Here’s what they had to say:
What is your role in the funding landscape?
Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC)
- Established out of provincial legislation in 2009, the principal business of the OCGC is to manage the limited partner interests of the Government of Ontario in the Ontario Venture Capital Fund LP (OVCF) and the Northleaf Venture Capital Fund LP (NVCF), and to manage and operate the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund (OETF).
- The group is looking for companies with exponential growth opportunities
- They often require a seat at the board table
- The OCGC venture capital specialty is emerging technologies; many venture capital groups have specialties so as a business you want to find a good fit
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
- Is a crown corporation that can help any commercial entity who has a need from startups to mature to growing to businesses that need a hand turning around
- Also offer business advisory programs
Peterborough Region Angels Network (PRAN)
- Group of private investors mainly looking to invest in businesses in the life sciences and technology sectors
- PRAN is part of an angel network that has provincial and national connections
- They look to support early stage or start up companies
- Willing to take high risks for high returns
- Screening process is through GPIC
- Usually come into play after start up funding, family and friends, and government funding are exhausted
- Will invest for a share in the company
- Offers loans to startups and existing businesses
- Loan committee meets twice a month to review applications
- Team - Who is behind the business and do they have skin in the game?
- Coachability – Is the team from the business willing to learn and grow
- Can your business reach large markets?
- Exhaust other resources before coming to a venture capital fund in order to receive a higher valuation
- Historical financials, equity in the business and cash flow
- What will be the result of the funding – e.g. increase in contracts or jobs? Is it a good project?
- Who are the people in the business? Are they a good team?
- Scalability of the company
- Coachability of the entrepreneur
- Is it in their area of expertise technology and/or life sciences?
- Solid business plan
- Passionate and knowledgeable
- Good credit history and cash flow
- Possible to see turnaround in 3-4 weeks
- The loan committee meets twice a month
- Presentation to the committee is possible
- Average loan is $50-70,000
- No more than 5-6 weeks
- Presentation to the group is required
- Angels within the network often pool resources to make combined investments
- Online for loans of $50,000 or less can be 48-72 hours
- Little bit longer for loans in the $50,000 - $250,000 range
- Up to four weeks for $250,000+
- Venture Capital very much relationship based
- Select a number of Venture Capital funds that fit with your business
- Reach out you’d like the money and not when you need the money
The four speakers were also asked about success stories that they were able to share with the group. Michelle from the CFDC mentioned that in its 30 years Community Futures has helped over 700 businesses including BE Catering and Doo Doos Bakery; Yves LaFortune mentioned a couple of companies the group has invested in including Entomo Farms; Michael from BDC described how they helped a funeral home in Minden recover from a recent flood; and Brenda from OCGC spoke about how they invested in an Ontario company that went on to open a branch in Europe, sell that company and start several new companies.
Whether it’s your regular financial institution or one of the options profiled at last week’s event, hopefully the answers above can help any small business. Ultimately, one of the best takeaways for any business is that you have to be prepared.