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Pender Ventures elevating $100-million after backing BC software program stars Copperleaf and Jane

One of many few Canadian enterprise capital corporations led by a lady is aiming to boost $100-million for its second fund after backing two of the nation’s most profitable women-led software program startups.

Vancouver’s Pender Ventures, an arm of PenderFund Capital Administration Ltd., has raised half of the goal for the fund, or $50-million, backed by previous traders Export Growth Canada and Vancouver Metropolis Financial savings Credit score Union, and newcomers BMO Capital Companions, Kinsted Wealth Inc., Canadian Imperial Financial institution of Commerce CM-T and affiliate Pender Progress Fund PTF-X.

The second fund has already raised twice as a lot as Pender’s first, a $25-million investing automobile.

Pender Ventures, led by managing associate Maria Pacella, has additionally expanded nationally, hiring former Actual Ventures associate Isaac Souweine, and principal Meryeme Lahmami, beforehand with BDC Capital’s Ladies in Tech enterprise fund, each in Montreal.

Guillermo Freire, senior vice-president of mid-market with EDC, stated the Crown company backed Pender “based mostly on their funding thesis, the variety of their funding crew and their values,” and Pender’s “sturdy observe report of rising Canadian exporters.”

Since Pender’s first fund started investing in 2018, it has generated a median annual inner price of return above its 25 per cent to 30 per cent goal – even after writing down a few of holdings within the tech downturn since late 2021.

These comparatively sturdy returns are largely because of Pender’s investments in native firms Copperleaf Applied sciences Inc. CPLF-T, whose chief government Judi Hess stepped down Jan 1. to grow to be vice-chair; and Jane Software program Inc., co-led by founders Alison Taylor and Trevor Johnston.

Ms. Pacella led one of many earliest investments into Copperleaf in 2010 when she was with GrowthWorks Capital, and later purchased into the choice analytics software program agency by way of Pender upfront of Copperleaf’s 2021 preliminary public providing.

Pender in 2019 additionally led the primary institutional funding into Jane, a worthwhile apply administration software program supplier for well being professionals that has continued to thrive regardless of the tech sector’s current downturn.

Ms. Pacella stated she took pleasure within the truth 40 per cent of the businesses Pender has backed have girls and/or BIPOC founders, who’ve usually struggled to boost enterprise capital in contrast with firms led by white males.

“Hopefully I will have some nice monetary success and dedicate what I do to serving to different girls, to assist extra enter the enterprise and achieve success,” Ms. Pacella stated in an interview. “I wish to exit of my manner to assist as a result of I had assist from others.”

Within the circumstances of Copperleaf and Jane, Pender invested by shopping for shares from different founders, circuitously from the corporate, in what is named a secondary transaction. Pender prefers to hunt out non-competitive financing alternatives slightly than bid to get into sizzling offers at excessive costs.

Shopping for into secondaries “has been a fantastic technique for fund one,” Ms. Pacella stated. “We labored arduous on the lookout for under-the-radar alternatives, firms that weren’t essentially fundraising.”

Ms. Pacella stated the brand new fund will focus totally on Canadian software program corporations within the well being care house and can usually make investments $2-million to $3-million apiece in firms which are producing a number of million {dollars} a 12 months in income and wish to scale up .

Pender’s new fund has already made three investments, together with financings for Traction Rec Applied sciences Inc., a supplier of buyer relationship administration for group facilities and non-profit organizations, and DistillerSR Inc., which sells an artificial-intelligence-driven software to automate opinions of regulatory submissions for medicine and well being care units.

Pender is elevating cash throughout a difficult time for the sector: Know-how valuations have crashed, firms have laid off greater than 200,000 individuals globally for the reason that begin of 2022 and a few institutional traders have gotten chilly ft about backing startups.

Ms. Pacella acknowledged in an interview “it should be a stretch” to succeed in her fundraising objective, which is 4 instances the dimensions of the primary fund, which fell wanting its $60-million goal when it closed in 2020 due to COVID-19. 19-related uncertainty.

“Even in a superb market that is arduous,” she stated. “However I believe we have confirmed ourselves with fund one, doing what we stated we will do. It is performing effectively and the returns are good.”

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