SheBoot Applications More Than Double as Graduates Secure Deals and Investment
Investment–Ready Bootcamp For Women Founders Gains Momentum and Fuels Success
Ottawa, Ontario – May 26, 2021: 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 2021 has attracted more than double the number of applications over the program’s inaugural year.
More than 125 companies are currently vying for ten spots in this investment-ready bootcamp jointly established by CAN and Invest Ottawa and designed by women entrepreneurs and investors for women-identifying founders. In 2020, the program attracted 54 applicants from Canada’s Capital Region and across the country. The 2021 boost in applications underscores the momentum of SheBoot, the opportunity to help build the pipeline of women tech founders and the investment challenges they face.
This intensive six-week program aims to arm tech or tech-enabled women-led and owned companies with fundamental business and investment skills and increase funding for women founders. This need for capital is more pressing than ever as women founders face significant funding challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Crunchbase data shows that the proportion of capital allocated to women-only founders declined to 2.3 percent in 2020, compared to 2.8 percent in 2019.
SheBoot will culminate in a pitch competition for a minimum of $100,000 in investment this fall at AccelerateOTT, the flagship entrepreneurship conference hosted by Invest Ottawa. More broadly, the program strives to equip all participating women founders will the skills required to secure investment and grow their company.
The recent success of SheBoot graduates reinforces this goal and supports the growth of women founders. For example, over the last three months:
- Heirlume, the first place SheBoot pitch competition winner ($100,000), secured $1.7M in funding, the majority of which came from women or underrepresented investors;
- Vaultt, the second place SheBoot pitch competition winner ($50,000), signed a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim, the world’s largest private pharmaceutical company
- Cassie Myers, Founder and CEO of Lunaria Solutions, a 2020 SheBoot Crowd Favorite Winner, was recently selected by the Globe and Mail Report on Business as one of the top changemakers to watch in Canada
- FanSaves, a 2020 SheBoot Crowd Favorite Winner, has just launched a funding round and established a novel collaboration with the Ottawa Board of Trade to support small businesses through the pandemic
- Julia Slanina, founder and CEO of Treehouse Medical and 2020 SheBoot participant, won the National Mom Pitch Competition hosted by Scotia Bank (April 2021), earning the entrepreneur a $30,000 prize
“It is so exciting to celebrate the success of these founders,” said Sonya Shorey, VP of Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards and SheBoot Co-Founder. “We created SheBoot because we know there is a major gap in investment for women entrepreneurs. We have a very long way to go, but every step forward makes a difference. Together with our valued investors and partners, we aim to help enable the first $100 million woman-owned and led firm in Canada’s Capital.”
“We certainly have no shortage of talented and driven women entrepreneurs in this country,” said Jennifer Francis, Investor, Chair of the Capital Angel Network, Director of Invest Ottawa, and SheBoot CoFounder. “I’m excited to work with our next SheBoot cohort and help these founders secure the investment required to scale their business. The entrepreneurs from our inaugural SheBoot program serve as incredible role models who are charting a bold path to growth and success.”
“There is no question that women founders have a steeper hill to climb than their male counterparts,” said Julia Elvidge, Investor, Invest Ottawa Advisor, Director of the Capital Angel Network Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder. “I am delighted to see a significant increase in SheBoot applications this year. We have already initiated a rigorous criteria-driven review of these strong candidates with our investors. Although we will select ten founders for SheBoot 2021, we aim to help every applicant acquire support in our ecosystem. We strive to help all women tech founders fulfil their potential.”
“SheBoot was a gamechanger for us,” said Julie MacDonell, Co-Founder and CEO of Heirlume, the firstplace winner of the inaugural SheBoot pitch competition. “We have always known we are a high potential, high growth startup. Heirlume is the first AI-powered self-serve online trademark search and registration platform. We aimed to secure funding from underrepresented investors to drive growth and help fulfil our mission to democratize the trademarking process. We have just secured $1.7 million from the Backbone Angels, Future Capital, Angels of Many, MaRS IAF, and other angel investors. I’m proud to say that many of our investors identify as women or underrepresented funders. SheBoot helped us to achieve this goal.”
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 with a focus 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: investottawa.ca/sheboot
About the Capital Angel Network
Founded in 2009, the Capital Angel Network (CAN) has been investing in startups in the National Capital Region over the last decade. Since its inception, CAN members have invested over $30 million into almost 100 early-stage companies, 90 percent of which are based in the National Capital Region. This funding has also leveraged over $250 million in additional investment through government grants, syndication with other angel groups and venture capital funds. The portfolio has now seen nine exits that provided a positive return for investors. The membership base now consists of over 50 Angels, 20 percent of which are women. Our group made ten new and nine follow-on investments totalling $5 million in investment. 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 the City of 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 the Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $666 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 9,714 jobs; and attracted $862 million in domestic and foreign investment. For additional information, please visit: investottawa.ca
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards