iNovia firm opens office in Waterloo
iNovia Capital, a venture capitalist firm with offices across North America — including New York, Calgary and Montreal — has recently opened an office in Kitchener-Waterloo.
The company operates by starting partnerships with entrepreneurs, focusing less on venture capitalists recommending a particular strategy to their clients and more on the firm giving entrepreneurs the resources they need to succeed and connecting them with people that would fast-track their jobs.
Currently, the firm has invested in many big-name startups that originated in Waterloo, including Vidyard, BufferBox, TopHat, TulipRetail and Well.ca. There are also talks of deals with smaller investors, which will be finalized soon.
“The quality of teams of entrepreneurs over here are very attractive for us, given the stage in which we invest,” said Karamdeep Nijjar, a current partner at iNovia, explaining why they decided to make the move to K-W.
According to Nijjar, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University have a lot to contribute to the ecosystem. He said the strong academic history of the city has already had a major impact on the type of talent-pool and startups that iNovia hopes to partner with.
“Laurier with their great history of business-focused students, and Waterloo with the more technical aspect of it: biotechnology, quantum computing, mechatronics,” he continued. “All these very innovative programs are going to create some very promising next generation companies. These are areas that are relatively unexplored in many other parts of the investing world.”
Nijjar said that, for the most part, executives and entrepreneurs associated with the Silicon Valley usually converse about Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal when Canada is mentioned, but recognize that there is a lot of potential in Waterloo as well. This move is to be a key global, long-term strategy for iNovia.
So far, venture capitalist firms who have offices in Toronto have been targeting the Waterloo ecosystem from their location out of town. However, iNovia’s move to Waterloo, according to Nijjar, is a huge stepping-stone for other venture capitalist firms to also perhaps make the shift to Waterloo.
Nijjar concluded that one of the main goals for the firm was to, “look to build ties with the ecosystem, both Laurier and Waterloo in the long-term.”