Golden Ventures, a seed-stage outfit with offices in Toronto and Waterloo, has closed it third and newest fund with $57.5 million ($72 million in Canadian dollars), up from the roughly $38 million ($50 million Canadian) that it raised for its second fund in 2014.
The firm — which invests roughly 60 percent of its capital across startups in Toronto, Kitchener, and Waterloo, and the remaining 40 percent across U.S. tech hubs like the Bay Area, New York and Boston — was originally founded in 2011 by Matt Golden, who’d previously been a partner with Blackberry Partners Fund.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Golden Ventures was initially focused on “mobile,” says Golden, though he says its early investments eventually led it to a lot of other business models, from SaaS to e-commerce to emerging technologies like AR and VR and even robotics.
In fact, the company has now invested in 42 companies across its three funds, including in Toronto-based Wattpad, an online story-sharing platform that recently raised $51 million in fresh funding led by Tencent Holdings; Toronto-based Ritual, whose app allows restaurant customers to order ahead for takeout food and counts Greylock Partners and Insight Venture Partners among its investors; and the Winnepeg-based food ordering company SkipTheDishes, which was acquired in late 2016 by bigger rival Just Eat, in the U.K.
As for the size of checks Golden Ventures is writing, Golden says first checks typically range from $500,000 to $1.2 million (in U.S. dollars), with reserves for follow-on rounds. He says this will remain the case even though the firm’s newest fund is about 45 percent bigger than its last one.
Golden also says that in exchange for the firm’s money, he and his colleagues expect between 5 and 15 percent ownership in a startup, depending on the “expected level of involvement, physical proximity to the company, and co-investor syndicate.”
Numerous U.S. firms see promise in what Golden Ventures is doing. Among its limited partners in the San Francisco-based fund of funds Cendana Capital, the Boston-based institutional investment firm HarbourVest, and the Boulder, Co., venture firm Foundry Group, which is pouring 25 percent of its current fund into other venture capital firms.
Foundry explained its interest in Golden this week by pointing to the strong startup community in the Toronto-to-Waterloo region, the presence of local universities like the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo, and the local and regional government programs and accelerators that have been supporting local founders and, in the process, attracting international talent.
The last is especially probably attractive at time when other countries’ immigration policies, ahem, aren’t quite so favorable.
Pictured above: Golden Ventures’s team.
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