The federal government is putting another $450 million into the venture capital sector over the next five years.
In Monday’s budget, the government pledged another round of funding for its Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI) — the follow-up to the Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP), a program that was launched in 2013 to drive venture investment by seeding an array of venture funds alongside private sector investors.
Combined, the VCAP and the VCCI, which was announced in 2017, have provided around $840 million in federal funding to VC investment funds. According to Monday’s budget, that federal money has helped support over $3 billion in venture financing over the years.
The first wave of VCCI investments involved $279 million in capital contributed by the federal government into four large VC funds, which ended up raising a total of $1.18 billion.
The federal government accounted for about 24% of the total capital raised by the four VC funds, which was matched by high net-worth investors and family offices. Pension funds provided about 20%, followed by retail funds at 15%, and banks and insurers provided 9%, with the rest coming from a variety of other sources.
Those VC funds are now starting to make their investments in companies that need capital, with the expectation that investors, including the federal government, will eventually see returns.
Of the additional $450 million in VCCI funding the federal government is promising over the next five years, $50 million will be earmarked to support investments in life science technologies and $50 million will be targeted to increase access to venture capital “for underrepresented groups, such as women and racialized communities.”