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OMERS Launches Venture Capital Investment Arm

October 03, 2011

OMERS Ventures is one of Canada’s largest VC investors

TORONTO -- OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension plans, is officially launching its new venture capital arm. OMERS Ventures is one of the country’s largest venture capital investors, providing financing for promising companies throughout the investment lifecycle.
OMERS Ventures is an initiative of OMERS Strategic Investments (OSI), an investment entity with a mandate to build long-term strategic relationships with like-minded partners. OMERS Ventures is focused on adding value at the early stages of investment, and partnering with entrepreneurs to build great companies.

"We believe our program for investing in venture capital will result in a win-win scenario," said Jacques Demers, President and CEO of OSI. "Strong, long-term investments in this asset class will help us continue to deliver on the pension promise for our members, while also encouraging the development of a vibrant and successful Canadian knowledge economy."

Canada’s venture capital industry has suffered from a lack of resources and funding since the technology boom and bust over a decade ago. This means many promising companies are unable to reach the next level of success, said John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, and Senior Vice President and Head of Knowledge Investing at OSI.

"The right combination of capital, mentoring and guidance enables strong, young companies to become even more successful," Mr. Ruffolo said. "With our experienced investment team, accomplished advisory board and pool of patient, long-term capital, OMERS Ventures is an ideal partner."

OMERS Ventures will have a unique role in its industry, as both an institutional angel investor and a later-stage investor. With its ability to fund companies at any stage of development, it will have a great deal of flexibility when making investments, Mr. Ruffolo added.

As a lifecycle investor, OMERS Ventures investments could range anywhere from an initial seed round investment ($500,000 to $2 million), to a larger growth capital round (up to $30 million).

Sectors of interest will include technology, media, telecommunications, clean technology and life sciences, with a focus on North America.

The growing OMERS Ventures team includes eight investment and operations professionals. An advisory board of industry professionals will assist with developing relationships and sourcing investments.

Investment team members: John Ruffolo, Peter Carrescia, Jennifer Reynolds, Sid Paquette, Damien Steel, Bram Sugarman, bios can be found here.

Advisory board members: Michel Brûlé, Rob Burgess, Jim Fletcher, J. Ian Giffen, David J. Kassie, Paul Kedrosky, Sir Terry Matthews, bios can be found here: http://www.omersventures.com/OurTeam/Advisory_Board.aspx