Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby said he is trying to create a $35-million technology fund, financed primarily by wealthy individuals, that will provide emerging companies with financing rounds of $250,000 to $500,000.
In a luncheon speech this week at the Westin Hotel to local members of the Building Owners and Managers Association, Mr. Lazenby said he is not looking for charity.
"The reason to invest in this fund is because you will make money. This is a for-profit fund," he said.
"But doing well is not mutually exclusive from doing good ... If you don't want your kids to work for government, and if you want them to work in Ottawa, this is our industry. This is the only growth industry that we've got."
Mr. Lazenby said he has found a candidate to lead the fund who has experience in Silicon Valley and recently took a year-long sabbatical to sail to the Mediterranean.
He added that the unnamed individual was recently in Ottawa, meeting with high-net-worth individuals, and concluded that the prospects for launching the fund "look very good."
Mr. Lazenby said there would be no geographic or sector-specific restrictions on the fund's investments, but said it would still have a local focus.
"Our suspicion is by the time they see the value of the talent and the quality of the companies that we have here, it will basically be an Ottawa-centric fund."