Ottawa, Ontario – June 29, 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, today announced the ten founders selected for the second cohort of SheBoot, a bootcamp that prepares women entrepreneurs to secure investment. The program will begin this fall and conclude with a pitch competition where the founders will vie for a total of $200,000 in investment from twenty local women angels. Each participating entrepreneur will also receive $10,000 in non-dilutive investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through the Pan-Ontario ScaleUp Platform delivered by Invest Ottawa in the Capital and Eastern Ontario.
Invest Ottawa and CAN are delighted to welcome the following ten founders to SheBoot 2021:
- Anu Bidani, founder and CEO of STEM Minds (Aurora)
- Alida Burke, Co-Founder and COO of The Growcer (Ottawa)
- Cat Czyrnyj, Co-Founder and CEO of PELV-X Labs (Ottawa)
- Suzanna Ersoy, Co-Founder and CEO of Collabofide (Ottawa)
- Simone Godbout, Co-Founder and CEO of Marlow (Ottawa)
- Keren Moynihan, Co-founder and CEO of Boss Insights (Toronto)
- Natalie Raffoul & Jennifer Raoul, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Orula/Fortress.Legal (Ottawa)
- Vanessa de Waal, Founder and CEO of Flöka (Ottawa and Vancouver)
- Karen Wong, Co-Founder and CEO of TakuLabs (Toronto)
- Sophie Wyne, Co-Founder and CEO of Ariglad (Vancouver)
These founders will participate in a six-week intensive bootcamp that catalyzes the growth, investment potential and long-term success of their startup. It will equip these innovative companies with fundamental business skills, focusing on investment and market readiness. It will also facilitate peer networking and introductions to investors and investor networks at the right time, with a goal to help every founder acquire funding.
Designed by women investors and entrepreneurs for women founders, SheBoot aims to help increase capital for women-owned and led technology or tech-enabled firms. The bootcamp seeks 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 has declined during a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected women. Moreover, underfunding women is leaving at least $3 trillion out of the global economy, with one recent Harvard Business Review study suggesting it could add as much as $5 trillion to global GDP.
Founded on powerful collaboration, SheBoot harnesses the collective expertise and resources of the Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, and more than 50 Ottawa women business and tech mentors, investors, and champions.
More than 125 companies applied for this round of SheBoot, more than doubling the number of applicants in 2020, the inaugural year of the bootcamp. Following a rigorous, criteria-driven review process, the Capital Angel Network, Invest Ottawa, and participating angel investors selected ten founders for the 2021 cohort. SheBoot champions are now working to connect every single applicant with mentors, opportunities, and programs offered by Invest Ottawa or partners across the country to help accelerate the growth of these firms.
The selection of the second cohort caps off an exciting month of SheBoot announcements, including $1.7 million funding secured by Heirlume, the inaugural SheBoot pitch competition winner; the doubling of both private investment (from $100,000 to $200,000) and the number of local women investing in SheBoot (from 10 angels to 20 angels); and a new strategic partnership with Mistral Venture Partners.
“This program was developed by women for women to address deep systemic challenges and investment barriers facing women founders. I am so proud to see what we have been able to accomplish in just one year during a global pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on women. These ten founders serve as role models for the next generation of women entrepreneurs. We are excited to help them secure the investment required to grow and compete globally.”
– Jennifer Francis, Investor, Chair of the Capital Angel Network, Director of the Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader
“These founders are creating new technology-enabled solutions for critical sectors of our economy, from life sciences to information and communication technology (ICT), education, digital media, and fintech. They will be joined by a remarkable team of investors, champions and mentors who are committed to fuel the growth and success of more women-owned and led firms. Together, we are moving the needle in the right direction. I can’t wait to see how these founders impact our economy.”
– Julia Elvidge, Investor, Invest Ottawa Advisor, Director of the Capital Angel Network Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader
“Just three years ago, Invest Ottawa developed a Women Founders and Owners strategy with a sub-committee of our board. To drive sustainable change, we knew it was critical to address the investment challenges facing women entrepreneurs. Together with CAN, and 50+ women investors and business leaders, we are taking steps towards this goal through SheBoot. We are excited to help all founders in our second cohort acquire capital and promote SheBoot as a model for regions around the world.”
– Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader
“The opportunity to participate in the inaugural cohort of SheBoot was invaluable. As a social impact management software company, we strive to help non-profits leverage data to make better decisions. SheBoot enabled us to refine our pitch to prospective customers and investors and secure new deals. Over the last year, we have increased the number of non-profit programs using Bingo from eight to 56, and we are now serving clients from Halifax to Vancouver. We put the knowledge acquired through SheBoot to work every day to grow our business. I can’t wait to see what the second cohort will achieve.”
-Caitlin Pentifallo Gadd, Founder and CEO, Bingo Impact Management (Ottawa)
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 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 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.
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
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards