Cash in the capital: Ottawa-area firms raise $14M in first-quarter VC funding


Ottawa saw an increase in VC deal volume in the first quarter of 2018, though most of the boost can be traced to a single firm’s series-C.

Local firms collectively raised $14 million across five deals in the first three months of the year, according to PwC and CB Insight’s Q1 MoneyTree Canada report. That’s up from the previous quarter’s three investments totalling $8 million. (All figures in USD.)

Leading the way for the National Capital Region was Gatineau-based Agrisoma Biosciences, which raised $9 million in a series-C round led by Montreal’s Cycle Capital Management. The firm grows a raw material called carinata that is integral to the emerging jet biofuel market.

The remaining $5 million from the quarter was split amongst four Ottawa companies. While the PwC report did not detail the breakdown of the $5 million, notable local Ottawa financing deals in the first quarter included CanvasPop’s C$3.3-million seed round.

Venture capital funding across Canada hit a six-year quarterly high in Q1 2018, according to the report, with more than $1 billion invested across 105 deals.

Though it had a couple more individual deals than Waterloo, Ottawa ranked last in VC deal totals for Q1 when compared to tech hubs Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and the aforementioned southwest Ontario city.

Toronto firms, spurred by major rounds from ecobee, Wealthsimple and Wattpad, raised $321 million across 38 deals, while Montreal companies raised a total $399 million across just 16 investments.

The Business Development Bank of Canada, which just announced an investment in Ottawa's Ensyn this week, was the most active investor of the quarter, getting involved in 12 deals.

Worldwide, the total value and number of deals in Q1 declined from the previous quarter.