We spoke with John Stokes from MontrealStartup last week about an announcement they will be making today. They are announcing a new $3 million fund to invest in early stage startups on the Island of Montreal.
MontrealStartup is a unique type of VC, they are a consortium of 20 partners, mainly entrepreneurs, based in Montreal who want to do what is best for Montreal. The investors in the fund include John Stokes, Daniel Drouet, JS Cournoyer, Alan MacIntosh, Austin Hill and Mathieu Duffar.
At $3 million, it is also the smallest fund I am aware of, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing however. Having a small fund is going to force Montreal Startup to act and behave just like a startup. They are going to know exactly what you are going through, because they will be dealing with many similar bumps themselves. It will also force them to learn to adapt quickly in a way that other VCs may not feel the pressure to do.
This new fund, which is composed of $2 million from The Ministry of Economic Development and a further $1 million directly from MontrealStartup, will be managed completely by MontrealStartup.
The fund will look at investments between $50,000 and $400,000 to be made in startups who are focused on the Web, Wireless and New Media. MontrealStartup most recently invested in StandoutJobs, and will start investing through this new fund immediately. They are looking for startups who have solid ideas with some market potential but they aren’t necessarily looking for complete business plans. What I like about Montreal Startup, from what I have seen so far, is that they are focused both on providing capital to startups, and using their well established networks through their investors, who are all successful entrepreneurs.
Due to the size of the fund, there is practically no management fee and the only opportunity for Montreal Startup to profit is to find the best deals that exist in Montreal and then to work hard to make sure that those startups are successful.
This is good news for Montreal. I am looking forward to hearing about some deals getting done. If successful, Montreal Startup will be one of a new type of VCs in Canada who are far more engaged with local startup communities than ever before. The future success of these funds depends heavily on the amount of local startup activity, and it is in their interest to foster that in a more direct way than the typical VC has done so far.