Investissement Québec becomes the first institutional fund to join the initiative and confirm its commitment to women entrepreneurs and business leaders
November 16, 2020 (Toronto, Montreal) — Driven by the rapid success achieved in its first eight months in mobilizing capital to reach its global goal of US$1bn of venture fund pledges towards women-founded companies, Beyond the Billion, along with its Canadian partners, Cycle Capital Management and Loyal VC, join hands to extend efforts driven by The Billion Dollar Fund for Women (TBDFW). The launch of the Beyond the Billion (BTB) initiative is the next phase to build on TBDFW’s initial momentum for tackling the gender funding gap.
Andrée-Lise Méthot, Founder and Managing Partner, Cycle Capital Management highlighted, “According to Pitchbook, in 2019, less than 3% of global venture funding went to all-women teams, and only 12% to gender-diverse teams . Throughout the growth of Cycle Capital, we have always striven to further the cause of female entrepreneurs; we are aware it is not a deal flow issue and we leverage our diversity around the investment table. Now with Beyond the Billion and Loyal VC, we have an opportunity to find other like-minded partners and harness support across Canada to make a pledge and join the consortium. We are mobilizing existing venture funds and limited partner investors to work together towards a common global goal — catalyze capital to scale women-founded companies in a sustainable manner.”
“Many investors aren’t aware that the standard pitch process is biased against women founders” stated Kamal Hassan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Loyal VC. “This is a factor as to why so few female entrepreneurs receive funding though they represent 28% of all founders in Canada. This is true despite the fact that women who do get funded tend to achieve better financial returns. BTB is not just about gender fairness, it is also an opportunity for venture funds that invest in women, as well as the limited partner investors into these funds, to achieve improved results.”
Beginning in 2020, Beyond the Billion expanded its outreach to target both General Partners (GPs) and Limited Partners (LPs). BTB will facilitate connections for GPs seeking to gender-diversify their portfolios to LPs committed to mobilizing their funds behind such GPs who invest in women-founded companies. These connections will assist LPs to achieve their goal of driving more capital to women founders. As they fulfill their pledges, and the combined group purpose, they will deliver larger pools of capital for venture investments.
Investissement Quebec and Teralys, first LPs to join Beyond the Billion
Investissement Québec and Teralys become the first Canadian investors to directly support BTB to propel impact towards conquering the gender funding imbalance.
Investissement Québec, a government corporation that plays an active role in Québec’s economic development providing creative solutions for businesses, is the first Canadian institutional investor to join the initiative.
Consistent with its Strategic Plan 2020-2023, it commits to further support and fund even more women-led or owned businesses. The intent is to raise the number of women-led businesses as a proportion of all client businesses currently receiving financing to 18% of the total.
“Investissement Québec is proud to partner with the initiative Beyond the Billion to contribute to the development of women-led or women-owned businesses. We know that only 16% of Quebec SMEs are predominantly owned by women and that these female entrepreneurs are often facing more barriers then men when seeking funding. We are determined to help talented female leaders achieve their ambitions by collaborating with others ecosystem partners that want to facilitate access to capital to women entrepreneurs,” said Guy LeBlanc, President and CEO of Investissement Québec.
“Teralys Capital, Canada’s largest innovation-focused investor, is committed to supporting and scaling the number of women-led companies and venture capital funds in Canada. As limited partner and investor, we have an integral role to play in fostering greater female representation in our industry, within funds and portfolio companies. As such, Teralys has made gender diversity an equally weighted pillar when assessing new opportunities, along with integrating gender-related reporting requirements from our fund managers. We are proud to partner with Beyond the Billion and ecosystem partners to propel this goal forward.” said Cédric Bisson, Partner, Teralys.
“The leadership of our Canadian fund partners in both pledging and now deploying capital to women innovators is a testament to the fact that they know that investing in women is good business. Since we launched TBDFW in 2018, 18 Canadian-based venture funds pledged significantly toward our achieving our $1bn goal and we are confident that they will fulfill their pledges as we round out the year.” said Shelly Porges, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Beyond the Billion and The Billion Dollar Fund for Women.
“With Cycle Capital and Loyal VC now taking on the role of Canadian co-leads in support of this global initiative, we would like to also offer a heartfelt thank you to Lally Rementilla, in her role as CEO of Quantius (now Managing Partner, IP-Backed Financing at BDC) for her energy and leadership in helping us successfully launch TBDFW in Canada. We are grateful for the leadership provided by both Cycle Capital and Loyal VC and for their on-going dedication to supporting women founders; opening access to capital will be instrumental to our success in closing the venture funding gender gap.”
Gaining commitment from venture partners and investors will be a solid step forward in supporting great women founders. Studies have shown that businesses founded by women deliver more than twice as much revenue per dollar invested. With Canada’s goal of doubling the number of women entrepreneurs by 2025, the investments made by Canadian partner funds will be more important than ever to ensure the success of these early-stage ventures and showcase Canadian diversity best-practices globally.
Individuals, family offices, institutions, and venture funds can learn more about Beyond the Billion from the Founders of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, seek information regarding how to participate, and view the global list of current VC participants committed to catalyzing capital at www.beyondthebillion.com.
Catherine Bérubé, Cycle Capital
Helen Vasilevski, Loyal VC
Isabelle Fontaine, Investissement Québec
Current Canadian Pledgors: The Billion Dollar Fund for Women (TBDFW) & Beyond the Billion (BTB)
|Amplify Capital (MaRS Canada)
|Cross Border Impact Ventures
|Dream Maker Ventures
|Grand Challenges Canada
ABOUT BEYOND THE BILLION
Beyond The Billion™(BTB), launched by Shelly Porges and Sarah Chen, the Founders of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women™(TBDF) was founded to address the gender venture investment gap where women-founded teams receive less than 3% of total VC funding. In less than a year, TBDF mobilized a global consortium of over 80 venture funds committed to investing $1Bn in women-founded companies. Following this, Shelly and Sarah launched Beyond The Billion (“BTB”), to catalyze capital deployed to these venture funds, ensuring their continued capacity to invest- by mobilizing LP commitments, convening LPs and connecting them to GPs who invest in venture-backable companies founded by diverse women founders.
ABOUT CYCLE CAPITAL
Cycle Capital Management is an impact investor and Canada’s largest cleantech venture capital investment platform with AUM (assets under management) close to $0.5B. With offices in Montreal, Toronto and Qingdao – in continental China – and a presence in New York and Seattle, Cycle Capital invests in companies at the development and growth stages that commercialize clean technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, optimize resource use and improve process efficiency throughout North America and China. Cycle Capital is also the Founder of the Ecofuel Accelerator and the Co-Founder of the Ecofuel Fund.
Cycle Capital brings together seasoned investment professionals, strategic advisors and industrial partners with in-depth knowledge of the sector. The firm has many industrial partners such as Suez, Rio Tinto, Hydro-Québec, Brookfield, Innergex Renewable Energy, Énergir, Cascades, Lonza, Aluminerie Alouette, Qingdao City Construction Investment Group and impact investors including Vancity Credit Union, McConnell Foundation, Trottier Family Foundation and few family offices. For more information on Cycle Capital, visit: www.cyclecapital.com
ABOUT LOYAL VC
Loyal VC operates a global startup index fund with over 125 investments across more than 30 countries. The fund is designed to minimize systemic bias inherent in the investment process, unlocking greater returns. With its collaborative, staged investment process, its network of over 300 global advisors, and its global relationships with the world’s largest pre-seed accelerator, Founder Institute, and the #1 non-US business school for unicorn founders rated by Pitchbook, INSEAD, the Loyal Startup Index Fund has delivered strong returns since its launch in 2018. The fund’s portfolio is diverse across a number of dimensions: more than 30% of portfolio company CEOs are female, nearly 30% are from emerging markets, and 80% are leveraging technology to address one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Learn more at: www.loyal.vc
About Investissement Québec (www.investquebec.com/quebec)
Investissement Québec’s mission is to play an active role in Québec’s economic development by spurring business innovation, entrepreneurship and business acquisitions, as well as growth in investment and exports. Operating in all the province’s administrative regions, the Corporation supports the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes with investments and customized financial solutions. It also assists businesses by providing consulting services and other support measures, including technological assistance available from its CRIQ business unit. In addition, through Investissement Québec International, the Corporation also prospects for foreign investment and assists businesses with export activities.
 Dec ’19: “fewer than 10% of decision-makers at U.S. VC firms are women, according to a 2019 Axios analysis” from https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/09/us-vc-investment-in-female-founders-hits-all-time-high/