Canadian VCs launch initiative to provide one-on-one support to startups during pandemic

A group of Canadian venture capital (VC) investors is launching an initiative aimed to support Canadian startups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the initiative, called VCHOURS, founders and members in the Canadian startup community can schedule one-on-one calls with any VCs that have committed to the initiative. During these calls, founders can share their thoughts, challenges, and opportunities, and hear what VCs have learned from working with their own portfolio companies over the last few weeks.

“The Canadian startup community’s strength is built on camaraderie and cooperation. Together, we will come out stronger.”

“The Canadian startup community has come together over the past couple of weeks to support Canadian startups who are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic,” said Nicolas Jacques-Bouchard, principal at Panache Ventures and co-founder of VCHOURS. “As VCs, we’ve witnessed the tremendous strain this crisis has had on founders, teams and operations of startups across Canada.”

Laviva Mazhar, an investment associate at Luge Capital, Pablo Srugo, principal at Mistral Venture Partners, Marko Jelavic, principal at Ferst Capital Partners, and Éleonore Jarry of Brightspark, are also co-founders in the initiative.

The initiative is targeted to Canadian innovators who may not yet have advisors, investors, or other stakeholders to rely on during the crisis. However, the initiative is also open to members of the venture community that are looking to connect and exchange ideas with their peers about the post-COVID world.

Phone calls, which can be scheduled online, are expected to last between 15 and 30 minutes, and the organizers are emphasizing that these calls are not intended to facilitate pitches.

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According to a report from Startup Genome, 58 percent of startups in Canada say their industry has been “affected significantly” by the COVID-19 crisis, which is seven percentage points higher than the global average.

A subsequent report from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) found that 90 percent of Canadian entrepreneurs continue to feel the impact of the pandemic. The impacts have resulted in widespread layoffs, in addition to companies shifting their strategy or pivoting their offering to continue to stay afloat.

“The Canadian startup community’s strength is built on camaraderie and cooperation,” Jacques-Bouchard said. “Together, we will come out stronger.”

Image source Unsplash.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast