Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, Toronto, is launching a venture capital arm, OMERS Ventures, focusing on technology, media, telecommunications, clean technology and life-sciences companies in North America, confirmed Lori McLeod, spokeswoman for the C$53 billion (US$50.5 billion) retirement system.
OMERS Ventures will be a lifecycle investor, providing seed capital of C$500,000 to C$2 million to companies and larger growth capital of up to C$30 million. The venture capital entity aims to deploy about C$180 million over the next three years, John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures and senior vice president and head of knowledge investing at OSI, said in response to questions.
The new unit is part of OMERS Strategic Investments, “an investment entity with a mandate to build long-term strategic relationships with like-minded partners,” according to an OMERS news release.
Canada's venture capital industry has suffered from a lack of resources since the technology bust a decade ago, OMERS said in the release, keeping companies from receiving the funding necessary to reach a higher level of success.
Mr. Ruffolo, who is also senior vice president and head of knowledge investing at OSI, said OMERS Ventures is looking to hire senior level executives by the end of the year. Further details on the executive positions were not available.
He said investments would initially focus on North American companies but likely would expand to Western Europe and beyond.