January 31, 2022
MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (MaRS AIF) is teaming up with Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (OMERS) to fund a new independent venture fund called Graphite. The fund has already reached $77 million of its $100 million goal in a first close, supported by a $25 million investment from each of OMERS and MaRS AIF. An additional $27-million of funding will come from entrepreneurs that have previously been backed by MaRS AIF. making this endeavour a bit of a “full circle” moment for the accelerator. Graphite has a year to hit the remaining $23 million of its $100 million goal.
"I think we've seen an incredible story come out of MaRS. ... I like the idea of reinvesting the return from one fund to help create another," said Vic Fedeli, Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
Working with the new Graphite fund, MaRS AIF will continue to support pre-seed and seed stage companies, with MaRS continuing to invest $500,000 per pre-seed Ontario company, capping at follow up investments of $250,000 each. Graphite will have a broader scope; it can invest across the country in multiple, later rounds as companies mature, and a $2 million start up investment.
“Ontario’s innovation ecosystem has never been more vibrant – we have the brightest minds, world-class postsecondary institutions, and a high-potential startup community that needs access to capital in order to grow,” said Mr. Fedeli, “This new fund will inject at least $100 million into our early-stage venture capital ecosystem and help to support domestic talent and businesses as they continue to contribute to Ontario’s economic recovery.”
By: Hannah Johnson