March 8, 2020
StandUp Ventures (StandUp), a seed-stage firm investing in women-led companies, has raised $3.5 million in new capital in its final close for its initial fund, bringing the fund’s total to just over $21 million. Investments in the final close came from five new partners, including Teralys Capital (Teralys), Globalive Capital and other individual angel investors. The new influx of capital will be used to increase funding on earlier investments and to invest in new companies that share StandUp’s progressive values.
Teralys joined Northleaf Capital Partners as the second StandUp investor to have received backing from the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative. This initiative saw the Government of Canada (with support from BDC Capital, another StandUp investor) dole out $400 million as part of its Venture Capital Action Plan to encourage more private venture capital investment in Canada. The Plan mandates a focus on “minimum threshold Canadian presence and investment levels” as well as on gender and diversity.
Founded in Toronto, StandUp began its mission to invest in Canadian, women-led or co-led high growth companies three years ago. StandUp initially invested in nine companies, including Nudge Rewards, Coconut Software, Bridgit, ODAIA, and Tealbook. To qualify for investment from StandUp, companies must have one woman founder in a C-level role who owns a significant portion of the company. To date, seven of StandUp’s investments are run by female CEOs, and three companies have been located outside Ontario. Five of its investments were made alongside BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund.
StandUp continues to work towards its long term goal of making gender diversity in funds mainstream. Its success thus far is encouraging, but there is a long way to go. Research has shown that investor bias accounts for one-third of the gender disparity in high-growth start-ups. Further, 85% of venture capital dollars are invested in funds with no women managing partners, which results in women-led companies receiving less funding than their male counterparts. Part of the solution requires more women at the venture capital and investing level, where reports show they are more likely to invest in women-led companies and more diverse portfolios overall. In the face of these disappointing statistics, StandUp’s continued growth and success offer optimism to those hungry for change. Let us hope, on this International Women’s Day and everyday, that we all feel full soon enough.
Author: Daniela Cerrone