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StandUp raises C$18 million to invest in Canada’s women-led tech startups

ImpactAlpha, May 28 – Toronto-based StandUp Ventures launched in 2017 to help women in tech overcome bias in early-stage startup funding. The fund has raised C$18 million ($13.4 million) towards a C$25 million target.

Only 13% of venture capital goes to startups with at least one female founder, even though research suggests that companies with female leaders perform better and recruit more diverse teams. Funding bias is strongest in the early stages, and women-led teams that successfully raise early rounds have more even odds in later-stage rounds, StandUp’s Michelle McBane told Canadian tech news site BetaKit.

StandUp was seeded in 2017 with C$5 million from entrepreneur-focused bank BDC, which committed the capital from its C$200 million Women in Technology Fund. It has backed seven companies, including job safety communication platform Bridgit, which closed C$6.2 million in Series B funding in March. (StandUp invested in its C$2 million Series A round in 2017.)

A key source of StandUp’s pipeline is Toronto-based startup hub MaRS’s Investment Accelerator Fund, which backs science and tech entrepreneurs and where McBane serves as a director.

StandUp has now secured an additional C$13 million ($9.7 million) from CIBC, Export Development Canada (EDC), Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund II, RBC, and Vancity. “This follow-on funding from top financial institutions demonstrates that investors are actively beginning to support women entrepreneurs and businesses,” McBane said.

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