Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has officially announced that it is launching an incubator with BCG Digital Ventures, the global corporate venture, investment, and incubation arm of Boston Consulting Group.
Koru is based in Toronto and plans to hire 35 people.
First reported by The Logic earlier this week, the incubator, called Koru, will work with its existing portfolio to build new businesses. While Koru is a partnership with BCG, the incubator is wholly-owned by Ontario Teachers’.
“Koru is a clear demonstration of Ontario Teachers’ partnership model of investing,” said Ziad Hindo, chief investment officer of Ontario Teachers’. “It provides us with an entirely new way to work alongside our portfolio companies and help protect them against disruption by finding opportunities to add significant mutual value along the way.”
Koru is already generating ideas in sectors like healthcare, utilities, and transportation. Its first venture, Elovee, is building conversational software to help people with dementia. The software digitizes the voice and likeness of family members in the middle of the night, or at other times when those closest to them cannot be physically present. Elovee was designed with Ontario Teachers’ portfolio company Amica Senior Lifestyles, and is currently being piloted in two of Amica’s Canadian locations.
“Amica is proud to be working with Koru on Elovee,” said Douglas MacLatchy, CEO of Amica Senior Lifestyles. “Drawing on innovative technologies and Amica’s in-house expertise in cognitive-wellbeing, this venture is well positioned to enrich the lives of people with dementia and their loved ones.”
Bryan Marcovici, BCG Digital Ventures’ venture architect director, will join Koru as the incubator’s general manager and managing partner.
“Our collaboration with Ontario Teachers’ is inspiring because we are able to draw upon our unique methodology for corporate innovation and experience in launching more than 90 ventures to help them create this new capability for venture building,” said Anthony Koithra, managing director and partner for BCG Digital Ventures. “The potential it has for igniting innovation in, and accelerating the growth of, its portfolio companies is very exciting.”
Koru is headquartered in Toronto and plans to hire 35 people. It is currently recruiting entrepreneurs, product managers, engineers, marketers, designers, and startup operators. The venture incubator already has three new ventures in the pipeline this year, with plans to launch four more in 2020.
Ontario Teachers’ has made several moves this year to enter the innovation space. In April, the firm announced the appointment of Olivia Steedman as the leader of its tech investment department, while it announced a new infrastructure company with Sidewalk Labs in August.
Photo via Unsplash.