The amount of venture money in the national capital fell in the first quarter of 2012 compared with both the first and fourth quarters of last year, according to figures released Thursday by Canada's Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.
Year-over-year, venture capital slackened in Ottawa faster than the national rate. In the capital, dollars invested fell around 55 per per cent from the first quarter last year to $27.56 million. Nationally, deals fell 33 per cent to $263 million.
Compared with the final quarter of last year, though, Ottawa's venture capital investment declined at a much slower rate than Canada overall. While Canadian investment fell 60 per cent to $263 million, Ottawa's fell by just 17 per cent.
"The first quarter numbers, you really have to take with a measure of caution because a quarter is a quarter is a quarter," said Richard Rémillard, the executive director of CVCA, in an OBJ interview.
"I don't feel comfortable about saying there is a trend until there's at least two quarters (completed) in a year."
Offsetting the declines is the amount of incubator activity the CVCA anecdotally has seen in the past while, Mr. Rémillard added. The association is observing more early stage companies receiving help from incubators such as MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.
In Ottawa, young companies get help mainly from Invest Ottawa, which was reformulated from the old OCRI last year.
Nationally in the first quarter, Ottawa is in fourth place for venture capital dollars behind first-place Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, but the margin between Montreal and Ottawa is very narrow.
Ottawa's $27.56 million in venture capital investment is just $100,000 behind that of Montreal's. Vancouver stands at $48 million, and Toronto is at $99 million.
For all of 2011, Ottawa ranked fourth in the country, with $138.9 million invested.
Some of the major venture deals in Q1 2012 for Ottawa include:
- Filetrek, for $10 million;
- MoneyBar, which is moving to Ottawa from British Columbia after receiving an undisclosed amount of venture funding.
Additionally, Pretzil landed an undisclosed round of angel financing.