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Weston family hires OMERS managing partner Jim Orlando to invest $100-million in tech ventures
June 19, 2019 | Globe & Mail | by SEAN SILCOFF

Canada’s billionaire Weston family is making a $100-million bet on the emerging-technology sector, hiring away one of Canada’s top early-stage investment professionals from Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System to run its new venture fund.

Jim Orlando, a managing partner with OMERS Ventures, will join a new arm of the Westons’ holding company, Wittington Investments, to develop “a meaningful corporate venture capital program and strategy...... he will focus on areas of innovation germane to the family’s key corporate interests: baking company Weston Foods, supermarket operator Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and drugstore chain Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., controlled by the Westons’ publicly traded conglomerate, George Weston Ltd.....Wittington has just two disclosed investments in Toronto’s emerging-technology sector, backing digital-health benefits provider League Inc. and venture-capital fund Radical Ventures. George Weston made its first investment in venture capital in 2016, backing a $25-million consumer-products-focused fund managed by Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson, while Loblaw this year partnered with Toronto startup Flashfood Inc. to sell perishable food items nearing the end of their shelf lives through a mobile app.....he Westons join a small but growing group of wealthy families and corporations – including Telus Corp., Power Corp. of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada and OpenText Corp. – to invest in early-stage technology ventures.

Several real estate firms including Michael Cooper’s Dream Unlimited and Dream Office REIT and Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. have committed tens of millions of dollars each to fund innovation in the property-tech market. Other Canadian “old economy” entrepreneurs – including mining magnate Seymour Schulich, property developer Robert Mantella, Vega nutritional supplement maker Charles Chang and Mission Hill Winery founder Anthony von Mandl – have emerged as big financiers of early-stage ventures in recent years.

“No question, [the Westons'] various companies are confronting a good number of significant opportunities and challenges, so there is no shortage of things to focus on,” said Rich Osborn, managing partner of Telus Ventures. “My caution would be, it’s easy to source and structure deals. The hard part is really unlocking the strategic value. That takes a lot more work and time to build that muscle. It will be a learning exercise for them for some time.”
corporate_investors  early-stage  family_office  George_Weston  investors  moguls  OMERS_Ventures  seed-stage  vc  venture_capital 
june 2019 by jerryking
General Mills Adds Kite Hill to Food Start-Up Investments - The New York Times

General Mills, one of America’s corporate food titans, is quietly establishing itself in venture capital, investing in some of the hottest new food companies.

It is just one of a small but growing number of giant food companies that have decided they can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines as smaller, more nimble start-ups outmaneuver them in the race for consumers seeking minimally processed, locally sourced, environmentally sustainable foods free of preservatives and chemicals.....Many small food businesses are wary of taking money from, or getting bought out by, food giants, mindful of the many stories of small, successful companies that are bought only to all but disappear into a multibillion-dollar corporation.

That reluctance has spawned a boom in small venture capital and private equity firms offering to finance small food businesses. And food entrepreneurs who have cashed out, like Jon Sebastiani, the founder of Krave Jerky, are forming businesses that offer advice and financing to small food companies.
food  General_Mills  venture_capital  start_ups  Mondelez  niches  entrepreneur  corporate_investors  Big_Food 
may 2016 by jerryking
JetBlue Venture Capital Unit Taking Cautious Approach to Growth - The CIO Report - WSJ
Mar 3, 2016 ROLE OF THE CIO
JetBlue Venture Capital Unit Taking Cautious Approach to Growth
JetBlue  Silicon_Valley  data  data_driven  venture_capital  CIOs  airline_industry  travel  hospitality  massive_data_sets  innovation  corporate_investors 
march 2016 by jerryking
How should you tap into Silicon Valley? | McKinsey & Company
September 2015
How should you tap into Silicon Valley?
By Alex Kazaks, Eric Kutcher, and Michael Uhl
McKinsey  Silicon_Valley  Communicating_&_Connecting  OPMA  howto  partnerships  innovation  boot_camps  corporate_investors 
february 2016 by jerryking
JetBlue Airways Forms Technology Unit - WSJ
Updated Feb. 11, 2016

JetBlue Airways Corp. is launching a subsidiary, JetBlue Technology Ventures, in Silicon Valley to find and help develop new technology ventures in the travel and hospitality sectors.... the initiative is focused on using technology in three areas: making passenger and employee experiences smoother, better using the massive amounts of data airlines acquire, and improving airline operations and logistics. She said potential technologies include geolocation, virtual reality, big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence....Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive, and Eash Sundaram, chief information officer, have been talking for a year about forming a subsidiary to look at innovation, while the airline’s board “has been thinking about how to expand the JetBlue brand.”
JetBlue  Silicon_Valley  airline_industry  travel  hospitality  massive_data_sets  innovation  corporate_investors  customer_experience  geolocation  virtual_reality  artificial_intelligence 
february 2016 by jerryking
A Different Approach at Google Ventures -
June 25, 2013, 6:31 pmComment
A Different Approach at Google Ventures
Google  Google_Ventures  venture_capital  vc  organizational_culture  corporate_investors  Claire_Cain_Miller 
june 2013 by jerryking
Google Spending Millions to Find the Next Google -
July 19, 2011 | NYT | By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER. Google Ventures
invests in various areas — the Web, biotechnology & clean tech.. It
puts large amounts of $ into mature companies, but it's also investing
small amounts in 100 new companies this yr..To make its picks, the
company has built computer algorithms using data from past venture
investments & academic literature. E.g., for individual companies,
Google enters data about how long the founders worked on start-ups
before raising $ & whether the founders successfully started
companies in the past.

It runs similar info. about potential investments through the algorithms
to get a red, yellow or green light. Google says the algorithms
provide valuable lessons, from obvious ones (entrepreneurs who have
started successful companies are more likely to do it again) to less
obvious ones (start-ups located far from the vc’s office are more likely
to be successful, probably because the firm has to go out of its way to
finance the start-up.)
google  venture_capital  start_ups  Claire_Cain_Miller  corporate_investors  vc  Google_Ventures  algorithms  investors  data_driven  non-obvious 
july 2011 by jerryking
Google to Extend Reach With Venture-Capital Arm -
JULY 31, 2008 | Wall Street Journal | by JESSICA E. VASCELLARO.
The new venture could help formalize those efforts and could help
Google expand the footprint of some of its online-software products
geared at small businesses. Other corporate venture funds have made
investments as a way to gain experience in new product areas and
Google  venture_capital  corporate_investors  start_ups  Jessica_E._Vascellaro  Google_Ventures 
june 2009 by jerryking
Rogers & Me - The Globe and Mail
March 2008 | Report on [small] Business | RASHA MOURTADA. In
early 2006, Louise Clements, vice-president of digital properties for
Rogers Media, approached Track about cross-promotional opportunities
between Sweetspot and Rogers's digital publications. The conversation
soon turned to the prospect of Rogers taking a minority stake in
Rogers_Media  small_business  corporate_investors  Rasha_Mourtada  digital_media 
june 2009 by jerryking

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