Ottawa fails to make cut in venture capital group’s Q1 Canadian rankings


While the amount of venture capital flowing into Canadian cities continued its brisk pace in the first quarter, Ottawa failed to crack the top 10 centres for VC raises in the first three months of 2022, according to a new report.

The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association said Canadian companies received $4.5 billion in venture capital over 196 deals in the first quarter, up significantly from the $2.7 billion that was invested in Canadian firms a year earlier and just behind the all-time record of $5.2 billion raised in the second quarter of 2021.

Here in Ottawa, however, it was a different story. 

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After barely squeaking into the top 10 in last year’s first-quarter rankings with a VC investment tally of $9 million, the nation’s capital dropped off this year’s list entirely. Toronto led the way with a venture capital haul of nearly $2.2 billion from 67 deals, while Montreal finished a distant second, raising $928 million across 25 deals.

Ottawa was also shut out of the top-10 list of Canadian cities ranked by private equity investment activity. Montreal topped the rankings, with firms in the Quebec metropolis bringing in $155 million worth of private equity across 34 deals.

The CVCA relies on data submitted by venture capital and private equity firms to determine its rankings – meaning that while its report offers a compelling snapshot of the national VC and private equity scene, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Ottawa-based software unicorn Assent Compliance, for example, announced in early January it raised $445 million in fresh venture capital, among the largest rounds in the city’s history. But that round was led by Texas-based Vista Equity Partners, which did not contribute to the CVCA’s survey.

Observers of the capital’s tech scene would also do well to remember that Ottawa firms’ VC fundraising efforts got off to a relatively slow start last year before finishing strong.

The second half of 2021 saw such momentous deals as health-care platform Fullscript’s $300-million raise, Kanata semiconductor firm GAN Systems’ $190-million round and data protection software firm Rewind’s $80-million series-B raise. In all, local companies brought in more than half a billion dollars in the span of just a few months to close out 2021 with a bang.

While most of those deals involved later-stage or growth equity funding for more established companies, Ottawa startups were also successful at landing capital last year as well.

Local firms received a total of $396 million in seed and early stage funding across 17 deals, the 2021 Canadian Venture Capital Report compiled by CPE Analytics said. 

That’s up from the $111 million that companies in the National Capital Region brought in from 25 deals in 2020, according to the Toronto-based research firm.

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