Ottawa drops off list of Canada’s top 10 cities for VC funding


After a first quarter that saw venture capital investments in local firms drop dramatically from a year earlier, Ottawa failed to crack a list of Canada’s top 10 cities for VC funding in the first six months of 2021, a new report shows.

While Canadian firms set a new quarterly record for total venture capital funding, landing 166 deals worth a collective $4.59 billion, the National Capital Region was nowhere to be found in the latest study of the country’s VC scene from CPE Analytics.

According to CPE’s first-half Canadian Venture Capital Report, Toronto once again led the nation with a total funding haul of $2.66 billion across 88 deals from January through June. 

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Vancouver was a close second at $2.21 billion from 77 financing rounds, with Montreal ($883 million from 40 deals), Kitchener ($473 million, nine deals) and Quebec City ($236 million, nine deals) rounding out the top five.

Calgary, Saskatoon, Fredericton, Burnaby, B.C., and Halifax occupied spots six through 10 on this year’s list.

It’s a far cry from the first half of 2020, when Ottawa ranked fifth in the total number of VC transactions with 16 and seventh in total funding value at $83 million – a dollar figure that still would have been good for ninth on this year’s list despite the significant jump in many other cities’ funding hauls compared with 2020.

The VC rankings often fluctuate dramatically from quarter to quarter in an industry in which a small number of big-ticket deals can significantly alter the composition of the top-10 list.

Ottawa’s Q2 VC haul in 2020, for example, was bolstered by a handful of financing deals that broke or neared the eight-figure mark. They included Solink’s $23-million series-B round, $17 million in new funding for Equispheres, software startup Tehama’s US$10-million round and cybersecurity firm Corsa Security’s $7-million deal

Ottawa’s second-quarter rankings followed a downward trend that began in the second half of 2020 and continued in Q1 of this year.

According to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, firms based in the nation’s capital received a total of just $9 million in the first three months of 2021 – down more than 50 per cent from the total of $19 million in the first quarter of 2020 reported by CPE Analytics. 

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s LaBarge Weinstein LLP once again made the top-five rankings of national law firms catering to VC deals in the first six months of 2021.

The Kanata-based firm helped close 11 financing rounds worth a total of $324 million, good for fourth place on the list.

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