A platform that aims to increase access to women-led capital for women-led businesses is coming to Edmonton. The51, which started in Calgary, offers two separate funds and a membership that includes coaching and mentorship.
"There's not enough women investors; there's not enough women founders receiving capital. There's just not enough women," said Kristina Milke. The organization's name refers to the fact that women make up 51% of the population but women-founded startups only receive 2.3% of venture capital.
Janssen, a member of The51, has faced barriers seeking investment as the co-CEO of AltaML. "I co-founded the business with my husband, and we know that our best chance of getting funding is for him to go out and be the face of the company. That's a strategic decision even though we disagree with it," she told Taproot. Janssen has also been told by investors that they "would never invest in a married couple."
She's hoping that the mentorship offered to entrepreneurs, combined with rallying women investors and teaching them how to assess companies and invest, will provide a boost to Edmonton's up-and-coming women-led businesses.
"You hear over and over from any visible diversity group that they always feel a lot more comfortable when they see people like them," Janssen added. "So if you think about female founders who may already have some fears about pitching to a group of men, imagine how much better they might feel pitching to a group of women."
The launch of The51 in Edmonton is on May 12, with co-CEOs Judy Fairburn and Shelley Kuipers in attendance. They'll be able to answer questions about the platform's funds, such as the sector-agnostic Fund I, which has invested in early-stage companies like Edmonton's True Angle and Areto Labs, and its new Food & AgTech Fund.