New Funding Opportunities for LGBTQ Entrepreneurs in Montreal
Queer Tech Montreal welcomes the Gaingels network on our home turf
Being an entrepreneur is tough enough; being an “out” entrepreneur comes with additional sets of challenges. For one, many LGBTQ founders face a steeper uphill battle when trying to raise money from angel and venture-capital investors. Given that the vast majority of investors do not identify as LGBTQ, many tech startup founders from this community experience an interpersonal gap of lived experience between them and potential investors. This interpersonal divide proves burdensome towards establishing strong networks and trust, which are fundamental to securing fruitful investor-business relationships. Queer Tech Montreal is excited to announce our latest initiative aimed at closing this gap in the city’s startup ecosystem.
On July 12th, 2017, our team held a private event that brought together leaders in finance, business and the media from both the LGBTQ and Ally communities. In one evening, we were able to bridge LGBTQ investors with entrepreneurs and set a new foundation to empower our community.
Welcoming Gaingels to Montreal
Originally from New York, the Gaingels syndicate has grown into an international network of LGBTQ angel investors and venture capitalists that jointly invest in LGBTQ-owned startup businesses. Funded companies also benefit from long-term mentorship and opportunities to partner with affiliated businesses. With our guidance, the Gaingels network will now extend its reach to Montreal.
Now totalling more than 120 members worldwide, the network enables LGBTQ investors to pool resources so that individual investments are typically in the range of five to fifteen thousand dollars. In addition to reducing risks for each investor in one company, this network collaboration enables investors with a fair chunk of change to fund several companies worldwide and thus build a diverse, lower-risk investment portfolio.
Our invited guest and keynote speaker for the evening was the founder of Gaingels, Paul Grossinger; here are notable statements from his presentation:
“We found that one of the most important things that we can do to advance [the LGBTQ] community is to have our dollars, as well as corporate dollars and corporate support, behind initiatives for equality. So it’s incredibly important for them to be engaged on that.”
“We really want to have a lot of local agency in what we do, combined with international contributions.”
“We really want to be a global ecosystem for the LGBT community to invest in itself — that’s the goal. We don’t see Gaingles as “a group”, or “a syndicate”, or “a venture fund”, or whatnot. We really see it as a collective ecosystem, where lots of different players from various countries can interact within [the ecosystem] to do the things they specialize in, including individuals.”
“One of my goals here in Montreal is … to really get to know what do you all think should happen in Montreal, and how can Gaingels be effective here in adding value to the ecosystem and in partnering with all of you individually and collectively to do that, rather than superimposing our methodologies on you.”
“We find that the LGBT community does a lot to help its fellow members in many cases. And people will go that extra mile to assist. If you can amplify that across a network of dozens of people, or hundreds of people, you have a much greater level of success.”
The Gaingels network now seeks 10 to 20 accredited investors to establish the Montreal chapter. Once confirmed, the network plans to begin investing in local startups by January, 2018. With at least 10 investors on the ground, Paul expects that Gaingels will be capable of funding four to five seed and series-A round opportunities per year.
(If you are interested in joining the Montreal Gaingels chapter or would like more information, please contact us at email@example.com)
An ever expanding mandate for Queer Tech Montreal
We at Queer Tech Montreal continue to grow and make important contributions to Montreal’s burgeoning tech sector. Still less than a year since our inception, we established a recognised and well-respected advocacy group for LGBTQ professionals. We have built a community that brings more than visibility and awareness of LGBTQ minorities in technology; we are now representatives of Montreal’s Queer tech sector that are present at several prominent conferences and speaking engagements.
With our solidified network, we are ready to be influencers. Our mandate now includes a continued effort to be thought leaders that develop policy statements and guidelines to promote LGBTQ diversity and inclusion within the tech industry.
Our sights are set on using our technical muscles to strength the LGBTQ community. We now mobilize our network of tech professionals to come together and employ our technological capacities to strengthen the operations of local LGBTQ charities and non-profits. For this year’s Canada Pride festivities, Queer Tech Montreal will host the first Pride Hacks, where our tech members will breath new life into the technological capacities of four local LGBTQ charities and non-profits so that they can better serve their members.
Our inaugural investors’ event is just the beginning. In collaboration with Gaingels, we will continue to build an ecosystem within the LGBTQ community that facilitates access to funding so that intrepid entrepreneurs can access the resources they need to build competitive companies. With this ecosystem in place, we are confident that our growing network will empower LGBTQ business leaders in tech and propel the economy of the LGBTQ community to new heights.
What does the future hold for Queer Tech Montreal? We now aim to expand our mandate to empower the LGBTQ community through mentorship and employment opportunities. We aspire to direct exceptional talent from our network to challenging job opportunities at Montreal’s leading tech companies. LGBTQ business leaders will continue to take centre stage at our monthly events so we can exposé inspirational entrepreneurs that motivate other LGBTQ members to take the leap into the challenging realm of entrepreneurship.
Will you be one of them?
Queer Tech Montreal would like to express our gratitude to Norton Rose Fulbright and TD Bank for sponsoring our inaugural investors event, which was held at the Montreal head office of the global law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright.
Queer Tech Montreal hosts monthly events and we would love for you to join us. Women, Trans*, gender non-binary, intersex, asexual, bisexual and ally members are always welcomed with open arms.
Join our Meetup Group and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay abreast of our initiatives. We’re run by volunteers and are always interested in having new board members join our team — just drop us message on one of our digital platforms.
Do you want to make a positive impact on the LGBTQ community? Join us for Pride Hacks on August 12th as part of the Canada Pride festivities. There’s no charge. You will join a team to help LGBTQ charities and non-profits upgrade their tech capacities so the they can better serve our community.