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Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund

 Thanks for your interest in the current request for proposals for Fund Manager and Innovation Ecosystem. We've curated a list of FAQ's to address any questions you may have for each proposal below. 

Please note: This page will be updated on a regular basis. Check back often.

 


  

Innovation Ecosystem FAQ 

Fund Manager FAQ

 

Innovation Ecosystem RFP FAQ

  • Research shows that Accelerators and Incubators are a powerful tool to activate a city’s Innovation Ecosystem. There is a lot of momentum in the tech-innovation ecosystem in Calgary and Accelerators and Incubator will accelerate the velocity of growth for Calgary created start-ups and scale-ups.  

  • One is for Accelerators and Incubators. The other is for a Fund Manager.  

  • There is no predefined number. The evaluation is merit based. We expect each proposal to be different, with different metrics, demographics, and partnerships. 

  • There is no typical award and no predefined number of submissions that will be funded. We expect each proposal to be different, with different metrics, programs, demographics, and partnerships.  

  • As per the RFP, OCIF will not be awarding in excess of $8M to any one proposal. We are looking for projects that span up to five years but may be shorter. 

  • OCIF is looking for the best submissions via this process and will evaluate all submissions equally. However, any programs funded must have a physical presence in Calgary (see Appendix B of RFP). 

  • The same organization may apply for both RFPs. Each RFP will be evaluated based on the criteria outlined in the respective RFP.  

  • They are separate RFPs.  

  • If you want funding from both, you must apply to both. 

  • You must apply separately to both RFPs (i.e., OCIF and Alberta Innovates) if you are seeking funding from OCIF and Alberta Innovates. 

  • Applying to Alberta Innovates and OCIF for the same project helps the applicant pursue multiple sources of funding (i.e., leveraged funding). 

  • Applicants should indicate in section F of the OCIF RFP whether they are also applying for funding from the Alberta Innovates RFP. 

  • In OCIF’s RFP, Appendix F asks whether the applicant is submitting to Alberta Innovates.  

  • If yes, OCIF will request permission from the applicant to allow OCIF to share the applicant’s submission with Alberta Innovates for review.

  • OCIF’s funding would not be able to fund all of the requirements of the Innovation Ecosystem.  

  • OCIF expects that this RFP initiative will create significant momentum toward the diversification of our economy, the scaling of companies and the creation of jobs. 

  • Having a critical mass of accelerators and incubators will help in positioning Calgary as a tech centre in Canada which may lead to increased investment flow as well as the attraction of tech talent. 

  • We need to build our tech talent pipeline, like all cities. We have a strategy to retain new grads, transition existing STEM workers to tech and recruit specific skill sets. 

  • Through this process, OCIF expects increased momentum in the growth of our tech sector which will both attract talent from outside Calgary and also show local Calgarians increasing opportunity as they consider new career paths. 

  • OCIF will review every proposal. However, to receive funding the projects must deliver net-new and incremental benefits to Calgary 

  • The rankings provide flexibility to allow for a high level of diversity of proposals. 

  • OCIF welcomes a creative approach (e.g., partnering with other organizations) to deliver one program.  

  • Organizations may wish to partner to offset perceived gaps identified when reviewing the ranking criteria (see Appendix A of RFP). 

  • We anticipate getting a variety of proposals including proposals with established partnerships.  

  • OCIF will review every proposal. However, to receive funding the projects must deliver net-new and incremental benefits to Calgary.  

  • We will assess the demand and action as needed, but at this time we do not anticipate that another session will be held. 

  • OCIF will reward the benefits that are realized in Calgary (see Appendix B of RFP) 

  • In developing the RFP, we have several provisions that must be met on EDI as part of the criteria for support. They account for 10 per cent of the valuation of a bid. 

  • We didn’t have specific metrics for EDI when OCIF was launched but it was an element for many applications previously approved by OCIF 

  • The Board is in the process of updating criteria now. 

  • For reference, the City’s Diversity and Inclusion Framework can be found at the following link: Diversity & Inclusion (calgary.ca) 

  • We expect each proposal to be different, with different metrics, programs, demographics, and partnerships.  OCIF will evaluate Accelerator and Incubator proposals that span from startup to scaleup. 

 

  • OCIF will consider Accelerators running programs both with and without equity stakes.  

  • OCIF does not have a preference for separate entities for fund manager versus accelerators. 

  • If an applicant is interested in acting as an Accelerator and as the Fund Manager, then the Applicant must apply to both separately. 

  • It can be funded if it’s part of a program that delivers the support, mentorship and scaling to multiple other companies per the requirements outlined in the RFP. 

  • Projects must demonstrate economic benefits that flow back to the city of Calgary.  

  • A physical presence is expected per OCIF Eligibility Criteria.  Also a presence will benefit the Calgary companies going through the program, helping them build community.  

  • Please reference the RFP Evaluation Criteria in Appendix A and the OCIF Eligibility Criteria in Appendix B. 

 

  • OCIF requires leveraged funding (see RFP Appendix B) as part of any new application seeking funding. Using an existing program’s funding and positioning it as investment will not qualify.  

Fund Manager RFP FAQ

  • OCIF is not changing.  This is an expansion of OCIF to allow it to invest in a fund.  

  • We identified a gap in the funding available to early-stage companies in Calgary and moved to address the issue. The fund will provide the necessary capital for startups and aid in scaling small and medium-sized enterprises. 

  • Of the 230 applicants to OCIF the vast majority were too small or two early stage to qualify. 

  • Using a private sector fund manager allows us to take advantage of expertise in the market to manage and expedite investment decisions.  

  • It also allows us to more easily leverage private-sector capital to support more local entrepreneurs through market participants who have established local networks and a greater ability to attract additional capital. 

  • The ownership model allows us to team up with private sector to support smaller ventures. OCIF funding is committed upfront to the investment fund and allocated to individual companies as needed over time by the Fund Manager. This is not dissimilar to the existing OCIF milestone-based funding model.  

  • Investments in earlier stage companies via a larger fund will improve the opportunity to recoup the OCIF investment, as the investment is spread out over many companies.   

  • Both a Fund Manager’s track record and connectivity to the Calgary start-up community are important factors and will be considered as part of the overall evaluation of all criteria in the RFP. 

  • We don’t see local versus non-local in this context as being mutually exclusive. 

  • To align with the OCIF mandate we will ensure OCIF funds are used to benefit Calgarians.  

  • The OCIF Board oversight rests primarily in the decision to identify a Fund Manager and Fund investment.   

  • Once the Fund has been established, the Fund Manager will make the decisions on investments in accordance with associated agreements, and which are expected to be aligned with the mandate for OCIF.  

  • There will be periodic reporting to the Board and to the City of Calgary as the unitholder.  This will be aligned with the City of Calgary’s Investment Policy. 

 

  • The OCIF Board oversight rests primarily in the decision to identify a Fund Manager and fund investment.   

  • The Fund Manager provides periodic reporting to its LP unitholders, including to the OCIF Board. City Council has two members on the OCIF Board.  

 

  • The City of Calgary will hold limited partnership units (LP units) in a Fund, along with other investors in the Fund. 

  • OCIF must place units in the name of the City but will have the City’s proxy to oversee the fund's compliance activity on behalf of the City. 

    • The fund will look to generate a return that may be reinvested to create more opportunities for the fund and investments in Calgary entrepreneurs. 

    • There will be enhanced reporting structures to align with OCIF mandate.  

    • This has yet to be determined. 

    • The structure may provide an opportunity to generate a return that will be reinvested to create more opportunities for Calgary entrepreneurs and the broader innovation ecosystem.  

    • Yes.  That is the general intent and preference as part of the process. 

    • Yes and No as we are undertaking a number of changes.  

    • OCIF is working with The City to expand the program to allow both grants and fund investments, this will include changes to the terms of reference for OCIF which will go before City Council in May. This will permit OCIF to setup a Fund Investment up to a certain $ amount. 

    • The Fund Manager decision resides with the OCIF Board. Part of the decision-making process will be to ensure the fund satisfies the OCIF mandate. 

    • The fund investment decisions will be the decision of the Fund Manager based upon their objectives and agreement with OCIF.  

    • In this case, OCIF would contribute up to $7.5 million toward the existing fund, plus an additional $7.5 million in leveraged funding from the Fund Manager (total $15 million). These funds would be applied toward Calgary-based investments.

    • The short answer is no. 

    • The OCIF Board will approve the fund and Fund Manager.  Part of the decision-making process will be to ensure the fund satisfies the OCIF mandate. 

    • Once the fund and Fund Manager have been approved by the OCIF Board, the Fund Manager will make investment decisions based on its own internal processes.  

    • Reporting to OCIF and the City of Calgary will be part of the deliverables.  Reporting will align with the City of Calgary’s Investment Policy and will include but is not limited to the following: 

      • Monthly transaction reports

      • Quarterly statements and analysis 

      • Attendance at a minimum of one OCIF meeting per year at request of the Board. 

      • Complete and sign a compliance report quarterly.  The compliance report should state whether or not the fund was in compliance with the City of Calgary’s Investment Policy during the quarter.  

      • Investment market value reports which may be prepared in-house, at least annually. 

    • The intent is to ensure that we have enhanced reporting on the key metrics for the Calgary companies.  

    • We recognize the dollars are comingled in a larger vehicle so pulling up separate return data on Calgary based companies won't be necessary but if possible, could be provided.  

    • We will likely want to highlight some case studies and financial performance from time to time for Calgary-based companies but will work with the prospective Fund Manager to establish appropriate terms.   

    • This statement recognizes that committed funding by OCIF must be fully matched by third parties.  OCIF is targeting to commit $7.5 million.  However, the amount of OCIF funding, which will be driven by aggregate third party committed matched funding, could each be less than $7.5 million. 

    • There is no prescribed cap on the fund size or third-party funding, however OCIF’s contribution is capped at $7.5 million.   

    • The fee structure will be evaluated as part of the review process. 

    • We would like to see a sample memo on an investment that has been completed in the past for making individual investments that go to the Investment Committee. 

    • To be clear, this is not an investment memo for respective LPs to invest in the fund. 

    • In developing the RFP, we have several provisions that must be met on EDI as part of the criteria for support. They account for 10 per cent of the valuation of a bid. 

    • We didn’t have specific metrics for EDI when OCIF was launched but it was an element for many applications previously approved by OCIF 

    • The Board is in the process of updating criteria now. 

    • For reference, the City’s Diversity and Inclusion Framework can be found at the following link:  Diversity & Inclusion (calgary.ca) 

     

    • Ideally, yes as it is the best way to assess performance. 

    • We would look at the Fund Manager’s history of investment in Calgary companies, whether that be via the fund or otherwise (e.g., angel investment). 

    • There may be situations where the Fund Manager has targeted Calgary company investment but, for whatever reason, has not closed a deal.  In such cases, it would be up to the Fund Manager to demonstrate to the OCIF Board their capacity to invest in Calgary companies. 

    • While there is no requirement to have more than one person based in Calgary, the presence in Calgary is important to having connective tissue, access to deal flow, and to play a significant role in the Calgary start-up ecosystem.  

    • OCIF would be participating in the fund pari passu to other LP investors.   

    • The flow of capital is not prescribed.  ThFund Manager will need to articulate their typical capital call basis, distribution process, fund period, etc., as outlined in the RFP. 

    • We recognize that each fund is unique 

    • While years of experience and IRR are important, we are looking at the capacity of the Fund Manager to bring deal flow and fill the funding gap in the Calgary ecosystem.   

    • Fund Manager with direct or indirect experience in the local marketplace is ideal. 

    • Technology is not a sector in and of itself anymore.  Iextends across multiple industries.   

    • We are flexible in the way we look at the core competencies of each applicant. 

    • A one-to-many approach is desired to benefit a higher number of companies.   

    • The Fund Manager will have sole discretion to assess the merits of each investment. 

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