eFund’s innovative team approach
We find and invest in companies across the province that have developed unique solutions that solve valuable problems with a large global market opportunity. With your investment in eFund you quickly build a diversified portfolio of angel investments and you have the option to join our team as an active investor. By investing via teams, we are able to do better due diligence, by leveraging the domain expertise of our investors and by providing post-investment advice and connections to the companies we invested in.
VANTEC Angel Network
Vantec Angel Network provides a strong deal flow of vetted early-stage seed investment opportunities to angel investors and angel investments funds such as eFund. It also provides angel investors and startups with a vibrant community to network, collaborate, learn and share knowledge for our fast-growing entrepreneurial and technology ecosystem.
Blessed with incredible natural beauty, majestic mountains, oceanfront views and a temperate climate, Vancouver is fairly close to paradise. If you’re an entrepreneur or investor, it’s even better. There’s a full slate of funding resources, an integrated startup ecosystem and a government that helps startups succeed. Vancouver, Canada is fast-becoming a startup mecca rivalling Silicon Valley.
Thealzel Lee, Founder and President of the angel investment fund eFund, and Co-Founder of the VANTEC Angel Network
“We’re fully-networked with the global angel investment community,” says Thealzel Lee, Founder and President of the angel investment fund eFund, and Co-Founder of VANTEC which was founded in 1999 by well respected advisor, entrepreneur and investor Mike Volker. “We’re a gateway to the Asia Pacific market and a global beacon for entrepreneurs and investors to come together for consistent, high grade returns and business success.”
Founded in 2011, eFund is British Columbia’s angel investment fund focused on achieving consistently-higher returns. Stocked with over 140 seasoned multi-faceted business experts – including marketing, finance, business development, operations – who are focused on growing entrepreneurial enterprises, the fund sources technology companies from accelerators and networks throughout the province. It invests in companies across the province with proven technology and business opportunities, with potential to scale rapidly and impact the global economy.
eFund was founded by Thealzel Lee – senior partner and commercial- ization strategy consultant at Rocket Builders – following on the heels of founding prior angel investment funds focused on the life and health sciences.
“We are solidly Seed/Late Seed investors,” says Lee.
“We can help companies develop robust business models so they are ready for institutional capital – the next step in their financial journey and scaling efforts.”
Industry-agnostic eFund is an innovator due to its team investment model. Since 2011 eFund has screened 1,020 investment opportunities; facilitated 102 follow up meetings with entrepreneurs and 53 due diligence reports. eFund invested in 32 different companies over 4 funds with 6 exits. The collaborative approach also enables better due diligence and the ability to leverage investors’ industry expertise, and the provision of valuable post- investment advice to portfolio companies.
The approach is working. eFund has already seen returns as high as 32.70% IRR. In 2019, the fund invested $1.4M in 16 companies to build a diversified portfolio of angel investments with high returns. There’s more: eFund is an eligible investment for government savings programs (Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) & Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA)) eFund investments also qualify for BC’s generous 30% tax credit.
The deal flow pipeline is enhanced by a close yet separate relationship with VANTEC. While eFund accepts startup investment opportunities from anywhere, the close relationship with VANTEC creates a seamless experience.
Of course, there are other angel groups in the ecosystem,” says Lee. For any investor who wants a preview of a startup company, VANTEC is the first stop. If they are further along in the company building process, VANTEC will refer them to their partners. The angel network holds 11 events a year and 5 themed events for sectors such as life sciences, ICT, medtech, agri-food / tech and more. “This year’s Open Network was a great success as it featured many of the local accelerators,” Lee says.
Vancouver Ecosystem Benefits
Like a good ecosystem partner, VANTEC also promotes companies to other networks. There is a group of angel groups in the Pacific Northwest that meets every month to promote companies. Since 2011, VANTEC has also coordinated local operations in Vancouver for the global Keiretsu Forum, and if an investor becomes a member of Keiretsu Forum Northwest, s/he receives a bundled membership to VANTEC.
There is a great deal of flexibility for eFund investors. Individual angels can invest in eFund, invest money from their own pocket or both. This comes in handy, since many companies pitch at other angel networks. A case in point: BarrelWise.com, a tech company that focuses on the art and science of winemaking, presented at one of the demo days, and caught the attention of interested investors. As it continued pitching at different events, the company reached eFund, and secured an investment. It’s now a rising star.
It’s clear that Lee and her team have created a juggernaut in the region. “It’s a whole team effort,” she says. “The sum is greater than the parts.” Frank Leffelaar is a huge fan of eFund and VANTEC. The Vancouver
investor and startup advisor, hails originally from the Netherlands. He says eFund enables investors to de-risk their investment and participate as little or as much as they want, with all of the safety and protection.
“We have 140 other investors to lean on, and get advice. They can benefit from the shared experience, tools and resources. There are opportunities for new and expert investors to learn what they don’t know, and learn the ropes of startup investing.”
There is real value to the VANTEC Angel Network and the angel funds working together. It’s a winning formula,” says Leffelaar. “It is super helpful for investors to have knowledge and access to a foundational investment”.
They can then form their own group to add an extra $100K or more, he says. It’s very helpful to have many funds in the room”. Moreover, BC investors actively worked with US investors to bring in more deals and
foreign investors, noting one deal where 62 investors signed up.
“Canada is a great value to foreign investors. Our currency is lower and company valuation is lower”, says Leffelaar. “Canadian companies do business globally. We can give them valuable help and connections they need to succeed in a globally-competitive market.”