Company Logo Thursday, September 23, 1999

New $5 Million venture capital fund launched; Waterloo Ventures to support growth of young high-tech companies in the Kitchener-Waterloo area

WATERLOO, SEPTEMBER 23, 1999 -- Waterloo Ventures, a $5 million investment fund, will be officially launched a reception this evening by Working Ventures Canadian Fund in partnership with Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. Waterloo Ventures will finance early-stage high technology companies in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, one of Ontario's fastest growing technology centres.

The new Fund will make initial investments of up to $250,000 and follow-on investments of up to a total of 20% of the fund in companies with less than $1 million in assets.

The sponsorship of Waterloo Ventures by Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, allows young companies affiliated with these schools access to educational resources in both technical and non-technical fields. Further, Waterloo Ventures provides early stage capital for companies that are coming out of these institutions that was previously more difficult to access. The fund targets the internet and computer networking sectors as areas with very high growth potential.

Ron Begg, President and CEO of Working Ventures Canadian Fund, says Waterloo Ventures is a tremendous opportunity for both Working Ventures shareholders and entrepreneurs in Kitchener-Waterloo. "Kitchener-Waterloo is quickly emerging as one of Canada's hi-tech meccas. The region is home base to some of Canada's fastest growing high-tech companies. Our investment in Waterloo Ventures gives us close access to a large number of dynamic early stage companies which have the long-term potential to deliver superior returns." Waterloo Ventures will be guided by a Board of Directors, which includes the leaders of some of the area's fastest growing technology firms. The board will be actively involved in making investment decisions and providing management and financial counsel to the Fund's investee companies, where appropriate.

The Board of Waterloo Ventures includes:

  • Peter Schwartz, Chairman and CEO of Descartes Systems Group, a Waterloo-based e-business software company
  • Richard Black, from Helix Investments, a Toronto-based venture capital fund
  • Ron Craig, Professor of Business from Wilfred Laurier University
  • Jim Whitaker, Vice-President of Investments from Working Ventures Canadian Fund
  • Toby Jenkins, Chair of the Waterloo Ventures Board 
  • Andrew Abouchar, Fund Manager of Waterloo Ventures

Andrew Abouchar, Fund Manager for Waterloo Ventures is excited about the investment opportunities. "The Kitchener-Waterloo region is now home to an estimated 150 technology companies. This growing technology base is being supported by three post-secondary institutions turning out high quality graduates. Waterloo Ventures brings patient capital and business expertise to the formula, creating a very exciting investment environment."

Waterloo Ventures, a Working Ventures Community Small Business Initiative, is the third fund to be created under the Ontario government's Community Small Business Investment Fund (CSBIF) program. The program was developed to provide a local source of capital to small, high-growth businesses and to provide stimulus for investment partnerships between investment pools, universities and their local communities. Working Ventures has invested an initial $5 million in Waterloo Ventures.

Waterloo Ventures is registered under the Community Small Business Investment Fund Act, which also makes provisions for individuals to invest. Private investors making a minimum investment in Waterloo Ventures are eligible to receive a tax credit of 15% of the amount invested, up to a maximum of $75,000. Half of that credit will be received in the year of investment and the remainder will be received as the fund invests the money in local businesses.

Working Ventures Canadian Fund is Canada's largest national venture capital fund. Since its inception, Working Ventures has invested over $550 million in 186 small and medium-sized businesses across Canada. The Fund has over 115,000 shareholders and over $600 million in assets under management. Working Ventures head office is in Toronto, Ontario, and the Fund has investment offices in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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