Nov. 9, 2023
UCalgary celebrates 3rd year of UCeed — the largest university-based investment fund of its kind in Canada
UCeed launched in June 2020 with a goal to expand the economy and accelerate innovation in Calgary and beyond. Three years later the philanthropically driven, commercially minded pre-seed fund has done just that with a remarkable investment of $6.19 million in its portfolio of 44 companies.
A significant contributor to the investment and innovation ecosystem in Alberta and across the country, UCeed is the largest university-based venture fund of its kind in Canada and was recently recognized as one of the most active Canadian pre-seed and seed investors by the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).
“When we talk about the University of Calgary being Canada’s entrepreneurial university it’s about more than just being the country’s number one startup creator and youngest top research institution,” says UCalgary President Ed McCauley. “The heart of our success is about driving change. Through investments from UCeed, our researchers, innovators and startup founders have taken dozens of new technologies to market, and countless more are poised to commercialize new discoveries.”
By bringing research innovations to market, UCeed is making positive, transformative impact on the well-being of people while driving prosperity and diversifying the local economy. Subsequent to UCeed investment, the portfolio of companies have created 337 jobs, generated $60.8 million in combined revenue and raised a combined $68 million-plus in additional capital.
Starting with two funds in 2020, UCeed now has established six funds: Health Fund, Child Health and Wellness Fund, Social Impact Fund, Haskayne Student Fund, Energy Fund and the newly created Neuro Fund which is focused on advancing research-based brain and mental health startups.
“The Neuro Fund is a significant step toward advancing groundbreaking treatments and accelerating neuroscience innovations to solve some of the most pressing health issues of our time,” says Pete Santosham, MBA’06, executive director, UCeed, Innovate Calgary.
“We are excited to help take disruptive ideas and discoveries from one stage of commercialization to the next and grow Calgary’s strong base of health-focused startups.”
UCeed’s support of seed-stage ventures is more important than ever as global health, environmental and economic needs become more complex — and as traditional budgets are under pressure. Thanks to venture philanthropy, and an evergreen funding model, evidence-based treatments and groundbreaking discoveries and innovation are driven to market.
And with returns on the investments in the portfolio companies re-invested into the funds, UCeed can continue supporting future generations of ventures.
“We are grateful for our strategic partners, investment advisers and engaged donors who are committed to our vision of solving some of the world’s biggest problems through venture philanthropy.” says UCalgary’s Chief Development Officer Andrea Morris. “Through their generosity and commitment, UCeed will continue to propel change now and for generations to come.”
UCeed is part of UCalgary’s commitment to building an innovation ecosystem that includes Innovate Calgary, the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, the Life Sciences Innovation Hub, Social Innovation Hub, the Energy Transition Centre, Ward of the 21st Century, IMPACT, and Creative Destruction Lab - Rockies, among other programs.
The UCeed Momentum report shares more details of the accomplishments and impacts of the funds.
- Photo at top of article: UCeed celebration panel left to right: Pete Santosham, executive director, UCeed, Innovate Calgary; Don Archibald, president, Cypress Energy Corp., founding donor, UCeed Energy Fund; Austin Kouri, VP and general manager, PurposeMed – UCeed Portfolio Company; Alice Reimer, CEO Fillip, co-founder, The51, former inaugural site lead, Creative Destruction Lab - Rockies, UCeed Investment Advisory Group member; Richard Rocha, founding cohort, UCeed Haskayne Student Fund.