Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes and New Avenue Capital’s Manny Padda have created a new venture fund to invest in young entrepreneurs that are coming out of Holmes’ charity League of Innovators (LOI).
The pair are looking to raise $20 million for the fund, entitled LOI Venture, to invest in early-stage Canadian startups that are graduating directly from the LOI program.
LOI helps young founders, aged 15 to 30, develop and create startups through services and programming. Since it was created in 2017, the organization claims to have engaged 12,000 youth, accelerated 250 startups, and created nearly $1 billion of enterprise value.
Holmes and Padda sit on LOI’s board of directors alongside Trufan founder Manu ‘Swish’ Goswami, Chad Bayne who is noted as a founding sponsor of Creative Destruction Labs, and Cheesan Chew, the COO of RBC Ventures.
Over the last couple years, we’ve been quietly building a team and suite of programs that help young founders scale.
Today, @LOIUnplugged has witnessed almost a billion dollars of enterprise value created from 250+ founders in residence.
— Ryan Holmes (@invoker) December 13, 2021
“When I launched LOI, my goal was to drive young entrepreneurs to startup success at a much younger age than what the market was delivering. Having started my first business in high school— pre-social media—I knew there was no reason age should hinder somebody with a bright idea,” said Holmes. “It took me twenty years to go from my first entrepreneurial endeavour to building Hootsuite, and I absolutely believe that LOI’s youth should be able to shorten their entrepreneurial trajectories significantly with the right education, support, and now, funding, behind them. Big picture—more successful companies in Canada will create more prosperity for our communities and overall economy.”
Holmes and Padda are currently “engaging Canadian LPs” in order to secure the hoped for $20 million for the fund. They plan to write pre-seed to seed-stage cheques for the LOI graduates.
Padda is also the founder of global investment firm New Avenue Capital, and has personally invested in a number of startups, including Picatic, MyBestHelper, ShareShed, and MTT. He is the co-founder of GradusOne, an organization that provides students and new graduates with resources to support their career path.
“Through diverse student cohorts, LOI is helping to break down societal barriers to entry, and success, in Canada—and our students are also now experiencing a reduction in the time necessitated to achieve that success,” said Padda, who will serve as LOI Venture’s managing director. With nearly $1 billion of enterprise value created through LOI, there couldn’t be a better time to launch this fund. Our board is eager to help a diverse group of founders go to market—and this new fund will remove the last barrier in their way of accomplishing that.”