Sept. 14, 2020

New UCeed Haskayne Student Fund is one of first university-based private equity funds managed by students and for students in Western Canada

UCalgary’s pre-seed and seed funding program continues to fuel innovation and entrepreneurial thinking
Student Valeria Marino sitting in a large chair with two large plants behind her
Student Valeria Marino is one of 15 students in the new UCeed Haskayne Student Fund program Valeria Marino

The UCeed Haskayne Student Fund — one of the first university-based private equity funds managed by students, for students, in Western Canada — marks another important first as UCalgary moves forward in its Growth Through Focus strategy, serving as a critical bridge between students and Calgary’s local startup/venture capitalist communities.

“This new fund represents an exciting expansion of the UCeed suite of opportunities and enables a new dimension of engagement with the thriving UCalgary innovation ecosystem,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). Embedded within UCalgary’s Haskayne School of Business curriculum, the fund will develop Canada’s entrepreneurial and private equity leaders of tomorrow to create sustainable economic opportunities for our city, province, and country. The first cohort of 15 students has been recruited, emphasizing interest, work ethic, diversity of experiences, and background.

UCeed successfully launched two funds focused on health — general and child health in June 2020. Helping to drive innovation, commercialize new technologies, and accelerate UCalgary startup companies, UCeed Health has generated a high level of interest among companies, with applications to both the Opportunity and Growth Funds. Application reviews continue quarterly. The program is on-track to fund four to eight companies within the child and general health areas by the end of 2020.

The new student fund integrates with UCalgary’s world-class Haskayne School of Business curriculum, bringing together theory and practice through a personalized educational experience. Graduate students and third-, fourth- and fifth-year undergraduate students across all faculties can apply to the program.

Valeria Marino, a fourth-year honours program student at the Haskayne Business School, majoring in finance, found the opportunity to work alongside leading venture capitalists and investors an exciting one.

“I am highly interested in sustainability and finance, and by being part of this program I will not only get to work with experts in both fields, but I will also be able to establish a connection between investments and sustainable growth for my research in the honours program, explains Marino, pictured above.

Participating in the UCeed Haskayne Student Fund will definitely be an enriching experience that will help me define my future career path and will present me with new opportunities.

Coursework includes presentations, a guest speaker series, and interactions with some of the leading investors and innovators in our community. Direct participation and interaction with CDL-Rockies members and investors is another unique opportunity offered through this innovative program.

Leading this ground-breaking course are Haskayne School of Business scholars Dr. Ari Pandes, PhD and Lesley Tims, who both have strong ties to Calgary’s entrepreneurial community.

“Our students will have the unique opportunity to be mentored by leading venture capitalists and angel investors while learning to manage all aspects of a real-dollar private equity fund,” says Tims. “This hands-on approach to private equity investing will introduce them to future career options in finance. We particularly hope to inspire a number of young women to join this program, as women have historically been underrepresented in the field of finance.”

UCeed’s overall program will provide oversight, coaching, and deal management for students, with additional support from an investment advisory group led by respected investment banker Vincent Chahley, and CDL-Rockies.

The program will kick off with $1 million in funds and will continue to seek funding to support the program until it is evergreen in nature — essentially funding itself from capital received through investments.

UCeed is funded entirely through donors — we thank them sincerely

The UCeed Haskayne Student Fund is made possible by funding from Cannonball Education and Sport Foundation and other individual donors. The UCeed health funds are made possible with funding by Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and River Fund at Calgary Foundation. We thank our donors for their belief in innovation at the University of Calgary. Continued support from our donor community will further accelerate UCalgary startups in the future.

UCalgary is actively working to secure further support for UCeed to enable many more UCalgary startup companies and entrepreneurial initiatives. 

Overall, the donor community has provided more than $100 million to fuel innovation at UCalgary and contributed to the university surpassing the $1.3 billion goal of Energize – The Campaign for Eyes High. Energized By You highlights the impact of giving raised during the campaign.

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