Women’s Equity Lab Toronto (WEL) early stage venture fund launches its second fund in 2 years.
March 7, 2023
WEL Toronto launched its second fund in February – bringing together 50 women investors from the GTA to pool their capital to invest in early stage Canadian businesses.
WEL Fund 2 follows the debut Toronto fund launched in 2021. WEL is an investing and learning platform where a group of 40-50 women can get access to early stage deal flow, and learn how to invest alongside other women and experienced investors.
“We’re thrilled to get our second fund up and running,” says Sally Morris, Managing Partner, WEL Toronto. “The response to our first WEL Toronto fund was extremely strong, and we are very happy to be able to bring 50 more women into our second capital raise.”
WEL Toronto is part of WEL National – an organization founded in 2017 with a mission to get more women involved in angel investing. “Women controlled capital can be a powerful force for change. Investment capital controlled by women continues to grow, and we’ve seen an incredible opportunity to bring women together to actively participate while providing essential financing to early stage companies.” says Stephanie Andrew, Founding Partner, WEL.
WEL Toronto has invested in tech-enabled startups from a cross section of industries ranging from environmental, medtech, beauty and the funeral industry. With growing momentum, access to more deals and a larger investment pool, WEL Toronto is poised to become a meaningful force in increasing diversity in the flow of private equity.
Our mission of ’more female investor representation now, equal representation someday’ is resonating across the country,” says Jane Tucker, Managing Partner, WEL Toronto. “In addition to Toronto, WEL has chapters in Victoria, Vancouver, and funds launching in Manitoba, Silicon Valley, and an Atlantic Provinces group fund made up of investors from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland.”
The WEL investing model was created to address the chronic and systemic underrepresentation of women in early stage investing. By reducing the barriers to entry that have typically kept women out – gender bias, lack of previous investing experience, capital needed to get involved – our Learning On InvestmentTM (LOI) approach is designed to facilitate entry into this investment class. Launched in 2017, WEL now consists of a powerful community of over 150 women investors from across the country 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. WEL not-for-profit was created to support national fund operations with funding from the Government of Canada.