It seems barely a week goes by without news of another Canadian startup scoring a huge venture-capital financing deal. Preliminary data published today by Thomson Reuters back that up: The venture-capital scene is enjoying its biggest financing boom in more than a decade.
Thomson Reuters said Tuesday the second quarter of 2015 was the best three-month period for VC investments in Canadian companies in 10 years. In fact, the last 12 months through June 30 rank as the best one-year period for VC investments into Canadian companies since 2002, when the country was at the dawn of a long, bleak stretch of relative quiet on the startup financing scene in Canada. Venture capital-backed companies raised $2.6-billion during the past 12 months, compared with $2.4-billion in calendar 2014 and less than $1.6-billion in each of 2011 and 2012.
Greater Toronto Area companies dominated the top five list of biggest disclosed VC deals in the first half of 2015, led by financial software firm Real Matters ($60-million raised), pharma company Northern Biologics ($36-million) and ex-Montreal e-commerce firm VarageSale ($34-million).
Interestingly, low oil prices have translated into big fees for bankers working the oil patch: Thomson Reuters said Alberta companies raised $3.8-billion in the first half of 2015, the best such period on record for Alberta.
Meanwhile, it has been a relatively quiet quarter for the private equity set, with just $1.7-billion worth of deals, down 58 per cent from the same period a year earlier, in the second quarter.