Healthy contingent of local entrepreneurs part of SheBoot's second cohort

Growcer co-founders
Alida Burke (left), makes her pitch with business partner Corey Ellis when the co-founders of The Growcer appeared on Dragons' Den in 2019. Burke is one of 10 women entrepreneurs taking part in SheBoot's second edition this fall. File photo

Six entrepreneurs from the National Capital Region are among 10 female business founders taking part in an Ottawa-based bootcamp aimed at helping their companies scale up and secure funding.

The Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, the organizers of the event, unveiled the second cohort of SheBoot on Tuesday.

The six-week bootcamp, which runs from Sept. 13 to Oct. 23, is designed to help women business leaders beef up their investment skills as well as offer networking opportunities and introduce founders to potential investors. 

This year’s SheBoot attracted more than 125 applicants. The 10 participants will be eligible for $300,000 in total funding, including $200,000 worth of angel investment for winners of the final pitchfest held during AccelerateOTT, Invest Ottawa’s annual entrepreneurship conference. 

The remaining $100,000 will be divvied up equally among all participants, who will receive cash or equivalent business expenditures from FedDev Ontario.

The 10 members of the 2021 cohort include:

• Anu Bidani, founder and CEO of STEM Minds, an online education platform based in Aurora
• Alida Burke, co-founder and COO of The Growcer, an agri-tech firm based in Ottawa that makes hydroponic containers that grow food without requiring soil
• Cat Czyrnyj, co-founder and CEO of PELV-X Labs, a local health-tech startup that develops tools to diagnose, monitor and treat urogynecological disorders
• Suzanna Ersoy, co-founder and CEO of Collabofide, a Gloucester-based company that matches platforms with trained assessors to ensure they conform to international standards and best practices 
• Simone Godbout, the Ottawa-based co-founder and CEO of Marlow, a startup that sells fragrance-free tampons made of organic cotton
• Keren Moynihan, co-founder and CEO of Boss Insights, a Toronto-based firm that provides real-time accounting, banking and business data to lenders
• Natalie Raffoul and Jennifer Raoul, the Ottawa-based co-founders and co-CEOs of Orula/Fortress.Legal, a platform that allows tech firms to better manage their IP and track contracts
• Vanessa de Waal, founder and CEO of Flöka, an Ottawa- and Vancouver-based wellness app-maker
• Karen Wong, co-founder and CEO of TakuLabs, a Toronto-based retail management platform
• Sophie Wyne, co-founder and CEO of Ariglad, a Vancouver startup whose software tracks employee engagement and satisfaction

“These ten founders serve as role models for the next generation of women entrepreneurs,” SheBoot co-founder Jennifer Francis, who is also chair of the Capital Angel Network and a member of Invest Ottawa’s board of directors, said in a statement.

“We are excited to help them secure the investment required to grow and compete globally.”

Organizers are hoping to build on last year’s success as alumni from the initial SheBoot cohort have wasted no time in making their mark on the business world. 

The winner of the inaugural pitchfest was intellectual property lawyer Julie MacDonell. She took home $150,000 in funding for her startup, Heirlume, which helps small businesses register trademarks. The firm recently secured $1.7 million in seed funding.

Second-place finisher Vaultt, which makes a mobile app that stores patients’ medical data and other vital information on a secure platform, signed a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim, the world’s largest private pharmaceutical company. 

Meanwhile, Treehouse Medical, another 2020 participant, received $30,000 in cash and in-kind services after winning Canada’s Total Mom Pitch.