Brightspark expands access to early-stage VC deals through wealth management firms

Brightspark Ventures, which closed a $6 million financing round in December, has announced it will expand access to early-stage venture capital investments for accredited investors through wealth management firms. The first such firm is Richardson CMP Ltd.

After 18 years in the industry, Brightspark made the decision to spin traditional VC on its head. The firm created an investment model that enables any Canadian accredited investor and family office to easily participate in venture capital investments. Unlike traditional VCs, Brightspark doesn’t manage a large institutional fund. Instead, the firm creates a fund unique to each new investment, and gives members of the Brightspark network the opportunity to participate.

READ ALSO: WMNinTECH: NACO Investor of the Year Sophie Forest on how Brightspark is revolutionizing Canadian angel investment

Since revamping its investment model in 2014, Brightspark has gained meaningful traction and is now investing in Canadian early-stage companies at the same pace as a traditional $100 million VC fund. Brightspark’s network of accredited investors has already grown to more than 2,000 individual members, and the VC will invest more than $7 million in five companies by the time 2017 is over.

Portfolio companies that have received investments from Brightspark under the firm’s new funding model include Hubba, Nudge Rewards, CrowdCare, Classcraft, gShift, nGUVU, AdHawk, and NanoMagnetics.

By making the Brightspark platform accessible to Canadian wealth management firms, thousands more accredited investors now have an opportunity to invest funds from their existing portfolios in an asset class that was previously inaccessible.

“Richardson GMP is the first wealth management firm to provide its clients with access to the VC asset class through our managed model, which bridges the gap between traditional wealth management and accessible venture capital via our new online investor platform,” said Mark Skapinker, Managing Partner at Brightspark. “Having one of Canada’s largest and most respected wealth management firms recognize the value we deliver to their clients is a tremendous validator of both our model and our vision.”

READ ALSO: Brightspark closes $6 million funding round to grow team and expand investor network

According to the Capgemini World Wealth Report, there are 356,900 high-net-worth individuals (defined as those with at least $1 million in investable assets) in Canada, many of which have their investments managed through larger wealth management firms like Richardson GMP.

“We are always looking for new approaches as well as access to new market segments that bring innovative investments to our clients’ investment portfolios,” said James Price, Director, Investment Services and Capital Markets at Richardson GMP. “With Brightspark’s deep diligence and expertise, our clients’ investment portfolios can now benefit from the venture capital asset class and Canada’s growing innovation economy.”

Sophie Forest, a founding partner at Brightspark, received the Canadian Angel of the Year award at last year’s NACO World Angel Investment Summit. She was also featured as one of our WMNinTECH.

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