Halifax - September 29, 2021 Sandpiper Venture’s flagship SV Fund I (SVF I) announced the successful first fundraising close of the venture capital (VC) fund investing in women-led companies, reaching an initial fundraising goal in excess of $10M. Created and launched to invest in women and women’s innovation as a proactive and profitable business decision.

Sandpiper was one of the first venture funds in Canada investing in women-led companies at the seed stage, and the first on the east coast. The fund has the largest number of private investors in an Atlantic Canadian venture fund.

“Investing in female founders is simply good business,” Founder and Managing Partner Rhiannon Davies commented. “Statistics show that female founders experience greater successes than their male counterparts, but traditional VC doesn’t yet reflect this fact. Sandpiper is disrupting this. The operator-led fund invests in impactful women-led start-ups across tech-enabled companies.”

Sandpiper investors include numerous entrepreneurs and leaders from the community and ecosystem across the region and country. Investors committed during the first round of fundraising include institutional and individual investors and family offices such as Annette Verschuren, Gerry Pond, Mark Dobbin, Brigus Capital, Technology Venture Partners and Scotiabank’s Roynat Capital.

Annette Verschuren, O.C., Chair and CEO, NRStor Inc., one of Sandpiper’s early investors, notes, “Sandpiper Ventures is such a timely and important venture fund aimed at women-owned businesses. I have always believed women are great entrepreneurs who have enormous runway and who better to encourage, support and invest in them than the great women leaders at Sandpiper. I predict great economic and social success from this initiative for the Atlantic provinces.”

“Women face many challenges when it comes to attracting funding for their businesses,” says Gillian Riley, President and CEO, Tangerine Bank, and executive sponsor of The Scotiabank Women Initiative. “Through its mandate to invest in women-led businesses and innovation, Sandpiper is helping to make real change towards closing the gender gap in venture capital funding. This is very important work that will benefit Atlantic Canada, but also set the stage for similar initiatives across the country.”

As the fund moves into the next round of fundraising, Founder and Managing Partner Cathy Bennett commented, “We started our fundraising welcoming many investors new to the asset class. It is important to us to recruit more women to venture capital.”

Sandpiper primarily makes seed-stage investments. Sandpiper has also just completed its first investments from the fund, with its participation in DeNova’s raise and leading Coloursmith Lab’s raise. Sandpiper will continue the firm’s strategy of working closely with exceptional entrepreneurs and management teams to build innovative, tech-enabled companies on the east coast and across Canada.


“While Atlantic Canada often punches above its weight, we need more female founders to truly ring the bell…enter Sandpiper”.

- Gerry Pond, Chairman and Co-Founder Mariner Partners

“Sandpiper’s ability to provide our portfolio companies with a bridge to relevant networks in global markets and the experience to support their expansion and scaling. We are delighted to have had strong support from our existing investor base and look forward to welcome new investors into the fund.”

- Cathy Bennett, Founder and Managing Partner, Sandpiper Ventures

“While we’re looking forward to onboard investors across Canada who are interested in investing in real opportunity and change, we’re opening the door for founders to access a wide range of experience and new customers.”

- Rhiannon Davies, Founder and Managing Partner, Sandpiper Ventures

“We love backing brilliant, diverse entrepreneurs on Canada’s east coast and across the country. They are leading change in our world and creating category defining companies. Our team of founders with vast networks and experience are positioned to invest capital and experience to help these companies take flight.”

- Sarah Young, Founder and Managing Partner, Sandpiper Ventures

“Sandpiper Ventures is taking a leadership role in closing the financing gap for women entrepreneurs. Having experienced the frustration of accessing start-up funding as a woman entrepreneur, I’m proud to now be part of the solution. Beyond the social impact of closing the financing gap for women entrepreneurs, I have no doubt this fund will be financially successful due to Sandpipers’ determined female founders and the innovative women entrepreneurs they will invest in. Why wouldn’t I invest in Sandpiper Ventures(!) - we’ve got smart women investing in women owned-businesses to make an economic impact in the Atlantic provinces with the potential for great financial returns. It’s win-win-win.”

- Andrea King, Verafin

Quick Facts

  • Only 15% of partners in venture capital funds are female (less in Atlantic Canada).
  • Only 2% of angel investors in Canada are female and female founders receive only 3% of VC dollars. Women of colour receive just 0.2% of funding, and there are no stats available for Indigenous women, LGBTQ women and/or women with disabilities, likely because the numbers are so small.
  • Female entrepreneurs receive $0.8M CAD while male counterparts receive $2.1M CAD.
  • Female-owned start-ups generated $0.78 revenue/$ invested, compared.
    to male-only start-ups who generated $0.31 revenue/$ invested (Boston Consulting Group).
  • Female-founded companies perform 63% better than all-male founded companies (First Round Capital).
  • Women-led teams generate a 35% higher ROI than all-male teams (The Ewing Marian Kauffman Foundation).
  • Women’s share of private wealth is ~35% in Canada and growing. Women make 80% of healthcare decisions and up to 85% of consumer purchasing decisions (Catalyst Research / Buying Power, 2020).

Associated links

  • Sandpiper Backs DeNova: The female-led early-stage investment fund makes its first investment - Entrevestor
  • Coloursmith Labs Raises $2M: Sandpiper led the round for the company developing optical filters. Entrevestor

About Sandpiper Ventures

Sandpiper Ventures (www.sandpiper.vc) is a seed stage venture capital fund committed to investing in women and women’s innovation as a proactive and profitable business decision. Sandpiper’s management team and active advisors are proven business leaders with deep industry experience and network access, providing access to unique deal-flow and the tools and networks to support portfolio companies to reach massive proportions.


For more information, please contact:

Rhiannon Davies, Sandpiper Ventures



Follow us on Twitter: @Sandpiper_VC
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sandpiperventures

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