Cindicates is Victoria’s own Venture Capital Seed Fund. They are closely affiliated with the Capital Investment Network, Women’s Equity Lab, VIATEC, and Alacrity and were founded in late 2020 by the Capital Investment Network team.
Cindicates is focused on providing early-stage funding to local start-ups while providing value to investors. Earlier this year, they launched their first cohort with the goal to raise $500,000 from local investors to invest in promising local start-ups.
Cindicates hosted their first-ever event on November 25th, 2021, at Fort Tectoria to celebrate their successes in their first year of the fund. Over 60 people attended the showcase and enjoyed a great night of networking, fantastic local food, drinks and an informative presentation from the fund.
The presentation started off with Dan Gunn from VIATEC, discussing the growing tech sector in Victoria and how Cindicates has an incredible impact on not only funding local tech start-ups but also enabling local investors to invest locally. He was followed by a fireside chat hosted by Shaun Jamieson.
Key Fireside Chat Questions:
Question: Tell us the background of setting up Cindicates. Why did you start a fund? What are the benefits?
Stephanie Andrew, CFO and General Partner: The Capital Investment Network started in 2015 with myself and Peter Elkins with the goal of growing the angel investing community in Victoria. We noticed a gap in Victoria start-ups not having access to local funding and investors not having access to invest locally. We also recognized the growing tech market in Victoria, so we decided to launch Cindicates to enable community members to invest in the local start-up community.
Paula Carrey, General Partner: The benefit of investing in Cindicates is supporting the local start-up community with the potential for an incredible return. Many people are not aware of the Small Business Venture Capital Program. The government created this program to encourage investors to make early-stage investments in BC businesses to help them grow. This program offers BC investors a 30% tax credit on their investment in a Venture Capital Corporation like Cindicates. If you invest in Cindicates, you get a 30% tax credit that you can use towards your taxes. We are also RRSP and TFSA eligible.
Question: What is the vision and goal of Cindicates?
James DeGreef, Managing Partner and President: Our vision for the fund is to support up-and-coming tech start-ups at their earliest stage and provide seed capital to build momentum. Our goal is to hopefully deliver economic returns to our investors and build and grow the local startup tech community. We are raising $500,000 in this cohort and investing in 6-10 start-ups. The goal for next year is to raise $ 1,000,000 and $2,000,000 for the following year.
Question: What is the criteria when investing in start-ups?
Richard Egli, General Partner: When we invest in a start-up, we are looking for a winning team that is motivated to succeed and does not shy away from taking risks. We look for an innovative idea that solves a problem in a growing market. It is great to see early traction and even early revenue. Since we are a community fund, we want to invest in BC start-ups, focusing on Victoria start-ups.
Question: Tell us about the companies you have invested in?
- Lethub – An AI leasing platform for residential property managers that rents properties 10x faster than a leasing agent.
- Simbi – An online reading platform that motivates young children to read by providing them with opportunities to read alongside narrators.
- Joni – Canada’s first one-to-one period produce company that provides customers with organic and biodegradable products.
- Open Oceans Robotics – A marine robotics and software company that provides autonomous data collection and analytics as a subscription and service.
- VINN – An automotive e-commerce platform where buyers can search for vehicles, start buying online and go to the dealership ready to pick up the car they want.
Caleb Bernabe, Co-Founder of VINN, concluded the presentation by speaking about how epic and supporting the tech community is. He spoke about the positive impact the community has had on VINN and the significance of the community helping other start-ups.
If you are a like-minded accredited investor or an upcoming startup, please visit the Cindicates website at www.cindicates.com or contact the Managing Partner and President, James DeGreef, at firstname.lastname@example.org.