Insiders suggest that the firm may have recently closed its new fund, rumoured to be north of $50 million. That’s good news for early-stage Canadian startups looking to raise money in a generally arid Canadian funding landscape.
Along with the new fund, Real is looking to fire up the engines. “In the next 3 months, we hope to attract more partners, both junior and senior, a CFO, a community manager and a senior analyst,” read the post.
On the potential new partner, Stokes said Real is “looking for someone who has the credibility to inspire, motivate, and support entrepreneurs in building great businesses.”
The blog described the position as having “significant experience (not necessarily counted in years!) working in venture-backed startups, either as a founder, early employee or executive helping the startup scale…This person will be an integral part of the firm’s investment decisions and will also be responsible for identifying and leading investments on behalf of the firm and will therefore be an active participant in the Canadian startup community, participating in local events and mentoring startups.”
On the community manager:
“We plan to further increase the level and consistency of support we provide our entrepreneurs including help them better support each other. The role of the community manager will be to manage this growing community, increase collaboration and make sure the platform delivers as much or more value to our entrepreneurs than the partners themselves.”
And for the senior analyst:
“The senior analyst position offers an exceptional opportunity for someone seeking to enter the venture capital industry. The candidates will preferably have experience working in venture-backed startups, either as a founder, early employee or in a managerial role. We will also consider individuals with strong track records in management consulting or investment banking in the tech sector or in managerial roles in technology companies. The role of the senior analyst will be to support the partners and the entrepreneurs we work with.”
The post told the story about the firm’s beginnings, when it was founded in 2007 by John Stokes, Daniel Drouet, JS Cournoyer, Alan MacIntosh and Austin Hill. The quartet sought to test the idea of providing early-stage venture capital in Montreal by launching Montreal Startup. It was a $5 million seed fund with the mission to partner with driven entrepreneurs seeking to build great technology companies. It worked out well for them.
“Montreal Start Up backed 15 startups with an average initial investment of $200K. Those companies have gone on to raise over $80M. One company was acquired at a profit, five have raised Series A financing (and beyond) and one has been able to fund its strong growth through cashflow,” read the blog.
In 2010, Stokes, MacIntosh and Cournoyer raised a new $50M fund, changing the name of the firm to Real Ventures to better reflect the Partners’ aspirations to provide entrepreneurs a special brand with “real” pro-entrepreneur investors that founders could trust. The fund allowed Real to invest in 50 new companies and over 100 founders up to $3 million for those moving on to Series A rounds.
The FounderFuel accelerator program was launched, which has now funded 37 startups, and the Notman House renovation project was brought to life. Current estimates see a completely renovated Notman House for the springtime.
As one of the longest serving (and surviving) seed funds for Canadian startups, Real has etched out a niche for themselves. Stokes spoke about how every fund has its own way of operating, with different goals.
“Every fund is looking for great entrepreneurs, but each fund is looking for them at different stages of their business,” he said. “This is our time now. We’re focused on grassroots, scrappy entrepreneurs that want to get started and we want to support them. We don’t need people to have done it all to excite us. We’re excited by their vision, their drive, and by showing us what they’ve been able to do with very little in a short period of time.”