Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa Announce Third Cohort of SheBoot
Ottawa, Ontario; August 4, 2022 – 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, today announced the fifteen founders from Canada’s Capital and across the country selected for the third cohort of SheBoot, a bootcamp that prepares women entrepreneurs to secure investment.
Designed by women investors and entrepreneurs for women founders, SheBoot aims to address the long-standing systemic challenges facing women entrepreneurs in the investment landscape. Despite a banner year in investment, women founders received less than two percent of VC funding in 2021. This is the lowest percentage in five years. SheBoot aims to move this critical dial, 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. With critical support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) and 30 women angel investors, SheBoot has expanded nationally, enabling more women entrepreneurs to benefit from this program.
Invest Ottawa and CAN are delighted to welcome the following fifteen founders to the 2022 cohort:
- Natasha Kostenuk, Founder of Ayrton Energy Inc. (Calgary)
- Tamey McIntosh, Co-founder & COO of Braiyt AI Inc. (Ottawa)
- Livia Han, Co-founder of Compass (Toronto)
- Eva Szabo, CEO of EMRO Doctors Inc. (Hamilton)
- Karen Chovan, Founder and CEO, Enviro Integration Strategies Inc. (Saskatoon, SK)
- Varsha Chaugai, Co-founder of Evoke Health (Ottawa)
- Negin Ashouri, Co-founder & CEO of FemTherapeutics (Montreal)
- Nastaran Saberi, Co-founder & CTO of GeoMate (Waterloo)
- Lianna Genovese, Founder & CEO of ImaginAble Solutions (Hamilton)
- Shruti Singh, Co-founder of Otterby Inc. (Ottawa)
- Kelly Bergeron, Founder and CEO, Poptronic (Cornwall)
- Mahsoo Salimi, Co-founder & CEO of Sentire (Vancouver)
- Alina Li Zhang, Founder of Skylinerunners (Ottawa)
- Kelly Emery, Founder of Troop (Toronto)
- Macarena Cataldo-Hernandez, Co-founder & CEO of Viridis Research Inc. (Vancouver)
These founders are gearing up to participate in a six-week intensive bootcamp this fall that catalyzes the growth, investment potential and long-term commercial success of their startup. It will equip them with fundamental business skills, with a focus on investment readiness. It will also facilitate peer networking and introductions to investors and investor networks at the right time, with a goal of helping every founder acquire funding.
It will conclude with a pitch competition at AccelerateOTT, the flagship entrepreneurship conference hosted by Invest Ottawa, where participating founders will vie for a total of $300,000 in investment from thirty women angels. This year, the total funding available to entrepreneurs through SheBoot is $450,000.
“We are honoured to welcome this incredible group of founders to SheBoot. This year, the Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa received more than 100 applications from across Canada for our third cohort of the bootcamp. The 15 women-owned and led companies selected are developing innovative solutions with application in a wide array of sectors. These include e-commerce to software, medtech, hardware, agtech, robotics, cleantech, and energy. I am excited to collaborate closely with these entrepreneurs to help them fulfil their potential and secure the investment required to propel their growth.”
- Julia Elvidge, Investor, Advisor, CAN Director, and Co-founder of SheBoot.
“Sincere congratulations to all founders selected for SheBoot this year. This bootcamp aims to help increase capital for women-owned and led tech or tech-enabled firms. It seeks to address long-standing systemic challenges in the investment landscape by increasing funding for women founders and the number of women making investments. The investment allocated to sole women-founded companies has hovered at, or below, 2 percent for years. This is simply unacceptable. Together with these founders, and dozens of champions, we aim to change drive long-term, sustainable change across our ecosystem.”
- Jennifer Francis, Chair of the Capital Angel Network (CAN), Director of the Invest Ottawa Board, and Co-founder of SheBoot
“I am incredibly inspired by the founders participating in SheBoot this year. This program builds on the Women Founders and Owners Strategy we created at Invest Ottawa in 2018, and addresses key goals established with our community. Together with the Capital Angel Network, our valued investors and partners, we aim to help fuel the growth of more women founders and support the first $100 million woman-owned and led firm in Canada’s Capital and many more across the country. I am very excited to see what these entrepreneurs achieve and collaborate with them every step of the way.”
- Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa; SheBoot Co-Founder
“The relationships, mentorship, and expertise we acquired through SheBoot has added significant value to our business over the last year. TAKU Retail helps busy retailers grow sales and automate inventory across all channels. We provide them with critical tools to use their own store data to reach more customers and sell more. SheBoot helped us to refine our pitch, increase our investment readiness and accelerate our growth. I am delighted to see this program expand nationally with greater investment for women founders across Canada. I look forward to celebrating all founders in this next cohort of SheBoot.”
- Karen Wong, Co-Founder and CEO, TAKU Retail (Toronto), 2021 SheBoot Participant
“We’re proud supporters of Sheboot, and glad to see the program expanding year after year. Mistral has invested in companies led and established by previous graduates. In addition to managing SheBoot’s investment, we look forward to meeting the founders from this cohort and exploring opportunities for investment.”
- Pablo Srugo, Principal, Mistral Ventures
The selection of the third cohort caps off an exciting few months of SheBoot announcements, including funding support from NRC IRAP to expand and pilot the program nationally; and an investment jump to almost half a million dollars ($450,000) this year for participating founders.
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 Pan-Ontario 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. To learn more about Invest Ottawa, please visit: www.investottawa.ca. 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.
For additional information, please contact:
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications