This morning Vancouver superangel Boris Wertz announced on his blog the launch of Version One Ventures, a new $15 million micro-VC fund. Version One is the first early-stage fund to operate out of Vancouver and only the second in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle's Founders Co-op being the first).
Version One will back "outstanding web and mobile entrepreneurs across North America" with $250,000 to $500,000 investments in Seed and Series A rounds. To date Version One has already made five investments: Toronto's Top Hat Monocle, Seattle's Julep, Edmonton's Jobber, L.A.'s Instacanv.as and Vancouver's Sunnytrail.
"The fund builds on my successes with over 35 angel investments which include six exits—among them acquisitions by Google, Twitter, Salesforce, and Groupon," Wertz blogs, "My simple investment thesis: back passionate entrepreneurs who are trying to solve a big problem with a strong product vision."
Wertz "bootstrapped" his first angel investments after leaving his role of COO at Victoria's AbeBooks (which was acquired in mid-2008 by Amazon for a reported $90-plus million). In the past two years W Media Ventures has gotten significant traction with exits and follow-on rounds for his portfolio companies, making a micro-VC fund the obvious next step. And Wertz's goal with Version One Ventures is "to become one of the most respected early-stage funds in North-America by being a trusted and helpful partner for entrepreneurs."
Version One Ventures is an example of exactly what the Canadian tech community needs. It is one of the first times that capital has been formally "recycled" as successful entrepreneurs channel their money back into the startup ecosystem.
Version One investors include Canadians Jeff Mallett (ex-Yahoo), Ryan Holmes (HootSuite), Markus Frind (PlentyofFish), Hannes Blum (AbeBooks), Elton Pereira (ParetoLogic), Alan Juristovski and Milun Tesovic (MetroLyrics, now CBS), Dave Johnson and Andre Charland (Nitobi, now Adobe), and Patrick Lor (Fotolia, ex-iStockphoto).