Forget last year’s doom and gloom prognosis regarding Canadian venture capital and deal activity. According to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA), Q1 2016 saw venture capital investments in Canada hit a record high of $838 million, nearly double Q1 2015, despite the slowdown south of the border in U.S. venture capital funding. Ontario companies performed the best in Q1, as they pulled in roughly $486 million in funding, while B.C. came in second with $207 million over the same period.
Interestingly, the majority of the funding going to Canadian companies in 2016 has come in later-stage financing rounds, according to Mike Woollatt, CEO of the CVCA. This trend may be in response to the significant decrease in the number of initial public offerings taking place on both sides of the border. The Toronto Stock Exchange has yet to see any new issuances so far this year, while U.S. markets have been similarly void in that regard.
The Financial Post has reported that so far this year, the average deal size has grown to approximately $7.1 million, which is a sizeable increase from recent years where the average was somewhere in the $4-5 million range. The same report also noted that there have been 118 venture deals in Canada in 2016. Some of the biggest winners in Q1 are Real Matters Corp., which raised $100 million, Zymeworks Inc., a life-science company that took in $87 million and Ontario’s BuildScale Inc., which operates a video marketing platform called Yidyard and was able to raise $49 million. Our own GreenSpace Brands (TSXV:JTR) also successfully raised $8.9 million.
The CVCA has publicly stated that it expects this pace to continue throughout the year, which bodes well for both entrepreneurs and the Canadian venture capital ecosystem alike.