It must have been quite the party last week at the Canadian Venture Capital Association’s annual meeting in Montreal.
In stark contrast to previous years, it seems attendees were downright giddy about the venture capital landscape and where it’s heading. It may be that after several years of bad news, a glimmer of good news was enough to spark a wave of optimism and high-fives.
What seemed to send everyone over the top was a comment by Jit Sinha, a senior partner of JMI Equity in Baltimore, who declared Canada to be “sexy” on a panel aptly title “Is Canada Sexy Now?”. You know nothing gets people more excited than be called “sexy”.
But is Canada really “sexy”, or just starting to look good after everyone has got caught up in the excitement after a few drinks? Compared with a few years ago, Canada is definitely more alluring but I’m not so sure about the “sexy”.
Here’s the thing: The Canadian VC landscape is looking more promising. A couple of new funds were launched last week by Rho Ventures and Celtic House, and there seems to be more interest from U.S. investors. At the same time, however, there are holes in the ecosystem that can’t be papered over by bubbly enthusiasm.
While there is definitely more support for early-stage startups (Thank you, FounderFuel, GrowLab, Extreme Venture Partners, et al), there’s a still dearth of growth capital. After the dozens of startups graduate from the accelerators and incubators, how much capital will there be domestically to help them thrive and realize their potential? Without growth capital, the growth market will be similar to what the seed landscape was like a few years ago.
For more thoughts on the Canadian VC landscape, check out Jevon MacDonald’s post on StartupNorth about how Canadian VCs better get their acts together to stay competitive with U.S. counterparts. Mark MacLeod kicked things off with a great post about the state of the VC landscape, and how it’s time to take things to the next level.