Rho Canada Ventures (RCV) in Montreal is a division of New York-based Rho Capital Partners and a designated VC for the Startup Visa Canada Program. RCV has a unique positioning within the North American venture market: the experience and network of a leading US-based fund coupled with the local and hands-on nature of a dedicated Canadian presence. RCV recently launched its second $100 million Canadian fund and currently has $200 million under management. To find out more about their process and what they look for before they invest, I reached out to General Partner, Roger Chabra. Roger has twenty years of tech industry experience – ten years as an entrepreneur/operator and ten years as a venture capitalist.
Roger: We maintain a diversified, early stage investment strategy. About a quarter to a third of the deals we do are seed stage, with the remainder being Series A deals. Currently, we are investing in digital media, IT, wireless apps & infrastructure, e-commerce, Internet services, enterprise software and disruptive technologies. From a geographic standpoint, we are committed to being a National fund and we have invested in companies across Canada. The most important part of our thesis is to partner with entrepreneurs that we can add significant value to, post-investment. We invest in companies that are in sectors we know well and that we have a deep network of connections in. If we can’t convince you that we can add real value, you shouldn’t consider us to be good candidates to invest in your company.
We like to invest in teams as opposed to single founders, but we have had success with both scenarios. At a fundamental level, we prefer founding teams who have a technical founder and a sales-oriented founder. Based on our past experience, this is a powerful combination that increases the probability of success for a company, particularly in the earliest stages of a business.
Why are you looking to invest in immigrant entrepreneurs?
Many of the CEOs in our portfolio are either first generation or second generation Canadians. Canada has a unique history of innovation being driven by entrepreneurs and we are committed to investing in immigrant founding teams.
What is the best way for immigrant entrepreneurs to contact you about investment and what should they send you?
The best way to get our attention is to get an introduction to us through someone who works with our firm currently, or has worked with us in the past. Either someone we have invested in or someone who works in the startup ecosystem and has worked with us in some capacity. We also accept submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested entrepreneurs should send an executive summary and a link to their company’s website or demo.
What is your selection process like?
We usually review each submission within 24 hours. If the opportunity fits our investment thesis, we will respond quite quickly and setup a follow up meeting.
If you like what you see via email, what’s next?
We will contact the entrepreneur(s) by email and setup a follow up meeting.
More on Roger & Rho
Roger is currently an active investor in notable deals such as Chango, Frank & Oak and ShopLocket. Previously, Roger backed Xkoto (acquired by Teradata), Whitehill (acquired by Oracle), Paymentus (acquired by Accel-KKR) and NetShelter (ranked by ComScore as the #1 tech media company in terms of online traffic). Follow Roger on Twitter and check out his Angellist profile to find out more about his interests and investments.