Passion led us here.
BCF Ventures, a spin-off of BCF Business Law Firm, is a pioneer in the Canadian investment scene and one of the first corporate venture capital funds to be launched by a law firm. Launched on June 1st, 2018, BCF Business Law’s partners pooled their resources to establish BCF Ventures. The fund benefits from the expertise, resources and insights of the law firm and invests jointly with other successful funds across North America and Europe. BCF Ventures invests at the seed and series A stage of technology-based startups, mostly in Canada, the United States and opportunistically in Israel, and Western Europe. BCF Ventures is also a designated organization authorized by the Government of Canada to invest and support potential startups under the Start-Up Visa Program.
02 Investment Criteria
We have a passion for supporting emerging technologies led by talented teams. We believe in the « fit ». In the interest of both parties, we are transparent on what we want and let you decide if there is a likely match. If our investment focus doesn’t blend with your business model or capital strategy, that means we are simply not meant for each other.
We are passionate about disruptive technologies and the business opportunities that these create. We are looking for innovation pioneers challenging the status quo in traditional sectors, or dramatically improving legacy processes. The companies we fund must have some type of key science or technological innovation leading to the establishment of intellectual property rights.
We believe in the future of B2B Cloud & SaaS Intelligent Enterprise software leveraging a combination of either Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Business Analytics and/or Security. While we invest across industries, we have a special attention for Healthcare & Transportation, Logistics & Supply Chain, Regulatory technology (Finance, Legal) and Enterprise Software.
We invest primarily in Canadian and US companies. We occasionally invest in companies based in Europe or Israel but those companies must meet an even higher bar.
Traction, growth curve, and unit economics are the most important factors we use to determine specific valuations. While we make our investments in companies with valuations up to $10M, it needs to be justified with exceptional metrics and technology.
Our typical first investment check is around $125k. We don’t act as lead investor in the first round. We will take a minority position in the first initial round. We will always ask for pro-rata rights to potentially invest in future rounds at larger amounts.
We have a very strong bias towards companies with low cash burns. We also prefer a funding round where our participation usually yields at least 18 months of runway.
Almost all of our investments go into rounds totaling $1M-$5M. Participation in smaller rounds requires companies to have highly disruptive technologies with truly exceptional progress.
Team & Advisors
We usually require at least two full time founders, with one being technical. We have a strong bias towards startups having strong advisors with shares backing them.
03 Progression and traction
The startup capital efficiency trend means that almost all our portfolio companies already have at least modest revenues. Below are the rough minimum traction levels for different types of startups, corresponding to the lower end of our valuation range :
B2B w/low price point
In that case, our traction bar is also usually higher. We want initial evidence that you can acquire customers economically at scale. Usually, this requirement translates into at least 40-100 customers, most of which you acquired through a cost-effective, repeatable sales model.
B2B w/high price point
In that case, when the price point is high enough to support a sales force, our traction bar is lower. We like to see a proven price point, evidence of a strong customer value proposition, and at least a few customers that have gone through sales cycles with decent acquisition economics.
If you have an enterprise SaaS product with a price point in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per month, we'll be interested in exploring an investment when you have live pilot customers with promising usage data. Paid pilots make an even more compelling case.
We have the highest bar for B2C companies, and mainly invest opportunistically in exceptional companies. To be successful, you need to acquire paid or heavily engaged users cheaply at scale. Consumers can be unpredictable and there is much competition for their attention.
04 Executive team
Sergio A. Escobar
This investment fund is led by Sergio A. Escobar, a recognized technology entrepreneur in the international community of startups, recipient of several awards recognizing his entrepreneurial and mentoring skills, who is also a business mentor for startup accelerators in the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. He has been actively developing a diversified investment portfolio of companies ranging from B2B Cloud & SaaS startups (leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Analytics and Security) to B2C Consumer startups (leveraging Mobile Apps, IoT/Wearables and eCommerce) across the United States and Canada.
P. Mario Charpentier
Chairman of the Board
Chairman of the Board of BCF Ventures, Mario Charpentier is one of the six founders of BCF Law Firm today numbering more than 270 professionals in Quebec. He is the Managing Partner and one of five members of the firm's Executive Committee. As well as being a member of several BCF strategic teams, he is notably co-leader of the Affairs and Technology strategic team. Mr. Charpentier represents several medium and large public and private companies whose head offices are in Quebec. His extensive experience, mainly in high-growth start-ups in the area of high-tech, has made him a sought-after professional in the field.
Acting as a Portfolio Manager for BCF Ventures, Bonnie evaluates and performs due diligence on different startups for a potential investment by the fund and also provides support in the reporting of portfolio companies. With more than 5 years of experience at one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Canada, she brings valuable experience to the fund supporting management. Bonnie holds a B.Comm. in Accountancy from Desautels Faculty of Management from McGill University and she also obtained her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA) designation.
Acting as an Investment Analyst for BCF Ventures, Diana supports the team by acting as a filter in evaluating business opportunities with entrepreneurs as well as managing external communications. With a unique mix of accounting and banking background, she brings valuable experience to the fund supporting management on a daily basis. Diana holds a B.Comm. in Accountancy from Desautels Faculty of Management from McGill University and is in the process of completing her LL. B and J.D. degrees from McGill University.
As the Investment Analyst for BCF Ventures, Alexie evaluates investment opportunities brought forth by entrepreneurs, while also handling external communications with target players. Her previous research background in psychology and her involvement in various organizations abroad, brings a distinctive value to the team, while further supporting the management of the fund. Alexie holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a focus in neuroscience and is currently completing her bachelor’s in law (LL. B) at Laval University.
05 Advisory Committee
Founder & Lawyer at BCF Business Law
06 Our portfolio
Legal entity management software allowing for document automation, digital signature, streamlined workflows and much more.
Privacy compliance and data interoperability solution accelerating adoption for healthcare apps into hospitals and clinics
Unified health Cloud platform that eliminates workflow inefficiencies for healthcare professionals in specialty clinics and hospitals
AI-enabled digital health platform allowing patient-centered care collaboration
AI-powered interactive at-home fitness/boxing subscription service
AI-enabled freight transportation and logistics marketplace
Enterprise Software-as-a-Service data monitoring and management platform
Data-driven enterprise sales management platform
Data-driven project management marketplace for manufacturing companies to find Industry Experts 4.0 (AI, Robotics, Industrial IoT, Smart Factories)