Victoria-based Animikii, an Indigenous-owned digital agency and social enterprise, has raised $1 million in financing from Raven Indigenous Capital Partners and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
“We hope to lead the way for other Indigenous tech companies to access capital at this level in the future.”
The financing consists of $750,000 in equity investment from Raven, now joining Animikii’s board, and a loan of $250,000 from BDC’s Indigenous Entrepreneur Loan Program. Animikii said the invested funds will be used to further expand the team and support the development of Animikii’s Indigenous data sovereignty product, to accompany its existing digital services.
“This $1 million in financing marks an historic event as it is the largest investment of its kind to support an Indigenous technology social enterprise on Turtle Island,” said founder Jeff Ward. “We hope to lead the way for other Indigenous tech companies to access capital at this level in the future.”
Animikii was founded in 2003 by Jeff Ward, and is the first Indigenous certified B Corp in Canada. The company is also a Certified Aboriginal Business member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB).
The company provides services in four main areas: website design, custom software, design and branding, and digital communications. It also offers a variety of free workshops in areas like coding for robotics or social media optimization. Animikii serves Indigenous-focused organizations across Canada to drive positive change for Indigenous people through technology. Animikii also launched a Social Impact Report in 2018, a document that shares what actions it has taken as a company to support its goal of driving positive change for Indigenous people.
“As an Indigenous impact investor in Canada, we found the perfect partner in Animikii, a cutting edge tech firm with a deep impact narrative and Canada’s first Indigenous B Corp, it’s really a trifecta for impact investment,” said Jeff Cyr, managing partner at Raven. “We believe Animikii is amongst the first in a wave of high value Indigenous social enterprises.”
More recently, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association launched the Indigenous Growth Fund, to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis entrepreneurs across Canada. Part of its mandate is to support financial institutions that raise and inject social impact enterprises that are Indigenous-led, Indigenous-owned, or those that work to drive positive social impact into Indigenous communities.
“Indigenous entrepreneurs face unique challenges in accessing financing. Animikii is a shining example of the emerging, innovative businesses we want to help succeed,” said Ryan McLean, vice president of BDC’s Indigenous Business Unit.
Image courtesy Animikii via Facebook