also confirmed that an announced expansion into Asia was no longer in the works.
The firm had been in “advanced talks” with a number of LPs before the COVID-19 crisis hit.
The $750 million USD fund places it as one of the largest ever raised in Canada, considering conversion to CAD. It follows Toronto-based Georgian Partners becoming the first fund in Canada to be valued at over $1 billion CAD.
The transatlantic venture fund will focus on companies based in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe raising Series A to Series C financing. Initial investments will typically range between $5 million to $25 million, with the opportunity for follow-on investments.
According to reporting from The Logic, OMERS had been looking to attract other institutional capital for the new fund but has not received said capital. The outlet is reporting that OMERS sought the participation of all investors that were part of Fund III, including BMO, CIBC, National Bank, Sun Life, TD and the Wafra Group, but none have made commitments to the new fund.
A spokesperson for OMERS Ventures confirmed to BetaKit that the fund is solely sourced by OMERS. They noted that the firm had been in “advanced talks” with a number of LPs before the COVID-19 crisis hit but, “out of respect for the issues every business, was facing we put those discussions on hold.”
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“We recognize what a difficult environment all businesses are facing right now,” Steel told BetaKit. “We know that raising capital in a world where people can’t meet face to face will be challenging. But it’s not impossible. We are confident that innovation will continue to drive our economies, and we want to be there to support businesses both today and in a post-COVID world.”
Steel told The Globe and Mail that the fund plans to invest close to one-quarter of its capital in Canada, with 40 percent in Europe and the rest in the US. According to the Globe and Mail, OMERS is set to announce investments in two Canadian startups in the coming weeks, which will be the first VC deals the firm has made in Canada since June 2018. It is reportedly working on six deals in the US and Europe.
The transatlantic fund will primary focus investment in insurtech, fintech, healthtech, proptech, and workplace technology sectors, as well as logistics tech in Europe.
The new $750 million USD fund comes as OMERS Ventures opened its Silicon Valley office in January 2019 and raised its first European VC fund in March 2019. The firm also brought on Laura Lenz in November who joined as partner, tasked with leading investment activity across the country.
OMERS Ventures has nine partners across three offices, based in Toronto, Silicon Valley, and London. Some of OMERS Ventures’ previous investments have included companies like Shopify, Hopper, Wave, TouchBistro, Crunchbase, and DuckDuckGo.