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September 28, 2023

Luge Capital Charts a $53 Million Course for Fintech and AI Innovation

In the wake of OpenAI's groundbreaking ChatGPT, the world of artificial intelligence is ablaze with innovation

In the dynamic realm of fintech and artificial intelligence, one firm has been steering the course of innovation with a keen eye for potential. Luge Capital, headquartered in Montreal, has made waves as a leading early-stage venture capital firm, and it's not just observers who have taken notice. Investors are doubling down on Luge Capital's mission to reshape the fintech and AI landscape.

With a focus on nurturing early-stage fintech startups in Canada and the US, Luge Capital recently closed the first round of its Luge Capital II fund, securing CA $71 million (approximately $53 million). Their ambition? To reach a formidable fund size of $100 million.

The roster of investors in Luge Capital's journey reads like a who's who in the world of finance, including returning supporters CDPQ, Desjardins, BDC Capital, Sun Life, Industrial Alliance Financial Group (iA), and Fonds de solidarité FTQ. Joining this distinguished group is new investor Inovia Discovery Fund I, marking the beginning of a promising partnership.

But what sets Luge Capital apart? Their commitment to visionary founders driving change on a global scale. Building on the foundation laid by their inaugural fund, Luge Capital Fund II broadens its scope to encompass fintech startups operating at the intersection of financial services and other major industries. Additionally, the fund explores opportunities in fintech-oriented environmental, social, and governance (ESG) startups.

As they embark on this venture, Luge Capital anticipates that their initial investments in startups from Fund II will exceed those of their first fund.

Investors share their enthusiasm for Luge Capital's journey:

- "CDPQ continues to collaborate with Luge Capital, having supported its founding in 2018," said Kim Thomassin, Executive Vice-President and Head of Québec at CDPQ.

- Martin Brunelle, SVP Growth, Acquisition, and Development at Desjardins, emphasized, "Desjardins is proud to invest in Luge Capital Fund II, having been a founding partner since the launch of Luge Capital in 2018."

- Alison Nankivell, SVP Fund Investments at BDC Capital, expressed their delight in continuing their partnership, stating, "BDC Capital is delighted to continue its foundational partnership with Luge Capital via an anchor investment in Luge Capital Fund II."

- Robert Dumas, President, and CEO of Sun Life Quebec emphasized the transformative power of fintech, saying, "Fintech drives our world towards innovation and creativity. It’s the engine that makes us move forward, in a more complex environment."

- Pierre Miron, Executive Vice-President, Chief Growth Officer Canadian Operations at iA Financial Group, highlighted their partnership's value, stating, "Our partnership with Luge Capital gives us exclusive access to the fintech environment, which has value-creation virtue for iA Financial Group."

- Saloua Benkhouya, Vice-President, Private Equity and Impact Investing – Services, at the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, affirmed their commitment to fostering the fintech ecosystem, stating, "We are proud to continue our partnership with Luge by investing in their second fund."

Luge Capital, founded in 2018 by David Nault and Karim Gillani, has made strategic investments in 21 companies, backed by their vision that the worlds of fintech and AI will undergo profound transformations. Notable investments include Flinks (acquired by National Bank of Canada in 2021), Plooto, Owl, Flare, and OneVest. Fund I specialized in seed and Series A rounds, with investments ranging from $250,000 to $2 million.

David Nault, General Partner at Luge Capital, highlighted the power of their unique partnerships with financial institutions, emphasizing, "The partnerships we have with our LPs and their unique insights give our team a competitive advantage when it comes to backing the most promising fintech founders."

Karim Gillani, General Partner at Luge Capital, noted the pivotal role fintech plays, stating, "By investing in high-calibre fintech founders who are solving the industry’s biggest problems, Luge is helping to drive innovation across the financial services that are the lifeblood of the economy."

As Luge Capital charts a $53 million course into the future, their vision promises to be a guiding star in the fintech and AI landscape, reshaping industries and redefining possibilities.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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