The SheBoot Program is Helping Address the Investment Challenges Facing Women Founders While Growing the Network of Women Angels
Ottawa, Ontario – October 28, 2020: The Capital Angel Network, 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 the winners of the second SheBoot pitch competition.
Set on the stage of AccelerateOTT, the flagship entrepreneurship conference hosted by Invest Ottawa, hundreds of online participants cheered on ten women founders as they vied for $200,000 in investment from 20 women angels with the following founders claiming awards:
- Alida Burke, Co-founder and COO of Growcer, an Ottawa-based social enterprise addressing food security and empowering communities in any climate, from the Arctic to the desert, to grow fresh, hyper-local produce year-round through its hydroponic modular farms in purpose-built shipping containers: Top prize winner with $150,000 in investment.
- Vanessa de Waal, Founder and CEO, Flöka, an Ottawa-based company that helps lifestyle-focused practitioners scale data-driven, preventative care: Second prize winner with $50,000 in investment.
- Simone Godbout, Co-founder and CEO, and Nadia Ladak, Co-founder and COO, of Marlow, a company that designs and sells menstrual products and lubricated tampons on a subscription basis through an e-commerce channel: Crowd Favorite award winner with an opportunity to pitch the Capital Angel Network.
Established by Invest Ottawa and the Capital Angel Network, SheBoot aims to address long-standing systemic challenges in the investment landscape by increasing funding for women founders and the number of women making investments. It is a critical objective. In 2020, 2.3% of investment went to women-led startups, down from 2.8% in 2019 according to Pitchbook. Research shows when more women are making investments, more women founders get funded.
The intensive six-week investment-ready bootcamp designed by women founders and investors concluded with a pitch competition that awarded a total of $200,000 in equity-based funding from 20 women investors in the Capital Angel Network. Mistral Venture Partners, a seed-stage venture firm based in Canada’s Capital, has established a special purpose investment vehicle to house and manage this angel investment for SheBoot.
In addition to this investment, all participating founders in the second cohort of SheBoot received $10,000 in non-dilutive funding (which does not require the founders to give-up equity in their company) through the Scale-Up Platform supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and delivered by Invest Ottawa in Eastern Ontario.
Invest Ottawa and the Capital Angel Network look forward to launching the next call for applications during International Women’s Week in March 2022 and hosting the third SheBoot bootcamp later that year.
“It was an honour to collaborate closely with all founders participating in SheBoot, the 20 women angels who contributed critical investment, and 50+ mentors, advisors and ghost board members who help deliver this program. It is a truly powerful collaboration. We are driven by a shared objective: to help more women founders acquire the capital they need to scale strong, sustainable companies. I am thrilled to see Growcer, Flöka and Marlow on this path. We aim to help all SheBoot founders acquire investment, we look forward to supporting the long-term growth of each company and all those that follow.”
-Julia Elvidge, Director, Capital Angel Network; Advisor, Invest Ottawa; and SheBoot Co-founder
“Sincere congratulations to our pitch winners and all founders who participated in SheBoot this year. It was a joy to collaborate with such a strong cohort of women-led and owned tech companies and experience their incredible growth over six weeks. I am delighted this investment will help propel the scaleup of the Growcer, a Capital Angel Network portfolio company. This Ottawa startup is increasing food security in regions across North America, including Canada’s Indigenous Communities. It is a high growth firm delivering a triple bottom line with economic, social, and environmental impact.”
-Jennifer Francis, Chair, Capital Angel Network; Director of the Board, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards; SheBoot Co-founder
“SheBoot directly supports the goals established in our Women Founders and Owners Strategy: to enable and accelerate the growth and success of women entrepreneurs from every walk of life. We aim to support the first woman-owned and led $100 million company in Canada’s Capital and help build a robust pipeline of many more to come. Our 2021 pitch winners are helping to realize this vision. These leaders are creating impactful solutions for global markets, opportunities, and challenges. We are excited to expand our collaboration and help catalyze the growth of these firms and all participating companies in SheBoot.”
-Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards; SheBoot Co-founder
“As a recent graduate of the IO Accelerator program, we are very grateful to have participated in the SheBoot cohort this year! The experience has been great, and it is generating new opportunity. We value the tremendous support provided by the mentors, fellow founders, and the SheBoot and Invest Ottawa teams through this program from the moment we were selected in June. It builds on more than five years of collaboration with Invest Ottawa. We will invest the $150,000 prize in our growth as we scale our company. We are excited to build on the traction we have established and drive our future expansion.”
-Alida Burke, Co-founder and COO, Growcer
“The value of SheBoot is its people. These are women with high integrity and incredible experience who care deeply about the growth and success women founders. This $50,000 investment will help us ship the Android version for patients, enabling practitioners to serve 100 percent of patients, for scale. SheBoot brought us incredible connections; taught us how to run board meetings; and provided continuous feedback. The highlight was the built-in community of support that every founder needs. With a culture like this, it is no wonder that so many world-class tech companies are founded here. I believe SheBoot will help its next be founded and led by women.”
-Vanessa de Waal, Founder and CEO, Flöka
“It is an incredible honour to receive the SheBoot Crowd Favourite Award. It’s energizing to know that people are resonating with our mission of bringing more innovation to the menstrual product space and sparking conversation about sexual wellness. This win comes at a critical time for us as we are about to launch our flagship product, the first-to-market lubricated tampon kit.”
– Simone Godbout, CEO and Co-Founder, Marlow
“SheBoot’s specific focus on helping female founders become investment-ready was something we hadn’t seen before and it is what got us really excited about the program, given the funding gap for women. SheBoot has connected us to incredible advisors and mentors who gave us weekly hands-on coaching and advice. It has also allowed us to join a community of like-minded women to share lessons learned and support one another during our entrepreneurial journeys.”
– Nadia Ladak, COO and Co-Founder, Marlow
SheBoot is a six-week bootcamp based in Ottawa, Ontario, that prepares women founders 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 focused on investment and market readiness. It culminates in a pitch competition for a minimum of $100,000 of equity-based capital. This investment is made by at least ten women investors committed to fueling the next generation of women-owned and led firms. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca/sheboot
About the Capital Angel Network
Founded in 2009, the Capital Angel Network (CAN) has invested in more than 150 startups. Since inception, CAN members have invested more than $38 million into early-stage companies, with 90 percent of these firms based in Canada’s Capital. This funding has leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in additional investment through government contributions, syndication with other angel groups, and venture capital funds. Our portfolio has seen nine exits that have generated a positive return for investors. Our membership currently includes 59 angel investors, 20 percent of whom are women. To date in 2021, our members have made 29 new investments and eight follow-on investments, totalling $5.9 million. For more information about CAN, your opportunity to join as an investor, or our portfolio companies, 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 founder and manager 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 to attract more than $992 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 11,178 jobs; and attracted more than $1 billion in domestic and Foreign Direct Investment. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O