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Back in January, we posted about 2011 shaping up to be a great year for our private investment financing efforts.
We’re more than halfway through 2011 and happy to report that we are very busy with angel and venture capital investment activities. Demand and enquiries for financing have been heavy enough that we will be busy through the end of 2011.

We will continue meeting with entrepreneurs at angel and venture capital networking events and competitions. We’ll also be working through due diligence to evaluate businesses at different stages of development.

Some ventures need more prompt attention to seize a market or technological advantage. And some projects require more time to assemble the information both we and the founders need to decide what type, level, and amount of financing will best serve business goals.

Now we may be busy, but don’t let that deter you from contacting us at our office or an event! We want to hear your ideas.

We attend a lot of startup-related investment events in Vancouver.
Sometimes we are a sponsor or part of the screening process for entrepreneurs wanting to pitch their ventures. Sometimes we want to network and meet and speak with company founders and fellow investors.
Once in a while we just try to relax and enjoy the event! Here’s a quick roundup of events we’ve attended over the last couple of months but didn’t post about.

– Vancouver Enterprise Forum BBQ on June 28th – featuring guest speaker Jonathan Ehrlich, former Head of Marketing at Facebook, barbecue, and networking.

– Vantec Angel Network on July 5th – another in Vantec’s ongoing series of events giving entrepreneurs a chance to pitch to potential investors.

– Startup Supernova on June 22nd – an evening of educational talks, startup showcases, and networking organized by The Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, Tech Co-founders’ Meetup Group, Contractually, GrowLab and Mozilla Vancouver.

The calendar slows down during the summer but you will see us again when event organizers gear up again in a month or two.

We are looking forward to attending the Agri-Investment Symposium in Vancouver on September 12th and 13th. The Symposium enables twelve agri-business ventures to make structured presentations to targeted investors.

The Vancouver symposium is the fourth in an ongoing series following 2010 events in Halifax, Toronto, and Saskatoon. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is organizing the series through 2013 so there could be a return trip to B.C. before the end of the run.

We are actively involved prior to the Symposium as a member of the Investor Advisory & Selection Committee. We reviewed presentation requests from agri-business entrepreneurs and helped select finalists.

Selection criteria include the enterprise, commercialization plan, return, environmental impact, and regulatory requirements. More detail is available on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website.

We’re excited to be the host city for the Agri-Investment Symposium. Agri-based ventures are a big part of our angel and venture capital investment goals so we will post again after the event with impressions and news.

We’re excited to see the 2011 New Ventures BC competition has carved a separate agri-tech stream out of the IT ventures they traditionally champion. The agri-tech stream focuses on three main categories: primary production, food, and bioenergy or bioproducts.

One key eligibility criteria is demonstration of environmental, social or economic sustainability. Detailed information about the competition rules and eligibility requirements are available on the New Ventures BC website.

We support this move. British Columbia is in an excellent position to become a leader in the promising and growing business of agricultural technology. BC has talented people who want to make a difference.

There is a growing market opportunity for new ideas applying technology to agriculture as people become more aware of the many benefits of a stronger local agriculture industry.

We see an interesting future in our role both as angel and venture capital investors and people who appreciate the social value of sustainable agricultural production.

NRC Lion’s Den

July 15th, 2011

We recently attended an interesting occasional event set up by The National Research Council Canada (NRC). designed to bring entrepreneurs and investors together. The NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program’s Lions’ Den on June 24th was a closed, invitation-only event. The Lions’ Dens aren’t publicized and you won’t find much information about them with a web search.

The event flow is modeled after the Dragon’s Den show on CBC. The idea is to introduce a handful of companies looking for investors to prominent local investment groups. We enjoyed participating and hearing the pitches from entrepreneurs working with the NRC.

We’ve mentioned our interest in green agricultural technologies that need angel and venture capital investment to  here over the last while. Let’s briefly define green and clean tech and why we are discussing equity financing deals with founders.

We’re talking broadly about new technologies that offer sustainable and clean alternatives to current farming practices. They must also be available at a competitive cost and a commercial scale. The ventures tend to require capital investment and the longer investment timeline that comes with development of infrastructure. Clean farming operations need land on which to build infrastructure to test, prove, and scale production.

A good example of an agri-science investment deal we’ve done is Water Working Wholesale. Their pilot hydroponics project growing micro greens fits the category in several ways. They produce food locally.

Shorter transport from field to buyers reduces carbon emissions. And they put fresh, high quality produce on the market.

They can operate on marginal land, produce multiple crops year round, and use less water than in-ground farming. Their edge is using sustainable methods to reduce the environmental impact of food production.

If you have a green or clean tech business that needs outside investment to move forward, please contact us. We’d like to hear about your innovation and your ideas for developing it into a business.

We will be joining the Vantec selection committee on June 21st to pre-screen presenters for the next Vancouver Angel Technology Network event. Selected  presenters will make their pitches at the Tuesday July 5th evening at the SFU-TIME Centre.

The event will continue Vantec efforts to expose entrepreneurs with promising ideas to local angel investors. The focus will be the backbone of Vantec’s calendar–traditional and mainstream business founders looking for equity investment to continue their work.

We look forward to assisting with selection and hearing the presentations at the event.

A representative of Goal Holdings has agreed to join the Board of Directors of Water Working Wholesale Ltd. We’re excited about formalizing our active role in this B.C. green tech startup. With Water Working we feel we are on the leading edge of an important investment and social trend.

Peter Ladner’s At Large column in Business In Vancouver, May 31 – June 6 issue elaborates on reasons green tech and local hydroponic food production is gaining momentum in B.C. Ladner believes we will look for ways to slash the average 2000 km distance food travels from source to table.

He also figures B.C. hydroponic experience, legal and otherwise, positions the local green tech industry ahead of the crowd. The future will no doubt see tight scrutiny of water costs and availability. Hydroponic food operations like Water Working’s require just 10% of the water consumed by earthbound crops.

That, along with local production and reduced transportation costs and environmental impacts, are a few of the reasons we are proud to support what the Water Working team is trying to do.

We’ll be attending the Vantec Life Science Angel Network event on Tuesday June 7th. The event at the SFU-TIME Centre at 515 West Hastings in Vancouver focuses on introducing health and life science entrepreneurs to Vancouver angel investors.

Our specific interest in this area is making investments in the software and IT side of health. We look forward to the presentations and hearing about new and existing early stage ventures. We also enjoy meeting founders and making connections at the networking part of the event. If we don’t know you already, please introduce yourself!

We’re getting close to seeing first quarter financial results for Thinware Media Ltd. The numbers will help us to predict a pace for the company going forward. The results will also figure in to decisions about how to proceed with future investments in the company’s growth.

We’ve committed $1.47 million so far so we have confidence in the management team and business model. We’ll be watching closely to decide what our next move is with Thinware and other digital media space investments.

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