New $5 Million Pre-Seed / Seed Stage Venture Capital Fund Launches in Kelowna (to Invest in Early Stage Companies)Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Atrium Fund Throws Light on Tech Startups
Vancouver, BC, August 10, 2016--(T-Net)--High tech entrepreneurs will be getting a jumpstart with the introduction of Atrium Ventures VCC Inc. (Atrium), a new $5,000,000 investment fund dedicated to nurturing early stage companies in BC's red-hot technology sector.
It's what fund manager Jeff Keen, Director of Wheelhouse Management Inc., describes as a “pre-seed/seed stage fund” that will target promising technology ventures looking to secure equity-based growth capital.
Anchored by commitments of $1,000,000 from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT), $750,000 from Interior Savings Credit Union and a growing list of forward-thinking angel investors, Atrium aims to fill a critical gap for early stage tech startups looking to raise equity capital.
“A long-time challenge facing all founders of early stage tech companies and, specifically, companies based in the Okanagan where there is no established venture capital presence, is access to a formalized funding source. Many times these founders are forced to seek capital outside the local community and we aim to change that,” said Keen.
“We've witnessed continued growth of the tech industry in the Okanagan over the past several years,” says Interior Savings CEO Kathy Conway, “and we believe that our commitment to Atrium is a great investment not only for the tech industry, but for the community we serve.”
Luanne Chore, CEO of SIDIT, sees the fund as a natural extension of their mandate to support strategic investments in economic development projects in the Southern Interior.
“SIDIT is thrilled to be part of Atrium because it allows us to support economic growth in the region, helping companies at a very early, often tenuous stage,” says Chore, “and that's something that has not always been viable through SIDIT's traditional fund structure.”
The provincial government seems to agree that early stage funding is an important element in the health of this burgeoning industry. As a VCC established through BC's Investment Capital Branch, Atrium investors will receive a 30% refundable provincial tax credit at tax time.
Atrium is a fund created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Keen, a long-time technology entrepreneur and former CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, fund co-founder Lane Merrifield, former Executive Vice President of the Walt Disney Company and co-founder of FreshGrade, along with other fund investors will bring much more than money to startup companies.
“That's something that really sets Atrium apart. Not only will startups receive cheques of up to $200,000, they will also have direct access to a team of experienced entrepreneurs and our well-established networks including many Tier 1 VCs and several partner organizations,” said Merrifield.
“We have all been operators and understand the incredible value that smart money brings to the table.”
Why has the fund gained such traction with angel investors?
"The opportunity to pool investment funds with experienced tech entrepreneurs who will provide screening and due diligence gives the fund solid footing. Combine that with making several small investments in a wide range of companies and the appeal of the tax credit and Atrium significantly de-risks involvement for its investors", according to the company.
In terms of what types of companies Atrium will target, the baseline is whether or not the company qualifies as an Eligible Business Corporation (EBC) under the Small Business Venture Capital Act. But other factors are the true litmus test for potential recipients.
“We're looking for three fundamental qualities,” says Keen, “a high-calibre team with a balanced skill set and an opportunity that is ideally at the minimum viable product (MVP) stage working towards product market fit.
“Finally, when we assess the expertise on the Atrium team and our network of contacts and resources, is there a match that will benefit the founders and help accelerate the growth of their business?”
Atrium is actively raising additional capital with a planned second closing on October 17, 2016. Interested institutions and individuals can express their interest by contacting Atrium at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the closing, Atrium will be sourcing investment opportunities with a target of making a minimum of 20 investments over the next 24 months.
"The doors to the Okanagan Centre for Innovation are set to open in November, and with the engagement of Atrium Ventures and a community of supporting organizations like SIDIT and Interior Savings Credit Union, there's never been a better time to be a technology entrepreneur in the Okanagan", stated the company in a press release.
About Atrium Ventures (VCC) Inc.
Atrium Ventures is an entrepreneur led venture capital corporation that makes investments in promising new technology companies in British Columbia. Atrium's board of directors includes Jeff Keen, Lane Merrifield, Kathy Conway, CEO of Interior Saving Credit Union and Luanne Chore, CEO of Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust.
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