Alberta Enterprise Corporation invests CA$10M in Graphite Ventures now

 Alberta Enterprise Corporation invests CA$10M in Graphite Ventures now

Image courtesy: Graphite Ventures

Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC), an Alberta-based fund of funds, recently announced a CA$10 million investment in Graphite Ventures Fund IV. The investment will help channelize seed capital to Canadian tech startups in B2B enterprise software and capital efficient hardware. Toronto-based VC Graphite is targeting a total CA$110M size for its Fund IV.

AEC usually becomes a Limited Partner (LP) in VC funds focused on Information Technology, Industrial Technology, and Life Sciences. Alberta government formed AEC in 2008 as an independent corporation. And it’s one key channel for the provincial government to drive local economic diversification and innovation economy. Its investments in VC funds are aimed at supporting businesses that create high-skilled employment for Albertans and strengthen its economy.

“We are very excited to have AEC join our fund as an LP. We believe that Alberta is becoming a major player in Canada’s tech ecosystem and are very impressed with AEC’s commitment to developing a continuum of funding options for Alberta startups. This is a big milestone in the growth of Graphite and we are strongly committed to contributing to the Alberta tech community and growing great companies here.”

Craig Leonard, General Partner at Graphite Ventures

AEC has reportedly invested CA$330M since inception. According to authorities, this capital has provided leverage to give Alberta knowledge-based businesses access to over CA$4.5B funding. According to government representatives, at present, every CA$1 spent by the AEC generates more than CA$5 in VC investment in Alberta tech startups. Collectively, they say it adds up to more than 2,800 direct jobs and an estimated 13,400 indirect jobs.

Also read: WaitWell digital concierge bags CA$1.5M led by Graphite Ventures

Alberta Enterprise Corporation aiding the fast-growing Alberta tech scene

Alberta has gained prominence as one of Canada’s fastest growing tech hubs in recent years. As per industry stats, Alberta received VC investment of CA$729 million in 2022 and CA$225.5 million in Q1 2023. Alberta stands as Canada’s fourth largest investment destination with an increase of 30% annually in 2022.

Alberta’s tech sector is attracting record levels of venture capital investment. Alberta’s  commitment to invest a further CA$100 million into Alberta Enterprise Corporation will lead to  many more deals like today’s investment in Graphite Ventures, which will, in turn, unlock  hundreds of millions of dollars of investment into Alberta’s tech sector.

Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation, Alberta

On its part, AEC has helped catalyze the ecosystem with recent VC fund investments. In April this year, AEC made a CA$5M investment in The 51 Food and AgTech Fund, which is investing to solve climate and environmental challenges. Earlier in March, AEC invested another $2.5M in Sprout Fund II targeted at B2B software startups.

Jobber (US$100M Series D), Summit NanoTech (US$50M Series A2), Symend (US$40M Series B) and Attabotics (US$71.7M Series C) are the most well-funded Alberta startups.

In addition, Alberta is also seeing interest from big technology and tech services companies and creation of tech jobs. Among them, Mphasis is bringing 1,00 tech jobs, Infosys is also creating 1,000 jobs, and Amazon Web Services has promised 950 new jobs.

Also read: Alberta-based Orennia gets US$25M for energy transition analytics platform

Graphite Ventures focused on Seed and Series A across Canada

Graphite Ventures was founded in 2008 and was earlier the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. The VC firm is an early-stage investor and focused on B2B software, fintech, digital health, proptech, and hardware sectors. Originally created by Ontario government to fill a seed stage VC funding gap in the province, the firm now invests at Seed and Series A across Canada.

Over the past ten years, the team at Graphite, one of Canada’s busiest VCs, has invested in and supported more than 200 businesses. General partners Aaron Bast, Lance Laking, and Craig Leonard lead the firm. The company expanded to Calgary last year, and has focused more on tech opportunities in Alberta since then.

“The Graphite team brings to the table 25 years of experience at seed stage investing. They are adept at both spotting promising opportunities and providing mentorship and network connections to help startups scale. For Alberta startups at a critical early stage, continuing to create access to venture capital and growth mentorship, that’s how we can create an advantage for our entrepreneurs.” 

Kristina Williams, CEO of Alberta Enterprise Corporation

One of the first investments from Fund IV was in Calgary-based Waitwell. In addition, the VC firm has made recent investments in Korbit, enVgo, InsideDesk, ODAIA, Merinio and others. 

Also read: Calgary-based GeologicAI’s robot geologists get US$20M to scale its fleet


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