BKR Capital opens Montréal office

First Canadian venture capital fund focused exclusively on black-led enterprises invests in its first Quebec-based company

BKR Capital opens Montréal office

BKR Capital, a Canadian venture capital fund previously known as Black Innovation Capital, has announced the opening of its Québec office.

The first VC fund in Canada dedicated to black-led firms said it has received a $4.5-million capital commitment from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), through Teralys Capital, and Fondaction. Investors such as EDC, Westbridge, Vancity, and the Laidlaw Foundation, among others, joined current institutional investors BDC Capital, RBC, Globalive, and Telus Venture to raise the extra capital.

BKR Capital, which already has headquarters in Ontario, will open offices in Montréal at CDPQ's Espace CDPQ, a venture capital hub.

"BKR Capital offers concrete solutions to a real challenge faced by Black entrepreneurs, which is obtaining financing to start and grow their businesses," Wils Theagene, Senior Director, Equity 25 at CDPQ, said. "As investors, we are proud to support the mission of BKR Capital through our commitment to Teralys Capital, to whom we have entrusted the fund management mandate for emerging fund managers."

The fund, which began investing in pre-seed and seed-stage Canadian technology firms formed by Black entrepreneurs in 2021, has a unique flow of business because of its collaborations with the DMZ's Black Innovation Program, the HEC Montréal Entrepreneurial Base, and its strong linkages to Black communities across Canada.

BKR Capital aims to serve as a catalyst for technology-related entrepreneurial activities in Black communities, notably those in Québec, which account for approximately a third of Canada's total Black population.

"With the funds, we plan to support 18 innovative companies over the next four years and help create the next Canadian success stories. Our objective is to capitalize on high-potential opportunities, primarily ignored by the main market players," Lise Birikundavyi, Co-founder and Principal of BKR Capital, explained.

BKR Capital also invested in GOODEE, a B Corp certified online retailer specializing in furniture and accessories, lifestyle items, and sustainable design situated in Québec.

GOODEE is an avant-garde platform that combines the concepts of excellent design, good people, and good purpose. It was founded in June 2019 by designers Byron and Dexter Peart.

The company is first and foremost a digital marketplace that addresses a number of pressing social and environmental concerns, including poverty reduction, gender equality, and climate change mitigation. It is inspired by the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

"As Black entrepreneurs, we understand the importance and opportunity offered by the role we play in reshaping the narrative and representation of what a good company is," Dexter Peart, Co-Ceo and Co-Founder of GOODEE, said, "We are inspired by the strength of BKR Capital's commitment to supporting the positive impact and innovation in growing companies, and we are very honored to be their first investment in Québec."