New startups in Canada may soon have increased access to a huge number of angel investors.
Brightspark, a venture capital firm with a unique approach to investing, has announced it is broadening its portfolio by expanding how high net worth individuals—otherwise known as accredited investors—can access and invest in early-stage companies.
The Toronto-based Brightspark will make their platform available to the Richardson GMP Ltd. management firm, a wealth management company that has close to $30 billion in client assets and has offices throughout Canada. Now, accredited investors who are customers of Richardson GMP can invest their money from existing portfolios into an asset class that was previously inaccessible—early stage startups.
“Richardson GMP is the first wealth management firm to provide its clients with access to the VC asset class through our managed model, which bridges the gap between traditional wealth management and accessible venture capital via our new online investor platform,” said Mark Skapinker, managing partner at Brightspark. “Having one of Canada’s largest and most respected wealth management firms recognize the value we deliver to their clients is a tremendous validator of both our model and our vision.”
Brightspark shies away from the traditional “fund-of-funds” model and instead focuses on bringing together multiple angel investors to create an entirely independent fund for each investment initiative. In Canada, there are more than 350,000 high net worth individuals, meaning they have at least $1 million in investable assets. Brightspark helps connect this large group with early-stage companies to become angel investors.
“We are always looking for new approaches as well as access to new market segments that bring innovative investments to our clients’ investment portfolios,” said James Price, a director at Richardson GMP. “With Brightspark’s deep diligence and expertise, our clients’ investment portfolios can now benefit from the venture capital asset class and Canada’s growing innovation economy.”
The model essentially creates a curated deal model, similar to the U.S. Fundersclub. Each deal is created as a VC deal, so they have the same rules as traditional VC deals set forth by the security commission.
Investments from accredited investors can range from $25,000 to much higher, all coming together to create their own unique fund. The access to Richardson GMP means thousands of new investors can get in on the Brightspark model.
Brightspark themselves recently raised a $6 million funding round to expand their model across Canada and seal deals like this one with Richardson GMP. The venture fund is looking to bring their total investment pace past $120 million.
Accredited investors would be wise to see what Brightspark has to offer. The firm was an early investor in Hubba, and the company’s CEO famously said the company would be worth way more than a billion dollars early last year. Brightspark has also invested in Nudge Rewards, Hopper and more. They have seen some successful exits as well, including the $326 million acquisition of Radian6.