May 29, 2019
StandUp Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in women-led businesses, has raised C$13 million in new follow-on financing commitments, bringing its total fund to C$18 million.
This is the second close of the Toronto-based fund since launching in 2017, and includes commitments from investors such as CIBC, Export Development Canada, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund II, RBC and Vancity. This new raise surpasses the firm’s original goal of C$15 million and StandUp is now targeting a final close of C$25 million for the fund.
Launched at the Toronto MaRS Discovery District and led by managing director Michelle McBane, the firm invests in pre-seed and seed financings of women-run companies across Canada. To qualify for funding, startups must have at least one female founder in the C-suite.
A number of reports have highlighted the significant gender imbalance in the Canadian venture capital sector and the companies that receive funding. While female founders are a growing presence in North America’s tech sector, a wealth of anecdotal and statistical evidence shows that women-led startups face barriers to accessing capital. StandUp Ventures aims to reverse this trend.
“Women are on the sidelines right now from massive wealth creation in the innovation economy” Ms. McBane said in an interview. “Our goal is to really get more women founding companies, standing up, doing their thing, understanding that you don’t have to be a tech founder to start a tech company; you can be a woman with an amazing business idea.”
To date, StandUp has made seven investments, and is planning to invest its raised capital in at least a dozen new companies over the next three to five years. StandUp’s most recent investment is Sampler, a Toronto-based digital platform that helps marketers manage the distribution of product samples. Other companies in its portfolio include Tealbook, Bridgit Solutions, Coconut Software, Emovi and Nudge Rewards.
Author: Shannon Skillings