Investors are paying attention
Deep-pocketed American venture capitalists are pouring millions into Toronto start-ups. Here, five of the biggest players funding our tech scene
Union Square Ventures
What it is: A New York–based VC firm that has invested in companies like Zynga, Twitter and Tumblr. According to managing partner Fred Wilson, Toronto is one of the company’s top three spots for investing, along with New York and San Francisco.
Notable Toronto investments: Messaging platform Kik, self-publishing site Wattpad, medical app Figure 1.
What it is: A Silicon Valley behemoth that manages $2.7 billion in assets. It was an early investor in unicorns such as Apple, Google, PayPal and YouTube.
Notable Toronto investments: VarageSale, a company that organizes sales and swap meets; Achievers, which creates employee rewards programs.
What it is: A VC fund based in San Francisco, with a focus on biotechnology and health start-ups.
Notable Toronto investments: Along with the drug giant Bayer, Versant has invested a staggering $225 million in BlueRock Therapeutics, a stem cell start-up based out of UHN.
What it is: A $3-billion VC colossus headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Notable Toronto investments: The marketing software provider Influitive; the UHN-based gene therapy startup Avrobio; the DIY accounting platform FreshBooks
FF Venture Capital
What it is: A small but robust New York City firm that makes early-stage investments in companies like IndieGoGo and recently started an AI lab out of NYU.
Notable Toronto investments: 500px, an photo-sharing platform with six million members; InterAxon, which designs wearable devices for meditation; Drop Loyalty, a rewards program targeted at millennials