Calgary, Alberta, June 8, 2022
Today, Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) has announced it will contribute $4 million to
Thin Air Labs Fund I as part of a first close of nearly $20 million.
OCIF was created by the City of Calgary in 2018 to attract investment, drive innovation and spur transformative economic development in the city.
Our goal with Thin Air Labs Fund I is to raise $100 million so we can continue to support venture growth in Calgary and accelerate the momentum building in the innovation sector in Alberta. The Fund has invested in 17 ventures in the province so far.
“The entire Thin Air Labs team has a strong track record of supporting local entrepreneurs and we are excited about our investment in a Calgary-centric venture capital fund that aligns with our vision of growing the Calgary technology and innovation ecosystem.” --- Mark Blackwell, Chair of OCIF's Board of Directors
"Our investment in Thin Air Labs Fund I helps to fill a critical gap in supporting pre-seed and seed-stage companies, with the capital and expertise to help them grow local businesses in Calgary,” said Mark Blackwell, Chair of OCIF’s Board of Directors. “The entire Thin Air Labs team has a strong track record of supporting local entrepreneurs and we are excited about our investment in a Calgary-centric venture capital fund that aligns with our vision of growing the Calgary technology and innovation ecosystem.”
“With Thin Air Labs Fund I, we are committed to supporting the growth of globally competitive companies from right here in Calgary,” says Thin Air Labs’ Managing Partner James Lochrie. “We’re thankful to OCIF for this $4 million contribution to the first close of the Fund. The OCIF investment will allow us to continue supporting incredible founders in Calgary as they work to create jobs and meaningful human impact with their ventures.”
These ventures include Orpyx, a healthcare company whose innovative sensory insoles protect patient mobility and prevent amputation in those with diabetes.
“The partnership developed with Thin Air Labs and James Lochrie has been vital to my ongoing development as a CEO." --- Dr. Breanne Everett, CEO and Co-Founder, Orpyx
“The partnership developed with Thin Air Labs and James Lochrie has been vital to my ongoing development as a CEO. It has already had a meaningful, tangible impact on how I lead, and the evolution of our company and our products. Their support has been critical in keeping Orpyx on the leading edge of sensory-enabled healthcare,” says Dr. Breanne Everett, CEO and Co-Founder for Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc. and Kinetyx Sciences Inc.
Thin Air Labs Fund I has also invested in Arbor, a technology company whose dashboard revolutionizes how companies produce products and do business in a future focused on sustainability.
"The difference between Thin Air Labs and other venture firms is they are seasoned entrepreneurs who have been there and done it. " ----Alex Todorovic, CEO and Co-Founder, Arbor
"The difference between Thin Air Labs and other venture firms is they are seasoned entrepreneurs who have been there and done it. They understand the needs of early stage ventures and work very closely with their ventures to ensure success. As a first time founder, this kind of support enables you to take massive leaps along your company's journey and save valuable time," says Alex Todorovic, CEO of Arbor.
Are you a founder looking for investment? Check out our investment thesis here.
Are you an investor, wanting to learn more about Thin Air Labs Fund I and the opportunity in Alberta to #BuildWhatsNext, connect with us.
About Thin Air Labs Fund I Thin Air Labs Fund I is a $100 million venture fund. The first close of Thin Air Labs Fund I includes investments from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF), Sandstone Asset Management Inc., prominent high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs Hanif Joshaghani, CEO of Symend, and Adrian Camara, CEO of Athennian. Thin Air Labs is currently raising a second close of the Fund.
A transcription of the video here can be read below: Angie Petrek: Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for being here for the most recent announcement from the opportunity Calgary investment fund. I'm Angie Petrek and I'm the director for the OCIF portfolio. And I've actually been heavily involved in the fund manager RFP process since it was initially launched over a year ago. And so it is my absolute pleasure to be part of this exciting announcement. And not only am I excited about this most recent OCIF investment, I am also excited because it is the first time in two years that we've had the opportunity to do this in person. So thank you all so much for being here
Before we get started, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional territories of the people of the treaty seven region in Southern Alberta. The nations of the treaty seven region are the Siksika, Pikani, and Kainai first nations who together formed the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations, who all together formed the Stoney Nakoda First Nations and the Tsuut'ina First Nation, the city of Calgary is also Homeland to the historic Northwest Metis and to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. We acknowledge all indigenous, urban Calgarians who have made Calgary their home. We are joined today by five guest speakers who are all very well known in the startup community and beyond. Mark Blackwell board chair of the opportunity Calgary investment fund, James Lochrie, managing partner of Thin Air Labs, Mayor Jyoti Gondek, Dr. Breanne Everett, CEO, and Co-Founder of Orpyx Medical Technologies, and Alex Todorovic Co-Founder and CEO of Arbor. I would like to call on Mark now to say a few words about the focus OCIF has put on investments in the early startup community.
Mark Blackwell: Thanks so much, Angie, and on behalf of the entire OCIF board of director as an OCIF team, I want to thank everyone for being here live today in 3d, just over two years ago, actually in April, 2020, we went back to city council, with amazing support of Mayor Gondek, requesting an amendment to our terms of reference at OCIF that would allow us to broaden the scope of our support in the community like many organizations over the past two years in this room, we've had to adapt. We've had to be responsive to the ever-changing needs of the citizens of Calgary.
Key to this change back in 2020 was the recognition of the lack of pre-seed and seed stage capital and Calgary based businesses. This data was backed by a fantastic report by Alberta enterprise corporation that showed an increase in over 131% in number of tech companies in Calgary since 2018, however, 58.3% of those companies identified access to capital as their number one challenge. Thanks to city council, we were approved for an allocation of 10 million to seek partners in the community to help us solve this challenge and was an important evolution in our history at OCIF, which now has made over 21 investments allocated a total of 63 million dollars in the core pillars of talent, attracting and retaining anchors and stars ecosystem, and the last leg being funding. In addition to solving the funding gap, why was this important? First of all, it had a one-to-many approach. This model now allows us to have a broader impact on a higher number of companies versus picking winners and losers. It allows us to leverage the domain expertise and assist companies in scaling, leveraging our OCIF dollars with the establishment of this $10 million allocation. We'll now see a minimum of matching dollars being deployed in Calgary based businesses from external sources with the potential to have leverage over $45 million dollars of capital to be invested in Calgary companies. And last the return on capital, as we think about the legacy of OCIF and the ability for us to think about how we potentially make a return on our investment and recycle the capital to continue to have a long-term impact on the city. We fully expect that the investment vehicle will return capital to the city and our shareholder, and allow us to think about how to effectively recycle those funds, which brings us here today on behalf of the OCIF board and the team, we are excited to announce our $4 million dollar investment into Thin Air Labs fund one. This announcement today,
This announcement today, as Angie mentioned, was part of a comprehensive RFP process. We ran last summer that had Thin Air Labs emerge as a clear front runner, given their track record, strong reputation with local entrepreneurs of some of which you'll hear from today and a clear dedication to making the city a stronger destination for startups and scale ups. Most critical to today's announcement is James Lochrie, who I can remember meeting months after he returned from Toronto at 1886 breakfast, over five years ago. Now, since that time I haven't met a person more committed and passionate about the Calgary technology community than James. He wears Calgary tech on his sleeves and has assembled an amazing team here at Thin Air Labs who are deeply rooted and committed to genuinely helping companies grow track record is everything. And James and his team at Thin Air Labs have backed some of the city's fastest growing startups like Symend, Athennian, and StellarAlgo who all credit James for strong support, mentorship and advising from day one. I wanna sincerely thank James Rick and the entire team at Thin Air Labs for their continued dedication to the city of Calgary, for your passion and commitment to bringing local partners and for your patience and grit in working with us to get here today. Thank you so much.
Angie Petrek: Thank you so much, Mark. I would now like to call on James Lochrie, managing partner at Thin Air Labs to say a few words.
James Lochrie: Hello everybody. And thank you all for joining us here at Thin Air Labs. This is a very special place for me and for our team here. This is where magic happens every day, and I'm really glad that people could come here in person to join us and celebrate what this really means to the city of Calgary. I'd also like to thank Mayor Gondek for joining us to share this important information. That's going to help spur the growth of our city in different directions than we traditionally have done in the past. And I'd also like to thank Mark and the team at OCIF for grinding it out with us as well. And the kind words that you just bestowed upon on our team. It means a lot to hear those coming from such an important voice in our community. Thank you, Mark.
Thin Air Labs was created to ignite venture growth and venture growth that is based right here in Calgary. But importantly that venture growth has an outcome of global human impact. That's the thing that drives us here every day is to impact people with the work that we do. And today, with this new announcement, it creates an opportunity for more of the founders, more of the entrepreneurs and the businesses that we support in this city to be able to create that global impact and benefit our city at the same time.
This announcement by OCIF also marks the first close of our fund Thin Air Labs fund one, and that's a fund that we are gonna continue raising up to a hundred million, which we hope to close by the end of this year. So we are still currently actively attracting capital into this city to continue this journey and the OCIF announcement and the $4 million dollars that are being put into it is a great step of momentum in that direction. So again, another thanks to the OCIF team for getting us to this point, because it helps what comes next and that's multiplying that capital exponentially. And that's what we hope to achieve with this announcement. I'd also like to thank all of the other investors who have participated almost exclusively from the city of Calgary to support what we're doing here. That is a meaningful thing and a meaningful change from what's happened in the past and in investment in this city where it was rare to see the citizens of this city focus on ventures that are in the innovation space, and now they're excited to do so. It marks a massive change in mindset for the, for the important capital that looks towards growth and focuses on our city's growth. And we're just getting started here.
Our goal is to raise that hundred million dollars by the end of the year, and we actively pursuing that goal, and that investment thesis that we use to drive the results that we have are focused on three really critical aspects of what we do. The first one is our founders. Our founders are uniquely positioned to drive innovation and global human impact. Like nobody else, nobody can take an idea, create something out of it, build a team. And that's primarily driven by passion and you're going to be hearing from some of our entrepreneurs later. And I'm really excited by that. Our goal is to partner with those people to help them be successful.
That is what we do at Thin Air Labs, our success and the success of all the people that are around are driven through those founders and our passion for just being a part of that journey is at front and center of everything that we do. We also invest in very early-stage companies. Where the risk is the highest and the support required for them to be successful is incredibly necessary. Our expertise and experience partnered with their passion allows for these things to become successful at a scale that we didn't even expect to see, but are now seeing in this city. And we believe in positive human impact, not just creating technology for technology's sake, but creating technology to help people. And you're gonna be hearing a little bit more about that from our founders as we move forward.
One of the important things about partnering with our founders for human impact is about making money. This investment by OCIF is designed to return capital to the city to continue recycling, to invest into our city over time. And we believe that by investing in things that create human impact, we have a better chance of returning capital at exponential rates. It actually makes sense when you focus on impact, you get returns as well. And that is a super important part of how we want to build our companies and build the city that we have in front of us. And we want to do it from right here in Calgary. Most importantly, this is where the opportunity for the future is in Canada is right here in this city. And why is that? It's because of Calgary entrepreneurs, Calgary entrepreneurs solve big problems. They always have, whether it's been in agriculture or energy. Now it's expanding into innovation, and they build things that matter. They also build some of the largest companies in Calgary, and we've seen that multiple times, not just in the traditional industries, but now in the innovation space as well. And Calgary always, always punches above its weight. And it's not going to be any different in this area either. We are going to see some of the biggest investments and returns and companies built right here by our citizens, our peers. And we want to be part of that journey with them. Calgary has the people, it's the people that make it happen.
The city has already produced several unicorns. And we're going to hear from two ventures that are on that pathway today that we've invested in the past. And I want to talk to you about a third one called Syantra. It's an example of a company that is very close to my heart, and the way that we invest. Syantra is a cancer detection company that uses precision healthcare to focus on first. Their first product is in the breast cancer space. Talk about meaningful impact to human beings, to families, to the people that are personally affected by it.
It's incredible and creating this type of impact is a team sport. I'd like to first thank our capital team starting with Raghu Bharat, who has joined us from Montreal to help us build this city with his expertise and experience that he's had in our industry. From Rick Bird, who's joined us from Toronto, who has helped a number of ventures across this country become significant. And Crystal Phillips, a Albertan who is well known around these parts for her work in philanthropy, but is now leading the experience of investors and entrepreneurs through the journey of Thin Air Labs. And thanks to the rest of the team of unlike minds that we have here in Thin Air Labs, who on a day-to-day basis, get in the trenches and help our entrepreneurs go through the challenges that they face every single day in building their companies. I just want to say thank you to all of you for joining us on this journey. I love you all. You're amazing people. Thank you for being here with us. And it's also important to thank the local ecosystem, which is growing like crazy today, not just independently, but with the support of organizations like OCIF, whether it's academia, independent individuals, family offices, founders, or research institutes, the ecosystem as a whole is moving forward very rapidly. And I'd just like to support them for joining us and what we do in allowing us to partner with them through this journey as well. And we're honored to be part of this community that is producing globally competitive companies, creating more jobs, more wealth, more meaningful, global impact than we have ever seen before out of Calgary. Today, it's time to be bold; Today, it's time to build and let's go out there and build what's next together.
Angie Petrek: Thank you so much, James. And thank you so much. We, we love the bold outlook for this city. The next person I would like to introduce is someone that requires absolutely no introduction. Mayor Gondek, who is also a member of the OCIF board of directors. To say a few words,
Mayer Gondek: It's going to be really hard to follow that up, but thank you for the introduction. It is an absolute pleasure to be here with you this morning for another exciting announcement for our city. I want to thank my colleague, counselor, Sonya Sharp for being here as well. She's a big proponent of the business community in our city. It's good to see you bright and early.
This past year, I have witnessed firsthand the growth of our tech sector during one of the most tumultuous times in our history. And I'm incredibly excited to see our city truly become a hub of innovation. The recent success of this sector is putting Calgary on the map as a top destination for tech entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into leading edge businesses. As we see entrepreneurs take off and look to scale up, it requires capital investment to succeed. And that's where the opportunity Calgary investment fund comes in.
Today's announcement is all about investing in local founders. Statistics demonstrate that when you support the inherent entrepreneurial drive of local founders, all of us win as Calgarians. On behalf of city council, I want to take this moment to recognize the work that's being done by OCIF to select and make catalytic investments that are driving economic development in our city. These investments are instrumental in achieving our goal of creating more than 1000 new tech companies in our city. Over the next decade specifically OCIF is addressing a known investment gap and increasing the amount of seed capital to promising early-stage companies. Today, I want to congratulate James Lochrie and the entire Thin Air Labs team on becoming the 21st organization to receive funding through OCIF. And I'm totally going to go off script for a minute. James, how exciting is it for us to be in a city where someone like you with so much brain power also has such a big heart for you to say that you love your team. That's amazing. That's the kind of human element we need to the investments that we're making. Thank you for being a part of this city. Thank you for being part of its success. You and your whole team are doing amazing things.
This $4 million investment in Thin Air Labs fund one will help to create startups in diverse high growth sectors of our economy, and it's expected to generate at least 8 million dollars worth of investments in Calgary based companies. When Mark Blackwell became the chair of OCIF three years ago, his vision, as he mentioned to us all, was to unlock more local capital more quickly by supporting third party fund managers. He also championed local and global business accelerators to help grow promising Calgary based companies. Mark's term is chair is set to end a little bit later this month and he's successfully delivered on an amazing vision. Thank you, Mark, for everything you've done as well. You are truly an amazing Calgarian congratulations to the Thin Air Labs team. This is great news for our city and it's absolutely been an honor to be part of today's announcement. Have a wonderful day.
Angie Petrek: Thank you so much, Mayor Gondek, for those inspiring words. Unfortunately, the Mayor does need to head back to city council. She does have another event, but we wanted to thank you again so much for joining us this morning. We will now hear from a Calgary business woman, someone who's no stranger to the local startup community, no stranger to the life sciences and medtech space. Someone who understands the importance of a local investment community, Dr. Breanne Everett, CEO and Co-Founder of Orpyx Medical Technologies.
Breanne Everett: Thank you. So thank you so much for the opportunity to speak today. This is an area that's really near and dear to my heart, and it's really an honor to be here. Before I talk a little bit more about my experience with Thin Air Labs, I want to just give a bit of a benchmark as to what Orpyx is and what we do. So we're a company that's focused on the development of imperceptible in-shoe technologies to prevent amputation in people living with diabetes in the last couple of years, since the point in time that Thin Air Labs invested in our company, we've gone from a team of 14 to a team of 120. So there's been a lot of growth in that period of time. And we've had to navigate a lot of different challenges, including not the least of which is a global pandemic.
So it's been an interesting space to navigate, but we've really felt like we've had a partner throughout the course of that. The other thing I really want to talk about is how Orpyx really is a Calgary company in the funding that's come into our company to date 99% of that has been Alberta based. And the majority of that has been from individuals and investors in Calgary. So to get to where we are with the support of our local ecosystem has been absolutely critical and Thin Air Labs has played a really major role in that when Thin Air Labs invests in companies, they don't simply become an investor. They really become a partner they're committing to a partnership with those companies. And that's a very big difference. There are a range of different potential investors and having a group that's supporting you and really becomes part of your team is exceptionally unique, I would say.
And something that adds a huge level of differentiation to the relationship. So that partnership is active. It's dynamic, it's ongoing, and it in many ways, parallels the process of starting, initiating, growing a company. It changes as it moves. So the process of creating a startup can be circuitous. It can be messy, it can be unpredictable, it's imperfect. And the thing about having Thin Air Labs, a group of former operators at the table, is that they understand that, and they're not expecting perfection. The bar is really high and it stays high. And the pursuit of excellence is always there in all of the conversations; it's never ending, but the process changes. And so when Thin Air Labs invests in a team, they're investing in the knowledge that they can trust that team to path find and execute.
They ultimately are investing in teams that they know they can trust. And when an entrepreneur takes investment from an investor, they are also allowing that investment to come in, knowing that they can trust that investor as a partner. So it's very important that that trust exists on both sides. And it very much has with the Thin Air team, thin air prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion and tech. And they really put their money where their mouth is. They know that representation matters in seeing all sides of a problem, and they prioritize Calgary and the growth of Calgary. And that has been really important to the work that we've done together. They know that strong teams persist and they stay laser focused and they ultimately will find the path. They don't know the path from the start. And so with Thin Air Labs there to support and help to identify more direct paths so that we're not all making the same mistakes twice is really key.
So the partnership developed with Thin Air Labs and James Lochrie have been really vital to my ongoing development as a CEO. I know that it has already had a meaningful, tangible impact on how I lead, on how I execute and in the evolution of our company and our products. The impact advisory services team has also played a very critical role in that through Thin Air. Their support has been critical in keeping Orpyx on the leading edge of sensory enabled healthcare. So for that, I really want to send a big thank you to the Thin Air team. I'm very proud to be part of the Thin Air family, the support from OCIF really couldn't be going to a stronger supporter in the ecosystem and with this additional funding I'm really looking forward to seeing what Thin Air is going to do next and to continue to work with the team on growing more success within Alberta. Thank you.
Angie Petrek: Thank you so much, Breanne. And thank you for those words. It really solidifies our position going down this path of making an investment in a fund manager and in particular an investment in Thin Air Labs, we would now like to hear from another CEO, someone who is also familiar in the local startup community and very familiar with Thin Air Labs, Alex Todorovic the Co-Founder and CEO of Arbor.
Alex Todorovic: Thank you. Thank you. I guess I'm closing the show clearly, saving the best for last, just kidding. Everyone's probably like who is this guy? I don't even know who he is. So what can I say about Thin Air? I don't know. I met James about two years ago. I fired him a random email and I was like, look, you're the guy that I want to learn from. I'm not even asking you for money. I just want your help in terms of like, how do I do this? I was a team of four of us. We're working in a basement, just grinding away on coffee and thought we had a good idea. I wanted to just kind of learn from the best of the best and James was the best that I could find. And he replied pretty much instantly.
Most people told me like, good luck, like, you know, like James is a very hard to get a hold of. Like, he's a super busy guy. He remembered who I was, cuz we met briefly a while before that. And we set up a call, we were talking through some stuff and he was like, you know what? Sounds like a really interesting idea. The key thing that stuck out to me was like, um, he was like, I don't know if this is gonna be it. You know what you guys are building right now, but I really like your team and I want to basically invest in your team and that's the key to early stage startups. Like it's not, you're not gonna get it right immediately. We haven't gotten it right immediately. Like no one has kind of thing. We had to pivot a couple times to get to that right point.
But he saw in us like the tenacity, the drive, the adaptability, and it's just, it is a completely different experience within Thin Air because I've met a lot of VC firms and stuff like that. Like, yeah, they'll give you capital. They give you support and all that stuff like that. But like our office is literally across the, I was going to say road, but the hall and like I've basically become family with everyone that works here. Like everyone knows each other. Everyone's if I need something, like I can sort of call James at like three in the morning, he'd probably get pretty mad, but like he would most likely answer. And then, yeah, like they're just there. They lean in very heavily. They help us all through everything. Like our company is barely a year old and we've been able to raise almost 3 million dollars basically because of the fact that we have the support of knowing what to do when to do it kind of thing.
What are the pitfalls? What are the things that we should look out for? And James was speaking about impact, so our company is about essentially being able to calculate the environmental impact of consumer goods. So what we do is we trace across the supply chain of like, where did this thing come from? Whether it be apparel, automotive, food, um, footwear, you name it kind of thing. Um, how is this assembled? Where was it manufactured? What was the power sources that went into that? And there's a big chain of calculations that happens to give a pretty accurate estimation of like the CO2 impact, the water footprint, the waste footprint as well. So to give you an example of the impact, so a regular t-shirt right, over its life cycle has about it, its about 15 kilograms of CO2.
So everyone's like, I don't know what that is. Right. That's close to 8,000 balloons of hotter, like party balloons. I don't think we could fit that many in this room. Right. So like everyone's wearing t-shirts, you know, they're being made constantly just imagine that kind of level of CO2 impact nonstop. So what we do is basically help companies understand the impact of their products, provide them that data for their benchmark and then help them choose better products to sell to consumers. And I mean, right away, James is like, you know, this is a huge, huge problem. Like we've been able to work, start working with the UN we've been working with Harvard. We have access to the best researchers and best data possible. You can get on the planet kind of thing. And you know, because we can measure these things.
That's the whole point because you know, brands nowadays and like all these companies and stuff like that, like everyone has really lofty environmental goals, but when it comes to asking like, what are you doing? What's the month over month change? There's really not a whole lot of metrics systems. And so we are really like working on a global scale to be able to make these changes happen and help the consumption cycle be less of a burden on the planet. And it's not just through, you know, buying or planting a tree here and there or whatever it is like you need to stop at the source kind of thing. And that's what we focus on. Yeah, I, myself and the team, like we've grown from 4 to 20, we're extremely grateful for the opportunity that Thin Air has given us, and I just can't say enough good things about this place. So yeah, that's me. Thank you.
Angie Petrek: Thanks Alex. I think we did save the best for last. Just one note I wanted to make after the announcement of Neo this year. I think the community is all very excited and anxious for more unicorns out of this city. So, I'm just saying to James and his team, so this concludes the formal part of the announcement. We would now like to take time for questions from the media. If you have any questions, if I could please ask you to state your name, the name of the organization and who you're directing the question to.
Media Question 1: Mike Simonton CDC. Mr. Blackwell.
Mark Blackwell: Go ahead.
Media Question 1: What was the criteria you used and what are the benchmarks you're going to use to watch the growth of Thin Air Labs?
Mark Blackwell: So, yeah, as Angie mentioned before just over a year ago, we launched a comprehensive RFP process that went nationwide to attract fund managers like Thin Air to apply. And there was a very rigorous set of criteria associated with the ultimate decision-making process most critical to that was investment track record. So investment managers that had a track record of investing in Calgary based businesses, investment track record of organizations that had supported and grown companies, and that had a commitment and already had deployed capital in Calgary. And so with Thin Air, as an example, James, as an angel investor and through Thin Air has made a number of investments in the local ecosystem had, as you heard from today, as part of the reference calls with CEOs, you know, the NPS score, the net promoter score of Thin Air Labs and other funds that we had invested in was extremely strong. And so as we, as we made the investment in Thin Air, we also made an investment Accelerate Fund III, which is a local based fund. We made a $6 million investment six months ago now. And so those were part of the key decision criteria, track record of investment in companies, a commitment to the Calgary ecosystem, you know, references into companies to help them scale. Yep.
Media Question 2: What kind of benchmarks are you looking for from Thin Air going forward here in the next six months here? What kind of timeline are you seeing for any kind of success for the city of Calgary?
Mark Blackwell: So I think the biggest part of it is leverage dollars in matching. And so we would expect as part of a $4 million investment in Thin Air that we'd see at least two X leverage. And that's a very important part, you know, Thin Air is one node in the ecosystem, but the track record of what James and the team have been able to do is bring outside capital into Calgary. And that was an important part. So leverage dollars in investing in Calgary based companies, and then this is a bit of a different shift for OCIF, so we're actually looking at a return on capital. And so, you know, they've obviously demonstrated they're able to have great selection criteria and picking fantastic companies like we've heard about today. And so we would expect, you know, through the Thin Air investment that we'll see at least $8 million deployed in Calgary based businesses, but I would expect that to be actually exponentially higher. James says, and the team have the ambition to raise a hundred million dollar fund. So we can expect that, you know, by the end of the year and the time that they raise the capital, that those dollars will be leveraged significantly into Calgary based, exclusive businesses.
Media Question 3: When you talk about the startup world across the failure rate is quite high, what kind of fears do you have of? Do you have any fears of failure rates and startups and where are you with that?
Mark Blackwell: I mean, I think individuals like James and in the venture world have to embrace failure. I think that that's part of the game. This is my day job. I'm a venture capitalist, it's a distribution game. And I think James clearly has a track record of investing in strong winners. As I mentioned, his early investments in StellarAlgo and Symend, those are companies that are starting to see significant scale and early successes of sununicorns I call them, the two individuals that spoke today. And I think that pattern recognition is a very key part of identifying managers like James, but that's what we have to embrace. We have to be able to embrace failure as part of the venture business. And that's what we're signing up to to make sure we have that support and early stage capital. It's absolutely required to support companies in those early days.
James Lochrie: Do you wanna put me on hot seat?
Media Question 4: It's not much of a hot seat. Mike Simon, CDC news. Listen, one of the things he talked about is fun and the word I'm going to use is idea makers. How do you think you're going to cast your net? Like when I think of Calgary, I think of very siloed industries, siloed groups, not communicating well between each other. How do you believe you're going to cast your net wide enough to get the kind of entrepreneurs that can really move forward? Further to that data is the new world, and so a lot of companies are exploring the data world that's exactly what that cat's mining and anyone with a brain can see how the vast growth of that, but extremely risky and a lot of get players too. So tell me how you're going to cast your net wide and deal with that kind of a risk.
James Lochrie: Yeah, the Calgary ecosystem has been shifting dramatically over the seven years since I've returned back to the city. And it's been playing out through a bunch of different verticals that are now starting to overlap. And what I like about what I see in it is there are groups like Thin Air Labs that are building out their own type of silo, for lack of a better word, but those silos are integrating with the universities. They're integrating with policy makers. They're integrating with research institutes. And where we play in the entire industry is really early stage. So we're looking for those types of people that are in the early stages of building that business.
They may not even have a business incorporated at that point. And so we go to the source, we get our fingernails dirty. We don't just wait for them to come to us. We go to the Universities, we go into the research institutes, we go to the events. We talk to the community, we get referrals in from other people because we've been talking about where we invest. So our net is pretty wide and cast pretty broadly today. And that's years of hard work to be able to do that while the shift was also occurring at the same time. So, I feel very comfortable with the team that we have here and the way that we integrate with the community. And I think that's a big part of it is we think about it as a community. We don't think about ourselves as just a group of people that are doing something. We think of ourselves as part of a community. And that's why this space exists today at the scale it does so that founders can be in here.
Other investors can be in here, people from out of town, some of our investors hang out here just to learn and see what's going on. So it's really a process of waking up every day and wanting to hang out with founders. And that's what our team does is just, we love those people. So we find them and now it's gotten to a point where they are starting to find us. And we interact with hundreds of businesses every month that are from the region. So that gives you a sense of the scale that we're starting to get to.
Media Question 5: And so in the world of data where we see this massive competition globally, how do you feel about that? And I'm getting a sense that there's a lot of investment in that world and because it's such a fast....
James Lochrie: Yeah, we use software to track a whole bunch of things that we engage with, but, you know, that's just, I think that's a second nature for myself and my team that we think about it from the standpoint of just building businesses. And that's just part of it. When I was building my business back in Toronto, um, we looked around at data. Data was the thing that we grew off of. So it's just a second nature thing. I don't even really pay that much of conscious attention to it. We just get up and do it.
Media Question 5: That's all I have. Thanks so much.
James Lochrie: No problem.
Angie Petrek: Thank you so much. I think that's all the time we have for questions. Again, I wanted to thank all of our guest speakers for joining us today. Thank you so much Mark, Mayor Gondek, Breanne, Alex, and most of all, James and your team. Thank you so much for joining and for sharing your insightful words. That concludes our event. Again, thanks for joining and have a wonderful day.
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