After months of research, Mr. Cubitt (whose first name truly is Code) decided the fund was a marketable idea and moved to Ottawa to manage Mistral Venture Partners, a fund that gets its name from a fierce northerly wind often surrounded by clear weather.
The fund will support 15 to 20 investments in the Ottawa area. No concrete timeline has been established, but Mr. Lazenby expects the first $10 million to $15 million to be closed and ready by August.
Originally, Mr. Lazenby had discussed the desire to create a $25-million fund, but Mr. Cubitt decided that $35 million was achievable and preferable.
“There’s a very clear mismatch between the number of tech companies being created and the amount of funding that’s available in Ottawa,” Mr. Cubitt said. “What that gives me as a venture capitalist is a target-rich environment.”
The economy having just come out of a recession also bodes well for this type of investment, he added.
While Invest Ottawa will maintain a “friendly relationship” with the fund, there will be no preferential treatment for firms spending time in the economic development agency’s accelerator program.
This will hopefully be the first of many funds to come, Mr. Lazenby said, and in order for that to happen, it must be profitable for the investing partners involved.
“It’s very important that Code and his team be able to invest anywhere they feel comfortable,” he said. “My hope is that there’s enough great opportunities here in Ottawa that they’ll do most of their deals here.”
The fund will be technology-driven, with special consideration given to mobile and Internet-related startups.
An office in Palo Alto, Calif. with an as-yet unidentified partner will help leverage cross-border deals.
“There is a magic that happens in Silicon Valley,” Mr. Lazenby said. “We don’t want (Ottawa startups) moving there lock, stock and barrel, but it’s good for them to see it.”
But it will also allow Silicon Valley to see Ottawa, and shed some light on the many local investment opportunities.
“It’s going to bring a lot of attention to the region,” he said. “People are going to say, ‘Wait a minute, what’s going on in Ottawa that I don’t know about?’”
CODE CUBITT RESUMÉ
- Managing director at Mistral Venture Partners (April 2012 – present).
- Venture partner at Forte Ventures, a multi-stage VC firm headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. (September 2011 – present).
- CEO of Zephyr Technology, a biotechnology company specializing in wireless monitoring of human vital signs and headquartered in Annapolis, Md. (August 2009 – March 2011).
- Director of Motorola Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Motorola in Schaumburg, Ill. (January 2007 – August 2009).