30 Women Angels Propel the Growth of Canadian Women Founders through SheBoot as the Program Expands Nationally, Gains Momentum and Fuels Success
The Capital Angel Network (CAN), a group of angel investors in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region, and Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, are delighted to announce that SheBoot 2022 investment for participating founders has jumped to almost half a million dollars this year. This represents an almost five-fold increase in investment from the inaugural year of the program. This leap further fuels the momentum of SheBoot which is expanding nationally thanks to critical support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).
To date, 30 women angel investors are contributing $10,000 each to the final equity-based pitch competition for a total of $300,000. With this investment, the total funding available to entrepreneurs through SheBoot this year is up to $450,000.
This investment is critical. Although 2021 was an unprecedented banner year for global venture capital, companies launched solely by women founders only received 2 percent of this funding – a sliver of total investment. It is the second year in a row that the total percentage of investment to women founders has declined. SheBoot aims to address this challenge and help every participating founder acquire the investment required to accelerate growth and success. As of July 2022, previous SheBoot graduates have raised or acquired more than CDN $11 million.
Alongside this jump in investment, Invest Ottawa and the Capital Angel Network attracted 105 applications from women founders across the country for the third cohort of SheBoot. These founders are currently vying for fifteen spots in the next cohort of the investment-ready bootcamp designed by women entrepreneurs and investors for women founders launching this September.
In 2020, the program attracted 54 applications. The 2021 and the subsequent 2022 boost in applications from Canada’s Capital Region and across the country underscores the momentum of SheBoot. This program is helping to build a stronger and more diverse pipeline of tech and tech-enabled women founders and address the investment challenges they face. The fifteen women founders selected for the next cohort of SheBoot will vie for a total of $300,000 in angel investment at the final SheBoot pitch competition to be hosted during AccelerateOTT, Invest Ottawa’s flagship entrepreneurship conference, in October 2022.
As SheBoot continues to evolve and attract new investors, it is critical to manage this increasing investment systematically and seamlessly for founders and angels. CAN and Invest Ottawa are delighted that Mistral Venture Partners, a seed-stage venture firm based in Ottawa, will continue to partner with SheBoot to achieve this goal. The VC has established a special purpose investment vehicle to house and manage the $300,000 in angel investment for SheBoot. This simplifies the investment process for both founders and investors and makes it possible to continue growing SheBoot angel investment in the future.
“The percentage of total investment in women-founded and led startups has decreased globally throughout the pandemic. This is simply unacceptable. We have no shortage of talent and driven women entrepreneurs in Canada, which is made clear through the number of qualified applicants currently vying for a spot with SheBoot 2022. I’m excited to work with our next cohort and help these talented founders secure the investment required to scale their businesses. The entrepreneurs from our inaugural SheBoot program serve as role models who are charting a bold path to growth and success.”
- Jennifer Francis, Chair of the Capital Angel Network (CAN), Director of the Invest Ottawa Board, and Co-founder of SheBoot
“SheBoot graduates have acquired more than $11 million in follow-on investment and through exits over the last 20 months. It’s incredible to see what these founders have achieved in such a short time. I am so proud that 30 women investors have come together to create this opportunity for more women founders. We have established very ambitious goals. It will take a critical mass of investors, partners, and allies to help us realize them. I want to thank all angels, coaches, mentors, and program leaders for making SheBoot possible and fueling the growth of women founders. It is truly powerful collaboration.”
- Julia Elvidge, Investor, Advisor, CAN Director and Co-founder of SheBoot.
“I have seen first-hand the difference that women investors make in a company’s growth trajectory. SheBoot is helping more women founders acquire critical funding, and addressing systemic challenges faced by women entrepreneurs for decades. I’m very proud to be an investor with SheBoot.”
- Stephanie Andrew, WEL Founding Partner, CFO & Partner at Cindicates (Victoria, BC); SheBoot Investor
“SheBoot addresses two key challenges that inhibit the growth and success of women founders – access to capital and the need for more women investors. This model can be replicated in any community with committed champions and collaborators, creating immense opportunity to propel global, sustained change. To achieve even greater impact, it was critical to scale SheBoot nationally. We are delighted to welcome women founders and investors from Canada’s Capital and across the country. Together with all women angels, NRC IRAP, Mistral Ventures, women mentors, champions and fellow CAN and Invest Ottawa leaders, we will further narrow the funding gap facing Canadian women entrepreneurs.”
- Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Strategy, Marketing, and Communications, Invest Ottawa, and Co-Founder of SheBoot
“We are excited to collaborate with the CAN, Invest Ottawa, NRC IRAP and our community on the third cohort of SheBoot. We look forward to working with the next wave of women tech founders. We have seen how SheBoot propels the investment-readiness of women-led startups. Our organization has already invested in one of the SheBoot pitch winners. It is amazing to see this program go national and drive cross-Canada collaboration to address investment hurdles facing women entrepreneurs across the country. We believe in SheBoot and know the program is moving the dial. We are proud to be a SheBoot partner that’s helping the program scale.”
- Pablo Srugo, Principal, Mistral Ventures
SheBoot is a six-week bootcamp based in Ottawa, Ontario, that prepares women founders across Canada to pitch their business and secure investment. Launched in March 2020 during International Women’s Week by founding organizations Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, this program aims to help address the funding gap facing women entrepreneurs by increasing the number of women making and receiving investment. Designed and delivered by women investors and entrepreneurs, SheBoot arms technology and technology-enabled startups with fundamental business skills with a focus on investment and market readiness. It culminates in a pitch competition for a minimum of $250,000 of equity-based capital. This investment is made by women investors committed to fueling the next generation of women-owned and led firms. SheBoot has partnered with Mistral Ventures and is delighted to receive funding support from NRC IRAP. It also benefits from previous investment through the ScaleUp platform supported by FedDev Ontario. For additional information, please visit: www.sheboot.ca
About the Capital Angel Network
Founded in 2009, the Capital Angel Network (CAN) has been investing in startups in the National Capital Region for over a decade. Since its inception, CAN members have invested close to $60M into 120 early-stage companies 90% of which are based in the National Capital Region. This early-stage funding has led to over $500M in additional investment through grants, syndication with other angel groups and venture capital funds. The membership base now consists of over 50 Angels, 20% of which are women. In 2021, CAN invested over $7M in 26 companies – 20 new investments and six follow on. For additional information, please visit: www.capitalangels.ca/
About Invest Ottawa
Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the manager of Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s innovation hub and one-stop business acceleration shop; and founder and operator of Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of startups, scale-ups, and SMEs; helped firms attract more than $992 million in capital; contributed to creating more than 11,178 jobs; and attracted more than $1 billion in domestic and Foreign Direct Investment. Explore Invest Ottawa’s 2021 Economic Impact Report at: https://bit.ly/3mbuOyL
About Mistral Venture Partners
Mistral is a seed-stage venture capital firm with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and California. Mistral is currently investing from their third fund, with a focus on SMB and enterprise software. Since they were founded in 2012, Mistral has invested in more than 30 startups – including companies like Ritual, Symend and Rewind. www.mistralvp.com
Here for All Women
When we use the term ‘women,’ we are referring to all individuals who identify as women. This includes women of colour, transgender women, and women with gender-diverse identities, including non-binary and gender non-conforming women (as we know that gender is fluid and can change throughout one’s lifetime). These women have historically and systemically been excluded from many mainstream programs, services, and opportunities. At SheBoot, Invest Ottawa and the Capital Angel Network are making a concerted effort to prioritize equity, access, and inclusion in everything we do. Our goal is to ensure that anyone who wants to access our programs and services feels welcome and supported. We recognize that every founder has unique needs and lived experience and that, in some cases, we are not currently well equipped to address all of these unique needs.
At SheBoot, we have not yet systematically assessed how we can enhance our programming and advisory to best support gender-diverse founders. For example, our advisors and program teams have not yet received training to help them address the needs of racialized and gender-diverse founders; however, this is now in process at Invest Ottawa. Leveraging the diversity of our partners and networks, our internal DEI experts, and our generous, committed community, we will do our best to support the needs of all participants. We welcome all women, non-binary, gender diverse, and non-conforming founders to SheBoot, and are committed to listening, learning, and helping every founder to thrive.