20 Women Angel Investors Propel the Growth of Women Founders through SheBoot as Mistral Venture Partners Comes on Board
Ottawa, June 10, 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 $300,000 in investment is now on the table for the next cohort of SheBoot. The investment-ready bootcamp for women founders, supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), has attracted 10 new women angels during the pandemic, doubling the number of angel investors and the total angel investment for 2021. The 10 women tech founders selected for the next cohort of SheBoot will:
- Vie for a total of $200,000 in angel investment at the final SheBoot pitch competition to be hosted at AccelerateOTT, Invest Ottawa’s entrepreneurship conference; this represents a 100 percent increase in angel investment over the inaugural year of SheBoot; and
- Each receive $10,000 in non-dilutive funding (or management of an equivalent value of eligible business expenditures) from FedDev Ontario through the Scaleup Platform delivered by Invest Ottawa in the Capital Region (for a total of $100,000 across the cohort).
This increased investment directly supports the goals of SheBoot, a program designed by women entrepreneurs and investors for women founders. Created by Invest Ottawa and CAN, the program 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 as women entrepreneurs received only 2.3 percent of global venture capital in 2020, a number that is continuing to decline. This trend reinforces the need for programs such as SheBoot that equip women founders with fundamental business skills, focusing on investment and market readiness.
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 to announce that Mistral Venture Partners, a seed-stage venture firm based in Canada’s Capital, will help SheBoot achieve this goal. The VC is establishing a special purpose investment vehicle to house and manage the $200,000 in angel investment for SheBoot. This will simplify the investment process for both founders and investors and make it possible to continue growing SheBoot angel investment in the future.
SheBoot is a critical program within Invest Ottawa’s Venture Acceleration program suite. It will also facilitate peer networking amongst women founders and introductions to investors and investor networks at the right time.
“We have always known that we need more women investors working together to build the next generation of investment-ready women-led and owned tech firms,” said Jennifer Francis, Chair of the Capital Angel Network (CAN), Director of the Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards Board of Directors, and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “I am so proud to see that we have been able to move the needle in the right direction – and in such a short timeframe. Today, women angels represent over 20 percent of Capital Angel Network membership. This has catalyzed great results with $1.5 million, 35 percent of our total investment, allocated to women-founded businesses in the first half of 2021.
“The pandemic and resulting she-cession have compounded the barriers that women entrepreneurs face in starting and growing their businesses. Improving gender diversity is vital to the success of our economy and businesses. We are proud to support initiatives like the SheBoot bootcamp that are supporting women entrepreneurs to thrive.” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario. “Supporting the full and equal participation of women in our economy is a priority for the Government of Canada, and we will continue our work to build back better from the pandemic with a stronger, more inclusive economy.”
“Investment in women-founded and led startups has decreased globally throughout the pandemic,” said Julia Elvidge, Investor, Advisor, CAN Director and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “It’s incredible to see 20 women investors come together to create this opportunity for women founders. We have established critical, ambitious goals. It will take a critical mass of investors, partners, and allies to help us achieve 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.”
“I am incredibly excited to join SheBoot as a new angel investor,” said Michelle Liu, a Certified Professional Accountant. “I moved from China to Ottawa two years ago and learned about SheBoot from a fellow angel investor. I am very passionate about investing and the opportunity to help more women founders succeed. I made my first investment in a woman-owned firm in China in 2009 – a company that went IPO a few years later. I have seen the difference women investors can make in the growth trajectory of a firm. I am truly inspired by SheBoot and look forward to helping achieve our shared goals.”
“SheBoot addresses two key challenges that inhibit the growth and success of women founders – access to capital and the need for more women investors,” said Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “This model can be replicated in any community with committed champions and collaborators, creating immense opportunity to propel global, sustained change. To continually scale and achieve even greater impact through SheBoot, we knew it was critical to streamline the investment process. We are delighted to welcome Mistral Venture Partners as a strategic partner that will help us achieve this goal and further narrow the funding gap facing women entrepreneurs.”
“We recognize that women-led companies frequently outperform the industry average, and we would love to invest in more. When we look at our deal-flow, however, the companies are predominantly led by men,” said Pablo Srugo, Principal at Mistral Venture Partners. “We see SheBoot as a program that has the potential to radically change that and create much more visibility to women founders. We’re delighted to have found a way to support SheBoot and help it scale.”
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: www.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 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: www.investottawa.ca
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
About FedDev Ontario
For nearly 12 years, FedDev Ontario has actively worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in Southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region.
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards