Vancouver-based public and private asset manager PenderFund Capital Management has officially unveiled a new venture capital group focused on private investment in the tech sector.
The group, Pender Ventures, will manage the private investments of three funds, including the Pender Growth Fund, which has a portfolio of private and public companies, and the Working Opportunity Fund, which invests in British Columbia-based private companies such as as D-Wave systems and general fusion.
“Continuing digital transformation has provided the impetus and Pender Ventures is the vehicle that will position us to double the stake. “
– Maria Pacella, Pender Ventures
The group will also manage the Technology Inflection Fund, which it recently finalized, raising approximately $ 5 million for a total of $ 25 million. Inflection has been in business since 2018, having made five technology-focused investments to date.
Sponsors (LPs) of the fund, called Pender Technology Inflection Fund LP, include the Vancity Credit Union and Export Development Canada through its Women in Trade program, which provides funds led by women. Other LPs were not disclosed but included an Alberta-based financial group, family offices and high net worth individuals.
Managing Partner Maria Pacella leads the Pender Ventures team, which consists of six people, including new partner Kristina Bergman.
Originally from British Columbia, Bergman is the second female partner of Pender Ventures and returns from Seattle to Canada after leaving his last startup. Bergman’s role will be to seek new deals and help create value for the existing portfolio companies of Pender Ventures.
While PenderFund is a diversified asset manager, which means it already invests in the private and public markets, Pacella told BetaKit that the creation of Pender Ventures is a way to reintroduce the PenderFund brand into the space of. private investment and venture capital.
She lamented that PenderFund Capital is well known in public markets, but not as well known in private technology markets, despite the fact that PenderFund’s roots lie in venture capital.
“There aren’t a lot of asset managers who have venture capital as an area they invest in,” Pacella told BetaKit. “They are all public or all private. We believe, fundamentally, it’s about understanding a business and then figuring out the best way to invest, whether it’s public or private.
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Pacella noted that she hopes the Inflection fund, while small, is the first step in making PenderFund a more established player in the venture capital ecosystem.
“When I joined Pender, the goal was to focus our investments on some of the most exciting growth opportunities, and those were in technology. Today, three years later, technology companies are even more an integral part of our way of life and work, ”said Pacella.
“This continued digital transformation has provided the impetus and Pender Ventures is the vehicle that will position us to double Pender’s ‘inflection point’ thesis,” she added. “Our goal is to help companies scale faster, have a global impact and generate disproportionate returns for our investors. “
Pender Ventures focuses on data-centric startups in healthcare technology, enterprise software, and industrial transformation. Pacella told BetaKit that the fund typically targets companies at the Series A stage that have early stage clients and generate around $ 1 million to $ 3 million in revenue.
“The reason we named the fund ‘Inflection’ is that we are really looking to invest in companies that are at this key point where they have determined the fit between the product and the market,” said Pacella. “Funding is used to generally evolve the team, the product, a new sales and marketing channel. We try to help them with that.
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The $ 25 million Inflection Fund, whose final closing was in October 2020, is a standard 10-year limited partnership and aims to make 10 to 12 investments. Thirty percent of the fund has been spent since its launch in early 2018, leaving around $ 17.5 million for future investments. Pacella has announced his intention to make all new investments in the fund within the first four years of his life.
Pender Ventures invests between $ 500,000 and $ 2 million per investment, for a total of $ 4 to 5 million over the life of the companies.
Pacella said the $ 25 million Inflection fund was geo-agnostic across North America, but noted that the lack of funding in Western Canada provided Pender Ventures with an opportunity to fill a gap. She also noted that, among the investments already made, most of the deals have been made in startups based in British Columbia, including one in Winnipeg.
Pender Ventures’ first investment thanks to the Inflection fund of 25 million dollars, in March 2018, Clarius, which offers a portable ultrasound system. Since then, the fund has made four additional investments, including in Jane, Copperleaf, Checkfront and Librestream.
Characteristic image source Unsplash. Photo by Mariana Montes de Oca.