Montreal venture capital: explosive 2020 saw $1.15 billion in funding, nearly tops in Canada


Venture funding in Montreal hit $1.15 billion in 2020, fuelled by top investments in healthtech, biotech and analytics.

The numbers put Montreal in second place among Canada’s biggest cities, only just behind Toronto, notes BDO Montreal’s Technology Report in collaboration with Hockeystick.

The top three company investments were in e-commerce, traveltech and healthtech verticals, while e-commerce led in overall investment with $281M in funding. Overall, 84 different investors played a role in Montreal’s funding landscape in 2020.

Montréal scored about 40 percent fewer deals than Toronto (and 36 percent fewer investors), but overall funding value turned out very similar. Part of that is due to the three largest deals in Montréal in 2020, which totalled $565.8 million. The three largest deals in Toronto for 2020 totalled $238.2 million.

The three largest deals in Montreal in 2020 were: AppDirect ($250.7 million), Sonder ($230.4 million) and Ventus Therapeutics ($84.7 million).

The most active early stage investors included Brightspark, Real Ventures, Anges Quebec, Investissement Quebec and GeneChem. The most active later stage investors included BDC, Georgian Partners, iNovia, White Star Capital and Investissement Quebec.

The report claims that early stage deals accounted for 42 percent of all deal, while series A deals accounting for 16 percent. Late Stage deals accounting for 46 percent. “This barbell distribution is typical across the 5 Canadian ecosystems we currently report on,” noted the report’s authors.

It wasn’t all growth though. The 4th quarter of 2020 saw a 68 percent drop in funding compared to the year before, totalling $103.3 million. But that’s because AppDirect raised its massive $250 million funding round in the 4th quarter of 2019.

26 investors took part in 24 deals in Q4 2020, with Paper’s (formerly Gradeslam) $16.9 million deal the largest.

The BDO – Hockeystick report sources its through partnerships with Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA). Hockeystick also compiles data from startups using its platform, as well as public data sources.

Deals fuelled by local education pipeline

The authors of the report claim that Montreal’s explosive 2020 funding numbers can in part be attributed to its local talent pipeline, fuelled by universities.

There are roughly 248,000 post-secondary students in Montreal’s universities and colleges. The reports states that currently, 19 percent of AppDirect, 7.5 percent of Sonder and 39 percent of Ventus employees have graduated or taken courses from Montreal post-secondary institutions.

There are currently over 14,000 technology sector job openings for the Montreal area posted on LinkedIn.

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