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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto - Top Hat swaps heads, gains $130M

Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! This past year has been rough for startups, and tha
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Toronto
Locally curated talks, workshops, and other events for those interested in creating a startup, growing one, or who want to connect with startups in the Greater Toronto Area.
Good morning, Toronto startups and entrepreneurs! This past year has been rough for startups, and that misfortune has been unevenly distributed. Women-led startups, and those led by racialized people, have borne the brunt of the pandemic, and deserve recognition.
Pre-pandemic, women founders were underrepresented. Women-led ventures accounted for under a fifth of all startups, and less than 3% of all VC funding. (For Black women founders and teams, it’s an even more abysmal 4% and 0.06%, respectively.) COVID-19 has decimated those figures. VC funding for female-founded or led startups in the U.S. was down 31%, nearly double the 16% drop for firms founded or led by men.
With this disparity of misfortune, women-led startups still standing post-pandemic need our support. Prospective female founders also need our help to gain their footing in an unbalanced industry.
If you know women founders in Canada who deserve recognition, be sure to nominate them for the upcoming RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. For 29 years, these awards have shone a spotlight on Canada’s most accomplished and impactful women. Scroll to the next section for more information.
Similarly, if you’d like the world to know about women who’ve helped startups succeed, tell their story on Early@. It’s inspired by a recent Twitter thread, giving that recognition a more permanent place.
Also keep in mind that the StrikeUP 2021 Digital Conference for Women Entrepreneurs is coming up on March 4.
In funding news, Toronto’s Georgian doubled its investment in local digital textbook publisher Top Hat last week with an additional $130M. Top Hat also announced that it will be changing its CEO. Founder Mike Silagadze will be stepping down, to be replaced by a new hire. Joe Rohrlich, previously chief revenue officer with Austin, Tex.-based marketing software company Bazaarvoice Inc, and handpicked by Silagadze, will assume the role of CEO.
Community Opportunities
Here are some upcoming deadlines for applying to accelerators, grants and funding, or other competitions. Don’t miss out! If you know of others, please submit any application deadlines and I’ll post them if they’re relevant.
Think you have the next high-potential technology venture and want to take it to the next level? This 4-month virtual accelerator program is designed to support entrepreneurs as they launch and scale their ventures through bootcamps, workshops, one-on-one mentorship, and over $30K in cash awards plus perks. Formerly known as LaunchYU Accelerator, the program on helps pre-revenue technology startups execute their go-to-market strategies and acquire customers. The program will feature ample opportunities for hands-on experience, accountability sessions, customized mentorship, and dedicated growth hours with key partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Mar 26 - IFH LAB 2021
As millions of Canadians struggle to pay for today, save for tomorrow, and plan for the unexpected, they need help to better their financial lives. IFH Lab is a six-month program for early-stage startups designing real solutions to the most pressing financial health challenges Canadians face, particularly those most financially vulnerable. Selected startups receive access to mentorship with personalized guidance from founders, financial services executives, investors, and experts in financial health. Startup teams will also join a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs, exchange best practices, and get access to a broader network of investors and partners.
The events of this past year have created incredible challenges for all entrepreneurs, with studies showing that women in particular have been hardest hit by the global pandemic. This year, it’s more important than ever to elevate the women entrepreneurs and founders in our communities who continue to invest it all, demonstrating remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of all obstacles. It’s time to recognize their work in front of a national audience, and a nomination is the first step. If you know a Canadian founder that deserves some recognition, nominate her.

Have a great week, and stay well!
Ian Stevens ◦ ianstevens.ca

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Techstars Startup Digest Toronto is curated by:
Ian Stevens Ian Stevens - https://ianstevens.ca/
ian.stevens@startupdigestmail.com
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