Quote of the Week: Ontario Pension Fund Blazes VC Trail


February 6, 2014

“We’re in the middle of a major revolution in commerce. This revolution is disrupting every aspect of retail: funding, inventory & back office management, payments, distribution, fulfillment and customer service. As a result, the traditional barriers to entry into the retail market are being demolished… Consumers are being empowered to buy any product we want (even rare, unique ones), however we want, from anyone selling them, from anywhere in the world. There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneurial merchant…”


Who said it:  Jim Orlando, Managing Director at OMERS Ventures


In Context: This week’s quote of the week may sound like it’s from 1999 at the height of the dotcom bubble but it is actually from press releases from OMERS Ventures, an Ontario, Canada pension fund, that is active as a direct investor in PE and VC deals. The press releases were about the fund leading a USD 100 million investment in Shopify, a Canadian ecommerce startup that will use the funding to expand point of sale solutions for retailers. The deal was done along with some of Silicon Valley’s top VC funds. It used to be that pension funds were the co-investors and the big names would lead the deals. So the PE industry is changing. OMERS is coming up in the international PE markets and it had an impressive 2013 with three PE exits that delivered a 4X multiple. The VC arm of OMERS has completed almost one investment per month and has been involved in some of the largest venture capital investments made in software companies in Canadian history, including the USD 80-million investment (co-investment with NEA) in Kitchener-Waterloo’s Desire2Learn and the USD 165-million investment (teaming with Insight and Accel) in Vancouver-based social media startup HootSuite. OMERS has at least two nominations for industry awards in 2014, for example, a Techvibes award and a Real Deals award.


Where we found it: OMERS Ventures website via the Globe and Mail

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