It is our pleasure to officially announce the $175M first (and final) closing of iNovia Capital’s most recent early stage fund, “iNovia Fund 2015”. Of course, like any good VCs, we warn our founders that raising capital is only a single step on a long journey (rather than the culmination of one). It seems appropriate to acknowledge that the same adage applies to us as well. Our particular journey started back in 2007, with plenty of twists, turns, ups and downs along the way. We have worked hard to navigate this path with the best of intentions towards our companies, co-investors, and limited partners, and are honoured by the faith they have shown in helping us scale both our ambitions and our ability to support our companies. Heading into 2016, we feel more confident than ever that we are headed in the right direction with the momentum necessary to move even faster towards our goals.
This is the third fund we have raised at iNovia, and at $175M, it is the largest of the three by a significant margin – the prior two funds were each around $110M. Despite the additional capital, we don’t expect to significantly deviate from the strategy which has served us well in both our 2007 and 2011 funds. Our primary focus remains to invest in an additional 25-30 early stage opportunities across North America that have the capacity to emerge as category-defining digital platforms and services.
Our blueprint to identify and partner with the exceptional entrepreneurs behind these businesses is best described as flexible, yet robust. This method seeks to multiply our combined decades of business experience by a relentless and continuous pursuit of improvement. While we vigilantly search for these further opportunities to iterate and innovate, the following five key principles provide the basis of our strategy for iNovia Fund 2015:
- Networked Approach: iNovia’s network has a built-in multiplier effect across 65+ portfolio company CEOs, 250+ co-investors, and 2,500+ employees that helps us reach and attract the best entrepreneurs. We invest back into this network through frequent introductions, targeted events and distillation of best practices.
- Distributed Team: iNovia’s team members regularly work together across some of the continent’s most dynamic startup markets (Montreal, Toronto-Waterloo, Western Canada, the Bay Area, and NYC) to identify and support portfolio companies. We make it a point of emphasis to use our combined local ecosystem relationships to their advantage.
- Multi-Stage Funding Model: iNovia’s ability to invest anywhere from $500k-$15M across multiple stages and to “double-down” on outperforming companies allows us broader access to outstanding deal flow that more restrictive funding models do not permit. We have the skillsets to actively participate in all stages of a company’s lifecycle, from initial ideation to exit.
- Focused Deal Filtering: iNovia’s investment process focuses on finding teams that demonstrate both founder-market fit and product-market fit while solving truly valuable (as opposed to merely “hard”) problems. We apply significant analytical rigour to tease out these nuances in both a quantitative and qualitative manner.
- Building the Future: iNovia seeks to stay ahead of the curve by selecting and investing in markets we have identified as being at inflection points such as Industry SaaS, Future of Work, and Software Differentiated Hardware. We eschew the notion of “me-too” investments, preferring to concentrate on building clusters of complementary companies across sectors where we have already developed a differentiated thesis or demonstrated domain expertise.
While many of these elements are not unique on their own, the five are rarely combined in an early stage fund. That being said, we have never been much for conventional wisdom, and our existing stakeholders have grown to appreciate that. Without their support, our journey would have ended long ago. Instead, we can proudly look forward to building even stronger partnerships with them over the coming years, as 85% are returning as repeat investors in iNovia Fund 2015. We are also especially pleased to now include fifteen founders and entrepreneurs that we have previously backed at iNovia as fellow limited partners. They have been joined by over a dozen other successful entrepreneurs from around the world, ten well respected family offices and nine of the most esteemed institutional investors in North America. These relationships bring significant additional reach and resources that stretch well beyond their capital commitments alone.
We realize that our own success as a fund manager comes entirely from the dedication and hard work of our portfolio entrepreneurs. These are the bold souls we love to support as they each thread the needle through unique and innovative paths across an ever-evolving business fabric. With the confidence expressed by our limited partners, we look forward to continuing in 2016 the approach that has served so well over the last decade: cast a wide net; be diligent and pragmatic; and never underestimate the results that emerge when a great team gets the support it needs.
Thanks for your support,
The iNovia Team