Sidewalk Labs pulls commitment to Quayside Venture Partners, as investors look to launch new fund

Quayside proposal

Sidewalk Labs has decided not to move forward with its previously announced investment fund, Quayside Venture Partners (QVP), BetaKit has learned.

A communications firm speaking on behalf of Sidewalk Labs confirmed with BetaKit that the company has decided not to continue with the venture fund. The spokesperson noted that as a component of the Quayside proposal, which Sidewalk Labs walked away from in May, QVP would not continue.

At the time, a spokesperson for Sidewalk Labs told BetaKit that the QVP fund was under review, along with the rest of its Toronto activities. One source familiar with QVP told BetaKit that the team planned to take May to re-asses, with a chance the fund might continue.

Earlier today news broke of Sidewalk Labs’ decision to permanently close its Toronto office and lay off approximately 20 employees across the 145 person company. BetaKit has confirmed that Nicole LeBlanc, director of investments & partnerships at Sidewalk Labs, who was to lead QVP internally, was among those laid off. LeBlanc declined to offer comment for this story.

Links to the QVP fund on Sidewalk Labs’ website are now dead.

QVP was part of Sidewalk Labs’ master plan for the smart city project, with the Alphabet subsidiary setting aside $10 million in initial capital to establish the new venture fund. The idea was to support and create Canadian startups in the urban tech space. In November, Sidewalk Labs announced it would team with Plaza Ventures for the fund. It was expected that Canadian investors would contribute at least 50 percent of the fund on top of the $10 million from Sidewalk Labs.

While Sidewalk Labs has pulled its investment and support for QVP, some of the VCs involved in the project are in discussions to continue the fund under a new format. A spokesperson for Plaza Ventures told BetaKit that the fund had already put together a framework and pipeline of potential investments, as well as a “consortium of corporate partners,” which have expressed interest in continuing with the urban tech venture fund in some form.

The group is still building out what this new fund might look like, with few firm details. A Plaza spokesperson told BetaKit that either Sidewalk Labs or Alphabet may still be involved in some capacity despite pulling its $10 million commitment.

QVP had plans to partner closely with incubators and accelerators, and also create three advisory networks of Canadian industry experts and C-level executives with “deep experience” in the urban tech sector in order to support future portfolio companies. Michele Romanow, co-founder and president of Clearbanc, Tony Lacavera and Brice Scheschuk of Globalive, and Marcus Daniels, CEO of Highline Beta, were among the list of 24 tech leaders already committed to the project.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.