Centech launches new Boreal Ventures fund worth $26 million


Montreal tech incubator Centech will launch a new fund for deep tech startups worth $26 million, called Boreal Ventures.

The $26 million is coming from the Government of Quebec, through Investissement Québec, as well as Teralys Capital, Desjardins Capital, BDC Capital, Groupe Hewitt and ETS.

David Charbonneau, the managing partner at Boreal Ventures, said the fund will address a real need for investment capital for early stage companies working in deep tech.

“Cutting-edge innovation is marked by a development cycle that is sometimes longer and requires more capital than its purely software counterparts,” said Charbonneau. “Consequently, there are few Canadian funds available for this type of company. However, the potential for companies specialized in deep tech is vast and what they create meets the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s society.”

Charbonneau previously worked at the BDC’s Industrial, Cleantech and Energy venture fund, the $135 million fund that targets series A / late-seed stage companies. He joined Centech in July 2020 in order to lead Boreal Ventures. 

Boreal Ventures will fund pre-seed and seed stage startups “from Centech and elsewhere in Quebec.” The fund will target companies in applied sciences such as artificial intelligence, medical technologies, industry 4.0 and connected objects. Boreal also wants to attract foreign capital.

“The creation of Boreal Ventures will help support Centech’s ambition to become one of the 10 most successful incubators in the world,” added Centech CEO Richard Chénie.

Fund wants Quebec innovation to benefit Quebec

The folks behind Boreal Ventures are making it clear that one of the fund’s main objectives is to highlight the full potential of Quebec’s high-tech entrepreneurial cluster. They want to promote Quebec internationally in order to retain talent and help fuel the next generation of Quebec’s economy.

In fact, Teralys Capital’s Seif Belhani is calling Boreal Capital “the largest specialized innovation investor in Canada.” Teralys, one of the fund’s investors, is a high-worth “fund of funds” located in Montreal. 

Centech, the organization behind the fund, says it has helped support 1,175 projects since 2016. Those companies have raised more than $150 million, created nearly 500 jobs and possess a survival rate of 65 percent after five years.

The non-profit organization focuses on companies working within medical technology, manufacturing, telecommunications and microelectronics, and other smart objects. In 2019, Centech was recognized by UBI Global as one of the most successful university incubators in the world.

Centech moved into the former Dow Planetarium in 2018, in the southwest of the city center.

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