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NBIF Makes Record Investment

The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation announced this week that it made $2.8 million in venture capital investments in its fiscal year to March 31, 2014, following through on its promise to accelerate its funding of innovation in the province.

The Fredericton-based innovation agency – which is a sponsor of and advertiser in Entrevestor – said in its annual report that it recorded a total of 17 transactions in the 2014 fiscal year. Two companies – AraLabs Security Solutions and Populus Global Solutions, both of Fredericton – received funding in two transactions, so in all there were 15 companies that received funding from the agency.  Nine companies received NBIF funding for the first time.

NBIF said that 14 of the 17 investments were made in conjunction with a range of co-investors.

It was NBIF’s most active year ever as an investor, exceeding the record set the previous year.  The total investment increased 40 percent from the $1.95 million level of the previous year.

“Fiscal year 2013-14 was marked by an expansion of the innovation funds and programs delivered through NBIF,” said CEO Calvin Milbury in an email. “This expansion enabled NBIF to extend its reach and to accelerate innovation in New Brunswick.”

NBIF has been growing in recent years largely because of two major factors. First, in 2011 it cashed in for $9.25 million, or a gain of 28 times, when its portfolio company Radian6 was bought by Salesforce.com. And more recently, the government of New Brunswick has identified innovation as a key focus of its economic strategy and asked NBIF to handle much of the work.

The combination of these ingredients and the success of the New Brunswick startup community have produced a record year and further gains for NBIF. In January, its portfolio company UserEvents sold out to Redwood City, Calif.-based LiveOps Inc. The annual report noted the sale but did not provide any details of the price.

NBIF’s mission extends beyond investments in startups to supporting research and innovation at the province’s institutions. The report said the agency invested a record $4.2 million in 33 research projects under its Research Innovation Fund. In all its programs, NBIF invested $8.5 million in the last fiscal year.

The annual report said that since its founding in 2003, each dollar it has invested has brought in a further seven dollars from other sources for a total impact of $365 million.