Paula Cruickshank to lead BDC Capital’s fund investments as senior VP

Paula Cruickshank
Cruickshank fills role previously held by Alison Nankivell, now MaRS’ CEO.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has appointed Paula Cruickshank to serve as senior vice-president of fund investments at BDC Capital.

Cruickshank fills a seat previously held by Alison Nankivell, who left her role as senior vice-president of fund investments and global scaling at the Crown corporation in March to head up MaRS Discovery District as CEO. Cruickshank will officially transition to the new position on July 1. According to a BDC spokesperson, Jérôme Nycz, executive vice president of BDC Capital, is acting in this role in the interim.

Cruickshank has worked for BDC for over 15 years and has nearly three decades of banking experience.

The role soon to be assumed by Cruickshank is a critical one for Canada’s venture capital ecosystem. BDC Capital is Canada’s most active limited partner, with investments in more than 160 venture funds and over $1 billion in commitments. BDC Capital’s most recently announced fund investments include those in Amplitude Ventures, Golden Ventures, and McRock Capital.

During her tenure, Nankivell also played a role in the administration of the federal government’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI), and previously oversaw the Conservative government’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP) initiative when she first joined the business development bank in 2013.

Cruickshank has worked for BDC for over 15 years and has nearly three decades of banking experience. Her present role at the organization is senior vice-president for Ontario, a role she has held since 2020, according to her LinkedIn page.

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Prior to her current role in Ontario, Cruickshank oversaw BDC’s financing and consulting services in British Columbia and Canada’s northern region. Between 2021 and 2023, she was also responsible for BDC’s digital transformation.

“In her new role, Paula will be a key player in achieving BDC Capital’s mission and objectives by, among other things, supporting the growth and evolution of the Canadian venture capital ecosystem,” BDC Capital wrote in a recent LinkedIn post.

Last year, BDC Capital launched a $50-million Seed Venture Fund to invest in pre-seed and seed-stage software startups. However, the organization’s support for emerging fund managers, or lack thereof, has been a source of frustration for some Canadian VCs, particularly given the challenges faced by many venture firms, particularly emerging managers, in raising capital and meeting their targets.

Feature image courtesy of BDC Capital.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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