Brightspark Insider | February 2017
Our first investment of the year is a memorable one for many reasons. Wysdom.AI (formerly known as CrowdCare), a Toronto-based company that has developed a solution for enterprise customer care using artificial intelligence, closed a round of Series A funding—from Mantella Ventures, ScaleUp Ventures, and Brightspark.
This was our fastest round—it was fully subscribed within ten days of announcing it and was oversubscribed. The interest in this opportunity was massive and we recognize there were quite a few of our members who weren't able to participate in this round. We are victims of our own success and we apologize to anyone who wanted to join the fund but could not. We are working on our end to continue optimizing our investment process as we move forward. We will try our best to accommodate as many members as possible in future investments and to find ways for interested investors to “reserve a spot”.
The great news is that we continue to see a huge amount of deal flow, and we continue to invest in some of Canada's best early-stage companies. Keep an eye out for some interesting opportunities…
Last Year in Review
We had an incredible year in 2016!
We had 200 investors in our network a little over 12 months ago and now we’ve grown to over 1300 investors! Here’s a link to our “quick review of our year in 2016”.
On that note, we’re about to enter “VC return season”. What does that mean exactly? Well, many VCs across North America are about to release reports regarding returns. Many of these KPIs are intentionally obscure.
However, it’s useful to dig deeper in order to understand what they really mean. Our financial manager, Éléonore, has written a full-length blog post to help you understand exactly what those numbers mean and how to know when those numbers are being “fluffed up”. Very useful information and we recommend investors of all levels to read through it. Read more.
Wysdom.AI (formerly known as CrowdCare) secured their round of funding from the Brightspark network. Welcome to the family!
Hopper was recently featured in AppStore category LifeProTips, and BetaKit’s “Companies to watch in 2017”.
Hopper was included in a report of top Canadian VC deals of 2016. Read the story here.
nGuvu created a roadmap for successful call centres in 2017.
Nudge Rewards explores what Gen Z workers are looking for in the workplace.
Hubba is making 2017 the “Year of the Brand,” so they can better showcase partners in the B2B space.
gShift writes about mobile advertising trends to watch in response to Google’s algorithm updates.
Hubba CEO Ben Zifkin speaks with Ian Friedman, Goldman Sachs, who says “[GS] is bullish on Toronto”.
Mark Shares Some Wisdom and Tough Love
Last month we had the pleasure of being a guest on the Startup Canada podcast. Mark sat down with Rivers Corbett to talk about planting the seeds for the future of Canadian VC.
A couple of our favourite quotes:
“Build something meaningful. If it’s not big, go home and start again. Do something big” (17:45)
“Ignore all the noise. Ignore the people who want to get out there and get seen at every event. Stay at home and create an amazing product, you’ll be much better off” (28:40)
Investor Spotlight: Sandy
Sandy is a digital consultant that has worked with startups and larger companies in a variety of industries. She has been a long-time investor with Brightspark and one of our very first woman investors. For Sandy, knowing that our Partners are aligned with her interest every step of the way, from conducting due diligence to being present on the board, is a value-add that simply can’t be beat.
Watch Sandy’s unique story and see why she decided to invest with Brightspark.
Trends We’re Seeing – Private Equity Gaining Popularity in HNW Portfolios
The Globe and Mail recently published an article on the growing high-net-worth (HNW) interest for private equity in their portfolios. Thane Stenner writes: “While allocations to stocks, bonds and cash have waxed and waned, allocation to private equity has been straight up, from 12 per cent of the portfolio in the fourth quarter of 2007 to more than 23 per cent of the portfolio in the most recent quarter.” Read more about it here.
The Brightspark Team is Growing!
We’re happy to introduce the newest member of the Brightspark team!
Julian is joining us in the marketing department where he’ll be helping our Director of Marketing grow our investor network. Julian joins us after spending time with start-ups across Europe and Berlin and is currently pursuing his MBA in Toronto - we’re thrilled to have him join Brightspark!
Thank you for funding Canada's best early-stage companies with us and see you in March!
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