Michelle Scarborough explains why BDC is thinking bigger with Thrive Platform

Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner, BDC Women in Tech fund
Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner of the BDC Women in Tech Fund. Courtesy BDC

In late September, at a private BDC event taking place during Elevate—the same day the Crown Corporation announced its new Thrive Platform—Michelle Scarborough told a story of going to Isabelle Hudon and asking for a $200 million re-up of BDC’s Women In Technology Venture Fund.

The response she received from BDC’s recently named CEO and President? “Think bigger.”

“We’re seeing way more women found new technology companies in the market than we did five years ago. By a magnitude—like three times. It’s substantial.”

That’s certainly what BDC did, announcing $500 million in commitments to women-led startups and funds through Thrive.

But what is the Thrive Platform exactly? Well, it’s a $300 million direct investment fund, a $100 million indirect investment fund, and a $100 million Lab (BetaKit broke the news earlier this month that Sévrine Labelle has been named the head of Thrive Lab, which will launch this spring).

How are these different pillars of the Thrive Platform supposed to work together? And, beyond total dollars committed, how is Thrive different from the WIT fund that first launched in 2017?

The only person to answer those questions is Thrive Venture Fund Managing Partner, Michelle Scarborough, who joins us on the podcast this week.

Now six months in the market and cutting cheques, Scarborough speaks to how the 2023 market for women-led ventures is different from that in 2017, and provides some sorely needed data that the Canadian tech ecosystem could use more of. It’s early days for the fund, but Scarborough is already starting to see some interesting trendlines.

So, what impact will half a billion dollars have on diversifying the state of Canadian venture backed startups? Let’s dig in.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Feature image courtesy BDC.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.

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