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Canadian pension giant OMERS to tap ‘huge spike’ in Euro VC startups with new €300m fund

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Canadian pension giant OMERS has launched a €300m European venture capital fund through its early-stage direct investment arm.

OMERS Ventures said the new fund follows a huge spike in startup activity in Europe, and comes just two months after the investment unit extended its presence to Silicon Valley.

Harry Briggs, a former partner at BGF Ventures and ex-principal at Balderton Capital, has been hired as the fund’s managing partner based in London.

He is joined by entrepreneur-turned-investor Tara Reeves, until recently a partner at leading seed investor LocalGlobe, and Henry Gladwyn, who previously managed seed investments for the founders of DeepMind.

The new OMERS Ventures fund will target companies at Series A-to-B stage, and will typically invest between €5m to €10m per round, with having the capacity to follow on strongly in later rounds.

Briggs said, “Venture capital is increasingly a global business, and it’s exciting to be launching a substantial new European fund that, from day one, can draw on fellow team members across North America, as well as OMERS’ global connections as an investor from Sydney to Singapore, and Berlin to Boston.

“In our view, those connections will help us give European founders an unfair advantage when scaling internationally.”

OMERS Ventures head Damien Steel added, “We have seen the European tech sector reach escape velocity over the past couple of years, producing more and more companies recognized worldwide.

“As the next step in our global expansion strategy, we are now committing dedicated capital to the continent’s most innovative startups because we believe the best is yet to come.”

OMERS Ventures is the multi-stage venture capital investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans with more than C$97bn in net assets.

The pension major is invested in a diverse range of assets in public and private markets, infrastructure and real estate across the globe, including London City Airport, Vue Cinemas and iconic buildings such as The Royal Exchange in the UK.

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