Funding your startup
Funding is always a challenge for startups. Below are some general resources you can use to help raise funds for your startup. Sector specific funding resources are found on their respective Startup Library pages.
This page consists of the following sections:
I. Canadian financing leads
Angel groups in Ontario:
- Angel One Investor Network (Oakville)
- Capital Angel Network (Ottawa-Gatineau)
- Georgian Angel Network (Collingwood)
- Golden Triangle Angelnet (Cambridge)
- Infusion Angels (Waterloo)
- Maple Leaf Angels (Toronto)
- Niagara Angel Network (Niagara)
- Northern Ontario Enterprise Gateway (Thunder Bay)
- Peterborough Region Angel Network (Peterborough)
- Purple Angel (Ottawa)
- Ryerson Angel Network (Toronto)
- Spark Angel Network (Whitby, Oshawa, Cobourg)
- Southwestern Ontario Angel Group (London)
- York Angel Investors (Vaughan)
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC): The BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs.
Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA): The CVCA represents the majority of private equity and venture capital firms in Canada. This link provides a list of members.
Industrial Research Assistance Program (National Research Council Canada): Through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), Canada’s National Research Council aims to develop technology to accelerate the commercialization of Canadian companies. To this end, IRAP provides advisory services and funding to qualifying businesses.
Market Readiness (Ontario Centres of Excellence): Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) supports the development of intellectual property (IP) from Ontario universities, colleges and hospitals. The Market Readiness program enables the transfer of innovative research to new or existing companies by supporting key activities such as technology and market assessment, IP protection, prototype development, business plan development and more. Investments range from $10,000 to $75,000 per project, and the funding is for the research institution or its newly created startup.
MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF): The focus of IAF is to help strengthen many aspects of your business as well as providing early investment. The IAF invests up to $500,000 in Ontario technology companies.
MaRS Funding Sources Directory: This database compiles provincial, national and international funding sources suitable for Ontario companies. It draws from both the public and private sectors.
MaRS Centre for Impact Investing (The Centre): The Centre is designed to increase the awareness and effectiveness of social finance to deliver innovative solutions to Canada’s social and environmental challenges.
National Angel Capital Organization: This site provides a directory of angel groups across Canada (registration required).
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE): OCE provides the critical bridge between research at universities to industry who help evaluate the solutions through various programs. OCE has two commercialization initiatives. The first, Collaborative Commercialization program, which is part of the provincially-funded Industry Academic Collaboration Program (IACP), is designed to address specific technical industry challenges through collaborative research involving industry and Ontario’s publicly-funded research institutions. The other initiative is the federally funded Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), which works exclusively with early-stage entrepreneurs and innovative enterprises with excellent potential.
The Social Venture Exchange (SVX): An initiative of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing in partnership with the TMX Group Inc. and the Government of Ontario, the SVX provides an online platform with venture listings, fund listings; allows investors to share due diligence, collaborate on deals, identify opportunities; and provides ventures with increased access to capital and financial expertise.
II. United States financing leads
Angel Capital Association: The Angel Capital Association is the trade association of leading angel investment groups. This link lists angel groups across North America.
Angel Resource Institute: Here you’ll find a list of angel groups in North America.
Venture Maven: This website lists angel investors and venture capitalists that have a Twitter presence, including firms.
III. Online community-based investment leads
Gust: Formerly known as Angelsoft, Gust is an online community that connects investors with startups. It is currently used by 600 angel investor groups, 35,000 angel investors and 125,000 startups.
AngelList: AngelList is a community of investors and startups started by Babak Nivi and Naval Ravikant of Venture Hacks. There is significant Canadian participation in this community, which facilitates connections between startups looking for funding and angels or venture capitalists.
The Funded: TheFunded.com allows entrepreneurs to research, rate and review venture funds from around the world. The site lists over 3,700 funds and has contact information for over 17,000 investment professionals working at those funds.
Funders Club: FundersClub is a venture capital platform that gives members access to startup opportunities and essentially is modeled after crowdfunding. FundersClub vet companies on a weekly basis and post a profile of approved startups for members to browse, screen and invest capital.
MicroVentures: MicroVentures gives startups access to early stage capital investment through peer-to-peer lending micro investments. MicroVentures focuses on early stage startups who need between $100,000 to $500,000 in capital. Their main sector focus includes internet technology, media and entertainment, software, green technology, mobile, social and gaming.
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IV. General funding information
Government of Canada Venture Capital Monitor: This quarterly publication covers the venture capital industry in Canada, tracking trends in investment activity, research and key technology clusters where venture capital investments are taking place.
Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) Resource Centre: The CVCA provides quarterly investment data, presentations and reports on the Canadian venture capital and private equity industries.
Important Things for Entrepreneurs to Know About Angel Investors (Angel Capital Education Foundation + Kauffman)(PDF): This document is a primer for startups looking for investment by angels or angel groups.
Global IPO trends Q3 2013 (Ernst & Young) (PDF): This annual report highlights the outlook for IPO markets in 2013 and analyzes the key trends of 2012.
MaRS Entrepreneur’s Toolkit: This set of resources is designed to help entrepreneurs learn more about startup funding, and includes sample funding documents.
V. Startup financing news
FP Tech Desk Startups (Financial Post): FP Tech Desk Startups offers regular coverage of Canada’s startup scene, including financing.
Tech Finance Canada: Tech Finance Canada offers comprehensive coverage on Canadian technology financing, including venture capital, angel financing, mergers and acquisitions, and more. A subscription is required for most financing data, but news is available for free.
Canadian Technology Acquisitions (Techvibes): Techvibes, an online news source for technology and startups, has compiled a list of Canadian technology acquisitions. The list was last updated June 6, 2011.
Venture Capital Dispatch (The Wall Street Journal): An inside look at high-tech startups and their investors, with content provided courtesy of The Wall Street Journal’s sister publication, VentureWire.
Deal Book: Venture Capital (New York Times): DealBook is a financial news service reporting on mergers, acquisitions, venture capital, and hedge funds.
VI. Advice for angel, seed and venture capital fundraising
These links offer additional guidance for startups looking for funding: