Canadian investment firm OMERS Ventures, which has back startups like Shopify and Hopper has announced today the launch of a €300 million venture capital fund in Europe to make long-term investments in some of the continent’s most innovative technology startups.
Based in Toronto, OMERS Ventures is the multi-stage venture capital investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans with more than $97 billion CAD in net assets. OMERS invests in a diverse range of assets in public and private markets, infrastructure and real estate globally, including London City Airport, Vue Cinemas and iconic buildings such as The Royal Exchange in the UK.
€300M fund announcement, after opening new office in Silicon Valley
A key part of OMERS’ multi-year global growth strategy, the new fund launch follows a huge spike in startup activity in Europe and comes just two months after OMERS Ventures extended its presence to Silicon Valley.
Harry Briggs, ex-BGF & Balderton Capital, appointed Managing Partner
Harry Briggs, a highly-experienced entrepreneur and investor, has been hired as the fund’s Managing Partner based in London.
“Venture capital is increasingly a global business, and it’s exciting to be launching a substantial new European fund that, from day one, can draw on fellow team members across North America, as well as OMERS’ global connections as an investor from Sydney to Singapore, and Berlin to Boston,” says Briggs. “In our view, those connections will help us give European founders an unfair advantage when scaling internationally.”
Leading fintech investor Tara Reeves also joins from LocalGlobe
Harry is joined by another entrepreneur-turned-investor, Tara Reeves, until recently a partner at leading seed investor LocalGlobe, and Henry Gladwyn, who previously managed seed investments for the founders of DeepMind. The new OMERS Ventures fund will target companies at Series A-to-B stage, and will typically invest between €5 million to €10 million per round while having the capacity to follow on strongly in later rounds.
“We have seen the European tech sector reach escape velocity over the past couple of years, producing more and more companies recognized worldwide,” says Managing Partner and Head of OMERS Ventures Damien Steel. “As the next step in our global expansion strategy, we are now committing dedicated capital to the Continent’s most innovative startups because we believe the best is yet to come.”
Harry brings a long experience of the continent’s entrepreneurial tech sector to the role having spent nearly six years with Balderton Capital, a top tier European venture firm and latterly three years at BGF Ventures.
Harry’s investments include UK unicorn The Hut Group, which has raised over €1.6bn, Magic Pony (acquired by Twitter in 2016), GoCardless, Paddle, Touch Surgery, Appear Here and Revolut. Before Balderton, he co-founded Firefly Tonics, a health drinks company, which he expanded to 35 countries, before selling to private equity firm Langholm Capital.
As a partner with LocalGlobe, Tara Reeves led investments in, among others, Bricklane, Cleo, Cuvva, Floodflash, Tide and Trussle, making her one of Europe’s leading authorities on fin-tech and insure-tech startups. Tara also co-founded Turo, a car-sharing marketplace that has raised over $200m.
Founded in 1962, OMERS is one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans, with $97 billion (€86 billion) in net assets as of December 31, 2018. OMERS invests and administers pensions on behalf of almost half a million active and retired members. OMERS has employees in Toronto, London, New York, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Singapore, Sydney and other major cities across North America and Europe – originating and managing a diversified portfolio of high-quality investments in public markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate. Further, OMERS Ventures currently manages $800M CAD across more than 35 investments in North America and Europe.
— Press release
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