VC launchpad Diagram raises $25 mln fund, invests in Dialogue, Collage


Paul Desmarais III, Director, Member of the Standing Comittee, GBL; © 2016 GBL. All rights reserved.

Diagram Ventures, a new Canadian venture capital firm led by Founder and CEO François Lafortune and Chairman Paul Desmarais III, has closed a $25 million debut fund. The fund was backed by Portag3 Ventures, the fintech venture fund of Power Corp, and more than 50 angel investors, including Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes and former Rogers CEO Nadir Mohammed. Diagram will make a few, large investments in Canadian startups in financial, insurance and healthcare technology. It has already backed two companies: Dialogue, a Montréal virtual health and wellness platform, and Collage, a Toronto cloud platform that automates human resources and benefits.

Photo: Paul Desmarais III, vice-president of Power Corp and chairman of Diagram Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

New venture launchpad Diagram announces close of $25-million fund

MONTREAL, Jan. 24, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – Diagram, a new venture launchpad for Canada’s most exciting startup entrepreneurs in financial, insurance and healthcare technology, announced today that it has successfully closed a $25-million fund and has deployed its first two investments.

Led by Founder & CEO François Lafortune and Chairman Paul Desmarais III, Diagram aims to be a different kind of launchpad for Canada. Its unique strategy of making a few large, concentrated investments allows for a hands-on approach. Diagram provides advice, capital and expertise with the support of Power Financial Corporation (TSX: PWF) and certain of its subsidiaries via Portag3 Ventures LP and a group of 50 angel investors, who will act as mentors and accompany founders.

Based in Montreal and Toronto, Diagram is looking to attract the most talented Canadian entrepreneurs to build great global companies.

“The Diagram model is the first of its kind. We combine the competitive advantage of large incumbents — for example, access to distribution and expertise — with a strong support infrastructure and large venture capital investment. We truly believe this focused approach will derisk our ventures and allow them to build much faster,” said Lafortune. “The response from the investor community has been very strong and the fund was oversubscribed. They believe we’re onto something with this unique model.”

Among Diagram’s limited partners are the CEO of Quora and former CTO of Facebook, Adam D’Angelo; the CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes; the Founder and former CEO of WIND Mobile, Anthony Lacavera; the Founder of Palantir, Addepar and 8VC, Joe Lonsdale; the former CEO of Rogers, Nadir Mohammed; the CEO of PasswordBox, Dan Robichaud, and the Founder and Former CEO of Achievers, Razor Suleman.

“The opportunities for the FinTech and insurance sectors in Canada are enormous. We have incredible depth and talent here but do not always provide the means and resources necessary to build large businesses. Diagram’s purpose is to fix that by bringing not just capital but the right infrastructure and people together to create the next Canadian-based global leaders of the future in the FinTech sector,” said Paul Desmarais III, Vice President, Power Financial Corporation.

Diagram also announced it has made its first two investments: the first in Dialogue, a Montreal-based virtual health and wellness platform for choice employers, and Collage, a Toronto-based cloud platform that automates HR and benefits for Canadian businesses.

About Diagram
Diagram is a launchpad for the most exciting ventures in insurance, financial services and healthcare. By making much deeper commitments of resources and energy, focused on a smaller number of companies, Diagram gives brilliant Canadian ideas a platform to become global players. Key investors include Portag3 Ventures LP, a corporate partnership exclusively sponsored by Power Financial Corporation, IGM Financial Inc. and Great-West Lifeco Inc., and a group of more than 50 individual investors who provide Diagram’s projects with an unmatched wealth of perspective, mentorship and connections. For more information, please visit http://diagram.ca.

For further information: Adam Daifallah, 514-316-7089, [email protected]

Photo courtesy of GBL

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