Luge Capital, a venture capital fund backed by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has completed a round of financing worth $75 million in order to begin its operations.

The fund, which focuses on early-stage financial technology companies and artificial intelligence solutions applied to the financial services sector, first announced last fall that it had raised $50 million of the capital. Other investors in the fund include the Desjardins Group, Sun Life Financial Inc., the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and La Capitale Financial Group Inc.

According to a press release, the fund may expand to $100 million in the coming months. It will also focus on seed and Series A financing, with initial investments between $250,000 and $2 million.

“We are delighted for Luge Capital to commence its activities,” said Pierre Miron, executive vice-president and chief operations and information technology officer at the Caisse, in a news release.

“This specialized fund, created on an initiative of the Caisse, will promote the development of innovative technologies that will accelerate the digital transformation of financial services.

Read: Caisse, Desjardins create investment fund targeting financial technology

“With its experienced management team and committed institutional financial partners, Luge Capital possesses every advantage to quickly carve out a prime position in major financial centres and begin deploying its capital.”

On Tuesday, the Caisse also announced an investment in a Quebec-based provider of flexible workspaces.

According to a press release, the Caisse is among the investors in Breather Products Inc., which has completed a $60-million funding round.

The company focuses on private, fully furnished offices and conference rooms, a segment that, according to a press release, represents 71 per cent of the short-term office rental industry.

“We work with businesses of every size — from growing startups to leading enterprise organizations — to provide space solutions that scale to their needs,” said Julien Smith, founder and chief executive officer of Breather Products.

Read: OPTrust invests in Canadian innovation fund

“Traditional real estate agreements can lead to large fixed costs and teams getting locked into a space that they might soon outgrow. Breather enables businesses to access the space they need when they need it, with the freedom to scale usage up or down when they want to. We’re excited to work with our new partners to bring that freedom to even more businesses worldwide.”

Founded in 2013, the company has locations in 10 cities around the world, including Canadian offices in Montreal and Toronto. To date, it has raised almost $150 million in funding from a number of investors.

“Breather is a young, innovative and fast-growing company with great potential on the international scene,” said Christian Dubé, executive vice-president for Québec at the Caisse.

“Through its unique and innovative business model, Breather has demonstrated a unique capacity to lead within a rapidly transforming industry with a focus on technology and an ongoing focus to optimize yield management through machine learning.”

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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