Roach Capital closes $6.4 million CAD for first fund from prominent VCs, Shopify execs

Golden Ventures and companions from Tiger Global and Garage Capital additionally invested within the Shopify alum-led fund.

Led by former Shopify product lead and entrepreneur-turned-investor Fahd Ananta, Toronto-based Roach Capital has closed about $6.4 million CAD (roughly $5 million USD) to put money into early-stage web companies.

After founding and promoting his personal Canadian tech firms and spending years working as a product lead at main tech corporations like Shopify and Snap — the corporate behind Snapchat — Ananta launched Roach Capital in 2019 as a automobile to take a position his personal cash.

“In many respects, Fahd’s story shares related origins to our motivation behind beginning Garage Capital.”
-Mike McCauley

Following some early success, Ananta has now introduced on a various group of outdoor restricted companions (LPs) that features “anchor” Tiger Global companions, hedge fund managers, Shopify leaders, members of Canadian enterprise capital funds, household workplaces, and Twitter personalities. Through Roach Capital Fund I, Ananta goals to ramp up his seed-stage funding efforts.

“I [was] on this attention-grabbing place, the place I’ve been an operator, been a founder, been a [product manager], and I can now form of redistribute some capital, and that really helps LPs and firms,” Ananta instructed BetaKit in an unique interview.

Roach’s Fund I LPs embrace Evan Feinberg and Scott Shleifer of Tiger Global, Golden Ventures, Garage Capital co-founder Mike McCauley, Lazer Technologies co-founder Zain Manji, Altos Ventures Managing Director Ho Nam, and ShawString Partners CEO Dennis Hong.

Ananta has additionally secured the help of a broad group of present and former Shopify execs, together with Satish Kanwar and Brandon Chu (VPs of product acceleration), Farhan Thawar (VP of engineering), Robleh Jama (director of product on the crypto workforce), Arati Sharma (former director of product advertising and marketing), and Helen Tran (former design lead).

Roach represents a continuation of Ananta’s angel funding efforts, which concerned offering startups with early capital and serving to them with product technique. Additionally, he says the early-stage fund has a chance to place portfolio firms “on the radar” of a few of its bigger and higher capitalized VC buyers, doubtlessly benefitting each events.

Prior to launching Roach Capital, Ananta co-founded a pair of Toronto-based startups: Chime, a notification aggregator and calendar app that was acquired by HubSpot in 2013 and Tab Payments, a restaurant curation, reservation, and funds app that was acquired by United Kingdom-based Velocity in 2015.

RELATED: How Ada piggybacked Zoom and Shopify’s growth during the pandemic to become a Canadian unicorn

After that, he spent over 5 years working in product lead roles targeted on commerce and retail at TouchBistro, Shopify (from 2016 to 2020) and Snap (from 2020 to 2021).

Ananta’s investing journey started in 2016, when he began angel investing as a result of he thought the enterprise capital ecosystem was “very conservative,” reducing an early cheque into Ada, which went on to achieve unicorn status final yr.

Before launching Fund I, Ananta made 24 different small angel investments of between $10,000 and $25,000. Last yr, Ananta determined to make the swap to investing full time. “I noticed that the amount of cash I used to be investing was probably not materials for these firms,” mentioned Ananta, including that he noticed a chance to lift the stakes by bringing on exterior LPs.

After assembly with numerous VCs, and being approached by New York-based Tiger, which he mentioned expressed curiosity in working with him, Ananta opted to lift a fund, securing some early help from Tiger and Toronto-based VC agency Golden Ventures.

“We’ve recognized Fahd for a number of years and think about him a thought chief in tech and ‘within the circulation’ for up and coming entrepreneurs throughout North America,” Golden Ventures General Partner Ameet Shah instructed BetaKit. “He’s an unbiased thinker who acts with velocity and conviction.”

RELATED: Tiger Global the latest suitor of corporate card startup Float in new $37 million CAD Series A

Ananta’s relationship with Tiger dates again to co-investments the pair made in firms like Ada and Toronto-based company card and spending administration startup Float.

To date, Roach has invested over $1.5 million CAD ($1.2 million USD) of its whole throughout 15 firms, together with Float and San Francisco software program startup Replit. Ananta mentioned he goals to construct Roach right into a broad-based fund, taking care to not over-index on any particular sector.

That being mentioned, he plans to focus some efforts on Web3 and commerce infrastructure firms, the place he has some experience, and views proptech as an attention-grabbing play given the help he has from an actual estate-focused household workplace.

“For Canada’s startup ecosystem to proceed getting higher, we’d like extra operators and builders who’ve seen success to be recycling that have, these learnings, and their networks into serving to the subsequent era of firms and founders,” McCauley instructed BetaKit. “Fahd is a superb instance of this.”

McCauley highlighted that, “in lots of respects, Fahd’s story shares related origins to our motivation behind beginning Garage Capital again in 2012,” including that they have already got “a number of co-investments collectively.”

RELATED: Ramen Ventures announces angel fund is winding down

Ananta plans to focus 30 to 40 p.c of Roach’s Fund I investments on Canadian firms, allocating the remaining for elsewhere. He attributes this give attention to Canada to his “distinctive benefit” given his in-depth data of the nation’s market, previous work expertise, and present connections.

“I don’t suppose you possibly can construct a very nice fund, simply investing in Canadian firms, as a result of from my perspective, I believe the market will not be that large but,” he mentioned.

That mentioned, Ananta believes “there’s plenty of attention-grabbing exercise in Canada,” together with “extra entrepreneurs, extra founders, extra firm constructing” in comparison with years prior. “I don’t suppose they get the eye that they deserve,” he mentioned.

“Fahd is a cockroach,” Manji instructed BetaKit. “Someone the place it doesn’t matter what challenges he faces, can’t be killed. He perseveres by way of something that he encounters, and at all times comes out higher and stronger than earlier than.”

“Fahd is a cockroach. Someone the place it doesn’t matter what challenges he faces, can’t be killed.”

Manji added that Ananta is “at all times attempting new merchandise, determining what makes them particular or weak, and isn’t afraid to provide the onerous reality when it’s actually wanted,” citing his repute as a “founder/operator” that’s well-respected within the Canadian tech group.

Roach Capital’s public launch follows information that fellow Shopify alum-founded Ramen Ventures is winding down its operations, citing a shifting funding panorama and plans to return to constructing firms.

Roach and Ramen additionally aren’t the one funding teams to return out of Shopify in recent times — a bunch of girls who helped construct and lead Shopify launched Backbone Angels in 2021 to again girls and non-binary founders.

Amid an more and more aggressive funding panorama, Ananta hopes to set Roach aside by working carefully with portfolio firms to offer hands-on assist in areas he has experience and expertise in, like product technique.

For now, Roach simply consists of Ananta, however he mentioned he’s contemplating increasing the workforce later this yr. Ultimately, Ananta mentioned he hopes to construct Roach right into a “Hall of Fame fund.”

Feature picture of Fahd Ananta courtesy Roach Capital.

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