Author Archives: Invest Ottawa

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 28, 2021

CAN and IO logos

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:

 

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.

 

 

Featured Quotes

“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)

 

About SheBoot
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

 

Media Contact
Sonya Shorey
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards
613.851.9416
[email protected]

 

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 23, 2021

Unveiling the IO Venture Path for every business milestone, and those times in between. IO Ignition, IO Flex, IO Accelerator, IO ScaleUp
The optimized portfolio will help Ottawa’s startups and scaleups shorten their path to success

June 24, 2021 Ottawa, ON – Today, Invest Ottawa unveiled the IO Venture Path, an optimized portfolio of programs designed to help startups and scaleups shorten their path to success and as a result, help create jobs and wealth for the city of Ottawa.

The IO Venture Path includes Invest Ottawa’s existing venture programs including IO Ignition (previously known as the Pre-Accelerator), IO Accelerator and IO ScaleUp, as well as a new addition to the portfolio, IO Flex.

IO Flex was designed and added to address the needs of startups who would be better served by being able to access business resources at a self-directed pace. “We saw a gap where many promising companies were graduating from what is now IO Ignition, but they didn’t have the traction required for the IO Accelerator,” said Michelle Younes, Director of Venture Programs. “IO Flex is the result of listening to our clients and adapting our offerings to better serve their needs.”

The portfolio has also been given a new brand, IO Venture Path, which reflects Invest Ottawa’s commitment to delivering business programs that address the needs of tech companies at every stage of their growth path.

“Entrepreneurship is not a linear journey,” said Nick Quain, Vice President of Venture Development. “Our aim is to support Ottawa’s startup founders throughout their journey, and these changes will enable us to ride shotgun for founders whenever they need us along the way.”

The IO Venture Path portfolio includes the following programs:

  • IO Ignition (previously known as the IO Pre-Accelerator), a highly successful 10-week bootcamp created for entrepreneurs in the ideation stage of a startup
  • IO Flex, a new program designed to provide companies with access to business resources at a self-directed pace
  • IO Accelerator, an intensive program helping early-stage startups fast track to product-market fit
  • IO ScaleUp, designed to help high growth tech companies go global and reach $100 million

Under the IO Venture Path, IO Ignition is the new name for the highly successful IO Pre-Accelerator, one of the busiest cohort-based startup programs in Ottawa. This new brand better reflects the program design, acting as a starting point from which entrepreneurs work to ignite and solidify their innovative ideas.

The IO Accelerator, a cornerstone in the Venture Path portfolio, also saw changes. Going forward, the program will focus on helping companies address four key areas: solidifying their governance framework, stabilizing their product performance, finding product-market fit and accelerating growth. These priorities will act as “phase gates” for companies to follow as they move through the program, towards eventual graduation.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2018, the IO Venture Path portfolio of programs has supported 711 Ottawa startups and scaleups. $519 million in non-diluted and VC investments have been raised and more than 2,200 knowledge-based jobs created to fuel the growth of these companies and Ottawa’s economy.
  • Since 2018, Invest Ottawa has continuously augmented its venture programming to respond to the needs of the companies, including:
    • In 2018, the IO Accelerator was restructured to adopt a more structured and intensive programming.
    • In 2018, IO Ignition (then known as the Pre-Accelerator) was created to address the needs of ideation-stage startups. Since then, 11 cohorts have been hosted and more than 200 startups supported.
    • In 2019, IO ScaleUp was launched to help high-growth tech firms increase their potential to become $100 million-plus companies.

About IO Venture Path

The IO Venture Path is a portfolio of Invest Ottawa’s venture programs designed to help Ottawa’s startups and scaleups shorten their path to success. The IO Venture Path includes four programs:  IO Ignition (previously known as the Pre-Accelerator), IO Flex, IO Accelerator and IO ScaleUp, each designed to serve tech companies’ unique needs at different growth stages. The portfolio provides business resources including advisory services, peer groups, workshops, exclusive events and more at little to no cost to qualifying companies, thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, FedDev Ontario, RBC, Logan Katz and MDK Law.

To learn more about Venture Path programs, visit www.investottawa.ca/venture-path/.

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 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.

Media Contact
Lucy Lai
Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa
613.290.8464
[email protected]

Posted in Blog
Jun 14, 2021

3 mins | 669 words

by: Jamie-Lynn Kraft

When starting your business, one of the first questions you probably asked yourself was “What do I call it?”  You wanted to pick a name that was unique and made a promise to your customers that you stand behind your products. Since you are the face and soul of the company, it only made sense to put your name on the letterhead. While personal names and surnames can serve as brands (think of some of the most famous fashion houses in the world that are named after a designer), you might be surprised to learn that protecting those brands in Canada can be difficult.

The best way to protect your brand is with a trademark registration. A trademark registration is a certificate granted by the government which gives you the exclusive right to use your trademark anywhere in Canada with your products and services, and to prevent the use by your competitors of trademarks which are confusingly similar.

When considering whether to apply for a trademark registration, it is important to know that not every brand can be registered. The law which governs trademarks in Canada says that certain marks are not eligible for registration, at least not without showing that they have already developed a significant reputation. One type of mark which cannot be registered without establishing reputation is a mark which consists “primarily merely” of a name or surname of an individual who is living or has died in the past 30 years.

What does that mean? Well, if you choose your own surname as the brand for your business (e.g., “Smith”) and you seek to register your name as trademark, then the Canadian Trademarks Office will require you to prove that customers recognize the brand SMITH as pointing exclusively to you, such as through sales, advertising, media references and testimonials. If you cannot establish a reputation, you will be unable to register the mark and it could be very difficult to enforce your brand against others.

Your name (or surname) does not need to be commonplace in order for this barrier to exist. If the Canadian Trademarks Office identifies even one reference to the same name in directories or on social media, it can raise an objection to the registration of the mark.

But what if, when choosing your brand, you add something to your surname which describes your business (e.g., “Smith’s Carrots” and you sell carrots)? While doing so would remove the mark from the realm of being “primarily merely” a name or surname, it could nonetheless run into obstacles when seeking registration.

Another type of mark which is not eligible for registration without a prior reputation is a mark which lacks “inherent distinctiveness”, that is, a mark which does not point to a single source. The Canadian Trademarks Office deems a mark consisting of a name (e.g., “Smith”) plus a descriptive term (e.g., “Carrots”) to lack inherent distinctiveness since the mark could point to any person named “Smith” selling carrots.

So, while there is nothing wrong with using your own name as the brand for your business, if the brand consists solely of your name (or surname) or of your name and a descriptive term, it could be very difficult to protect it through registration. Instead, you might consider adding unique, coined or arbitrary words to your name to create a distinctive, registrable brand.

For further information please contact a member of Smart & Biggar’s Trademark & Brand Protection team.

The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian intellectual property and technology law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices directly.

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Author:

Jamie-Lynn Kraft, Senior Associate

Jamie-Lynn’s trademark counselling extends beyond protecting brand owners’ valuable IP assets. With a passion for helping businesses grow, Jamie-Lynn advises her clients on strategies to harness the full potential of their brands.

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 11, 2021

Invest Ottawa, Digital Main Street, FeDev Canada, and Launch Lab logos

Invest Ottawa and Regional Partners Help Main Street Business in Canada’s Capital and Southeastern Ontario Combat COVID-19

Ottawa, June 11, 2021 – As Ontario moves into the first phase of its reopening plan, many small businesses in Canada’s Capital are building back better with a program the helped them get online and get selling to help them survive multiple shutdowns over the past year.

Thanks to a $42.5 million investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) in the Digital Main Street (DMS) platform, small- and medium-sized enterprises across the province received critical support to build an online business and generate new revenue as quickly as possible during the pandemic.

Since July 2020, Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, together with Launch Lab, have been privileged to deliver the DMS Future Proof Program in Ottawa and Southeastern Ontario, and:

  • Support more than 1,700 businesses spanning hospitality, retail, trades, and services; and
  • Hire more than 300 students and new graduates to help deliver the DMS Future Proof Program in this region.

Invest Ottawa extends sincere thanks to all DMS Future Proof champions, ambassadors and regional partners that helped small business owners from every walk of life put this program to work in the face of COVID-19.  This includes the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and associated BIAs.

As DMS Future Proof wraps up as scheduled on June 30, 2021, Invest Ottawa is launching a new campaign on June 14th to get people back to their favourite local businesses as they reopen their doors.  Invest Ottawa will continue to support main street businesses as they always have through their Small Business Programs and Services, including mentorship, advisory and consulting services, peer groups, education and events.

 

Quotes

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, a source of local jobs – and local pride. With Government of Canada support, thousands of entrepreneurs across Ontario have adopted and expanded their digital presence and more than 1,400 students have been provided jobs since the launch of this program in June 2020. We are so proud to see the incredible impact our DMS partner organizations are having on small businesses in the region, setting them up for success in the future digital economy.”

-The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

 

“We are honoured to collaborate with FedDev Ontario and partners across our region to help future-proof our main street business and economy. The DMS Future Proof Program has helped more than 1,700 local firms digitally transform their business, maintain jobs and revenue in any economic storm. It has equipped business owners from every walk of life with new digital business models and strategies to drive growth. This will help propel our economic recovery.”

-Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

 

“I own several businesses in the Ottawa Area, including two Global Pet Food stores and a Freshii. My businesses are in two of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic. Thanks to the DMS Future Proof Program, we had the opportunity to leverage digital marketing professionals, technologies, and support to drive online sales. We closed our year in our pet food stores with a 20 percent year-over-year increase over previous years. After being open for a decade, that is unheard of. I attribute this greatly to the support of the DMS Future Proof Program.”

-Karla Briones, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Owner, and 2018 Immigrant Award Winner, City of Ottawa

 

“I was not expecting such an in-depth review. All aspects that were covered have been a very welcome change and will definitely help me to meet the new digital side of today’s business requirements. I cannot thank you enough for ALL the help and tutelage that was given.”

– Paul Castonguay, Paul’s Bistro (Kemptville)

 

“The team was great to work with – they not only provided me with useful content, but also with the knowledge and skill development I needed to improve my digital business marketing efforts going forward, which is especially beneficial these days when it’s more important than ever to stand out online. I’m grateful for their efforts and so glad I signed up for the Future Proof program!”

– Dana Deathe, The Book Lady (Fenelon Falls)

 

“The DMS Future Proof team was better than I could have expected. I didn’t even realize all of the work that goes into digital marketing. Having someone focusing on such specific areas of the business was hugely educational and has left me with the resources I need to succeed.”

-Owais Khan, Founder, Ottawa Samosa

 

“Being a small business, it was very difficult to cope with the pandemic and know what strategy to take. The DMS Future Proof came at just the right time. It provided us with expert advice, support and education that is paramount to business success. Izere Coffee is now in a position to expand its activities and products and grow our business online.”

-Deborah Ntawigirira, Founder and CEO, Izere Coffee (Ottawa)

 

“Having a team of experts support me, answering every question I had, really supplemented my existing knowledge. The team created a strategy specifically for my unique business model that worked with my approach and experience.”

-Jessica Oliver, Owner, MUST Boutique (Ottawa)

 

“The information I got from this program holds SO much value. From graphic design to the mood board and customer personas created. These were things I knew I needed, but never got around to. I’m forever grateful for all of your help!”

– Holly Patenaude, Dental Hygiene on Location (Prescott)

 

“Our team is grateful for having access to the Digital Squad. They helped us revamp our website, which has allowed us to capture more useful metrics while improving our guest experience. They taught us the intricacies of SEO and the importance of having a consistent tone across our website.”

– Storm Patterson, Kingston Axe Throwing

 

“It was an honour to have worked with the transformation team. Anyone can get online traffic, but the resources I gained from the Future Proof Program will help us retain that attention.”

-Jon Ruby, Co-Founder, Carlington Booch (Ottawa)

 

About the DMS Future Proof Program

Building on Toronto’s foundational investments into Digital Main Street, including ShopHERE, the DMS Future Proof Program equipped Ontario businesses with new digital capabilities, expertise, and support. It helped main street companies navigate the COVID-19 crisis by enabling them to leverage digital marketing teams and technologies, develop e-commerce and online strategies, and establish new business models to access broader domestic and global markets, customers, and revenue.

Employing digital marketing students and experts, this program helped facilitate the digital transformation and ongoing operation of main street companies in hospitality, retail, trades, and services.  In Ottawa and SouthEastern Ontario, the program served small business owners from every walk of life in Canada’s Capital, the St. Lawrence Seaway (including Brockville, Cornwall, and surrounding areas), Kingston Region (including Belleville and Napanee) and Peterborough County. For additional information, please visit: https://www.investottawa.ca/digital-main-street/

 

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 Launch Lab

Launch Lab is a Regional Innovation Centre, a provincially funded network of resources for entrepreneurs. As a RIC, Launch Lab’s regional boundaries consist of most of southeastern Ontario (Trenton, down to Picton, over to Cornwall, and back up and around through Smiths Falls and Bancroft). Launch Lab’s head office is in Kingston and has a team of Entrepreneurs In Residence (EIRs) that operate throughout the region. Launch Lab’s purpose is to foster entrepreneurship and the commercialization of innovations to help build globally competitive companies in Eastern Ontario.  For additional information, please visit: https://www.launchlab.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.

 

 

Media Contact

Sonya Shorey

Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications

Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

613.851.9416

[email protected]

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 9, 2021

Capital Angel Network, Invest Ottawa, Mistral Ventures and FedDev Canada logos

20 Women Angel Investors Propel the Growth of Women Founders through SheBoot as Mistral Venture Partners Comes on Board

Ottawa, June 10, 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, are delighted to announce that $300,000 in investment is now on the table for the next cohort of SheBoot. The investment-ready bootcamp for women founders, supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), has attracted 10 new women angels during the pandemic, doubling the number of angel investors and the total angel investment for 2021. The 10 women tech founders selected for the next cohort of SheBoot will:

  • Vie for a total of $200,000 in angel investment at the final SheBoot pitch competition to be hosted at AccelerateOTT, Invest Ottawa’s entrepreneurship conference; this represents a 100 percent increase in angel investment over the inaugural year of SheBoot; and
  • Each receive $10,000 in non-dilutive funding (or management of an equivalent value of eligible business expenditures) from FedDev Ontario through the Scaleup Platform delivered by Invest Ottawa in the Capital Region (for a total of $100,000 across the cohort).

This increased investment directly supports the goals of SheBoot, a program designed by women entrepreneurs and investors for women founders. Created by Invest Ottawa and CAN, the program aims 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 is continuing to decline. This trend reinforces the need for programs such as SheBoot that equip women founders with fundamental business skills, focusing on investment and market readiness.

As SheBoot continues to evolve and attract new investors, it is critical to manage this increasing investment systematically and seamlessly for founders and angels. CAN and Invest Ottawa are delighted to announce that Mistral Venture Partners, a seed-stage venture firm based in Canada’s Capital, will help SheBoot achieve this goal. The VC is establishing a special purpose investment vehicle to house and manage the $200,000 in angel investment for SheBoot. This will simplify the investment process for both founders and investors and make it possible to continue growing SheBoot angel investment in the future.

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.

Quotes

“We have always known that we need more women investors working together to build the next generation of investment-ready women-led and owned tech firms,” said Jennifer Francis, Chair of the Capital Angel Network (CAN), Director of the Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards Board of Directors, and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “I am so proud to see that we have been able to move the needle in the right direction – and in such a short timeframe. Today, women angels represent over 20 percent of Capital Angel Network membership. This has catalyzed great results with $1.5 million, 35 percent of our total investment, allocated to women-founded businesses in the first half of 2021.

“The pandemic and resulting she-cession have compounded the barriers that women entrepreneurs face in starting and growing their businesses. Improving gender diversity is vital to the success of our economy and businesses. We are proud to support initiatives like the SheBoot bootcamp that are supporting women entrepreneurs to thrive.” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario. “Supporting the full and equal participation of women in our economy is a priority for the Government of Canada, and we will continue our work to build back better from the pandemic with a stronger, more inclusive economy.”

“Investment in women-founded and led startups has decreased globally throughout the pandemic,” said Julia Elvidge, Investor, Advisor, CAN Director and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “It’s incredible to see 20 women investors come together to create this opportunity for women founders. We have established critical, ambitious goals. It will take a critical mass of investors, partners, and allies to help us achieve them. I want to thank all angels, coaches, mentors, and program leaders for making SheBoot possible and fueling the growth of women founders. It is truly powerful collaboration.”

“I am incredibly excited to join SheBoot as a new angel investor,” said Michelle Liu, a Certified Professional Accountant. “I moved from China to Ottawa two years ago and learned about SheBoot from a fellow angel investor. I am very passionate about investing and the opportunity to help more women founders succeed. I made my first investment in a woman-owned firm in China in 2009 – a company that went IPO a few years later. I have seen the difference women investors can make in the growth trajectory of a firm. I am truly inspired by SheBoot and look forward to helping achieve our shared goals.”

“SheBoot addresses two key challenges that inhibit the growth and success of women founders – access to capital and the need for more women investors,” said Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, and Co-Founder of SheBoot. “This model can be replicated in any community with committed champions and collaborators, creating immense opportunity to propel global, sustained change. To continually scale and achieve even greater impact through SheBoot, we knew it was critical to streamline the investment process. We are delighted to welcome Mistral Venture Partners as a strategic partner that will help us achieve this goal and further narrow the funding gap facing women entrepreneurs.”

“We recognize that women-led companies frequently outperform the industry average, and we would love to invest in more. When we look at our deal-flow, however, the companies are predominantly led by men,” said Pablo Srugo, Principal at Mistral Venture Partners. “We see SheBoot as a program that has the potential to radically change that and create much more visibility to women founders. We’re delighted to have found a way to support SheBoot and help it scale.”

About SheBoot
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 with a focus 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 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

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.

Media Contact
Sonya Shorey
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards
613.851.9416
[email protected]

Posted in News, Press Releases
May 26, 2021

Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa's logos

SheBoot Applications More Than Double as Graduates Secure Deals and Investment

InvestmentReady Bootcamp For Women Founders Gains Momentum and Fuels Success

Ottawa, Ontario – May 26, 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, are delighted to announce that SheBoot 2021 has attracted more than double the number of applications over the program’s inaugural year.

More than 125 companies are currently vying for ten spots in this investment-ready bootcamp jointly established by CAN and Invest Ottawa and designed by women entrepreneurs and investors for women-identifying founders. In 2020, the program attracted 54 applicants from Canada’s Capital Region and across the country. The 2021 boost in applications underscores the momentum of SheBoot, the opportunity to help build the pipeline of women tech founders and the investment challenges they face.

This intensive six-week program aims to arm tech or tech-enabled women-led and owned companies with fundamental business and investment skills and increase funding for women founders. This need for capital is more pressing than ever as women founders face significant funding challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Crunchbase data shows that the proportion of capital allocated to women-only founders declined to 2.3 percent in 2020, compared to 2.8 percent in 2019.

SheBoot will culminate in a pitch competition for a minimum of $100,000 in investment this fall at AccelerateOTT, the flagship entrepreneurship conference hosted by Invest Ottawa. More broadly, the program strives to equip all participating women founders will the skills required to secure investment and grow their company.

The recent success of SheBoot graduates reinforces this goal and supports the growth of women founders. For example, over the last three months:

Quotes

“It is so exciting to celebrate the success of these founders,” said Sonya Shorey, VP of Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards and SheBoot Co-Founder. “We created SheBoot because we know there is a major gap in investment for women entrepreneurs. We have a very long way to go, but every step forward makes a difference. Together with our valued investors and partners, we aim to help enable the first $100 million woman-owned and led firm in Canada’s Capital.”

“We certainly have no shortage of talented and driven women entrepreneurs in this country,” said Jennifer Francis, Investor, Chair of the Capital Angel Network, Director of Invest Ottawa, and SheBoot CoFounder. “I’m excited to work with our next SheBoot cohort and help these founders secure the investment required to scale their business. The entrepreneurs from our inaugural SheBoot program serve as incredible role models who are charting a bold path to growth and success.”

“There is no question that women founders have a steeper hill to climb than their male counterparts,” said Julia Elvidge, Investor, Invest Ottawa Advisor, Director of the Capital Angel Network Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder. “I am delighted to see a significant increase in SheBoot applications this year. We have already initiated a rigorous criteria-driven review of these strong candidates with our investors. Although we will select ten founders for SheBoot 2021, we aim to help every applicant acquire support in our ecosystem. We strive to help all women tech founders fulfil their potential.”

“SheBoot was a gamechanger for us,” said Julie MacDonell, Co-Founder and CEO of Heirlume, the firstplace winner of the inaugural SheBoot pitch competition. “We have always known we are a high potential, high growth startup. Heirlume is the first AI-powered self-serve online trademark search and registration platform. We aimed to secure funding from underrepresented investors to drive growth and help fulfil our mission to democratize the trademarking process. We have just secured $1.7 million from the Backbone Angels, Future Capital, Angels of Many, MaRS IAF, and other angel investors. I’m proud to say that many of our investors identify as women or underrepresented funders. SheBoot helped us to achieve this goal.”

About SheBoot

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 with a focus 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 the City of 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

Media Contact

Sonya Shorey
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards
613.851.9416
[email protected]

Dec 23, 2020

Préserver la santé de la communauté

Tout en continuant de surveiller la progression mondiale de la COVID-19, nous prenons des mesures adaptées au confinement à l’échelle provinciale annoncé par le premier ministre Doug Ford et le gouvernement de l’Ontario le 21 décembre afin de protéger la santé et la sécurité de la communauté.

En application des protocoles établis jusqu’ici, Investir Ottawa, les cours Bayview et Zone X.O seront fermés au public jusqu’à nouvel ordre. Durant le confinement :

  • Notre bureau virtuel sera fermé du 25 décembre au 4 janvier 2021 pour permettre à notre équipe de refaire le plein d’énergie en vue d’appuyer pleinement les entrepreneurs, les entreprises et la communauté en 2021. Nous savons que ce soutien sera plus nécessaire que jamais.
  • Les locataires et le personnel auront accès à nos installations par carte-clé seulement. Les portes de tous nos édifices demeureront verrouillées.
  • Il n’y aura pas de réunion, d’atelier ou d’événement en personne, ni aucun service de réception.
  • En 2021, nos employés continueront de travailler de la maison pour vous servir et servir tous nos clients et intervenants de façon sécuritaire. Nos programmes, services et événements seront tous offerts en ligne.
  • Nous continuerons de collaborer étroitement avec les autorités sanitaires, de suivre la progression de la pandémie et d’indiquer toutes les mesures que nous prenons sur notre page d’accueil et les médias sociaux.
  • Nous ferons la promotion des nouveaux programmes et mesures de soutien destinés aux entreprises locales et aux membres de la communauté sur notre page de ressources sur la COVID-19, notamment :
    • la nouvelle Subvention ontarienne pour le soutien aux petites entreprises, qui sera lancée en janvier 2021, permettra d’offrir aux petites entreprises qui doivent fermer ou réduire grandement leurs activités une aide pouvant aller jusqu’à 20 000 $ pour compenser la perte de revenus en raison des mesures de confinement dans la province;
    • notre Programme pour le numérique et les rues principales, qui aide les petites entreprises subissant les contrecoups de la pandémie à établir leur présence en ligne afin de poursuivre leurs activités et de générer de nouveaux revenus.

Si vous avez des questions sur les commerces qui seront ouverts en Ontario ou sur les répercussions des mesures sur votre entreprise ou votre emploi, consultez le site Web de l’Ontario sur la COVID-19 ou téléphonez à la Ligne Info-Entreprises pour mettre fin à la propagation au 1 888 444-3659, en service tous les jours de la semaine.

Votre santé et votre sécurité sont nos priorités absolues. Si vous avez la moindre question, n’hésitez pas à communiquer avec Sonya Shorey, vice-présidente, Stratégie, marketing et communications à [email protected].

Grâce à votre collaboration et à votre soutien indéfectibles, nous pourrons préserver la santé et la sécurité de notre pôle d’innovation et de notre communauté.