Year in review: Kim Furlong talks VCCI and what comes next for Canadian venture

Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) CEO Kim Furlong
Furlong: "These programs are an anomaly in what the government pushes out. There's no reason why they should ever disappear."

Kim Furlong kind of stepped in it in May.

On the same day that Minister Mary Ng announced RFPs for a renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI), the CEO of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) was quoted in the Globe and Mail saying that not only would this be the “last time we’ll see a major fund-to-fund initiative from the federal government,” but giving a commitment that she would “not go back and ask for another general fund.”

“There was kind of an ‘aha’ moment last May. And it triggered a conversation that I believe was really frank on both sides, and it will be a continued conversation.”
– Kim Furlong, CVCA

It was a bit awkward given that the Globe’s story actually came out before the official announcement, which contained no mention at all that this would be the last VCCI Canadian tech would see from the government.

Again, governments don’t generally announce intentions to not fund things, but sources BetaKit spoke with indicated a belief that this wasn’t in fact the case. And still, the question remained: why was the head of Canada’s venture capital interest group announcing—a week prior to the CVCA’s annual investor event—that she would no longer advocate for a program that she once said Canada’s innovation sector would be “severely weakened” without?

Well, it’s December now, VCCI fund managers have been chosen at least, and Kim Furlong joins us on the podcast to review the year in Canadian venture and perhaps clear the air.

On this episode, you’ll hear Furlong renew her commitment to VCCI and give… context to her past statements.

As Furlong notes, getting a VCCI renewal into budget 2021—this thing is way behind schedule—was “a climb.” And she talks a lot on this podcast about communicating the value of this program to policymakers during both a global pandemic and our recent funding boom times (which are now over).

But that’s not all we talk about – there are also the details of the program, like the change to funding commitments, the focus on ‘emerging fund managers’ and what that means, BDC’s role and the value of “market-driven approaches” to backing innovation. There’s also our review of Canadian venture in 2022 and what’s in store for 2023.

It’s an action-packed episode filled with my favourite topic: VC inside baseball.

Let’s dig in.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Sponsored by AWS.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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