Helping diverse entrepreneurs build innovative startups.

Vancouver-based Pender Ventures invests in promising data-centric startups in health-tech, enterprise software, and industrial transformation. But what it really invests in is people, diversity, and values.

“Diversity is a critical asset in investing,” notes Maria Pacella, Managing Partner at Pender Ventures. “It brings more robust discussion that helps address biases and makes for better investing decisions.”

This conviction, matched with both the diversity and the deep expertise on Pender Ventures’ team, made the firm – one of Canada’s few women-led venture capital firms — a natural fit for Vancity’s Impact Investment Strategy. Since 2016, the Strategy has invested $67 million in 28 venture capital funds that generate tangible social, environmental, and economic benefits through investments in values-aligned startups.

Diversity is a critical asset in investing. It brings more robust discussion that helps address biases and makes for better investing decisions.”

Vancity’s work with Pender Ventures is a case in point. In 2019, Vancity was the firm’s first impact investor, and we invested in it again in 2022. Our investment helped Pender Ventures fund impactful startups like Clarius Mobile Health, a BC firm whose portable ultrasound scanners are enabling doctors to perform medical imaging at remote locations without access to advanced medical technology.

But our work with Pender Ventures and other venture capital firms doesn’t end with the money transfer. We also support such firms with expertise and advice. And Pender Ventures does the same for the entrepreneurs it invests in, providing guidance on scaling their business and hiring the right people.

The Pender Ventures team is diverse in background and experience.

Pacella notes that this hands-on approach addresses a key barrier faced by women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who identify as Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour. “Entrepreneurs need a comfort level with the funders they are working with, a sense of shared values and goals. We look to provide that to the entrepreneurs we invest in, and we have that with Vancity.”