OCIF selects Combine Venture Builders to accelerate growth of early-stage Calgary companies

December 20, 2022
Innovation New Economy Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund
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The Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) announces it will provide up to $1.9 million to Combine Venture Builders Inc. over two years to support the rapid scaling of innovative early-stage Calgary technology companies. Founded in 2020, Combine is a Calgary-based venture studio led by a team of successful company builders.  

“Building a great startup is hard. It requires domain expertise, uncommon talent, focused execution, great timing, and a little luck. It also requires the ever-elusive great idea. Our team has developed the playbook on how to rapidly validate, refine and build new technology businesses and de-risk the startup phase for these ambitious founders," said Jeremy Barber, CEO, Combine Venture Builders. 

"Combine is passionate to unlock the potential of Calgary’s next generation of technology founders and provide meaningful technical and strategic support to ensure their success.” 

Combine works with corporate partners and top-tier entrepreneurs through Combine Labs to turn the best ideas into market-defining, venture-funded companies with rapid customer adoption. It identifies several complex problems for businesses or consumers to address each year. Through its in-house resources and network of industry experts, Combine plays a co-builder role providing hands-on product development, design, people, operations and fundraising for ventures.  

“The vision we have for Calgary is to be the place where bright minds and big ideas come together to solve global problems. To achieve that vision, it’s important we support organizations like Combine to act as catalysts that propel people and companies to take on big challenges," said Mayor Jyoti Gondek, OCIF Board of Directors. 

Under the two-year agreement with OCIF, Combine Labs will identify more than 20 problem-solving concepts and collaborators a year, which will lead to the creation of a portfolio of six or more high-potential scaling companies. Combine will support these companies to lower their risk and increase scalability to achieve pre-seed, seed stage and Series A funding through a network of investors.   

“There’s no shortage of people in Calgary with promising ideas to solve problems, but there is a strong need to support them to scale to the size of their ambitions. Combine will play the important role of taking some of the high-potential startups in Calgary to a higher level of business success,” said Brad Parry, President & Chief Executive Officer of Calgary Economic Development and CEO of OCIF.   

An example of a scaling company in Combine’s portfolio is Agora Labs, an automated impact accounting platform that enables companies of all sizes to easily measure, track and manage Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance.    

Combine is expected to attract and retain highly skilled, diverse talent in Calgary and occupy at least 4,000 sq. ft. of downtown office space.  

Creating an environment where innovative Calgary companies can accelerate and scale to compete globally in key sectors of the economy is a priority in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy. OCIF is a $100-million initiative launched by the City of Calgary in 2018 and is an important tool to accelerate the economic strategy, drive innovation and support a more diversified economy. More than $77 million has been allocated to 25 projects to date and has led to investment commitments of between $780 million and $1 billion. 

For more information on the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund portfolio, visit the OCIF website.

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