What to do with $100 million?

Feb 10, 2010; Calgary Chamber of Commerce

Alberta Enterprise Corporation & the $100 million Venture Fund . . .

Thanks to Coby Schneider and Miller Thomson for sponsoring the Mtech Commercialization Seminar Wednesday morning at the Calgary Chamber. Keynote speaker Rod Charko, CEO of Alberta Enterprise Corporation http://www.aec.alberta.ca provided an overview and update.

Apparently the major focus and mandate of AEC and the fund is to attract venture capitalists to physically locate in the province. The thinking is that having venture capital funds physically present in Alberta will ultimately increase the calibre and quality of technology deal flow in the province and provide emerging technology companies increased access to capital.

AEC will provide matching funding to venture funders based on certain criteria that includes minimum of $60 million under management and a minimum of two managing principals.

Now, it’s always nice to see the the Alberta Government attempting to support the Alberta Technology sector and the holy grail of economic diversification in this province so here’s hoping that the AEC initiative will be wildly successful in growing a thriving Venture Capital industry in Alberta.

It will be interesting to follow the progress of AEC on a number of fronts;

  1. how quickly will the $100 million get placed? The money only exists as a political promise (there’s an oxymoron) until it’s at least in the hands of the venture fund partners.
  2. How long will it take the venture fund partners to invest in companies? The money’s not building new Alberta technology companies sitting with the venture capitalists.
  3. How much of the money actually winds up in Alberta deals or companies? AEC does not require the venture capital partners receiving matching funds to invest in Alberta based deals.

Can’t help but think of the Obama administration subsidizing those poor Wall Street bankers.

A lively panel discussion followed the presentation with some discussion about a retail tax credit for tech sector investment. Sounds like a good idea for the next post.

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