Canadian seed investor StandUp Ventures wraps up debut effort

Canadian venture fund targets seed-stage start-ups led by women entrepreneurs, and is backed by BDC Capital, among others.

The Toronto firm StandUp Ventures is named after the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street that stands up to the bull.

Now, the firm has a bit more weight behind it.

The seed-stage investor, which invests in women entrepreneurs in Canada, announced today that it has held the final close of its inaugural fund, raising C$25 million ($16 million).

Limited partners include BDC Capital, which anchored the fund’s launch in 2017, and CIBC, Export Development Canada, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund II, RBC and Vancity, a news release said.

The firm backs women-led companies in Canada and has so far made nine investments. Managing director Michelle McBane said she anticipates the inaugural fund investing in another six companies, with reserves being held for follow-on deals.

She added that of the firm’s initial investments, five have already raised additional capital.

“Female founders are building great companies,” she said. “We want to make a concerted effort to fund them.”

Qualifying startups for the firm must have at least one female founder in the C-suite. The role must include a significant ownership stake commensurate with the company’s development stage.


McBane said the firm will lead or co-lead deals across Canada.

The close of the fund comes just shy of International Women’s Day on March 8. Earlier this week, All Raise and Crunchbase reported that the amount of funding going to women-focused start-ups was unchanged in 2019.

Along with McBane, the firm’s team includes Managing director Barry Gekiere and investment manager Snita Balsara. McBane said with the close of the fund, the firm is looking to grow the team, as well.