Designated Organizations for the Start-up Visa Immigration
The Start-up Visa Program targets entrepreneurs and innovative business people. It is a federal immigration program for those who intend to immigrate to Canada, and their destination is anywhere but the province of Quebec. A key component of the Start-up Visa program is to receive a Letter of Support from a designated organization by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). These organizations are divided into three major groups:
- Venture capital funds – According to bdc.ca, “a venture capital (VC) fund is a sum of money investors committed for investment in early-stage companies. The investors who supply the fund with money are designated as limited partners. The person who manages the fund is called the general partner. The general partner decides which early-stage companies the fund will invest in based on criteria established by the fund partners.” A valid letter of support from a designated venture capital fund means they agreed to invest your idea a minimum amount of CAD 200,000.
- Angel investor groups – A group of angel investors create an angel investor group. According to bdc.ca, angel investors “are wealthy, experienced business people who invest their time and money in your high-growth business in exchange for equity.” IRCC expects a minimum of CAD 75,000 along with a letter of support from a designated angel investor group to consider the letter acceptable.
- Business incubators – According to bdc.ca, “a business incubator is a program that gives very early-stage companies access to mentorship, investors and other support to help them get established.” Business incubators usually do not invest capital in a business but offer their services to them. Acceptance by a business incubator and a letter of support without any investment is good enough for IRCC.
You only need one letter of support from one designated organization. For example, if you receive a letter from an incubator, you do not need a letter from a venture capitalist or an angel investor.
The following lists show the existing designated organizations for the Start-Up Visa program. I copied them verbatim from the IRCC website on December 9, 2018, and updated the list on December 27, 2020. Please visit their website for the official version. The following list is not official and not endorsed by IRCC.
Venture Capital (VC) Funds
- 7 Gate Ventures
- BCF Ventures
- BDC Venture Capital
- Celtic House Venture Partners
- Extreme Venture Partners LLP
- Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
- iNovia Capital, Inc.
- Intrinsic Venture Capital
- Lumira Ventures
- Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
- PRIVEQ Capital Funds
- Real Ventures
- Relay Ventures
- ScaleUp Venture Partners, Inc.
- Top Renergy Inc.
- Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
- Version One Ventures
- Westcap Management Ltd.
- Yaletown Venture Partners, Inc.
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) VC Fund
Angel Investor Groups
- Canadian International Angel Investors
- Ekagrata Inc.
- Golden Triangle Angel Network
- Keiretsu Forum Canada
- Oak Mason Investments Inc.
- Southeastern Ontario Angel Network
- TenX Angel Investors, Inc.
- VANTEC Angel Network Inc.
- York Angel Investors, Inc.
- Alacrity Foundation
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
- Creative Destruction Lab
- Empowered Startups Ltd.
- Extreme Innovations
- Genesis Centre
- Highline BETA, Inc.
- Innovation Cluster – Peterborough and the Kawarthas
- Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
- Invest Ottawa
- Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
- LatAm Startups
- Launch Academy – Vancouver
- LaunchPad PEI, Inc.
- Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship
- NEXT Canada
- North Forge East Ltd.
- North Forge Technology Exchange
- Platform Calgary
- Pycap Inc (o/a Pycap Venture Partners)
- Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
- Ryerson Futures Inc.
- Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
- Spring Activator
- The DMZ at Ryerson University
- Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC)
- TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
- University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Hatchery
- Waterloo Accelerator Centre
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
Read the following article for more information about the Star up visa immigration.
Update: Dec 27, 2020
*Note: For the official list of designated organizations for the Start-up visa program click here.
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