SPRING BLOG

Angel investing in the Yukon: an exciting road ahead

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Spring Activator is partnering with YukonUniversity Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Yukonstruct, and Yukon Venture Angels to develop the ecosystem of early-stage angel investors in the Yukon.

Since the start of 2022, these organizations have partnered to launch the first Investor Challenge in the territory. The goal has been to foster interest in early-stage local investments on the investor side. On the entrepreneur side, the goal is to develop the other side of the coin: provide early-stage startups with an understanding of what angel investment is about, what it takes to raise funds, and more generally understand how this fits with their entrepreneurial journey.

Yukon Investor Challenge social gathering on March 28, 2022 at Yukonstruct.

The investment challenge started in March of this year and gathered a team of 15 local investors (among those, 5 women), all Yukon based with a keen interest in developing direct investment in the local startups. They committed to collectively invest $45k in the company that would emerge as the winner of the Challenge. On the entrepreneur side, the partners received close to 20 applications and selected 10 to pitch at the start of the program on April 4, 2022.

This first Investor Challenge has shown just how strong and dedicated Yukoners are to supporting the growth of our investment eager entrepreneurs.

“We are thrilled with the early interest from Yukon’s entrepreneurs eager to become investment ready and the diversity of our local and passionate investors. We have seen champions come out of the woodwork with ideas and learning opportunities to give all those interested the best support possible to grow during the learning process. There is more to come in the months ahead thanks to ongoing support and funding from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Government of Yukon.”

Lauren Manekin Beille – Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

After an exciting first phase of the Investor Challenge (preparing and pitching in front of investors), the investors will now give some breathing space to the entrepreneurs for a few months. This time will allow the companies to grow their businesses during the rest of the year, reflect on the first interactions they have had with the investor group, and prepare for the due diligence phase of the program. They will meet regularly during fall, with trainers, mentors, and their teams to plan their strategies, business plans, and communication. We expect it to be an exciting period for growth and learning. The goal is to replicate as much as possible the “normal” life cycle of an investment process, where investors and entrepreneurs get to know each other before committing to a long-term relationship.

What have we learnt from this process and what does this mean for angel investing in the Yukon?

On the startup side:

  • A lot of curiosity on the entrepreneur side for whom this Investor Challenge is a first of its kind.
  • Funding opportunities are available in the Yukon but it is no easy task for entrepreneurs to figure out the best combo of loans, subsidies, investments, and organic growth.  
  • The Yukon brand is strong and creates great opportunities for entrepreneurs seeing potential across tourism, food, and beverage, agri-business, and fashion.

 

On the investor side: 

  • Active interest with people committed to their communities and looking to invest in the future of the local startup ecosystem.
  • Investing in the local community is federating people from very different horizons. We gathered a team of people coming from the business world, the world of local development, healthcare, and education. Having a varied group has been a huge asset.
  • Investors in local communities are interested in both companies with 10x potential (companies with exponential potential for growth) as well as supporting steady growth companies. These companies create local employment, and services and have good return prospects for investors.

Yukon Investor Challenge social gathering on March 28, 2022 at Yukonstruct.

“We have seen, since the start of this program, great personal engagement of people in their communities. This means that a lot of participants have several hats (on the investor and entrepreneur side). This made me realize the true meaning of what a local community is, where resources are scarce and projects endless. What a privilege to be able to support these groups and what they are building together!”

Davina MacPhail Investment Program Manager @Spring

Stay tuned for more information in the fall if you want to follow the journey of this team. The partners are certainly excited to build the foundations of a strong investor community in the Yukon, supporting an even stronger set of opportunities for investment and entrepreneurship.

For more information, please contact:

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