The Atlantic Women’s Venture Fund announces the launch of its inaugural fund, Sandpiper Ventures, which will be committed to investing in female tech entrepreneurs across Canada as a proactive and profitable business decision. This coincides with the announcement of venture trailblazer and entrepreneur Danielle Graham who will join the team as Investment Principal on June 1st. The Sandpiper Ventures leadership team also includes leading businesswomen and entrepreneurs Cathy Bennett, Rhiannon Davies and Sarah Young.

Danielle Graham joins Sandpiper from Dream Maker Ventures. Dream Maker Ventures is the first Canadian Venture Capital (VC) Fund founded by persons of colour and women, focused on investing in diverse, underrepresented, underestimated entrepreneurs. Danielle has been active in the tech ecosystem, first as a consultant for Deloitte and then as the Women in Tech Manager for Communitech and Market Readiness Fund Manager for OCE. Danielle founded the Fierce Founders programs, the first female-focused accelerator and bootcamp series in Canada, which continues to provide over $500K annually in seed funding to early stage female-led startups.

Danielle has played an important role in the growth of the angel community network, as a Venture Partner to the Archangel Network of Funds, Board Member for the Golden Triangle Angel Network (GTAN) and GTAN WIT, the first angel group training program for women angels, and Alumni Investment Advisor to the Laurier Startup Fund.  She is a champion and mentor for women entrepreneurs with Next AI, ventureLab's Tech Undivided, York Innovation's Ella, Compass North, the Future of Good, and the Dovetail Summit.

"The Atlantic Women’s Venture Fund and I have been working in parallel on many of the same issues facing our Canadian tech ecosystem. This exceptional team of executives have the personal and professional capital to support the next generation of women-led teams,” says Graham. “We are looking for outperforming teams. A gender-only or race-based approach to diversity is not enough – all women can’t be painted with the same brush. The Sandpiper network will be hugely valuable to our founders as we invest in their growth."

“Sandpiper’s team offers a powerful combination of proven industry leadership, entrepreneurial experience, access to unique deal flow, access to network and access to national and international growth opportunities,” says Davies. “We are delighted to round out the team with such a passionate, respected professional as Danielle.”

Investing with a gender-lens, Sandpiper VC’s mission is to unlock women’s capital for women entrepreneurs. The investment strategy will iterate and evolve over time, as the model is tested through an engaged approach responsive to the top-tier women entrepreneurs across Canada. 

“As a fund, we have access to ambitious female founders and start-up builders,” comments Young, “We see talent coming up the ranks in the big tech platforms and women rising in the ranks of mature industries as change agents. This is an incredible resource of ideas and ambition which are systematically underinvested.”

Sandpipers Founding Partners bring their own capital to the fund and have secured private capital, even in this time of crisis, by offering investors a unique opportunity to contribute to social impact while participating in a profitable investment opportunity. Sandpiper Ventures has secured 50% of its target capital from private investors and is actively fundraising.

The Atlantic Women’s Venture Fund and Sandpiper Ventures founding partners and advisors include:

  • Amy Risley, CEO Skinfix, Inc.
  • Shannon MacDonald, Managing Director, Accenture Canada
  • Cathy Bennett, Bennett Group of Companies, Corporate Director
  • Nicole LeBlanc, Director, Investments & Partnerships, Sidewalk Labs
  • Chere Chapman, CEO, DGI Clinical
  • Rhiannon Davies, Former VP and Board Director, GrandVision N.V.
  • Ozge Yeloglu, VP Enterprise Advanced Analytics, CIBC
  • Karen Hutt, EVP Strategy, Emera
  • Sarah Young, Managing Partner, National