OMERS Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Canadian pension plan, is pulling out of Europe, marking a prominent global departure from the continent as EU technology investing dwindles.
The venture unit had set up a $332 million fund in 2019 to focus on European startups. A spokesperson for the C$124.2 billion ($94 billion) Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System confirmed the plans to exit the region, noting that its team had decided to focus on North America.
"Decisions to say goodbye to valued colleagues and friends are difficult, but we prioritize all our investment decisions to deliver on our pension promise, and doing what we believe to be in the best interest of our plan members," the spokesperson wrote in an email.
The pension plan said its commitment to early-stage venture investing "remains strong" and it has invested C$2.5 billion into young companies.
Launched in 2011, OMERS Ventures has backed several notable Canadian tech companies, including Shopify Inc. and Hootsuite Inc. Bloomberg News reported in 2019 that the fund had invested €76 million ($83 million) into European companies. OMERS had hired European investors from Balderton Capital and Uber Technologies Inc.
In 2019, European tech investing was soaring, thanks in part to an influx of funds from the U.S., Canada and Asia. It has since slowed dramatically. Venture financing into startups during the second quarter fell about 60% in Europe to €12.3 billion from a year earlier, according to data from PitchBook.