OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension funds with C$95 billion in net assets, launched OMERS Ventures in 2011 with the founding principle of becoming an entrepreneur-friendly life cycle investor with deep, patient capital. The initial thesis recognized the role of capital in fostering innovation and supporting the ambitions of talented entrepreneurs. We started investing in the emerging ecosystem of Canada’s top entrepreneurs at a time when most sources of institutional capital retreated from the venture capital asset class. Seven years later, OMERS’ thesis is as strong as ever! OMERS Ventures currently manages over $800 million in assets under management with investments across Canada and the US.
We have decided to expand our global footprint in order to participate in several of the leading innovation ecosystems in the world. Earlier this year, OMERS Ventures announced that it is looking to open an office in Silicon Valley in order to increase our investment portfolio in the United States. We are currently identifying our team to lead our investment activities in the United States.
However, we aim to expand our ambitions beyond North America. We have identified the growing European market as an attractive investment opportunity for OMERS. With deal volumes and investment activity reaching a record high in 2017, the European technology sector is experiencing robust acceleration. The UK, Germany and France have emerged as key markets with world class technology ecosystems with many other European cities not far behind. OMERS Ventures Europe would leverage OMERS’ existing infrastructure, reputation, and investment footprint in Europe and will be based in London. We are currently looking to identify a team to be based in London with a view to invest in leading technology companies across Europe. Once we complete the build out of the OMERS Ventures Europe team in London, we will be looking to build OMERS Ventures Asia, likely to be based in our OMERS Asia headquarters in Singapore.
We believe innovation is global. We believe entrepreneurs are disrupting industries in every region of the globe. We believe that the OMERS Ventures founding principles of deep, patient capital supporting entrepreneurs would be welcome globally. In the coming months, we will share more details on the OMERS Ventures Europe progress. If you are an entrepreneur or a venture investor that share the same values as OMERS, or other contributor to the European technology ecosystem, we look forward to hearing from you in the coming months.