The WEL Story

Marci Hotsenpiller
Principal ZINC strategies
& Investor, WEL Victoria

The Women's Equity Lab was first launched in late 2017 in Victoria, BC by 23 founding partners with the support of the National Angel Capital Organization, (NACO), the Capital Investment Network (CIN) and Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, LLP.

WEL now consists of a powerful community of over 150 women investors from around the world managing a growing portfolio of investments which should reach about 40 company investments by the end of the year. Over 70% of WEL investments are in women-run and women-led businesses. There are funds operating in BC, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia as well as Silicon Valley which also accepts investors outside of North America.

Each group has their own investment thesis and connects closely with the businesses in their region while also making investments across Canada. The groups do not only provide capital to the companies that they invest in but each investment is also backed by a strong network of women who are able to act as advisors, connectors and champions of the investee.

Across regions WEL teams network and share deal flow, education, expertise and resources to support our investees and our communities.

Less than 3% of equity investment 2 goes to women-led businesses although women represent 40% of business owners. 7

Why WEL?

First, most women investors are missing out on the rewards of early-stage investing including the opportunity:

  • to make positive impacts on community and society
  • to support companies that resonate with them and help them grow
  • to engage with incredible entrepreneurs and investors
  • to participate in new fields, transforming industries and the latest innovations
  • for potential significant financial gains.

Through early stage investing, women can gain the inside track and play a leading role in building innovative companies that are transforming society in areas such as healthcare, education, agTech, information technology and the environment while also potentially impacting their portfolio returns through possible involvement.

Second, more women-directed capital will fund and provide expertise to more women-led and women-focused businesses as well as increase the amount of capital available to the overall business system.

Finally, equal shareholder representation and active participation by women in venture investing should lead to more women board directors, advisors and women in leadership.

two women meeting

Mandate & Key Pillars

A venture-investing learning environment where women access world-changing companies, learn the ins and outs of investing, build a diverse network of successful women, and create an investment portfolio of innovative companies that they can collectively impact.

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WEL investors are all active equal participants in the investment process.

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WEL investors' combined influential networks, experiences and backgrounds makes for a powerful investment process

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WEL invests in all companies and process is focused on maximizing ROI (investment thesis differs by regional group)

Get involved and level the playing field in venture investing

Sarah Howard Investor, WEL Vancouver

Sarah Howard
Investor, WEL Vancouver