In partnership with the Edmonton Police Foundation, Telus has backed a new social impact fund designed to support graduates of the Telus-sponsored Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator (CSW) program.
Geared towards global companies addressing complex social issues in Edmonton, the venture capital (VC) fund will focus on CSW grads delivering “both a measurable social and strong financial return.”
The ScaleGood Fund will focus on CSW grads delivering “both a measurable social and strong financial return.”
The ScaleGood Fund has set a $10 million CAD target. As the ScaleGood Fund’s lead investor, Telus has invested $1 million, as part of the telecom giant’s broader commitment to supporting early-stage startups in the social impact space. Telus operates its $100 million, tech-focused Telus Pollinator Fund for Good, and invests in startups through its corporate venture capital arm, Telus Ventures.
Ashif Mawji has been named managing director and general partner of the ScaleGood Fund. Mawji also serves as a venture partner at Rising Tide VC, board chair of Telus’ Friendly Future Foundation, director of Invest Alberta, and the board chair of the Edmonton Police Service Foundation.
“Being a seasoned investor with direct investments in more than 100 companies and in several funds, I’ve seen firsthand that it’s very much possible to get a strong financial return as well as a meaningful social impact,” said Mawji, who will help lead the ScaleGood Fund’s investment decisions alongside an investment advisory committee made up of select VPs.
The fund will have a rolling close, starting with around $5 million this month, and a final close either within the next two years, or when it reaches $10 million. Mawji said the fund is set to secure “almost” $5 million in a few days from Telus and a group of close contacts that includes undisclosed individuals, family offices, and foundations.
The ScaleGood Fund plans to invest between $25,000 and $200,000 per company, and help introduce portfolio firms to potential customers, partners, and other investors. The fund will have a term of 10 years, extendible by two one-year extensions.
The ScaleGood Fund’s first investment is in Areto Labs, an Alberta-based B2B SaaS social enterprise startup focused on making digital communities “more positive and inclusive” through machine learning (ML) sentiment analysis and automated prompts and nudges. The ScaleGood Fund did not disclose the exact amount it invested in Areto Labs.
“Our first investment is a testament to our mission, and we strongly believe that Areto Labs will make a meaningful impact in the lives of all citizens and help reduce online hatred and cyber bullying, in addition to scaling and generating strong financial outcomes,” said Mawji.
CSW is an Edmonton-based tech and social impact accelerator sponsored by Telus and the Edmonton Police Foundation, in partnership with the Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Innovates, AlchemistX, ATB Financial, Motorola, the University of Alberta, Amii, and AlchemistX.
AlchemistX is the corporate and government services division of Edmonton’s Alchemist Accelerator, a venture-backed and provincially-funded accelerator focused on seed-stage ventures using artificial intelligence (AI) in Edmonton’s social sector.
The ScaleGood Fund was announced as part of CSW’s Demo Day, which saw 19 companies from over six countries present to community members and investors. In addition to Areto Labs, the list of participating companies included Canadian startups Brave Technology Coop, Budee Solutions, Digital Public Square, NavigateIO, PALcares, Pedesting, and Rubicon.
CSW’s second cohort will start in September. Applications for it are open until August 1 to applicants from around the world.