Kensington Capital Partners has been appointed by the Province of British Columbia to manage its new $100 million BC Tech Fund, which will invest in venture capital funds and emerging technology companies in the province across the digital media, clean tech, life sciences/healthcare, and information communications technology (ICT) sectors.
The announcement of Kensington Capital Partners’ appointment was made at a press conference this afternoon in Vancouver by BC Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amrik Virk.
Kensington will be opening a new office in Vancouver to lead the management of the BC Tech Fund, as well as other investments in the province, headed by newly appointed Managing Director, Dr. Gerri Sinclair.
“I have had the pleasure of working with the team at Kensington in an advisory capacity, and it’s a tremendous honour to be appointed to this new role,” said Sinclair. “I look forward to applying my experience in the BC market to working with emerging companies and funds in the Province as a member of the Kensington team.”
Sinclair has been a Kensington advisory board member since mid-2015, has also served on several government and corporate boards, and has approximately 25 years experience immersed in various sectors of BC’s technology sector, including mobile and digital media technologies, entrepreneurial business, and government policy.
Kensington was selected following a comprehensive proposal and assessment process involving 12 proponents, and was eventually selected for its strong track record of venture capital and private equity investing in British Columbia, totaling more than $100 million invested in the BC tech sector over the past several years.
“The $100 million BC Tech Fund is the central component of the #BCTECH Strategy capital pillar, and a fulfillment of the tech sector’s call to help promising B.C. companies grow their businesses,” said Virk. “On all objective measures, Kensington Capital Partners was our preferred choice, and we’re very excited to have their venture capital expertise in the B.C. tech space. I’m confident that Kensington will lead BC Tech Fund investments to good returns for tax-payers and continue to grow B.C.’s tech sector.”
In addition to managing the new $100 million BC Tech Fund, Kensington will also be taking over management of the separate, fully invested $90 million BC Renaissance Capital Fund (BCRCF), a provincial venture capital fund of funds program initially launched in 2007.
“We’ve always recognized the very high quality of technology innovation in BC, and we see tremendous potential for continued significant growth in the BC venture market,” says Rick Nathan, Managing Director of Kensington Capital Partners. “We are excited to be taking on the new BC Tech Fund mandate, which is a terrific platform to accelerate the future growth and development of the BC technology ecosystem.”
Kensington Capital Partners has invested in many BC companies, including BitStew, D-Wave, and Vision Critical, as well as two Vanedge Capital funds, Private Equity investments in several funds managed by Parallel49 Equity (Tricor Pacific), and an Infrastructure portfolio that includes the ownership and operation of a power plant in the Crowsnest Pass near Sparwood, BC, which supplies power to BC Hydro.
The first investment made by Kensington from the BC Tech Fund was in Vancouver-based connected car open platform developer Mojio.
“While we’ve seen a resurgence in venture capital investments in this province, there is certainly growing demand for funding from growth companies like ours,” said Kenny Hawk, CEO of Mojio. “It’s an exciting time to be a BC-based technology company, and we are honoured to be the first investment from the BC Tech Fund. We look forward to working with the team at Kensington alongside our existing investment partners as we scale Mojio globally.”
Mojio’s cloud platform has been chosen by Deutsche Telekom for its pan-European deployment of connected car services.