BDC stands up for startups

BDC Capital has backed the StandUp Ventures Fund I, a women-focused fund that has made its first investment in Tealbook.

BDC Capital, the investment arm of the government-owned Business Development Bank of Canada, injected C$5m ($3.6m) into the StandUp Ventures Fund I yesterday.

The fund, set up by the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Ontario province-backed Mars Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF), has now achieved its first close. Additional investors are currently being sought.

StandUp Ventures will be managed by Mars IAF and invest in pre-seed and seed stage startups in the healthcare, IT and cleantech sectors. Eligible startups will need to have at least one female founder in C-level role with a significant ownership stake.

The fund will make between 12 and 20 investments over the next three to five years, with individual commitments ranging from C$250,000 to C$1m.

The fund’s first investment is Tealbook, a platform that speeds up enterprise sourcing of suppliers through peer-driven supplier knowledge and aggregated information.

Stephany Lapierre, founder and CEO of Tealbook, said: "The reality is that women entrepreneurs still face additional hurdles when seeking venture capital.

“This investment will allow Tealbook to continue developing its AI and machine learning capacity and go-to-market strategy, giving us a crucial competitive advantage as we grow our market share. We are thrilled to be StandUp Venture Fund's first investee.”

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