Qvella: Behind The Deal with Whitecap Venture Partners
“The deal was sourced through a strong existing relationship between Qvella’s founders and Whitecap Venture Partners”
On December 4, Qvella, a Toronto-based molecular diagnostics company, announced it had raised CAD $25M in a series B co-led by an existing investor syndicate which included RA Capital, Hatteras Ventures, Sands Capital and CVCA member Whitecap Venture Partners. France-based bioMérieux was the latest to join in a strategic investor role.
Qvella says they plan to use the funding for clinical trials, supporting ongoing research and development, and facilitating team expansion and manufacturing scale-up.
The CVCA caught up with Shayn Diamond, Principal, Whitecap Venture Partners to explain how the series B round developed.
Why did Whitecap Venture Partners choose to invest in this company and the management team?
Qvella was founded in 2009 by Tino Alavie, a repeat entrepreneur and friend of Whitecap. Whitecap invested in Tino’s previous company, Electrophotonics (acquired by E-Tek Dynamics in 1999). Qvella is developing a medical device that can identify bacterial infection an order of magnitude faster than competitive products, and at lower capital and operating costs.
Where did you hear about the opportunity to invest in Qvella?
Given the previous successful exit of Electrophotonics, the deal was sourced through a strong existing relationship between Qvella’s founders and Whitecap.
What is your anticipation about medtech in the short term and long term?
The medical technology sector is undergoing a transformation to speed the time to diagnosis. The current standard of care in detecting bacterial infections is to culture blood, which can take upwards of 3 days. Qvella is enabling the test to be completed in 45 minutes, which we believe will not only result in lower costs to both the hospital and patient, but will also result in a reduction of fatalities.
What is your exit horizon on this deal?
We invest in all of our deals with a view of exiting within five to six years of our initial investment. The initial investment in Qvella was made in 2015.
Tell us about Whitecap’s experience and your firm’s lead that is involved in this deal.
The team at Whitecap has invested in medical devices and medical technology for over 30 years. Blaine Hobson, partner at Whitecap Venture Partners, is the Chair of the Qvella board, and has successfully built and exited a number of medical technology companies.
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