Montreal, February 17th, 2021 - Quebec welcomes a new player in its innovative ecosystem with the launch of Boreal Ventures, the first venture capital fund dedicated to high-tech ("deep tech") companies in Quebec. Created in partnership with Centech, a Montreal incubator sponsored by the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), this fund will support the development of companies in the pre-seed and seed stages in science and engineering. With an initial investment capital of $26 million, Boreal Ventures will support companies that emerge from Centech and Quebec's innovative ecosystem. The startups targeted by this new fund operate in applied science (deep tech) sectors such as artificial intelligence, medical technologies, industry 4.0, and connected objects.
"Boreal Ventures is addressing a need among companies in deep tech, explains David Charbonneau, Managing Partner at Boreal Ventures. Cutting-edge innovation is marked by a development cycle that is sometimes longer and requires more capital than its purely software counterparts. Consequently, there are few Canadian funds available for this type of company. However, the potential for companies specialized in deep tech is vast and what they create meets the needs of today's and tomorrow's society. In addition to supporting companies with strong growth potential, Boreal Ventures wants to play a unifying role in Quebec and thus help attract foreign capital to support local innovation."
"This new fund will provide our entrepreneurs with the financial leverage they need to start and grow ambitious projects. The government's support for successful high-tech companies is essential for economic recovery," said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec's Minister of Economy and Innovation.
An initiative in collaboration with Centech
Through their shared perspective, Boreal Ventures and Centech have concluded an agreement to improve the offer to deep tech companies and thus fill a gap in Quebec's innovative ecosystem.
"The creation of Boreal Ventures will support Centech's ambition to become one of the world's 10 most successful incubators," said Richard Chénier, Centech's CEO. In addition, it will boost the growth fund pipeline by bringing companies to the level of maturity sought by these investors, which is often lacking at this stage of development. It will also support scientific development in Quebec and thus increase the pool of companies in which Boreal Ventures wishes to invest in the future."
Centech has a strong reputation. Since 2016, it has reviewed some 1,175 projects, raised more than $150 million in capital by its companies, created nearly 500 jobs, and these companies have a survival rate of 65% after five years. With its privileged access to Centech's experts, Boreal Ventures will be able to rely on an expanded multidisciplinary team to assist with due diligence services, operations, and the outreach of the fund and the companies it supports.
With Quebec being an important player in the artificial intelligence industry and the research that emanates from its universities, one of Boreal Ventures' main objectives is to highlight the full potential of Quebec's high-tech entrepreneurial cluster. The fund's ambition is to promote the province on the international scene in order to retain talent and participate in the next generation of Quebec's economy.
Boreal Ventures' partners include the Government of Quebec through Investissement Québec, Teralys Capital (in collaboration with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec), Desjardins Capital, BDC Capital, Hewitt Group and École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS).
Quotes from partners
"We are delighted to participate in the creation of Boreal Ventures' fund. With the support of Centech, an experienced incubator, we will have a front-row seat to witness the emergence of new technological champions who will contribute to the vitality of our innovation ecosystem, said Guy LeBlanc, President and CEO of Investissement Québec. Alongside its financial partners, Investissement Québec will continue to play its role and support growing companies that foster the emergence and development of our expertise in new technologies."
"By putting the development of high-potential entrepreneurship at the heart of our activities, we have built in Montreal the largest specialized innovation investor in Canada, said Seif Belhani, Director at Teralys Capital. We are pleased to continue building and strengthening our ecosystem by supporting the development of leading-edge local innovation. We are particularly proud to contribute, through the TFAQ2019 program dedicated to Quebec seed funds, to the creation of a new venture capital manager by accompanying him in the implementation of best practices in our industry."
"Quebec can aspire to great ambitions in terms of technological innovation in science and engineering. This is why Desjardins Capital was an early partner of Centech in setting up this fund. Our goal is to create winning conditions to support Quebec companies that have the potential to become leading players in the innovative economy of tomorrow," added Marie-Hélène Nolet, Chief Operating Officer at Desjardins Capital.
"Quebec has a lot to offer in terms of technological innovation. There is no doubt about the role it will have to play in the future of technology worldwide, said David Hewitt, President of the Hewitt Group. Our group is proud to be part of this innovative Québec and to support companies that will become flagships of tomorrow's innovative economy."
"École de Technologie supérieure (ÉTS) created Centech, which today unites several Quebec universities, creating strong Canadian R&D and stimulating innovation, says Jérôme Nycz, Executive Vice President, BDC Capital. To keep both talent and IP in Canada, research needs more early-stage financial support; the Boreal Ventures fund offers financing at a critical stage. By acting as a bridge between early company creation platforms and later-stage investors, Boreal Ventures is powering a generation of Deep Tech companies and entrepreneurs, which BDC Capital strives to support".
About Boreal Ventures
Founded in 2021, Boreal Ventures is an investment fund. Its mission is to capitalize on local scientific talent to participate in the creation of tomorrow's technological flagships. Boreal Ventures' philosophy is based on transparency and dedication to the success of the companies of its portfolio. Boreal Ventures aims to create a strong "deep tech" ecosystem, one success at a time. Boreal Ventures intends to achieve this by acting as a talent pipeline and catalyst for growth by making a $26 million investment fund available to technology start-ups.
Centech is a non-profit organization open to everyone and a world-class business incubator dedicated to high-tech (deep tech) companies with high growth potential. Centech performs particularly well in the fields of medical technology, manufacturing, telecoms and microelectronics, and other intelligent objects. Boosted by ÉTS, Centech offers support programs for startups. Since 2018, Centech has had its own open innovation hub, called Collision Lab, where larger companies are supported in integrating technology projects by leveraging the agility of startups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In 2019, Centech was recognized by UBI Global as one of the most successful university incubators in the world.