The fund looking to weave together Western Canada’s investment ecosystem

The aptly-named Weave is co-branded with Valhalla Private Capital and Red Thread Ventures. It’s already doling out cash to Canadian startups.

Weave’s general partners (from left to right) are Marco Donadeo, Jeffrey Manner, and Mark Mitchell. Photo credit: Weave.

When I write of linkups for Vancouver Tech Journal, it is often a story of a solution-seeking organization supported by a solution-providing tech company. Think digital product agency Invoke working with South Asian youth festival 5X to build a pandemic-resilient events platform. Or, extended reality company Mantis XR working with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Blues to meet sports fans in a Web3-driven fandom landscape. A recent coming-together, however (and a multi-million dollar one at that), arrives via the local venture capital world.

The new fund is Weave, and it was launched in tandem with Valhalla Private Capital and Red Thread Ventures. The fund was built to establish a throughline between the (now three) venture capital institutions. “Weaving capital into different networks,” is how Mark Mitchell, one of the three general partners at Weave, puts it — hitting the nail on the head.

Speaking of weaving and capital, I first chatted with Mitchell to learn more about Red Thread last September after the firm first crossed my radar as the lead investor for Kelowna-based, smart-shower system RainStick’s raise. Then, last spring, a grinning Mitchell greeted me on the other end of a Google Meet call. What was so smile-worthy? He was working on launching a new fund and unveiling the new brand. “We have done a lot of investments over the last two years through Red Thread, through Valhalla,” he tells me. “We're just seeing so many interesting opportunities. We're building a pretty solid pipeline of deals and watching these companies grow from really nothing to actually being investable.”

The proof of that pipeline is present in the co-funds’ track record. Investing as angels through Red Thread (Weave’s syndicate) or Valhalla (its partner angel network), a 17-company portfolio has seen seven follow-on financings since 2020. To capitalize on this, Weave’s focus is on the “next stage” of investability: seed and pre-seed capital. To cast a wide net, the focus for the fund remains on technology companies, but it is sector-agnostic. Given Weave’s Western Canadian roots, the spotlight shines over those provinces. Yet, Weave says it will also invest “opportunistically” Canada-wide.

Opportunity seems to have called early — and from a 416 number. Late last month, the firm announced its first two investments. One is Toronto-based proptech company, Share. Share offers a digital way to build a portfolio of fully-managed, cash-flowing U.S. rental real estate. The company promises that you can go from search to ownership in under 48 hours. Weave’s capital is a co-investment alongside Garage Capital and Panache Ventures.

Joining Share in Weave’s first portfolio is Wyvern. Its largely Edmontonian founding team are OGs in the Alberta space industry as members of the team behind Ex-Alta 1, the province’s first satellite. Wyvern builds on this legacy by manufacturing satellites that deliver high-res, hyperspectral images of earth. “They've even significantly reduced the cost of launching a satellite,” Mitchell details. “Theirs is a specialized camera that will go on to satellites then unfold once in space.”Mitchell and co know the company well as they’ve previously boosted Wyvern’s finances as angel investors. But, the business has drawn acclaim and capital south of the border, too. The company was accepted into Y Combinator and closed USD $7 million in financing including Uncork Capital, Soma Capital, and MaC Venture Capital — titans of the accelerator and venture capital world respectively. Wyvern anticipates the launch of its first satellite to come in Q4, 2022.To go with the pair of companies, a pair of general partners flank Mitchell at Weave. Vancouverite Jeffrey Manner is joined by Edmonton’s Marco Donadeo. Both are directors at Red Thread, while Donadeo is a Valhalla chapter president as well. The trio got high praise from the boss. Chairman and CEO of Valhalla, Randy Thompson, gave Weave some flowers via LinkedIn while also shining a light on the firm’s origin. “Instead of doing VA Angels Fund II,” he wrote, “we made an internal decision that we would only do it if we could improve our back office support... With the Weave partnership we get a ‘two fer’.. back office with Red Thread and [three] energetic young partners to run the fund with a great eye for good deals.”

As the Weave team pours that energy into tracking down “great deals” and finalizing Fund I, it’s exciting to think of the potential investments coming up this fall. Money from the fund will certainly allow more solution-providers to link up with solution-seekers. More early stage companies will grow. More innovative ideas will come to light. It feels like, in this ecosystem, it often comes full circle… or, dare I belabour the name one last time: it all weaves together.

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