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Quebec Welcomes First Dedicated Deep-Tech Venture Fund, Boreal Ventures

Boreal Ventures, the first venture capital fund dedicated to deep tech companies in Quebec, has launched today. Created in partnership with Centech, a Montreal-based incubator specializing in technology, Boreal Ventures will support the development of companies in the pre-seed and seed stages in science and engineering that emerge from Centech and Quebec's ecosystem. The start-ups targeted by this new fund operate in applied science (deep tech) sectors such as artificial intelligence, medical technologies, industry 4.0, and connected objects.

"Boreal Ventures is addressing a real need among companies in deep tech, explains David Charbonneau, Managing Partner at Boreal Ventures. Cutting-edge innovation is marked by a development cycle that is sometimes longer and requires more capital than its purely software counterparts. Consequently, there are few Canadian funds available for this type of company. However, the potential for companies specialized in deep tech is vast and what they create meets the needs of today's and tomorrow's society. In addition to supporting companies with strong growth potential, Boreal Ventures wants to play a unifying role in Quebec and thus help attract foreign capital to support local innovation."

"This new fund will provide our entrepreneurs with the financial leverage they need to start and grow ambitious projects. The government's support for successful high-tech companies is essential for economic recovery," said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec's Minister of Economy and Innovation.

Boreal Ventures and Centech have concluded an agreement to improve the offer to deep tech companies and thus fill a gap in Quebec's innovative ecosystem.

"The creation of Boreal Ventures will support Centech's ambition to become one of the world's 10 most successful incubators," said Richard Chénier, Centech's CEO. In addition, it will boost the growth fund pipeline by bringing companies to the level of maturity sought by these investors, which is often lacking at this stage of development. It will also support scientific development in Quebec and thus increase the pool of companies in which Boreal Ventures wishes to invest in the future."

Since 2016, Centech has reviewed some 1,175 projects, raised more than CAD$150mn in capital by its companies, and created nearly 500 jobs. Boreal Ventures' ambition is to promote Quebec on the international scene; the firm's partners include the Government of Quebec through Investissement Québec, Teralys Capital, Desjardins Capital, BDC Capital, Hewitt Group and École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS).

"We are delighted to participate in the creation of Boreal Ventures' fund. With the support of Centech, an experienced incubator, we will have a front-row seat to witness the emergence of new technological champions who will contribute to the vitality of our innovation ecosystem, said Guy LeBlanc, President and CEO of Investissement Québec. Alongside its financial partners, Investissement Québec will continue to play its role and support growing companies that foster the emergence and development of our expertise in new technologies."

"By placing the development of high-potential entrepreneurship at the heart of our activities, we have built in Montreal the largest specialized innovation investor in Canada, said Seif Belhani, Principal at Teralys Capital. We are pleased to continue building and strengthening our ecosystem by supporting the development of leading-edge local innovation. We are particularly proud to contribute, through our program dedicated to Quebec seed funds in collaboration with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, to the creation of a new venture capital manager by accompanying him in the implementation of the best practices of our industry."

"Quebec can aspire to great ambitions in terms of technological innovation in science and engineering. This is why Desjardins Capital was an early partner of Centech in setting up this fund. Our goal is to create winning conditions to support Quebec companies that have the potential to become leading players in the innovative economy of tomorrow," added Marie-Hélène Nolet, Chief Operating Officer at Desjardins Capital.

"Quebec has a lot to offer in terms of technological innovation. There is no doubt about the role it will have to play in the future of technology worldwide, said David Hewitt, President of the Hewitt Group. Our group is proud to be part of this Quebec-based incubator and to support companies that will become flagships of tomorrow's innovative economy."

"École de Technologie supérieure (ÉTS) created Centech, which today unites several Quebec universities, creating strong Canadian R&D and stimulating innovation, says Jérôme Nycz, Executive Vice President, BDC Capital. To keep both talent and IP in Canada, research needs more early-stage financial support; the Boreal Ventures fund offers financing at a critical stage. By acting as a bridge between early company creation platforms and later-stage investors, Boreal Ventures is powering a generation of Deep Tech companies and entrepreneurs, which BDC Capital strives to support".

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