March 3, 2016 / 12:01 PM / 3 years ago

Canada's Kensington Capital fills C$300 million venture fund

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian wealth managers, foundations and individuals helped fill Kensington Capital Partners’ C$300 million ($223.3 million) venture capital fund 16 months after it was launched, the Toronto-based investment firm said.

The Kensington Venture Fund opened in November 2014 with C$160 million in commitments, one of several vehicles set up by Canada’s former Conservative government to breathe life into the venture capital sector.

With the government committing to provide one-third of the cash, Kensington had a target of C$300 million in investments. It ended up with C$306 million.

The fund’s manager said recent Canadian tech success stories such as Shopify Inc SH.TO, which went public last year, have helped bring new investors to the industry. He said potential investments in the western province of British Columbia were particularly enticing.

“In B.C. we are finding very strong opportunities ... it is a very attractive market right now,” Rick Nathan, a Kensington managing director, said in a telephone interview.

He added that the tech cycle kicked off by the arrival of Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhone in 2007 and now incorporating booming use of mobile devices, social networks and other Internet-enabled services offers several more years of upside.

“This cycle is very strong and in my opinion it still has a long way to go,” he said.

The new investors, which Kensington did not name, join early institutional and corporate backers Richardson GMP, Open Text Corp OTC.TO, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), CIBC (CM.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO).

“We’re investing in companies with real products in the market with real customers, typically with revenues from a few million dollars to C$40-C$50 million,” Nathan said, adding that roughly half of the fund has so far been invested.

That includes the backing of content provider Blue Ant Media, investment curator Brightspark, retailer marketplace Hubba and point-of-sale software provider TouchBistro.

($1 = 1.3435 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Paul Simao

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