Michelle McBane on narrowing the gender investment gap in venture capital

A recent Crunchbase survey found that 11% of all venture capital dollars went to companies with at least one woman on the founding team. However, 16% of all startup venture capital dollars went to companies with at least one woman on the founding team.

For Michelle McBane, Managing Director of StandUp Ventures, this statistic represents the growing pipeline of talented founders, of which she has championed over the past 20 years. In a recent interview for the #CIBCInnovationEconomy podcast, McBane spoke about the gender investment gap in VC and what it means to female founders that Canada finally gets bigger pools of capital at the stage of priming and growth.

“I get frustrated when I hear people say they can’t find deals. “
– Michelle McBane

McBane said she was happy to see the pipeline of women-led tech companies grow at the start-up stage because she sees it as a justification for all the times other investors have lamented a “problem.” pipeline “.

“I get frustrated when I hear people say they can’t find deals,” McBane said.

Based on what McBane sees, the investor noted that the tendency for women-led companies to show up more at VC meetings and close more VC funding is expected to continue to improve. She said that startup pools – the capital that VCs hold explicitly to invest in startup companies, whether they are thematic funds, geography-focused funds or large startup funds – are increasing, this which means that investors can invest more capital. in the companies they support. This, McBane said, will encourage more people to focus on the seed stage, as they can keep up in the next few rounds and keep their participation as the business grows.

At the same time, the VC is eagerly awaiting the next step: the founding women not only collect seed rounds, but also $ 100-150 million in Series C and D rounds. It will be interesting to see this development, McBane said, as the founders expect more from the VCs they partner with. She said the founders are “increasingly looking across the table,” wanting to make sure the venture capital firm they’re partnering with understands that diversity is a competitive advantage. Just as founding teams aim to reflect the customers they serve, founders seek their VCs to do the same.

“It’s up to VCs to think about how they’re going to branch out,” McBane said.

This call for diversity and support for women-led businesses as they grow resonates louder for McBane, as Canada is experiencing not only an increase in start-up capital, but a massive increase in growth capital as well, startups mobilizing huge growth cycles or making major acquisitions. McBane said almost none of these growth capital options were available in Canada five years ago, “a testament to the maturity of the industry.”

McBane noted that everyone is wondering what will happen now that VC has seen record inflows. The wave of activity even had an impact on StandUp Ventures: McBane said under normal circumstances the fund would write four checks per year. However, she has already written five checks since October 2020.

“I’ve never been in such a busy market,” McBane said.


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