As we try and take some respite during the final week of the year, we are really looking forward to turning the calendar page to a new year. But we did want to take a moment and recap our second year in the US and self-evaluate, venture style:
Each of our four sectors of interest had a standout year with exciting companies, eye-popping financings and sweet exits. Venture funding ploughed into these sectors at all stages from pre-seed to late stage. In healthtech and insuretech, landmark IPOs were the big story as early innovators were rewarded for their efforts.
Proptech became a world of haves and have-nots as the pandemic shuffled the decks in both residential and commercial real estate. Lastly, our workplace tech theme became the topic du jour as the future of work transformed into remote and hybrid work. When we decided on our investment themes last year, we had no idea how dynamic things would become.
Product Market Fit
Our go-to-market strategy of deep thematic investigation continued to resonate in the market as we made 3 new investments in 2020. Michelle and Michael started off the year closing on a Series A investment in Landed, a proptech company that helps essential workers such as educators and healthcare workers buy a home through shared equity, down payment assistance.
Michelle and Michael were back at it on the healthtech front evaluating the pharmacy benefits management market. That led to a Series B investment in WithMe Health, a modern PBM and medication guidance company for self-insured employers or health plans. Eugene and Michael spent a fair bit of time better understanding the nuances of customer education and learning management systems and that culminated with Eugene leading a Series B investment in WorkRamp, an enterprise learning and training platform.
We are most grateful for the heroic work that our portfolio companies delivered in such a tumultuous year.
The pandemic compelled musculoskeletal patients to consider remote-first solutions like PeerWell. PeerWell responded by inking strategic partnerships with Coventry and Corvel and hiring a bevy of exciting new leaders into the company.
Auto insurance had an interesting year as drivers didn’t drive as much during shelter-in-place. Clearcover kept its head down and launched the fastest claims experience in car insurance as well as expanded its coverage by another 10 states.
Crunchbase responded to the cries for action in light of social injustices and launched the Diversity Spotlight so that users can now view and search by diversity data in Crunchbase, the only data source with this information on private companies.
Essential workers were front and center during the pandemic, and Landed responded by expanding its down payment assistance program to healthcare workers starting with Sutter Health. Each of our companies struggled and persevered this year and that is a testament to the founders and management team that we have backed and the culture and values that they have instilled. We are proud to support you.
We were pleased to add 2 rockstars to our team and graduate another one. Jo Fotheringham joined us as our Team EA and Office Manager while Chrissy Farr joined us as a Principal, focused on health tech investing. We wish our best to Evan Lee, our GSB intern/scout as he has started his own company, Sagelink. We were also excited to get our hands dirty in the boardroom with fellow collaborators such as Initialized Capital, Oak HC/FT and Bow Capital — all new co-investors for us. We’d be remiss not to thank WTI, Guggenheim, SVB and CIBC as new debt partners to our portfolio as well.
At the beginning of Q2, we announced that we had raised OMERS IV — a $750M trans-Atlantic vehicle that brings the fruits of all 3 local investment efforts (Bay Area, Toronto, London) under one roof. As a collective, OMERS Ventures remains focused on leading Series A to C financings in the US, Canada and Europe, and we now have ample dry powder to support passionate, mission-driven founders and management teams.
As Evan Lee exits stage left, Thom Ryan will enter stage right as our next intern. Thom will work with Michelle on all things proptech. Additionally, in 1H 2021, we plan to add another full-time investor to the team — someone to work with Eugene Lee on all things workplace SaaS. If you’ve got operating experience in SaaS or come with a large network in the space, ping Eugene (firstname.lastname@example.org). Finally, we hope to dabble in a new theme in the new year — something that is timely, something that is necessary. Stay tuned for more as we continue to noodle on it over the holidays.
Wishing you a much better 2021,
Michael, Michelle, Eugene, Alyssa, Jo, Chrissy