October 02, 2019
TORONTO — Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is launching a venture incubator with a twist – it’s focused exclusively on building novel ideas with the companies in its own portfolio. Koru is designed to create, test and build scalable new digital businesses.
“Koru is a clear demonstration of Ontario Teachers’ partnership model of investing. It provides us with an entirely new way to work alongside our portfolio companies and help protect them against disruption by finding opportunities to add significant mutual value along the way,” said Ziad Hindo, Chief Investment Officer, Ontario Teachers’.
Koru is already generating ideas in sectors including healthcare, utilities and transportation.
Its first venture, Elovee, has the ability to bring the comfort of a familiar face and voice to dementia sufferers in the middle of the night, or at other times when those closest to them cannot be physically present.
This advanced conversation software, which digitizes the voice and likeness of family members, was designed with Ontario Teachers’ portfolio company Amica Senior Lifestyles. It is currently being piloted in two of Amica’s Canadian locations.
“Amica is proud to be working with Koru on Elovee,” said Douglas MacLatchy, Chief Executive Officer, Amica Senior Lifestyles. “Drawing on innovative technologies and Amica’s in-house expertise in cognitive-wellbeing, this venture is well positioned to enrich the lives of people with dementia and their loved ones.”
Wholly-owned by Ontario Teachers’, Koru is a partnership with BCG Digital Ventures - the global corporate venture, investment, and incubation arm of Boston Consulting Group.
“Our collaboration with Ontario Teachers’ is inspiring because we are able to draw upon our unique methodology for corporate innovation and experience in launching more than 90 ventures to help them create this new capability for venture building. The potential it has for igniting innovation in—and accelerating the growth of—its portfolio companies is very exciting,” said Anthony Koithra, Managing Director and Partner, BCG Digital Ventures.
To spearhead operationalizing Koru, Bryan Marcovici, BCG Digital Ventures' Venture Architect Director, will officially join Koru as the incubator’s General Manager and Managing Partner.
“We are pleased to have Bryan on board, with his expertise including the industry know-how he has built during his time at BCG Digital Ventures” added Mr. Hindo.
Koru is headquartered in Toronto and plans to hire 35 people. It is currently recruiting a multi-disciplinary team of entrepreneurs, product managers, engineers, marketers, designers, and startup operators. The venture incubator already has three new ventures in the pipeline this year, with plans to launch four more in 2020.
About Ontario Teachers'
The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers') is Canada's largest single-profession pension plan, with $201.4 billion in net assets at June 30, 2019. It holds a diverse global portfolio of assets, approximately 80% of which is managed in-house, and has earned an annual total-fund net return of 9.7% since the plan's founding in 1990 (all figures as at Dec. 31, 2018 unless noted). Ontario Teachers' is an independent organization headquartered in Toronto. Its Asia-Pacific region office is located in Hong Kong and its Europe, Middle East & Africa region office is in London. The defined-benefit plan, which is fully funded, invests and administers the pensions of the province of Ontario's 327,000 active and retired teachers. For more information, visit otpp.com and follow us on Twitter @OtppInfo.
About BCG Digital Ventures
BCG Digital Ventures is a corporate innovation, incubation, and investment firm. They invent, launch, scale, and invest in industry-changing new businesses with the world’s most influential companies. Their diverse, multidisciplinary team of entrepreneurs, operators, and investors work cross-functionally, rapidly moving from paper to product to business in less than 12 months. Founded in 2014 as a subsidiary of Boston Consulting Group, they have Innovation Centers and satellite locations in four continents and continue to expand their footprint across the globe.
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BCG Digital Ventures