One of Canada’s largest pension funds OMERS is launching a new £257 million (€300 million) venture capital (VC) fund in the European region, aiming to invest long-term in technology startups, as North American investors continue their aggressive push into early stage European tech markets.
Canada-based OMERS Ventures is the multi-stage VC arm of OMERS, which operates one of the country’s largest pension plans and manages more than £73 billion in net assets. OMERS itself invests in an array of sectors such as global infrastructure, real estate and technology ventures.
OMERS itself has been an investor in UK projects such as London City Airport, The Royal Exchange and the Vue Cinema.
OMERS Ventures has hired veteran investor Harry Briggs as managing partner in London.
Briggs’ previous investments include UK unicorn The Hut Group, which has raised over €1.6 billion, Magic Pony (acquired by Twitter in 2016), GoCardless, Paddle, Touch Surgery, Appear Here and Revolut.
The new fund launch follows a huge spike in startup activity in Europe and comes just two months after OMERS Ventures extended its presence to Silicon Valley.
Briggs said today: “Venture capital is increasingly a global business, and it’s exciting to be launching a substantial new European fund that, from day one, can draw on fellow team members across North America, as well as OMERS’ global connections as an investor from Sydney to Singapore, and Berlin to Boston.”
“In our view, those connections will help us give European founders an unfair advantage when scaling internationally.”
Last year UK law firm Penningtons Manches reported that US investors pumped a billion pounds into UK tech firms across 74 deals in 2017.
Damien Steel Managing Partner and Head of OMERS commented that: “We have seen the European tech sector reach escape velocity over the past couple of years, producing more and more companies recognized worldwide.”
“As the next step in our global expansion strategy, we are now committing dedicated capital to the Continent’s most innovative startups because we believe the best is yet to come.”