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New fintech and AI VC fund Luge Capital launches

Luge Capital, a new venture capital fund specifically focused on early-stage FinTech companies and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions applied to financial services, has completed a CAD75 million round of financing to begin operations.

Initially, CAD50 million of the raised capital was announced in October 2017 by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Desjardins Group, two of the fund’s major investors. Sun Life Financial, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ and La Capitale are also significant participants. Luge may expand the fund even further up to CAD100 million in the coming months.
 
Luge invests in teams that improve financial services for people, businesses and financial institutions. The fund will support the development of innovative solutions that improve customer experiences, enhance efficiency for financial institutions and implement data-driven methods and artificial intelligence for decision-making. Luge Capital will concentrate on Seed and Series A financing, with initial investments between CAD250,000 and CAD2 million. 
 
“We have partnered with world-renowned institutions that bring considerable industry knowledge and resources to enable us to help entrepreneurs build their businesses,” says David Nault, Co-Founder and General Partner in Luge’s Montreal office. “In addition, our AI and data-driven companies will have the opportunity to partner with our investors to access key insights in order to build best-of-breed solutions.”
 
“We are looking for young mission-driven companies that challenge how the world interacts with financial services,” says Karim Gillani, Co-Founder and General Partner in Luge’s Toronto office. “We invest in bold teams that demonstrate passion, manage risk and optimise for performance.”
 
“We are delighted for Luge Capital to commence its activities. This specialised fund, created on an initiative of la Caisse, will promote the development of innovative technologies that will accelerate the digital transformation of financial services,” says Pierre Miron, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operations and IT Officer at la Caisse. “With its experienced management team and committed institutional financial partners, Luge Capital possesses every advantage to quickly carve out a prime position in major financial centres and begin deploying its capital.”
 
Desjardins Group President and CEO, Guy Cormier is proud to be playing an active part in creating this new fund, with the help of Desjardins Capital. “We are witnessing a revolution in financial and digital technology. There is a booming start-up ecosystem in this sector. Desjardins wants to support and help develop this incredibly exciting industry.”
 
The Luge team is a diverse group of investors, founders, operators and engineers who work closely with entrepreneurs to offer meaningful connections and guidance. David Nault, who has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial and investing experience, will lead the Montreal office and Karim Gillani, who has extensive experience in FinTech, will run the Toronto office. In addition to the core team, Luge has also partnered with iNovia Capital with whom they will collaborate on co-investment opportunities and operations.

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