Innovacorp Demonstrates its Value
Making a Difference for Technology Start-ups in Nova Scotia
Established in 1995, Innovacorp is Nova Scotia’s early stage venture capital organization helping to find, fund and foster innovative Nova Scotia start-ups that strive to change the world. With a focus on clean technology, information technology, ocean technology, and the life sciences industries, Innovacorp helps technology companies grow and succeed.
Early stage investment is at the core of Innovacorp’s business model. Innovacorp manages the Nova Scotia First Fund targeting emerging technology companies with high growth potential and attractive risk-return prospects. Innovacorp also co-invests with institutional, private sector, and angel investors. As an equity partner, Innovacorp provides both financing and hands-on business advisory services, supported by a network of advisors, mentors, and service providers, tailored to meet the unique and evolving needs of promising technology companies.
“We manage an $85 million venture capital fund that targets Nova Scotia start-up companies, but we don’t invest in all of the companies we work with,” said Jennifer Robichaud, VP of Client Experience and Operations, Innovacorp. “What we try to do is put our arms around our most promising client companies to assist them in achieving success.”
As a complement to Innovacorp’s investment activities, world-class incubation facilities, expert advice and other support help accelerate the growth of emerging technology companies. Offices, laboratories, and industrial space provide an ideal blend of opportunities, resources, and synergies that enhance entrepreneurial success.
The Evidence Network’s Impact Assessment Helped Innovacorp Demonstrate its Value
In 2014 and 2017, The Evidence Network Inc. (TEN) provided impact evaluations for Innovacorp. “When we first contracted The Evidence Network we were in a very interesting situation,” explained Robichaud. “Nova Scotia’s start-up community was taking off and there were a lot of new programs and infrastructure being introduced to the community. We wanted an independent assessment of the role we play in the ecosystem. We wanted to better understand our impact and to be able to share the evidence with our stakeholders. TEN’s expertise and reputation working with incubators and accelerators across North America was a perfect fit.”
In order to produce an independent impact assessment, TEN developed a customized logic model and impact questionnaire to deliver a comprehensive evaluation report and infographic outlining the impact of Innovacorp on client companies. “TEN’s impact assessments – and in particular the infographics, which provide a graphical depiction of our overall value – were instrumental in conveying our impact on the startup ecosystem to various stakeholders,” said Robichaud.
TEN determined Innovacorp’s economic impact occurs as a result of its funding, incubation, acceleration, and business support initiatives. Through the process, TEN was able to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that predicted Innovacorp’s economic impact, and developed recommendations for the future to ensure continuous improvement. For example, it was determined that Innovacorp has the greatest impact on performance when companies utilize more than one type of support services. “This was a key finding, and it helped us from a model perspective, as we are always refining how to best support our startups,” explained Robichaud. “We’re constantly looking at how to make improvements, to change the way that we support the startup ecosystem in Nova Scotia, and we often go back to the results of TEN’s evaluation to help us focus on program offerings that are doing well, and also modify services where there are opportunities for improvement.”
Innovacorp Drives Outcomes
TEN’s impact assessments demonstrate that Innovacorp is achieving its vision to make a difference to the innovation ecosystem in Atlantic Canada. It is evident that the services provided by Innovacorp are meeting the needs of participating companies, and increased client engagement with the organization results in greater attribution of impact by the client companies.
“We found TEN to be very professional. They understood our organization’s focus and vision for these assessments, and were extremely helpful throughout the process ensuring we stayed on track. Further, because they took the time to understand our organization and how we do things, they were able to help us focus on important results and develop infographics to tell our impact story, which was incredibly valuable!”
Jennifer Robichaud, VP of Client Experience and Operations, Innovacorp
The support services provided by Innovacorp positively impact the capabilities of companies. This impact, in turn, drives outcomes for:
Improved corporate expertise
Enhanced innovation in Nova Scotia
Innovacorp is using the results of TEN’s assessments to continuously enhance the quality of, and access to, its existing services to strengthen its impact on client companies, and to subsequently de-risk critical steps for the advancement of early stage start-ups operating in Atlantic Canada.