2019 Highlights: Our First Year in the Bay Area

OMERS Ventures
Dec 23, 2019 · 3 min read
L-R: Michelle Killoran, Evan Lee, Eugene Lee, Michael Yang, Alyssa Spagnolo

As we head into the last week of the calendar year, we wanted to wish everyone a festive holidays and happy new year. It’s been an incredible year for OMERS Ventures here in the U.S. — never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined what we have accomplished in our first year on the ground in the Bay Area. We’ve executed against our plan to build a small investment team that pursues a thematic investment strategy, where we lead Series A to C opportunities in select sectors such as health tech, insure tech, and prop tech. We also permitted ourselves to be opportunistic and jump on compelling deals, referred to us by our local network, in high caliber management teams. We finished the year strong, and we expect to carry this momentum into 2020.

Recapping our new investments

In health-tech, Michelle and Michael deep dived into all things musculoskeletal and we found Manish Shah and PeerWell. We’ve enjoyed helping Manish build his company since the middle of the year when we led PeerWell’s Series A. Eugene and Michael, along with our Toronto colleague, Mark Goad, jumped on the opportunity to lead the Series C in Jager McConnell and his SAAS team at Crunchbase. We’ve been impressed by their progress to date and excited by where they are headed next. Alyssa and Michael tunneled into the insurance world, leading a Series C in a full-stack carrier which we will be announcing as our third investment of the year shortly. And lastly, Michelle, Evan and Michael are working on an earlier-stage residential real estate concept which should hopefully come together in Q1 2020.

Supporting our existing portfolio companies

We evolved OMERS Ventures into one bi-coastal North American unit. To that end, Michelle and Michael have continued to support the founders at Felix & Paul Studios in Montreal on all their pioneering efforts in VR/AR, while Eugene and Michael started collaborating with Allen Lau and his storytelling team at Wattpad in Toronto. It’s inspiring to see so much great stuff being produced from both of these industry-leading media organizations.

Collaborating with other parts of OMERS

In the fall, Michelle and Michael partnered with Oxford Properties to host an inaugural OMERS Proptech Symposium in San Francisco. About 100 commercial real estate leaders, ranging from start-up founders to venture investors, from brokers to developers, came together for many conversations on how technology is impacting the real estate world. We look forward to more of these discussions together for years to come.

And a few people to thank

We’d be remiss if we didn’t thank a few folks who helped launch us this year. To Montage Ventures, Silicon Foundry, Highland Capital and JLL, thanks for putting a roof over our heads. To Morgan Lewis, thanks for cranking out all of our deals. To XSeed, Emergence, Mayfield (and others that we can’t quite name yet), thanks for having us as co-investors.

Looking ahead

Eugene will be rolling out a new sector focus for us in Q1 — be on the lookout for more details and expect us to be spending a fair bit of 2020 exploring this theme. On the team building front, we’ll be looking for another Summer Associate (graduate level), so feel free to ping Michelle if you’re interested in this role. And to support all this growth, we’d like to add an Executive Assistant/Office Manager to be our anchor in our Palo Alto base. Please let any of us know if that might be of interest.

Wishing you (and Manchester United) a prosperous 2020!

Michael, Michelle, Evan, Eugene, Alyssa

OMERS Ventures

Written by

OMERS Ventures is a multi-stage VC investor in growth-oriented, disruptive tech companies across North America and Europe.

OMERS Ventures

OMERS Ventures is the venture capital investment arm of OMERS, one of Canada's largest pension funds with over $95 billion in net assets. OMERS Ventures is a multi-stage investor in growth-oriented, disruptive technology companies across North America.

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