SheBoot's second edition attracts more than 125 applicants

SheBoot launch 2020
From left, Invest Ottawa co-chair and numbercrunch's Susan Richards, P2Peak Consulting principal Ella Mar, 500 Startups partner Neha Khera, Neurovine CEO Ashleigh Kennedy, consultant and angel investor Nadine Martel, Capital Angel Network chair Jennifer Francis and Invest Ottawa vice-president Sonya Shorey gather at last year's Womxn Angel Investor Breakfast where SheBoot was launched. File photo

A bootcamp for female founders that generated buzz for the fundraising prowess of its first cohort in 2020 has attracted twice as many applicants for its second edition, organizers said Wednesday.

More than 125 companies from across Canada are vying for 10 spots in Sheboot, a program hosted by the Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, up from 54 a year ago. The intensive six-week program aims to arm women-led tech companies with fundamental business and investment skills and increase funding for female founders.

The program will culminate in a pitchfest with a minimum of $100,000 in investment on the table from local women angel investors as well as $100,000 in funding from FedDev Ontario, with $10,000 allocated to each participant.

According to business data platform Crunchbase, companies with female founders received just 2.3 per cent of all global VC funding in 2020, down from 2.9 per cent in 2019. Women-led startups landed a total of $4.9 billion in venture capital last year, a 27 per cent drop from the year before.

“We created SheBoot because we know there is a major gap in investment for women entrepreneurs,” co-founder Sonya Shorey, Invest Ottawa’s vice-president of strategy, marketing and communications, said in a statement. “We have a very long way to go, but every step forward makes a difference.”

The winner of last fall’s inaugural SheBoot pitchfest was intellectual property lawyer Julie MacDonell. She took home $150,000 in funding for her startup, Heirlume, which helps small businesses register trademarks. The firm recently secured $1.7 million in seed funding.

Other SheBoot alumni have also been making headlines. 

Second-place finisher Vaultt, which makes a mobile app that stores patients’ medical data and other vital information on a secure platform, signed a partnership last month with Boehringer Ingelheim, the world’s largest private pharmaceutical company. 

Also last month, Treehouse Medical, another 2020 participant, received $30,000 in cash and in-kind services after winning Canada’s Total Mom Pitch.

This year’s bootcamp is slated to run from Sept. 13 to Oct. 23.