Étienne Veilleux among new recruits to Novacap’s investment team

Novacap has added to its bench strength with a crop of fresh hires, including a successful tech entrepreneur and a former Stronach Group executive.

The Montréal private equity firm today announced the addition of five new professionals.

They include Étienne Veilleux, founder of Distech Controls, who joined Novacap’s TMT group as a senior partner in September.

Veilleux led Distech, a building energy management solutions provider, for more than two decades. Launched in 1995, the Brossard, Québec company showed remarkable growth, often appearing on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, and won numerous awards.

Distech attracted about $60 million in funding from Canadian and foreign venture firms. Last year, it was sold to Acuity Brands for $318 million. The sale represented one of Canada’s largest VC-backed acquisitions in recent years.

Veilleux has also been active as an investor. He is a member of Anges Québec, an angel-investment network, and earlier this year put money into the $375 million close of Teralys Capital’s latest fund-of-funds.

The Novacap TMT team also recruited David Brassard as a vice president in October. Brassard brings market experience to the role, having served as a senior associate at healthcare PE firm Persistence Capital Partners since 2014.

Novacap opened a Toronto office three years ago, signalling an interest in ramping up investment activity across Canada. Led by Senior Partner Marc Paiement, the office welcomed Jamie Cartwright as a vice president in the firm’s industries group in October.

Jamie Cartwright, Vice President, Novacap
Jamie Cartwright, Vice President, Novacap Industries

Cartwright joined from Stronach, a horse-racetrack operator founded by billionaire auto-parts magnate Frank Stronach in 2011. Cartwright served for two years as the company’s executive vice president of corporate operations. Before then he held senior roles in PwC’s corporate advisory and restructuring business.

Novacap’s other recent hires are Jason Dacosta and Zachary Zheng, appointed as analysts, respectively, in the TMT and industries groups.

The new personnel bring the firm’s investment team to 28 in total. The majority work from the Montréal office, while seven are based in Toronto.

More capital, more deals

Novacap has recently amassed substantial investment capital, including the $470 million raised earlier this year by Novacap Industries IV. The fund, the largest in the firm’s 35-year history, brought total assets under management to more than $1.6 billion.

Success on the fundraising trail fueled an uptick in deal-making. So far in 2016, Novacap has announced three new platform investments, including July’s investments in Firmex, a provider of virtual data rooms, and Syntax, a provider of hardware, software and cloud tech solutions.

Earlier in the year, the firm invested in Intelerad Medical Systems, a medical imaging company.

And this week a long-held portfolio company, health and beauty products maker KDC, closed its latest acquisition, Thibiant International, with the help of Novacap and co-investors.

Novacap has also been shedding portfolio assets of late. They include Idaho Pacific, a specialist in dehydrated potato products, and Oxford Networks, a telecom business. Idaho Pacific was sold to Arlon Group in July, while Oxford went to Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Founded in 1981, Novacap has completed more than 75 platform investments in Canada and the United States.

Novacap Industries is headed by Managing Partner Jacques Foisy, while Novacap TMT is led by Managing Partner Pascal Tremblay.

Photos of Étienne Veilleux (top) and Jamie Cartwright courtesy of Novacap