OMERS Ventures raises C$300m for growth tech investing

The venture capital arm of the Canadian pension plan now has C$800m in assets under management.

OMERS Ventures, the venture capital arm of Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement System, has closed its third fund, OMERS Ventures III, on C$300 million ($219 million; €201 million), the firm said this week.

Limited partners included OMERS alongside BMO Financial Group, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, Sun Life Financial, TD Securities and the Wafra Group.

With C$800 million in assets under management, OMERS Ventures has invested in 35 companies in North America. It focuses on multi-stage growth-oriented technology companies.

“Raising Fund III was a tremendous success that speaks to the strength and stability of the Canadian tech community,” John Ruffolo, chief executive officer of OMERS Ventures, said in a statement. 

“When we launched in 2011, the ecosystem was starved for venture capital and corporate participation. Six years later, our third Fund is oversubscribed, complete with strategic investors and corporate partners. We are proud to operate on a 'Canada-first' mandate, and are ready to meet new companies and deploy the next $300 million into the innovation economy.”

OMERS Ventures isn't the only firm tackling the venture capital market in Canada. In 2016, HarbourVest Partners closed its first Canada Growth Fund on C$375 million, a VC and growth-focused fund of funds formed under the government of Canada's venture capital action plan. The fund also makes direct investments.

Canadian venture capital investments totalled $3.2 billion in 530 deals in 2016, according to data from the Canadian Venture Capital Association. This represented the seventh straight year of growth for VC investing in Canada.