La Caisse inaugurates espace cdpq

  • A distinctive model to accelerate the growth and globalization of Québec SMEs
  • An investment and development hub

MONTRÉAL, June 16, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Today Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is launching espace cdpq, a project announced last year for the institution's 50th anniversary. Inspired by global best practices, espace cdpq is an investment and development hub for entrepreneurs.

espace cdpq is the only hub in Québec that, rather than bringing businesses together, actually unites partners and collaborators around a shared ambition: accelerate the growth and globalization of Québec SMEs. Its goal is to combine networks, expertise and financial means to benefit Québec companies.

In addition to working with organizations across Québec and internationally, espace cdpq brings together at Place Ville Marie:

  • Eight investors representing close to $1.2 billion in capital under management
  • Five organizations dedicated to the development and growth of businesses

Together, the partners of espace cdpq represent, to date, a network of more than 1,000 businesses of all sizes and active in all industries, and build bridges to over 100 countries.

"To go further and compete with the world's best – Silicon Valley, New York, Tel-Aviv – we have to strengthen the culture of collaboration between different economic stakeholders, even between competitors in Québec. Shared knowledge and pooled networks are key to succeeding in today's economic world," said Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of la Caisse. 

A distinctive hub of investment and development

As of today, espace cdpq will be welcoming on-site the new Montréal campus of the École d'Entrepreneurship de Beauce (EEB), the new Intrapreneurial Initiative developed by the Business Family Foundation, and investment funds Brightspark Ventures, White Star Capital and OpenText Entreprise Apps Fund (OTEAF).

As of March 2017, other partners will join espace cdpq, including the QG100 Network, Univalor, Réseau Capital and investment funds Clearspring Capital Partners, iNovia Capital, Anges Québec and Anges Québec Capital.

Benefiting from the proximity of WeWork, a world leader in co-working, and having created links with external collaborators such as MIT, the Quartier de l'innovation de Montréal, Québec International, the Harvard Innovation Lab and international venture capital funds, espace cdpq will be globally connected.

"La Caisse will bring together at espace cdpq key stakeholders from the business community and facilitate collaboration. Everything has been designed to foster connections between partners and their networks with the ultimate goal of strengthening SMEs," said Michèle Boisvert, Executive Vice-President, Business Outreach of la Caisse. "With the creation of espace cdpq, la Caisse will serve as an engine of growth for Québec companies ready to compete in global markets."

The partners will have access to shared work and meeting spaces. Rooms dedicated to virtual collaboration, including a globalization lab, will give Québec businesses the opportunity to test out and validate their international commercialization strategies with global experts.

Creation of the fonds espace cdpq and the first investment

La Caisse also presented today the details of the new fonds espace cdpq. The $50-million fonds espace cdpq will dedicate $40 million to the financing of innovative Québec SMEs with global expansion projects. The targeted businesses, whose revenues range from $1 million to 10 million, should be on the verge of achieving profitability. Another $10 million will be allocated between two seed funds – one in Québec City and the other in Montréal – that finance companies emerging from incubators and accelerators from across Québec.

La Caisse announced yesterday an initial $1.3-million investment by the fonds espace cdpq in Felix & Paul Studios, a Québec-based studio dedicated to creation, production and technological developments and specialized in cinematic virtual reality experiences.                   

 "Ultimately, espace cdpq will generate new investment opportunities for la Caisse and its partners, while fostering the growth and globalization of Québec companies. These objectives are perfectly aligned with our strategic priorities for Québec and our desire to create projects with impact," added Christian Dubé, Executive Vice-President, Québec of la Caisse.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2015, it held $248.0 billion in net assets. As one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Our partners | Diverse and complementary expertise

Our partners are investment firms and organizations active in development and growth. Involved at all stages and in all industries, they have diverse and complementary expertise: financing, growth, international expansion, transfer of ownership and succession planning.


Anges Québec / Anges Québec Capital

Anges Québec is a network of 180 private investors that identifies the best entrepreneurs and business projects, and that supports its financing members. Driven by this objective, Anges Québec works with many leading Québec organizations active in the development and valuation of high-potential, innovative businesses in Québec. The Anges Québec Capital fund, with $85 million in capitalization, completes the financing of seed and startup companies carried out by Anges Québec members.

"With access to an influential network of partners, economic stakeholders and to technological facilities, we will be better positioned to reach entrepreneurs and investors based throughout the province."
François Gilbert, President and CEO, Anges Québec


Brightspark Ventures

Brightspark Ventures is a venture capital firm known for its experience investing in digital businesses in the startup and growth phases. Its investment model – the first of its kind in Canada – brings together a community of accredited investors to which it offers access to investments in Canada's most promising startup companies. Decades of success in venture capital are the result of their diligent selection process and their operational expertise.  

"espace cdpq offers special access to a friendly business environment, equipped to meet the needs of developing businesses. All the elements are there to drive Montréal and Québec as leading players in company growth and globalization."
Sophie Forest, Managing Partner, Brightspark Ventures


Clearspring Capital Partners

Clearspring Capital Partners is a private investment firm that invests in medium-sized Canadian companies active in established markets. It aims to support them in achieving their objectives for growth, strategic positioning, operational improvement and industrial consolidation. Clearspring Capital Partners targets companies that have the opportunity to become leaders in their respective markets.  

"Our presence at espace cdpq will close the loop in the private capital financing chain we will focus our efforts on established medium-sized companies intent on advancing to the next stage in their growth plan."
Marie-Claude Boisvert, Partner, Clearspring Capital Partners


École d'Entrepreneurship de Beauce

The École d'Entrepreneurship de Beauce (EEB) is the only school dedicated to training entrepreneurs through the transfer of knowledge and experience from one generation of business leaders to the next. It aims to be a leading contributor to the province's prosperity by building Québec's entrepreneurship elite. The EEB will provide in espace cdpq components of its new training program, called Parcours Techno, developed specially for entrepreneurs active in technology.

"espace cdpq opens the door to exceptional opportunities for networking, transferring experience and globalization for the EEB's entrepreneur community. A wonderful springboard for collaboration, growth and international expansion."
Katia Renaud, R&D Director, École d'Entrepreneurship de Beauce


fonds espace cdpq

The fonds espace cdpq targets innovative Québec companies, from all industries, aiming to expand globally. With a $50-million envelope, the fund will invest in companies at the break-even point, with between 1 and 10 million dollars in revenues. The fonds espace cdpq team will make investments between 1 and 2.5 million dollars to accelerate the international expansion of the most promising SMEs. Through these criteria, the fund will meet need for financing that is not currently sufficiently accessible in Québec.

"Our fund embodies the pillars of espace cdpq: collaborate, support and invest in order to strengthen promising Québec SMEs seeking to accelerate their international growth."
Thomas Birch, Magaging Partner, fonds espace cdpq


Intrapreneurial Initiative

Developed by the Business Family Foundation, the Intrapreneurial Initiative drives the creation of intrapreneurial projects which are vectors of growth and implemented within Québec businesses. Its innovative, intergenerational approach combines the strengths of young intrapreneurs and established business leaders. Their collaborative approach generates real internal opportunities for innovation and will drive Québec's economy, making it more promising over time.

« By drawing on the potential of the entrepreneurial ecosystem created at espace cdpq, the Intrapreneurial Initiative participants and team have the incredible opportunity co-create now the Québec inc. 3.0 of the future!»
Jean-Marc Vincent, Executive Director, Intrapreneurial Initiative


iNovia Capital

iNovia is a startup venture capital fund that partners with visionary entrepreneurs with the objective of building the next generation of digital platforms and services. We leverage our team and vast network of experienced entrepreneurs, company builders and engineers to foster the growth of pioneering businesses. Established in Canada, iNovia manages $450 million and invests across North America.

"espace cdpq offers a real and unique opportunity to strengthen our ecosystem by fostering the creation of synergies, and by increasing access to a network of expertise and financing, so essential to the development of the next generation of Québec entrepreneurs." 
Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner, iNovia Capital



OTEAF, or the OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund, invests primarily in emerging Canadian tech companies that design corporate applications building on the strengths of Internet, big data, predictive analyses and mobility. OTEAF targets entrepreneurs seeking not only investments, but especially the experience and expertise of founders and seasoned entrepreneurs, with the capability of creating drivers of growth and success for all parties involved.  "espace cdpq will unite a critical mass of complementary partners who will be able to work together to offer innovative solutions to the businesses we will meet."
Luc Filiatreault,

Senior Partner, OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund



The QG100 Network is a private and exclusive network of business leaders, with membership limited to 100 world-class businesses. They work together to develop world-class business leaders and strengthen their competitiveness in global markets. The members of the network further this mission through their shared determination to provide each QG100 business with better know-how and the most appropriate support for their international priorities.

"The strategic objectives of QG100 and of espace cdpq are aligned through their contribution to the development of global leaders and to the strengthening of their competitiveness in global markets."
Alain Dudoit, Senior Advisor, Réseau QG100


Réseau Capital

Réseau Capital is the only private equity association that brings together all stakeholders involved in the Québec investment chain. The mission of Réseau Capital is to contribute to the development and efficient operation of the investment capital industry. Established in 1989, Réseau Capital has close to 400 members, representing private equity firms, tax-advantaged and public investment funds as well as many professionals working in the industry.

"espace cdpq will create a completely unique environment. It's a recipe for success because it brings together under one roof all stakeholders involved: investors, funds, entrepreneurs. Réseau Capital is proud to be part of this environment focused on innovation."
Jack Chadirdjian, President and CEO, Réseau Capital



Working with business people worldwide, Univalor commercializes scientific findings and technological innovations emanating from some 2,600 researchers and professors from Université de Montréal and its affiliated health research centres, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal. It aims to make innovation a true lever of economic development and value creation. Univalor helps make businesses more competitive, generate revenue for research and, most importantly, to enrich society.  

"Through the collaboration that will take place in this investment, entrepreneurship and economic centre, we will accelerate the development and marketing of technologies and innovations of Québec academic researchers."
Jacques Simoneau, President and CEO, Univalor


White Star Capital

White Star Capital is a venture capital investment fund backing startups new technology. The fund aims to help entrepreneurs to build tech companies striving for international commercialization. Active in Europe, the United States and Canada and equipped with strong international networks, the White Star Capital team has operating experience given that its members previously founded, developed and sold technological companies.

"The creation of espace cdpq seems to be the ideal solution to meet the need for alternatives, such as a shared collaborative space in the venture capital industry."
Jean-François Marcoux, Senior Partner, White Star Capital


SOURCE Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

For further information: JEAN-BENOIT HOUDE, Senior Advisor, Media and Public Relations, +1 514 847-5493,


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