BDC Capital’s GP Academy Welcomes 2nd Cohort

June 3, 2019 | By: BDC Capital

This month, BDC Capital’s GP Academy will welcome it’s second cohort into this unique and world-class program, delivered in consultation with Kauffman Fellows. This cohort has 12 participants, seven men and five women, from 12 leading venture capital firms across Canada.

According to the CVCA, $3.7 billion in venture capital was dispersed to Canadian companies in 2018. This industry plays a key role in supporting the innovation economy in Canada and BDC Capital’s goal is to ensure Canada’s investors are world leading and as diverse as the entrepreneurs it invests in.

What is GP Academy

GP Academy is a training program designed to improve the investment skills, knowledge and network of Canadian GPs. It was designed by BDC Capital in consultation with Kauffman Fellows, the largest connected network of venture capitalists and innovation leaders in the world with the leading global VC education program that brings together world-class faculty, speakers and design.

“The goal of GP Academy is to develop the next generation of fund investors and see our graduates become the leaders of venture investing in Canada,” says Jerome Nycz, Executive Vice President, BDC Capital.

The program is delivered in four three-day modules across 18 months in different locations across Canada. The instruction is intense and interactive to make the most of each module and maximize the benefit for the cohort members.  Each module has a different focus including fundraising, building your brand and scaling your fund.

Upon graduation, GPs will be equipped with new tools, networks and knowledge for performing all aspects of their job, from managing a fund to nurturing a start-up.

Why was GP Academy created?

Becoming a VC investor comes with a long, steep learning curve. Decisions made today can take years to play out and evaluate. In order to move at a faster pace and make informed decisions, investors need help to fast track their learning.

Janet Bannister, GP at Real Ventures, echo’s that sentiment: “I think you can always learn. You can always get better. Being a VC is tough and it takes a long time to master the craft. It’s complex, involving a lot of different situations and dynamics, as well as the potential for a lot to go wrong in the portfolio.”

Neal Hill, Vice President of Market Development at BDC Capital, saw an opportunity to accelerate GP’s skill training in Canada and reached out to Kauffman Fellows’ CEO, Jeff Harbach and its Chairman, Phil Wickham, who were equally excited about the opportunity

Leveraging Kauffman’s content, BDC Capital created a uniquely Canadian program that could improve the entire VC ecosystem by helping fast-track Canadian VC talent, better supporting entrepreneurs and ultimately generating returns for everyone. Learnings and returns that could be paid-forward into the ecosystem again.

What to expect

Last fall, 10 investors completed the charter cohort and are already reaping the benefits of the program.

“The programming is fantastic, content was informative and engaging. We have heard from very experienced venture capitalists and we were exposed to the best standards which has allowed me to progress more quickly. And, I immediately developed a trusted network with my fellow cohort members, I trust them implicitly,” said Rob Barbara, Managing Partner at Build Ventures.
GP Academy brings investors together to learn from each other and have a collective voice. There is so much new information coming at investors that it’s important to be able to have open conversations. GP Academy provides a safe environment to discuss your business, your goals and have other difficult business conversations in a raw and authentic way.

Building Diversity

It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the VC community and increasing the number of female GPs and partners benefits firms and start-ups.

GP Academy is proud to welcome five women into the second cohort and hopes to keep a gender balance moving forward. According to Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director, Strategic Investments and Women in Technology Venture Fund, BDC Capital: “The venture industry in Canada is funding the future innovation of our country and it must be reflective of the people in it. Currently, more than two-thirds of Canada’s venture dollars are managed by teams without women.  Diverse leadership teams are proven to be more creative and deliver better financial performance. Our goal at BDC is to support women in venture roles and foster a more diverse and inclusive industry.”

In addition, to GP Academy, BDC Capital also offers two partial scholarships for Canadian venture capitalists to attend the Kauffman Fellows Program – one that is earmarked for a supporting female fund managers.

To learn more about GP Academy and here from graduates of the charter cohort, visit: GP Academy


Next Generation Private Capital Professionals

The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association has partnered with the Ivey Academy to deliver the Canadian Private Capital Investment School is a specialized program that prepares the next generation of institutional fund managers, government fund managers, family fund managers, corporate investors, angels, and private fund professionals for the growth of the equity investment sector in Canada.

By choosing either the venture capital or private equity stream, you’ll gain sector-specific knowledge directly from industry practitioners. You’ll be well-positioned among your peers and poised to advance your career in this rewarding and rapidly-growing sector.

Both CVCA members and Ivey Academy alumni are eligible for a 25-per-cent discount on program fees.


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