AEC invests CAD $2.5 million into Sprout Fund II to provide seed-stage venture and mentor capital to Alberta and Western Canadian B2B software startups.
EDMONTON, March 9, 2023 – Alberta Enterprise and Sprout jointly announced today that AEC has invested CAD $2.5 million into Alberta-based Sprout’s nearly $14M second fund, providing a new source of high-demand seed capital to Alberta and Western Canadian B2B software startups. Sprout is an early-stage venture and mentor capital firm led by serial technology entrepreneurs and avid investors Kristina Milke, Mark Benning and Shaheel Hooda.
Sprout was founded in 2018 and has provided seed capital from its two funds to 17 diverse startups in industries from proptech to energytech across Western Canada. Among those companies are promising Alberta startups Truffle, a restaurant management platform that equips food providers to easily and affordably add delivery and pick-up services without more staff and EZ Ops, which provides workforce optimization technology to improve productivity and profitability for oil and gas operations teams.
“As the first institutional investor in Sprout, we are committed to supporting Alberta-based fund managers and building local venture capital talent right here at home,” said Kristina Williams, CEO of Alberta Enterprise Corporation. “Sprout’s team of accomplished founders and operators are highly engaged in Alberta’s startup ecosystem, and it’s great to see them anchor their venture capital platform here in Edmonton, Alberta.”
“Closing an investment and getting support from Alberta Enterprise is a testament to the strength of our team and the potential of our portfolio companies,” commented Kristina Milke, General Partner, Sprout. “Already we have invested in seven more promising businesses with our second fund. We are excited to work together with AEC as we continue providing essential mentoring and early-stage investment to the next generation of innovative startups.”
Sprout is led by three general partners active in the local community. Kristina Milke invests in and advises startups drawing on leadership experience with Intuit Canada and Investopedia. An A100 member, she chairs the ThresholdImpact Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) and recently won the YEG Startup Mentor of the Year Award. Mark Benning is an experienced entrepreneur, investor and mentor who spent 20 years in Silicon Valley where he founded four investor-backed software startups. Shaheel is a serial entrepreneur and investor who was CEO of two high-growth Canadian software startups. He’s advised hundreds of tech startups including with the 500 Global Accelerator in Silicon Valley.
“As we look to build sustained growth for our technology sector, we need to stand up local Alberta headquartered funds even as we work to attract international investment to help our startups to scale,” added Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation. “We need a strong homegrown foundation to equip Alberta businesses to start here, grow here, and continue hiring here.”
About Alberta Enterprise Corporation: alberta-enterprise.ca
Alberta Enterprise Corporation promotes the development of Alberta’s venture capital industry by investing in venture capital funds that finance technology companies. We focus on funds that have a strong commitment to Alberta – including a full-time presence in the province. In addition to financial capital, we support Alberta’s venture capital ecosystem by connecting investors, entrepreneurs, and experienced technology executives who share our passion for building a bright, innovative Alberta. We have committed CAD $332 million for investment to thirty-one venture capital funds including Accelerate Funds I, II and III, covering a diverse range of forward-looking industries including information technology, energy and industrial technology, and life sciences.
About Sprout Fund: sproutfund.vc
Sprout provides seed stage venture and mentor capital to accelerate the growth of Western Canadian B2B software startups. We recognize that the most successful founding teams, building the most globally relevant companies, demonstrate a unique blend of hustle and diversity. In addition to active mentorship, our additional value-add comes from the diversity of our investment team and investor pool that are all successful entrepreneurs in industries ranging from fintech to proptech to energytech. If you are a great early-stage founder building a globally relevant B2B software startup that has initial market traction, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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