Canada’s venture capital (VC) market hit record levels in 2019, according to new data from KPMG LLP.
The firm reported that VC investment in Canada came in at $1.17 billion (all figures U.S. dollars) in the fourth quarter, topping the $1 billion mark for the second consecutive quarter.
Venture deal activity in Q4 was up 30% from the same quarter in 2018, but declined from the third quarter’s record $1.77 billion.
Despite the dip in Q4, Canadian VC investment still hit a record $4.6 billion in 2019.
“At a sector level, fintech continues to be a dominant area of interest for investors – both from an investment perspective and from an M&A perspective – in part due to the strength of Canada’s banking and financial services sectors,” KPMG partner Sunil Mistry said in a statement.
Globally, VC investment didn’t quite reach record levels in 2019, but it still managed its second-biggest year, with $257 billion in investment, down from US$300 billion in 2018.
KPMG noted that the level of VC investment in 2019 remained impressive, given that there weren’t any mega deals (over $10 billion) during the year.
Looking ahead, KPMG said that it expects venture investment to remain strong in 2020, both in Canada and globally.
“The tech ecosystem in Canada is now more independent and self-sustaining than ever before. I don’t anticipate deal activity slowing down anytime soon,” Mistry said.
“A lot of funds already have their next fund monetized. They need to spend the money, and they’re looking to stay away from any volatility in the public markets,” he added.
For the U.S., which accounts for more than half of global VC investment, KPMG said that deal activity is expected to remain steady, “with areas like artificial intelligence, biotech, and fintech remaining very hot.”
KPMG also noted that U.S. investors are becoming more discerning.
“We’re already starting to see investors pay a lot more scrutiny on the unit economics and business models,” said Mistry.
“Investors will keep investing where the economic climate makes the most sense, where the deal sizes are more reasonable, and where the venture ecosystem is reliable, and Canada checks off all of those boxes,” Mistry added.