Based in Toronto, Neha Bahl has been named as one of the general partners in United States-based Renew Venture Capital (VC) as it launches its new Impact Fund.
Bahl joined Renew VC after most recently serving as CEO of Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC). Bahl departed that role last year after a three-year tenure. Under her leadership, TDBC approved 100 international startups to expand into the North American market.
Founded in 2010, Renew VC partners with underrepresented founders building businesses committed to diversity and equity.
Bahl is one of the seven general partners at Renew VC and is the only partner based in Canada. Renew VC’s team is based in North America, where its members (in addition to Bahl) come from Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati; Louisville; Atlanta; and Phoenix.
Bahl told BetaKit that the fund plans to invest in Canadian companies. “Given the growth in the innovation ecosystem and Canada becoming an attractive launchpad for international startups, it is definitely a market to look out for,” she said.
Renew VC is aiming to raise $50 million for the Impact Fund, which will invest $250,000 to $3 million in “early stage, profitable, scaling Impact companies and in women, and historically excluded founders.”
According to research from the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, companies wholly owned by men are four times more likely to report receiving venture capital than companies wholly owned by women.
To bridge the gap, Renew VC said its fund focuses on two central investment theses: companies generating impact at scale represent one of the biggest investment opportunities in all of venture capital; and overlooking companies led by women and historically excluded founders is venture capital’s biggest recurring investment error.
“Women and historically excluded founders receive just 1-3 percent of all venture funding despite having unique insights into opportunities and markets unseen by others,” the venture capital firm added.
Renew VC also marks Bahl’s entry into venture capital. She told BetaKit that it was her “next natural progression to make an impact on the Canadian startup ecosystem.”
“I have been working in startups and for startups for over a decade now and this was my move from the ‘support’ side to the ‘empower’ side of the ecosystem,” she said.
Prior to joining Renew VC and running TBDC, Bahl held multiple leadership positions across Canada, India, and the United Kingdom.
In India, she co-founded accelerator and pre-seed fund Commence Mint and was a marketing manager at Enterprise Nube Services. Bahl also has a software engineering background. She joined Infosys as a software engineer in 2006 and left the company as a test analyst in 2011.