September 27, 2021
After strong initial results from investing in women-led startups, StandUp Ventures recently secured over $30 million in initial capital for its second fund. The list of backing institutions include Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Export Development Canada, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, and BDC Capital, among others.
Launched in 2017 by Michelle McBane, StandUp has primarily invested in the seed stage for companies that have at least one woman in a C-level leadership position. Focusing mainly on enterprise software and digital health companies, their goal is to increase opportunity, exposure and funding for Canadian women-led startups, where there has typically been an underrepresentation of female leadership.
While diversity among founding members has often correlated to higher growth rates and financial returns, there remains a notable gender bias of women being overlooked more often than their male peers. In a 2020 study, Crunchbase data revealed a significant drop of venture funding for female-founded startups when compared to 2019, noting the COVID-19 pandemic as a complicating factor for many working women.
Over the next three to five years, StandUp plans to invest in between 15 to 20 female led firms to continue supporting profitable and innovative ideas that have yet to reach their full potential. This latest round of capital is promising, not only for StandUp, but also for female founders in the greater Canadian startup space and overall economy.
By: Em Windrim