Ryan Holmes and Manny Padda launch new $20M fund for young founders, LOI Venture
The fund’s cheque sizes will range from $100,000 to $300,000 with the potential for SPVs to extend investment cheques into the $1 million range.
“In 2017, I launched League of Innovators because there was a shortage of mentorship for young entrepreneurs,” shared Hootsuite founder Ryan Holmes on LinkedIn this morning. He also revealed the thesis for his next big endeavour: “…there’s a shortage of capital for founders under 30.” To address this issue, he and Manny Padda announced today a new $20 million venture fund to invest in the next generation of Canada’s youngest and brightest entrepreneurs. The fund’s cheque sizes will range from $100,000 to $300,000 with the potential for special purpose vehicles to extend investment cheques into the $1 million range.
Born from League of Innovators (LOI) — the charity Holmes founded in 2017 and which recently hired Melissa Allen as its new executive director — the fund aims to support founders aged 15-30 attending one or more LOI Programs. Since 2017, LOI has accelerated more than 250 startups and mentored 12,000 youth across Canada aged 15-30. Notable graduates include SmartSweets, Spocket, Blume, GrantMe, Mazumago, FLIK, Spare Labs — who together have achieved almost $1 billion of enterprise value, according to LOI.
“When I launched LOI, my goal was to drive young entrepreneurs to startup success at a much younger age than what the market was delivering,” explained Holmes. “Having started my first business in high school — pre-social media — I knew there was no reason age should hinder somebody with a bright idea. It took me 20 years to go from my first entrepreneurial endeavour to building Hootsuite, and I absolutely believe that LOI’s youth should be able to shorten their entrepreneurial trajectories significantly with the right education, support, and now, funding, behind them. Big picture — more successful companies in Canada will create more prosperity for our communities and overall economy.”
Padda, NACO Canadian Angel Investor of the Year and LOI board member, will serve as managing director of the fund and believes the time is ripe for its deployment. “Through diverse student cohorts, LOI is helping to break down societal barriers to entry, and success, in Canada — and our students are also now experiencing a reduction in the time necessitated to achieve that success,” said Padda. “Our board is eager to help a diverse group of founders go to market — and this new fund will remove the last barrier in their way of accomplishing that.”
Writing online, Padda shared how he and Holmes initially linked up: “When I met Ryan in 2017, we realized we were both doing similar things with our charities. Both of us were eager to scale youth entrepreneurship in Canada and focused on eliminating barriers in the way to make that happen. So that fall we merged our charities and I joined the board to help give strategic guidance for the road ahead.” Now, with the education and alumni of their joint accelerator in place, together Holmes and Padda are ready to add capital to fuel the flame.
The fund is currently engaging Canadian LPs. To learn more, visit loi.vc
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