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NS Releases RFP For Vc Fund

The Nova Scotia government has released its long-awaited request for proposals for the manager of a venture capital fund to invest in early stage tech companies in the region.

Innovacorp, the government-owned innovation agency, released the RFP on Friday as part of its mission to oversee the creation of the new fund.  Private sector fund managers must get their submissions into Innovacorp by Dec. 14.

The government of Stephen McNeil first mooted the possibility of a new fund about two years ago. Then the government earmarked $25 million for a new VC fund in the 2016-17 budget. It said in the spring it would spend about a year finding a private-sector partner and establishing the new fund.

The RFP said the winning applicant will have to come up with at least $3 million in private contributions to the fund, bringing the minimum size of the fund to $28 million. However, given the competitive nature of the bidding, it would be logical to assume the fund will be end up being a good deal larger than that.

The wording of the RFP said that the fund will target “pre‐seed/seed technology companies based in Atlantic Canada”.

That would suggest that the new fund will only be looking at IT companies (with no cleantech, biotech or other such sectors). And it looks like it will be mainly targeting $100,000 to $500,000 investments, though the applicants are invited to spell out their plans for follow-on funding.

The winning applicant will be able to invest in companies throughout Atlantic Canada, though the RFP stipulates that at least half of the investment funds must be devoted to Nova Scotian companies.

The government said the applicants will be assessed by a panel consisting of:

– Charles Baxter, vice-president of investment with Innovacorp;

– Dominique Belanger, managing director of funds investment with Business Development Bank of Canada;

– Gilles Duruflé, independent consultant;

– Bernie Miller, senior executive advisor for the province of Nova Scotia;

– And Senia Rapisarda, principal with HarbourVest Canada of Toronto, who is replacing Rob Barbara, general partner with Build Ventures.