By David G. Barry
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s venture capital and growth equity arm is getting a new name and a new group of employees as it starts a significant expansion.
Launched three years ago, the Teachers’ Innovation Platform will now be known as Teachers’ Venture Growth (TVG). The Toronto pension plan said the unit is targeted to comprise 7% to 10% of its net assets over the next five to 10 years. That’s up from approximately 3% today.
As part of that growth, TVG plans to make a dozen hires over the next year and open a new office in San Francisco. In addition to Toronto, TVG also has offices in London and Hong Kong.
Since its first investment in SpaceX in June 2019, the unit has made 20 direct investments and backed several venture funds. Its portfolio is valued at C$7.1 billion (US $5.68 billion) and includes such companies as Applyboard, Epic Games, ComplyAdvantage, Kry, Tanium, Lendable, FTX Trading Ltd., and Pony.ai.
In a statement, Olivia Steedman, TVG’s senior managing director, said, “we’ve built a strong and growing investment department by rolling up our sleeves and helping mission-driven entrepreneurs scale their business, expand their offerings, and become leaders in their markets. We are excited to pursue our next phase of growth under our new name.”
TVG, which has had successive years of double-digit returns, invests across an array of sectors, including fintech, enterprise software, logistics-tech and climate-tech.
Added Steedman, “As we move into our next stage of growth, we will look to build on our existing strengths to support the ambitions of an even broader group of visionary founders, and thereby expand the reach and impact of the companies that are shaping the future for people and the planet.”
Ontario Teachers’ move is particularly significant because it comes at a time when valuations of late-stage companies are declining amidst an IPO drought. It also is notable because of the interest by some of the major U.S. public pension plans in doing more direct investing. A case in point is the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which earlier this year named Nicole Musicco as its chief investment officer. Nicole joined CalPERS from RedBird Capital Partners, but previously she spent 16 years with Ontario Teachers’.
One of the world’s largest pension plans, Ontario Teachers’ was valued at C$242 billion (US $193.8 billion) as of December 31. It has more than 350 investment professionals and invests in more than 50 countries in everything from equities to real estate to infrastructure and venture growth. The plan serves more than 330,000 current and retired teachers in Ontario.