Company creator Diagram raises $55 million


Montreal’s Diagram Ventures is adding $55 million in venture funding to go towards its second fund aimed at building out new companies.

A venture-builder that cofounds companies in the financial and insurance sectors, Diagram is also bringing on serial entrepreneur Hamnett Hill as a Partner.

Diagram teams up with experienced entrepreneurs to build technology companies pursuing big ideas. It combines venture capital investment, incubator-style support and access to a unique ecosystem.

“With the support of our anchor investor, Portag3 Ventures, Diagram has rapidly gained a strong level of investor interest both in Canada and internationally, leading us to exceed our initial fundraising target of $50-million in less than six months,” said CEO Francois Lafortune.

Diagram’s first fund worth $30-million made investments in five companies: Dialogue, Collage, Breathe Life, nesto, and dfuse. The company says that in less than 3 years, Diagram’s portfolio companies have created more than 250 full time jobs and combined enterprise value in excess of $175m.

“Dialogue’s growth is proof positive that the Diagram model works,” said Cherif Habib CEO of Dialogue. “From the day we began operations, the full support of the Diagram ecosystem — its founder-centric model, access to its network of LPs and large incumbents and the support services offered by the Diagram team — has allowed us to scale rapidly and become Canada’s leading virtual health provider in three years.”

Limited Partners in Fund II will include 75 angels and family offices, including: Ambassador Bruce Heyman, the former United States Ambassador to Canada and a former Partner at Goldman Sachs; Angela Strange, a General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz; Andrew Chisholm, the former Head of the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman Sachs; Charles Goldman, the President and CEO of AssetMark and the former President of Institutional Platforms at Fidelity Investments; Mark Britto, the Executive Vice President Global Sales and Credit at PayPal; Nicole Junkermann, the Founder of NJF Holdings; Anatol von Hahn, the former Group Head of Canadian Banking of Scotiabank, and Henri de Castries, the former CEO of AXA Global.

Diagram also announced that Montreal-based serial entrepreneur, operator, and investor Hamnett Hill will join the platform as a Partner.

Hill, an investor in Diagram’s first fund, co-founded TotalNet, one of Canada’s largest early Internet Service Providers (ISPs); Zero-Knowledge Systems, a high-profile pioneer in online privacy and
security; Radialpoint, North America and Europe’s largest Telco & Cableco consumer SaaS provider, and most recently Smooch.io, the leading B2C omnichannel messaging software provider, which was recently sold to Zendesk (NYSE: ZEN). Exits of companies he has invested in, founded, or run reach into the several hundreds of millions of dollars. He was also the first and largest investor in Goodfood Market Corp. (TSX: FOOD) and sits on the company’s board of directors.

“Diagram’s unique, entrepreneur-focused model and the success it has enjoyed so far drew me to the platform,” said Hill. “I have yet to see anything else like it and I believe this formula represents the way forward.”

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