Kensington Capital Opens Calgary Office to Seize Untapped Venture Capital Opportunities in Western Canada.
TORONTO, April 28, 2015 – While falling oil prices highlight the need for diversification in the Canadian economy, sectors that have long lived in the shadows of the oil and gas sector are starting to emerge. New technologies are revolutionizing the energy sector with Alberta poised to become a global leader, leveraging its position as a major oil and gas market. The industry’s transformation is being driven by technologies that will help to diversify the economy while driving down costs, increasing environmental stewardship and strengthening the social license to operate in the energy sector.
This shift is in part why Kensington Capital Partners (Kensington) is opening a Calgary office and signaling to entrepreneurs, private investors, and technology companies that the time is right to expand and capitalize on new tech sector opportunities in Western Canada.
Launched in November 2014, the Kensington Venture Fund (Fund) received a lead investment from the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP), a $400 million strategy designed to increase private sector investments in emerging Canadian technology companies. While the Fund’s investment mandate covers the entire country, Kensington is increasing its presence in Western Canada to capitalize on the particular opportunities arising in its underserved venture capital markets in energy technologies and clean tech, including digital oilfield, smart grid, and alternative energies.
“Our government’s Venture Capital Action Plan is delivering important risk capital to help Canada’s innovative firms and start-ups access the resources they need to bring new ideas to market, increase our productivity, and diversify our economy,” said Industry Minister James Moore. “When we invest in innovation, we invest in home-grown talent, high-quality jobs and long-term economic growth and prosperity.”
Kensington’s new Calgary office will be headed by Michelle Scarborough, an experienced Canadian venture capitalist, with a strong track record in the energy technology sector. A recognized leader in the investment community, Scarborough is the Chair of the National Angel Capital Organization, the founder of the Women’s Angel Network in Canada as well as an advisory member for Women in Energy and Private Equity. She also led the establishment of the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund, and founded a number of start-ups giving her a deep understanding of the venture capital ecosystem in Canada and the United States.
“Having spent most of my life in this community, it excites me to be able to support companies here in Western Canada and across the country to help them access the venture capital they need to grow,” said Michelle Scarborough, Kensington Senior Vice President and leader of the new Calgary office. “I look forward to helping investors uncover the many untapped opportunities that can be supported by Kensington and help Canadian companies build strong new businesses, putting Alberta and Western Canada on the map as a global leader in energy technology.”
Prior to joining Kensington, Scarborough was a Founder and Managing Partner of Fronterra Ventures, an oil and gas technology venture fund. An experienced entrepreneur, Scarborough has also served as the Managing Director and Entrepreneur in Residence of the Regional Innovation Centre for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario where her team worked with over 400 high potential companies raising close to $100 million for portfolio clients to support scalable global growth.
“Michelle’s experience and vision will allow Kensington to play a pivotal role in the emergence of Alberta’s technology sector,” said Rick Nathan, Managing Director, Kensington Capital Partners, former Chair and President of the CVCA (Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association) and a Founding Co-Chair of CIX (Canadian Innovation Exchange). “Our entire team is looking forward to working with Michelle in the months and years to come as she explores, evaluates and secures investment opportunities across Western Canada.”
Kensington has been an active investor in Alberta for nearly 20 years, with investments in private equity funds, oil and gas funds, as well as direct investments in privately held growth companies. More recently, Kensington’s infrastructure investment program has acquired interests in power generation facilities in Alberta and British Columbia. The launch of the new Calgary office will allow Kensington to capitalize on these and other investment opportunities.
About Kensington Capital Partners
Kensington is a leading independent Canadian investor in alternative assets. Founded in 1996, and with over $670 million invested to date in private equity, venture capital, infrastructure and hedge funds, Kensington’s active management approach and relationship based business has generated top quartile returns for investors. For more information, visit www.kcpl.ca.
About The Kensington Venture Fund
Announced in November 2014 as part of the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP), this fund of funds is investing in promising VC funds and technology companies in the cleantech, IT, telecommunications, energy and digital media sectors. The fund remains open to new accredited and institutional investors until it reaches its maximum size of $300 million.
About the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP)
VCAP is a $400 million strategy launched in January 2013 to help increase private sector investments in early–stage risk capital, and contribute to a vibrant private sector–led venture capital sector in Canada. VCAP includes a commitment to establish up to four new or recapitalized private sector–led funds of funds with private sector investors and interested provinces. The Business Development Bank of Canada is facilitating the implementation of VCAP on behalf of the Government of Canada by providing independent expertise, undertaking due diligence, supporting negotiations with funds and other investors, and assisting in the deployment of VCAP investments.