Venture capital (VC) investment in Canadian companies was down in the first half of 2019 — although certain cities had a strong start to the year.
A new report from PwC and CB Insights found that Canadian VC-backed companies raised $1.65 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars) during the first half of the year. That’s down 13% from the same time last year.
The number of deals also fell from 281 in H1 2018 to 240 in H1 2019 — a 15% decrease.
“The really bright spot for the Canadian ecosystem is the seed-stage where deals increased significantly, now making up 49% of deal share,” Anand Sanwal, co-founder and CEO of CB Insights, said in a release. “In addition, less-active regions, such as Waterloo and Ottawa, saw a strong start to 2019.”
Indeed, those two cities rounded out the top five cities for VC investment. Waterloo (ranked fourth) raised $131 million — up from $58 million in H1 2018. Ottawa (ranked fifth) raised $122 million — up from $26 million the same time last year.
The top three cities for VC investment were Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, which respectively raised $555 million, $355 million and $206 million.
Certain sectors that had strong showings a year ago didn’t fare as well in the first half of 2019, the report found.
In H1 2018, cannabis companies raised a total of $224 million over 51 deals. In H1 2019, they raised $42 million across 18 deals. Investment in AI companies also plummeted from $249 million in H1 2018 to $100 million in H1 2019.
The largest deals of the half were Hamilton, Ont.-based Fusion Pharmaceuticals raising $105 million, Toronto-based Vena Solutions raising $87 million and Vancouver-based PDFTron Systems raising $71 million.