Innovation is First Funded by Angels

Angels play a critical role in supplying and supporting entrepreneurs with financing, mentorship and access to networks that enable entrepreneurs to grow.

Take Action Now

Download NACO's Take Action Package to learn how you can help ensure entrepreneurs increasingly get access to the Angel investment that enables them to grow from ideas and prototypes to commercial ventures and scalable businesses. Together, we can support the financing of Canada's economy of tomorrow.



Why Support Angel Investors?


  • Private early stage investors, often referred to as Angel investors, play a critical role in supporting entrepreneurs
  • They invest as many as 27 times more startups than venture capital investors.
  • Angel investors are frequently former or current entrepreneurs
  • They act as a primary source of financing, mentorship and access to networks for Canadian startups.
  • They help build successful businesses to the point where they are attractive to venture capitalists and other funding sources.
  • Angels also often act as the primary sources of capital for early-stage “Seed” Venture Capital firms who in turn often act as the first institutional money source for startups.


Read the RBC take on how Angel investing fills a critical funding gap for entrepreneurs here.



Angel Investment Along The Innovation Continuum




Canadian Innovation is first funded by Angel investors - who enable entrepreneurs to grow along the innovation continuum. As startups progress through the stages of the Innovation Continuum - from idea to prototype, to a commercial venture, a scalable business, and eventually, a globally competitive company - they create high-value jobs and spin-off economic activities. Supporting startups along the continuum, especially at critical early stages of growth is highly risky and takes patience. Angel investors help the brightest entrepreneurs discovered at the ideation or incubation stages avoid the “valley of death” and sustain and scale their businesses.



Angel Investment in 2016


Angel investment is largely local. For 2016, 29% of investments were in the same city as the Angel group and a further 55% were in the same province. For this reason, Angel investment activity is distributed unevenly across Canada. Central Canada (Ontario and Quebec) attracted 61% of investments and 65% of the amount invested in 2016. Western Canada attracted about one-third of investments. Meanwhile Eastern Canada attracted just 1% of investments and 0.25% of the amount invested. The majority of the investee businesses (56%) across all regions are small, with 10 or fewer employees at the time of investment, and only a small proportion (13%) have more than 50 employees.

Canadian Angel investors are providing critical support to local small businesses, so that they may grow and thrive and sustain Canada's new economy. NACO is committed to championing the Angel-asset class to accelerate a thriving early-stage investing ecosystem that is critical to innovation, commercialization, and economic growth. NACO will continue to advocate for incentives and protections to ensure entrepreneurs can increasingly access much needed private risk capital at the right stage of their startup journey.







The Federal Government's Proposed Changes to CCPCs


NACO worked diligently with its partners to analyze the proposed changes to Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC), in order to understand the impact they may have on Angel investors, and our domestic innovation ecosystem more broadly. Read NACO's response to the proposed changes here:


Download NACO Response


After surveying our membership about the proposed changes to the taxation of CCPCs and how they might affect the availability of capital and active Angel support for entrepreneurs, we found that possible outcomes include decreased incentive and capital for Angels to invest and decreased access to early-stage capital, which may adversely influence the flow of funds and resources to Canadian entrepreneurs.

Our survey data shows that 88% of investors use private corporations to deploy all or some of their investments into startups. It was therefore unsurprising that 76% of our respondents indicated that should the proposed changes to CCPCs go through, they would decrease investment.

We understand the proposed tax changes are an effort to ensure all Canadians are paying a suitably fair share of tax on income, and to eliminate circumstances where private corporations might be used to gain unfair tax advantages. However, NACO would like to ensure that the government is aware of the impact these policies may have on the early-stage ecosystem so that the government’s tax and innovation policies are aligned to support the growth of Canadian startups and their continued access to risk capital.


And we need your help.


Take Action Now

This is your chance to have your say - provide feedback to decision-makers and make a meaningful impact on major initiatives which will affect your community and our country. Here is what you can do to support Canadian innovation today:

  • Donate to NACO's advocacy efforts.
  • Fill out the Federal Government's #YourBudget2018 Surveys, with a special mention of support for Canadian entrepreneurs and Angel investors.
  • Email a letter of support for Canadian Angel investors to the #YourBudget2018 email address:
  • Mail a letter of support for Canadian Angel investors to your local MP. Please find an example of such letter in our Take Action Package. Please encourage fellow Angels and friends to do the same. These letters can be delivered via post or email, or both. We recommend mailing and emailing the letters to ensure delivery and increase the likelihood of a response.
  • Set up and attend an in-person meeting with your local MP, to tell your story and discuss the impact of early stage support had on your ventures. Please find a list of expanded talking points in our Take Action Package.
  • Connect with NACO staff to tell your story through our outreach campaign.
  • Engage with NACO’s social media accounts and help spread the word:


Donate Today

Contribute to NACO's efforts to raise awareness about the impact of Angel investors on Canadian innovation, and on the potential impact of the proposed tax changes to CCPCs may have on entrepreneur access to private risk capital.



Meet Canada's #FirstFunders


Angel investors are prepared to take extraordinary risks to support the development and growth of Canadian companies and are therefore a critical source of funding for the startup ecosystem. The conventional assumption is that Angel investors in Canada are a homogeneous group. While this has been true to date, the demographics of an Angel investor are shifting rapidly. In fact, they now vary greatly in their expertise, funding capacity, region and background. NACO is proud to tell their stories.

2016 NACO Angel of the Year: Manny Padda

Manny Padda is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and philanthropist based in Vancouver, B.C. A self-made entrepreneur who built his first multi-million-dollar company at age 26, Manny is dedicated to providing education and mentorship to today’s youth. He is the founder of New Avenue Capital, a global firm focusing on four fundamental pillars: investment, lending, recruitment, and philanthropy. Manny was recently awarded the Canadian Angel Investor of the year and BIV’s Top 40 under 40.

As the recipient of the 2016 Governor General Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers and Entrepreneur Organization’s Global Citizen of the Year, Manny is a true philanthropic leader. His two main pillars for philanthropy are children and education - he believes every child deserves a chance to be educated and it is his personal mission to educate more than one million people worldwide. Manny plans to achieve this by actively contributing to numerous organizations through mentorship, investment and philanthropy.

As the recipient of the 2016 Governor General Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers and Entrepreneur Organization’s Global Citizen of the Year, Manny is a true philanthropic leader. His two main pillars for philanthropy are children and education - he believes every child deserves a chance to be educated and it is his personal mission to educate more than one million people worldwide. Manny plans to achieve this by actively contributing to numerous organizations through mentorship, investment and philanthropy.

Manny sits on a number of advisory boards in the education and not-for-profit sectors. Manny is also an active advisor and angel investor globally and in Vancouver's tech community, having personally invested in local start-ups including Picatic, MyBestHelper, ShareShed, and MTT. He is also the co-founder of GradusOne, an organization that connects students and new graduates with mentors and provides them with resources to help them refine their career path and achieve success.

Manny is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Private Equity & Venture Capital program. Manny also completed his MBA from Queen’s University and his BBA (Honours) from Simon Fraser University.

2017 NACO Angel of the Year: Sophie Forest

Being an entrepreneur herself, and working to fund and grow early stage companies for over 20 years, Sophie Forest knows venture inside and out. Prior to joining Brightspark Ventures, she was a partner at CDP Capital Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of la Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec.

Sophie met with Mark in 1997 when she became the lead investor in his start-up Balisoft. They ended up collaborating on this exciting venture for 3 years and sold the company to Kana Software in 2000.

Since starting as Brightspark’s managing partner in 2003, Sophie has led and overseen more than 50 investments in technology companies. Notably, she has played a pivotal role in the investment, growth and exit of Radian6, leading to a 23x multiple on capital invested and becoming one of the most successful technology exits in Canadian history.

Sophie was also involved in the creation and growth of and She is still an active Board Member of Jewlr inc., a leading online personalized jewelry company. She sits on the Board of Directors of a number of companies, including Hopper, nGUVU and Jewlr. Sophie works closely with the startups she invests in and is known for her nurturing and listening qualities.  

Sophie is also a member of the Science and Technology Council of Canada, which provides external advice to the federal government in the domain of science, technology and innovation.