In an exciting development for British Columbia’s technology sector, the Province recently announced the creation and funding of a private sector-led 15-year, $100 million venture capital fund (Fund). This announcement is an application of the Province’s earlier announced #BCTECH Strategy, whereby capital was identified as one of three primary pillars upon which the strategy is based (the others being talent development and market access for its participants). The Province envisions the Fund as a major catalyst for encouraging the growth of early stage British Columbia technology companies, and seeks to accomplish this growth goal by requiring all of the Fund’s investments to be at an A-round level.
The Province has selected Toronto-based Kensington Capital Partners to serve as the manager of the Fund. In this role, Kensington will oversee and direct all of the Fund’s investments. In addition to the Fund, Kensington will also assume management over the separate, fully invested BC Renaissance Capital Fund, the Province’s $90 million venture capital “fund of funds” program initially launched in 2007.
It is expected that Fund investments will largely be focused on the following specific areas of the technology industry: digital media, information communications technology (ICT), life sciences and health care, and clean technology.
Provincial involvement and funding in such programs is not uncommon (ie., Quebec and New Brunswick both have innovation foundations). However, the Province’s decision to operate the Fund through an established fund of funds, such as Kensington, is a fairly new approach that has the advantages of capitalizing on Kensington’s existing expertise, track record and contacts within the space, in order to maximize the impact of the Fund and achievement of its goals.