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Canada VC Relay Ventures closes $150 million fund for Canadian startups

Canada VC Relay Ventures closes $150 million fund for Canadian startups

Posted by PanamericanWorld on November 08, 2016

Toronto-based venture capital firm Relay Ventures has closed a new $150 million (CA$200 million) investment fund dedicated to Canadian startups, with limited partners including Northleaf Capital Partners, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and the Royal Bank of Canada. Other LPs include U.S. Cellular, Kensington Capital Partners, Generation Capital, EDC, and AEC.

The firm has already invested in at least six startups, according to the announcement. Those include edtech firm FreshGrade (Kelowna), restaurant workflow startup 7shifts (Saskatoon), AI messaging company Automat.ai (Montreal), rewards startup Carrot Insights (Toronto), Israeli company Kwik Commerce, and Silicon Valley-based customer service provider UJet.

Dubbed Fund III, a portion of the money came from a CA$400 million federal venture capital program.

“Over the last eight years, we have maintained an exclusive focus on mobile and today 1 in 2 smartphones in the world run software from our portfolio companies,” the firm’s announcement mentioned, referring to themselves as the most active Canadian software investor in the US. “We are excited to continue this momentum as we partner with remarkable entrepreneurs making a significant impact in their markets.”

The announcement comes at the same time that Thomson Reuters released a summary of Canada’s 2016 venture capital investments to date, already topping more than $2.5 billion after just three quarters. Relay was named one of the country’s most active domestic investors with 10 investments in 2016 to date. Including the new investments, that makes at least 13 investments in Canadian companies this year. That report appears to count a July seed investment in Automat.ai, so it was not immediately clear if the investment Relay mentions here is additional to that July round or the same.

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