More and more investors and financiers are starting to realize that it’s a smart strategy to invest in women-led companies. Pique Fund is an inclusive angel fund that has been actively investing in women-founded technology ventures in British Columbia since 2014. Off the back of an idea to enable more people to invest in ventures that are impactful, positive, and diverse, Bonnie Foley-Wong, together with lead investor, Lally Rementilla, launched Pique Fund in October 2014.
The fund started with a total of 7 pioneering women, with the vision of creating an inclusive and a diverse community of investors. Our goal was to invest in a mix of early seed stage and late seed stage technology ventures in British Columbia, Canada that demonstrated leadership diversity and positive business culture. It was a brave idea and it felt lonely at the time. Whilst others were still asking the question, “where are the women investors?” and many people were not quite convinced that women entrepreneurs faced challenges accessing equity capital, we at Pique Fund walked the walk.
In our first year, we made four investments in women-led ventures that people-focused and technology-enabled and grew our investor group to 12 investors and a quarter of a million dollars in capital. I remember the moment distinctly. I arranged the profile photos of the four founders we backed into a grid and felt like Pique Fund was really something – tangible, putting our money where our mouth is, and leading the way.
#PiqueFund has been investing in women-led ventures since 2014 (click to tweet)
After Pique Fund launched in 2014, we’ve witnessed more and more people take notice of the opportunities to work with women investors and entrepreneurs. In 2015 came SheEO, gathering crowd-sourced venture philanthropy at an accelerated pace to lend to women-led businesses, and Female Funders, focused on educating more women to help them make their first angel investment (reminiscent of Pipeline Fellowship in the US). Raise Collective, a community of women investors and founders, and Stand Up Ventures, a venture fund focused on women-led companies, launched earlier this year.
At Pique Fund, we are a mix of women and men, people with high and moderate wealth or income, investing equity capital for impact and financial returns. We are a community of experienced and new angel investors. I estimate that close to two-thirds of our investors were first-time venture investors and of that, at least five people went on to make more angel investments after getting started with Pique Fund.
A positive shift is happening in the venture ecosystem. People are diversifying their investments and investing in diversity. They are getting exposure to due diligence processes and new decision-making frameworks such as Integrated Investing. Pique Fund is one of the few ways for investors to have the opportunity of including in their investment portfolio later stage ventures that are typically not accessible to the general investing public. We now have six companies in our portfolio, including Beanworks, an accounting workflow automation company led by Catherine Dahl, CEO, which completed a Series A financing earlier in 2017 (Update September 18, 2018: Beanworks Champions Gender Diversity As Strategy for Business Growth and raises a $10M Series B financing).
For more impact investing resources and tools, check out Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.
Download your free 24-page Integrated Investing Toolkit, by signing up to the Pique Ventures newsletter.