SheBoot Round Two: Women Investing in Women as Venture Funding to Female Founders Drops Globally

Posted in Blog, News, Press Releases
Mar 2, 2021

Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa's logos

The Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa Announce Call for Applications for Boot Camp Designed by Women Investors for Women Founders with $200,000+ in Investment

Ottawa, Ontario – March 2, 2020: 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, launched a call for applications for the second round of SheBoot: an investment-ready bootcamp and investment opportunity that fuels the growth and success of women-identifying founders.  This program aims to help address the funding gap facing women-identifying entrepreneurs, allocating a minimum of $200,000 in investment to participating firms this year.

Designed by women-identifying investors and entrepreneurs, SheBoot aims to arm ten tech or tech-enabled companies with fundamental business skills, with a focus on investment and market-readiness. It also helps to increase capital for women-owned and led technology or tech-enabled firms. This need is more pressing today as women-identifying founders face significant funding challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.

The program culminates in a pitch competition with a minimum of $100,000 of investment on the table from Ottawa women angels. In this round, SheBoot will also include $100,000 in non-dilutive funding from FedDev Ontario, with $10,000 allocated to each participating founder.

According to Crunchbase, global venture funding to female-founded companies fell significantly in 2020. in the last year, only 2.3% of venture capital went to companies led by a womanidentifying founder, down from 2.9% (an already low amount). During this same period, 800 female-founded startups globally received a total of $4.9 billion in venture funding, representing a 27 percent decrease over the previous year.

Applications for SheBoot officially opened today with the launch of the Women Angel Investor Breakfast, an International Women’s Week event hosted by CAN and Invest Ottawa, featuring Arlene Dickinson, General Partner at District Ventures Capital, local founders, and current and prospective angel investors.  Women-identifying founders are invited to apply at

“We know the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women, and we also know investing in female founders is the key to fueling economic growth,” said Jennifer Francis, Chair of the Capital Angel Network and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “We need more women investors working together to build the next generation of investment-ready women-led and owned firms in Ottawa. SheBoot will help to achieve this goal, and open up new investment opportunities for female founders in our region, and prepare them for capital-intensive global markets.”

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.

“This program reinforces Invest Ottawa’s commitment to helping make our region the best in the world for women founders to launch and scale successful firms,” said Sonya Shorey, VP, Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “Our second cohort will benefit from the lessons learned during our inaugural year that have made our program even stronger. As women founders face even greater investment challenges during the pandemic, this type of training is more important than ever. Our long-term goal is to help create the first $100 million women-owned and led firm in Ottawa.”

“This program truly reinforces the power of collaboration. More than 50 women investors, founders and leaders help deliver this program make it of incredible value to the participants, far beyond the investment factor,” said Julia Elvidge, Investor, Advisor and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “I’m so proud to see women stepping up to make a difference in this way. This program is helping to address some of the key investment gaps in our ecosystem and serve as a model for others around the world.”

The name “SheBoot” is inspired by the term “reboot.”  Urban Dictionary defines this word as “The opportunity to start anew with fresh ideas in a way that is consistent with the principles of the original, but not unnecessarily constrained by what has taken place before.”

The use of the term “women” is an alternative term to the English language word “women.” We use this term to explicitly include all women, including transgender women and women of colour who have historically and systematically been excluded from mainstream women’s programming. The “x” is meant to signal that within the category of “women,” we are conscious of the ways in which different elements of one’s identity can intersect and inform a person’s lived experience. This choice supports our concerted effort to create a culture of belonging and prioritize equity.

What the first cohort said about SheBoot

“We are an extremely high growth startup that fulfils all the criteria of a venture-backed company. Based on the diversity and intersectionality of our founding and executive team, statistics show we have a less than a one percent chance of being funded through traditional sources. Programs such as SheBoot are lifesavers to startups such as Heirlume.  They are critical to our success and the success of many other women-led firms. SheBoot equipped us with training, expertise and funding that will help catalyze our long-term growth, sustainability and success.”

Julie MacDonnell, Co-Founder and CEO, Heirlume; First place winner of the SheBoot Pitch Competition


“I am very grateful to Invest Ottawa and the Capital Angel Network for the opportunity to participate in SheBoot. In addition to winning $50,000 in non-dilutive funding for my firm, I gained invaluable skills and relationships that will propel our business growth. It is very challenging to launch and grow a tech startup. Few succeed, and women founders have an even steeper hill to climb. SheBoot helps women tech founders acquire more investment in a world where less than 3 percent of global venture funding goes to women entrepreneurs. I’m very thankful for all those who champion and support women tech founders.”

Audrey Bond, Founder & CEO at; Second place winner of the SheBoot Pitch Competition


“As a mixed-race Black woman working in technology, I am no stranger to the odds stacked against me to raise capital, no matter the success of Lunaria.  The statistics get even worse when we look to LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous founders. SheBoot offered an incredible opportunity to learn how to package our technology, customer interactions, and team to get the capital needed to continue our growth. Programs like SheBoot are critical to fight against systemic discrimination and provide successful, sustainable and promising minority-owned businesses with the capital needed to accelerate their growth. I’m very grateful for SheBoot and the mentorship, community and learning provided to get Lunaria to the next level.”

Cassie Myers, Founder and CEO, Lunaria; Winner of the SheBoot Crowd Favorite Award


“Raising money has become a big focus of ours at FanSaves as we continue to scale and SheBoot couldn’t have come at a better time. The program has given me a wealth of knowledge and the confidence to walk into investor meetings with a much better grasp of our business. Being a woman in tech seeking investment comes with its own set of challenges but I now have the tools to break down those barriers and ensure we get funded.”

Shannon Ferguson, Co-founder and CEO, FanSaves; Winner of the SheBoot Crow Favorite Award


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 $30M into almost 100 early-stage companies 90% of which are based in the National Capital Region. This funding has also leveraged over $250M 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% of which are women. Our group made ten new and nine follow-on investments totalling $5M in investment. For additional information, please visit:


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 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 entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $992 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 11,000 jobs; and attracted more than $1 billion in domestic and foreign investment. For additional information, please visit:


Media Contact
Sonya Shorey
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

[email protected]


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