May 20, 2022 by CVCA Staff
Toronto, ON – May 20, 2022 – The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) today announced the winners of the 2022 CVCA Awards ahead of the association’s annual Invest Canada ’22 conference.
CVCA’s most distinguished honour, the Deal of the Year recognitions went to:
- British Columbia-based Highland West Capital Ltd. won the 2022 Private Equity (PE) Deal of the Year award for its investment in Vancouver-based Allwest Insurance Services Limited
- Nova Scotia-based Innovacorp won the 2022 Venture Capital (VC) Deal of the Year award for their investment in Dartmouth-based Meta Materials Inc. (META)
For general partners operating on the global stage, CVCA’s Global Dealmaker awards went to:
- British Columbia-based CAI Capital Partners won the 2022 PE Global Dealmaker Award for its investment in Massachusetts-based Feeney Utility Services Group
- Vancouver-based Version One Ventures won the new 2022 VC Global Dealmaker Award for its investment in California-headquartered Coinbase Global
In recognition of outstanding contributions made throughout their career, serving to advance excellence in the Canadian private capital industry:
- Dave Mullen, Managing Director, Highland West Capital Ltd.is the recipient of the 2022 Barry Gekiere Lifetime Legacy Award
In recognition of remarkable commitment of time and effort to a community organization or cause, we honour:
- Paul Henry, Senior Advisor to Northleaf Capital Partners and retired Partner at Birch Hill Equity Partners, as the recipient of the 2022 Ted Anderson Community Leadership Award
CVCA’s regional impact awards:
- Montreal and Toronto-based Luge Capital won the VC Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada for its investment in Montreal-basedFlinks
- The BDC Capital IT Venture Fund won the VC Regional Impact Award for Central Canada for its investment in Waterloo, ON-headquartered Axonify
- Montreal-based BDC Industrial Innovation Fund won VC Regional Impact Award for Western Canada for its investment in Vancouver-headquartered Precision NanoSystems Inc.
- British Columbia-based CAI Capital Partners has won the PE Regional Impact Award for Central Canada for its investment in Oakville-based Javelin Technologies Inc.
- Montreal-based Novacap won the PE Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada for their investment in Boucherville, Quebec-based Gestion Groupe Master Inc.
“The CVCA Awards is an integral component of what our organization does,” said Kim Furlong, Chief Executive Officer, CVCA. “Recognizing industry successes is hugely important in shining a spotlight on how investors are contributing to the broader Canadian economy”
"Recognizing the success and contributions of this year’s winners, the annual CVCA awards continue to inspire leadership among the community; empowering participants to reach new heights while building great companies,” said Tracey McVicar, Partner, CAI Capital Partners, and Chair, CVCA Awards Committee.
CVCA Award committee members were recused from reviewing those nominations where a conflict of interest existed but were permitted to review all others.
2022 PE Deal of the Year Award
Highland West Capital has won the 2022 Private Equity (PE) Deal of the Year award for its investment in Vancouver-based Allwest Insurance Services Limited.
In business for 50 years, Allwest is one of Metro Vancouver’s leading full-service insurance brokerages, completing approximately 250,000 transactions per year. With a strong presence and deep relationships in the Vancouver area, the company is known for its team’s high level of professional and best-in-class service. Having built its reputation as the leader in auto insurance and leasing for high-end dealerships, Allwest’s expertise also spans home insurance, particularly among its high-net worth clientele, as well as commercial solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses. Highland West initially invested in Allwest in 2016 until the company was acquired by Navacord in May 2021.
2022 VC Deal of the Year Award
Innovacorp has won the 2021 Venture Capital (VC) Deal of the Year award for their investment in Dartmouth, NS-based Meta Materials Inc. (META).
Founded in 2007, META delivers previously unachievable performance, across a range of applications, by inventing, designing, developing, and manufacturing sustainable, highly functional materials. META’s extensive technology platform enables leading global brands to deliver breakthrough products to their customers in consumer electronics, 5G communications, health and wellness, aerospace, automotive, and clean energy. Their nano-optic technology provides anti-counterfeiting security features for government documents and currencies and authentication for brands. Innovacorp made investments in META in 2015 and 2017 and sold its shares in the company shortly after it was listed on the NASDAQ in June 2021.
2022 PE Global Dealmaker Award
CAI Capital Partners has won the 2022 PE Global Dealmaker Award for their investment in Feeney Utility Services Group.
Feeney Utility Services was started in 1988 by brothers Brendan and Greg Feeney and the organization has evolved to become one of the leading service providers to their region’s gas, electric, water, and telecommunications industries. Headquartered in Boston, MA, Feeney Utility Services leverages the resources and strength of their business units Feeney Brothers Utility Services and DDS Companies to be a leading natural gas utility service provider in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
CAI Capital Partners initially invested in Feeney Utility Services in 2012 and held the company until the company was acquired by Artera Services in May 2021.
2022 VC Global Dealmaker Award
Version One Ventures has won the 2022 VC Global Dealmaker Award for their investment in Coinbase Global.
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in California, US, and has offices around the world in countries such as Canada, Germany, and Singapore. Coinbase Global operates a cryptocurrency exchange platform, and it is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States by trading volume. Version One first invested in Coinbase global in 2017 believing that the cryptocurrency market would continue to have future growth. They exited the investment when Coinbase Global went public through a direct listing on the NASDAQ in 2021
2022 Barry Gekiere Lifetime Legacy Award
In 2020, the CVCA announced a new award to recognize individuals for outstanding contributions made throughout their career which have served to advance excellence in the Canadian private capital industry.
Barry Gekiere, Managing Director of MaRS IAF, passed away in 2020. Barry is a legend in the venture capital space in Canada, and his achievements were profound. But what was exceptional is Barry, the human being. He was wise and provided thoughtful insights and no-nonsense advice. Barry had decades of experience in venture capital, private equity, and operations. He was able to take all his learning and experiences and help those around him learn, be better, and to make an impact. To know Barry was to love Barry. To keep Barry's memory alive and remember his impact, the CVCA named the Barry Gekiere Lifetime Legacy Award in memoriam.
Dave Mullen, Managing Director, Highland West Capital Ltd. has won the 2022 Barry Gekiere Lifetime Legacy Award. Dave's career in the private equity industry started in 1994 at HSBC Capital (Canada) Inc. and became CEO in 1995. As a partner at Highland West Capital Inc., Dave continues to be active in PE investing. Dave was Chair of the Board of the CVCA from 2014 to 2017 and helped foster constructive conversations about both the VC and PE industries in Canada. Dave has a long history of mentoring and supporting team members as they grow in their careers in the PE industry. That track record stretches back to HSBC Capital, in Canada, the United States, and Latin America. In addition, Dave has directly worked with entrepreneurs and management teams, providing direction and guidance to help them grow their businesses. Like Barry, Dave’s legacy will leave an enduring impression on our industry.
The Barry Gekiere Memorial Fund is a charitable fund that will support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding research, finding cures, and ensuring access to treatments for blood cancer patients (90% of proceeds) and The Upside Foundation’s work encouraging giving from the Canadian tech community (10% of proceeds). If you are someone who was touched by Barry Gekiere, we invite you to join this initiative, band together with other leaders, and honour Barry’s legacy. Donate to The Upside Foundation Barry Gekiere Memorial Fund.
2022 Ted Anderson Community Leadership Award
Named for past CVCA President and previous recipient Ted Anderson, the purpose of this prestigious award is to honour individual CVCA members who demonstrate active commitment to community engagement, and provide substantial value to a not-for-profit organization or cause through personal time and fundraising efforts. Paul Henry, Senior Advisor to Northleaf Capital Partners and retired Partner at Birch Hill Equity Partners, has won the 2022 Ted Anderson Community Leadership Award.
Paul has served for many years on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Toronto (BBBST), including as Chair of the organization for nearly five years. During Paul’s tenure at BBBST, he and its CEO, Leanne Nicolle whom he recruited, have worked together to lead the organization to new heights. Paul’s long-term commitment to the organization has helped ignite BBBST into making a larger impact on society, by better serving Toronto’s at-risk youth by fostering life altering mentoring relationships. In addition to his work at BBBST, Paul is on the Board of Regents of Mount Allison University and Chairs both the Finance and Facilities Committees. He has been active in its alumni mentorship program for several years helping prepare fourth-year students for life after graduation. Paul also co-led the transformation of the university’s outdoor athletic facilities by raising CAD $2.5M in donations to build a new state-of-the art athletic field and stadium.
2022 VC Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada
Luge Capital has won the 2022 VC Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada for its investment in Flinks.
Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Montreal, Flinks is the financial data layer powering the internet. Trusted by millions of individuals accessing financial services at world-class companies, Flinks enables businesses to connect to their customers' financial accounts, enrich this data, and utilize it to deliver better digital products. Serving innovators in lending, fintech, digital banking, asset management and insurance, Flinks is quickly becoming a global leader in financial data connectivity and analytics. Since Luge's initial investment in June 2018, the company grew its full-time employee headcount in Canada from 27 to 123 employees. The increase represents a 54% annual growth in headcount between initial investment until time of exit in September 2021. The company is comprised of 50% women and visible minorities, and has maintained an average of 20% women in upper management positions.
2022 VC Regional Impact Award for Central Canada
The BDC Capital IT Venture Fund has won the 2022 VC Regional Impact Award for Central Canada for their investment in Axonify.
Founded in 2011, and headquartered in Waterloo, ON, Axonify gets frontline employees ready for anything with a training and communications solution. The Axonify experience is fun, fast, personalized, and designed to make critical information stick. Axonify serves more than 160 customers in over 150 countries around the world, including Walmart, Kroger, Levi’s, and Merck. Axonify has grown their headcount to over 200 in the Waterloo, ON region, is woman-led, and 75% of its executive team is comprised of women. During the pandemic, Axonify provided free training and reinforcements on the things all workplaces and employees should be doing to keep themselves, their customers, and visitors safe from COVID-19.
2022 VC Regional Impact Award for Western Canada
The BDC Industrial Innovation Fund has won the 202 Private Equity Regional Impact Award for Western Canada for its investment in Precision NanoSystems Inc.
Precision NanoSystems Inc. (PNI) is a global leader ushering in the next wave of genetic medicines in infectious diseases, cancer, and rare diseases. PNI works with the world’s leading drug developers to understand disease and create the therapeutics and vaccines that will define the future of medicine. PNI offers proprietary technology platforms and comprehensive expertise to enable drug developers to translate disease biology insights into non-viral genetic medicines. PNI is committed to the long-term growth of jobs and the biotechnology industry in British Columbia. The company has created 621 jobs in the last five years and 1055 since the company’s inception in 2010. PNI focuses on hiring employees locally that have a background in STEM, and 70% of their executive team is comprised of women and minorities.
2022 PE Regional Impact Award for Central Canada
CAI Capital Partners has won the 2022 PE Regional Impact Award for Central Canada for their investment in Javelin Technologies Inc (Javelin).
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Oakville, ON, Javelin are experts in 3D design and have enabled thousands of companies with solutions for 3D mechanical and electrical computer-aided design (CAD) software, data management, and 3D printing. During CAI Capital Partners’ investment, the company increased their headcount, made a transformational acquisition, was recognized as one of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers, and 50% of their executive team was comprised of women and visible minorities. The company continuously contributes to their community through fundraising initiatives and direct donations to local hospitals. During the pandemic, Javelin developed and produced the ProtectON PPE face shield to help protect healthcare professionals from COVID-19. Initially produced using Javelin’s 3D printers, Javelin then created molds and found a full production partner in Northern Ontario.
2022 PE Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada
Novacap has won the 2022 Private Equity Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada for its investment in Gestion Groupe Master Inc.
Founded in 1952 and headquartered in Boucherville, QC, Gestion Groupe Master Inc. is the largest independent HVACA-R distributor in Canada. Over the past eight years, the company has created 750 jobs and 1300 since its inception. 12% of their executive team is comprised of women. To support its greenfield network of (18) branches and distribution centre in western Canada, the company created 160 dedicated positions.