Bruce Croxon, one of the investors featured on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, is ready to light a fire under Canada’s digital startups by raising $100 million in funding.
Croxon started Round 13, a new venture finance firm, four months ago and is ready to start bringing other investors on board with his fund, he revealed to ITBusiness.ca during a startup demo day hosted by Toronto’s Incubes incubator.
“The deck’s ready, we’re going out to different institutions and individuals to get some funds together,” he says. “Our target is $100 million to support early, emerging, digital companies in Canada.”
Round 13 is named after a famous Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali boxing match that saw the heavyweights exchange devastating blows throughout 12 rounds. When the bell rang in round 13, neither fighter could muster the resolve to get up off their corner stool at first. Ali later said in an interview that it was the closest he’d ever been to death.
Bottom line is that raising capital in Canada is a tough go, and Coxon wants to help fix that. A lack of venture capital money in Canada is a common complaint among entrepreneurs, and Croxon agrees that there’s a dearth of funding.
“I think there’s an amazing number of smart entrepreneurs, so the gap between those two things are unbelievably wide,” he says. “This is a great opportunity to start raising money to address it.”
Croxon founded dating site Lavalife.com and later sold the firm. He’s interested in investing in companies along the Windsor to Montreal corridor, but will consider all Canadian firms, he says.
So far, the new private equity firm’s investments include UrbanOrcha, a Montreal-based company that promises to help you meet new people and discover local experiences. The site is currently in beta mode.