Rod Brown is managing director of Valhalla Private Capital.
Calgary’s Business: What is Valhalla Private Capital?
Brown: Valhalla Private Capital helps entrepreneurs and investors across the globe navigate the startup lifecycle from “cradle to exit” and back again. A full-service corporate finance firm, Valhalla started in Alberta as an angel investing group in 2003 and has grown organically to meet the needs of both businesses and investors in 27 countries.
Our focus has always been early stage entrepreneurs, but we have grown to support all stages of the ecosystems with a full suite of investment funds, education, training, global mentorship programs and mergers and acquisitions advisory services.
The Valhalla team believes in working hard and having fun in everything we do, as showcased by our recent Pitch on the Beach event in Cancun, Mexico, which has led to the continued growth outside North America.
CB: Can you explain your investor and startup programs?
Brown: Our investor and startup programs address the general lack of understanding of early-stage investing. Essentially, these programs teach investors how to place capital, and teach entrepreneurs how to become investment ready. Specifically, these programs are making people more comfortable and capable around the technical aspects of early-stage investments and less focused on the soft skills like networking and pitching.
CB: What is Valhalla Angels?
Brown: Valhalla Angels is the early-stage investment group that was started in 2003. We are one of the most active angel groups in Canada, ranking in the top five in terms of dollars invested and total number of investments. Over the years, our group has invested over $55 million into approximately 190 early-stage companies. These events are less of a Dragons’ Den style, and more of a forum where entrepreneurs and angel investors come together to exchange knowledge, advice, mentorship, and to raise capital.
CB: What types of businesses are high-net-worth individuals looking to invest in?
Brown: Each investor in the group is different, however investors are always looking for companies that have a solid/innovative idea, a strong team and have validated their business. Our investors are largely industry agnostic, however there are more tech- and health-related companies funded because of the scalability of these sectors leading to potentially higher exit multiples. A great example of this is the recent acquisition of a Western Canadian based app/platform SkipTheDishes by London-based Just Eat that generated an exit multiple of 18 times in under two years.
CB: Can you explain your family of funds and how they work?
Brown: The Valhalla family of funds provides the necessary capital for later-stage debt and equity finance, and often supports the investments made by angel investors. This suite of investment funds also allow high-net-worth investors to be involved in supporting entrepreneurs without the work of managing a private investment portfolio. Among the four offerings is the Seed Global Fund that allows investors to put their capital to work in innovative startups in emerging markets. Two other offerings are the VA Angels Fund 1 and 2, where capital is invested alongside Valhalla Angels. Lastly, the OKR Financial Fund provides bridge funding to up-and-coming companies.
– Mario Toneguzzi
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