BDC upsizes BDC Capital Women in Tech Fund to $70M

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By Ted Liu

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has committed an additional $20 million to its Women in Tech investment program, BDC Capital Women in Tech Fund, as part of its continued efforts to support women entrepreneurs.

The new commitment builds on a 2016 commitment to invest $50 million in women-led technology firms, bringing the total fund size to $70 million, to be invested over five years.

“BDC has a bold vision: To foster the creation of the next generation of successful Canadian women technology entrepreneurs,” said Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director, Strategic Investments and Women in Tech at BDC. “We believe it is our combination of smart capital, entrepreneurial thinking, strong relationships, and a long term approach that will help women tech entrepreneurs build and scale the next generation of companies.”

“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs as they work to find the support they need to start and grow their businesses. With the additional investment announced today, BDC’s funding envelope to support Women in Tech becomes the largest of its kind in North America,” said Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

“There is still much work to do. However, this investment, along with the commitment of more than $700 million to support women-led businesses throughout the economy, demonstrates the untapped potential that women entrepreneurs represent. As we mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, I am proud of the fact that today, women have more resources than ever to scale their companies, help grow the economy, and create good-paying middle class jobs for Canadians.”

As part of the program, $60 million will be dedicated to direct investments to support women-led tech firms. The program will invest equity across all sectors at the seed stage, Series A stage and sometimes at the Series B stage, alongside accelerator partners, investors and other corporate venture partners, as part of a syndicate or as a lead investor.

The remaining $10 million is allotted to indirect investments to regional initiatives, including a $5 million commitment made toward the first close of StandUp Ventures Fund I, managed by MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF).

Since November 2016, BDC has completed nine investments totalling close to $3 million in women-led tech firms, including Nudge Rewards, Bridgit, and Plum.

BDC has taken a comprehensive approach to supporting the needs of women entrepreneurs by offering a full spectrum of financing, advisory services and capital solutions. Today’s announcement complements a 2015 commitment to increase term lending to majority women-owned businesses to at least $700 million over three years. BDC surpassed this objective in 30 months, having lent $809 million to majority women-owned businesses to this day.

photo credit: BDC