Since we launched StandUp Ventures in May 2017, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with some incredible founders and have made several investments across Canada. As part of the conversation, we’ve also been meeting with women who are senior industry leaders who are looking to become more meaningfully involved with these ventures. In some cases it may be as advisors or in a board role, but in many cases, many women expressed an interest in becoming angel investors.
A recent study by Carta reported on Silicon Valley’s Equity Gap and their key finding: Women make up 33% of the combined founder and employee workforce but hold just 9% of the equity value. The other 91% belongs to men. What does that mean? Women are capturing a small proportion of the wealth being created in the innovation economy – they are effectively on the sidelines. We unfortunately do not have the data for Canada, but we have no reason to believe it’s any different. For this to change meaningfully, we have to fund female founders but we also have to ensure that women have the tools they need to start investing in the asset class. They need to be on the cap table.
One of our recommendations in our recent Globe and Mail op-ed, co-written with Female Funders: Venture capital firms have a gender problem – here’s how to fix it, was to give female investors their wings.
We set out to do just that.
On September 24, we held our inaugural Demystifying Angel Investing Workshop with the support of CIBC Innovation Banking, including Julia Kassam, Jennifer Laidlaw, Mark McQueen, Amy Olah and Mark Usher, and in partnership with Jill Earthy and Lauren Robinson of Female Funders. Women from technology companies, banking and consulting, founders and CIBC Private Wealth Management clients attended, along with experienced angels and VCs. The invite-only event grew, through word-of-mouth, to full capacity and we are building a waitlist for the next event.
In the workshop presented by Female Funders, we learned more about the power of investments to shape the future of funding for entrepreneurs and how we can each participate as leaders and innovators. Attendees learned the fundamentals of Angel Investing in an interactive and inclusive format. Lindsey Goodchild from Nudge Rewards closed off the evening with a fireside chat that really brought home the impact that angels investors had in the early days of her company.
The goal of the event was to provide a starting point for continuing conversations, and learning and we did just that.
Thank you very much to our sponsors, partners and attendees. We look forward to seeing you at our next event!