The Globe and Mail reported today that the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) is set to launch a venture capital division armed with $180 million to invest in early-stage companies over the next three years.
John Ruffolo, the CEO of Omers Ventures, told the Globe and Mail he thinks the pension plan can outperform traditional venture capital and private equity players by being patient and sticking with the companies that it invests in throughout their lifecycle, rather than for only a few years.
If all goes well, it will continue to add to its investment over the years, potentially all the way to an initial public offering. But, unlike traditional private equity players which often feel pressure to exit companies quickly in order to build a track record with which to raise their next fund, Mr. Ruffolo said this initiative will benefit from having the long-term outlook of a pension fund.
Omers Ventures already has one investment in its portfolio. In June Omers invested $1.5 Million in Toronto's Wave Accounting.com - a free online accounting application for small businesses.
OMERS manages more than $50-billion of investments on behalf of 400,000 current and former municipal employees in Ontario.