Three of 26 startups receiving $40 million from Telus are based in B.C.

The Telus Pollinator Fund is geared towards young companies driving social and environmental change.

Credit: TMRW Foods

The Telus Pollinator Fund is geared towards young companies driving social and environmental change

There’s no arguing that Telus is doing a lot. The telecommunications giant has branched into healthcare, topped the charts as B.C.’s biggest company by revenue in our annual ranking (see our latest print issue for that), and, since 2020, helped 26 social and environmental purpose-driven startups through its Pollinator Fund for Good. 

The Pollinator Fund committed $100 million toward early-stage companies working to advance responsible agriculture, healthcare, environmental sustainability and social impact. Its second annual impact report breaks down the $40 million that Telus has invested into such initiatives so far and claims to have generated 155-percent revenue growth from those investments. 

The portfolio includes B.C.-based ventures like plant-based food manufacturer TMRW Foods, investment company Raven Indigenous Capital Partners and impact investment fund Rhiza Capital. Ontario-based drone reforestation company Flash Forest is also on the list—its innovation and business development manager, Marc Apduhan, is based in Vancouver. 

“The Pollinator Fund invests into early-stage, for?profit companies where impact is baked into the business model,” said Blair Miller, managing partner at Telus Pollinator Fund, in a release. “We support tenacious, mission-driven and diverse founders by leveraging Telus’ broad network to make introductions, open doors, and guide the portfolio companies to maximum growth and impact. As one of the world’s largest corporate social impact funds, communicating our progress to our stakeholders is an important aspect of our commitment to advancing the impact investment ecosystem. We want to inspire other corporations to step up, and like us, invest in the next generation of responsible businesses.” 

According to the 2022 impact report, of the latest companies in the Pollinator portfolio, five are gaining ground in healthcare, nine in social purpose, six in initiatives for the planet and six in responsible agriculture. Around 42 percent of the Pollinator’s startups are led by women and 54 percent by Indigenous or racialized founders. 

Telus is also launching a publicly available navigation tool to help entrepreneurs track, measure and improve their company’s impact. 

See the full impact report here.