FREDERICTON (GNB) – Innovative companies that demonstrate strong potential for growth in Atlantic Canada will now have greater access to the funds they need to grow and compete in the international marketplace.

Build Ventures, a privately-managed venture capital fund, launched today and is actively seeking investment opportunities throughout the Atlantic provinces.
 
“A lack of access to capital has been a major barrier to growth for emerging businesses in New Brunswick and across Atlantic Canada,” said Premier David Alward. “Connecting smart, innovative companies with the venture capital they need to create jobs and grow this region's knowledge economy is a key part of our plan to rebuild New Brunswick.”

Patrick Keefe and Rob Barbara will manage the regional venture capital fund. Keefe has more than 15 years of investment and entrepreneurial experience. He spent the last several years with Innovacorp, overseeing its early-stage venture capital activities.

Barbara is also a seasoned investment manager. Most recently, he spent 11 years with Burgundy Asset Management, a Toronto-based global investment management firm serving private clients, foundations, endowments, pensions and family offices.

“We are really encouraged by the start-up activity we have been seeing in Atlantic Canada over the last few years,” said Keefe. “We look forward to backing – and then working closely with – the most promising entrepreneurs as they build game-changing companies.”

The governments of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are each contributing $15 million to the venture capital fund with Prince Edward Island contributing $2.5 million. These commitments have leveraged additional funding from BDC Venture Capital ($10 million), Technology Venture Corp., a Moncton-based private sector company, ($5 million), and the fund managers ($1 million). Build Ventures will look to raise additional private sector investment in the coming months.

“BDC Venture Capital is pleased to see Build Ventures getting off the ground,” said Senia Rapisarda, vice-president of strategic investment and initiatives, BDC Venture Capital. “With the sage guidance of Patrick and Rob, this fund will help finance Atlantic Canada's most promising start-ups. We have seen concrete examples of the region's high tech potential recently with companies like Radian6 and Q1 Labs. The future certainly looks very promising.”
 
Headquartered in Halifax, Build Ventures will concentrate on making Series A investments. These are investments made in companies that are early stage yet have an established business model, a solid team, a large target market, and some revenue generation, and now need ramp-up capital. The focus will be on companies in information technology, clean technology, life sciences and other high-growth sectors. Build Ventures' investments will be between $1 million and $5 million for each venture.