Vancouver-based Lunapads Ltd. has placed among the top 5 women-led ventures across Canada, receiving an undisclosed portion of $500,000 raised as part of the SheEO Radical Generosity fund.
The Toronto-based fund is the brainchild of serial tech entrepreneur Vicki Saunders, who observes that a mere 4% of all venture capital goes to women-led ventures, despite new data that shows that women entrepreneurs being financed to the same degree as their male counterparts would yield 6 million new jobs in North America in the next 5 years.
Lunapads was ranked among over 230 applicant companies with a minimum of $50,000 in annual revenue by 500 “Activators”: women who each donated $1,000 to create the fund, which will be distributed as interest-free loans.
Lunapads founders Suzanne Siemens and Madeleine Shaw were celebrated, along with the four other finalists at a “Purple Carpet” gala event attended by over 200 Activators and Sponsors of the fund in Toronto on Monday February 22nd.
During the preceding weekend at a country home near Guelph ON, the funds were divided by the five finalists based on two rules: that the funds could not be divided equally, and that the money could not be dedicated to one venture alone.
Shaw and Siemens are also Activators themselves: “We donated not knowing whether we would be chosen or not,” said Lunapads CEO Siemens, noting that the pair have a long history of mentoring and supporting other women entrepreneurs.
The windfall comes at an opportune time, as Lunapads launches new “Performa” high-absorbency pads for heavy flow menstrual needs, as well as light to moderate bladder leakage.
Lunapads are currently used by customers in over 40 countries, being distributed as far afield as Germany and Japan, in addition to across Canada at Whole Foods and London Drugs.
“The Radical Generosity experience has been one our all-time career highlights” said Shaw. “It’s not just about the money,” says Siemens, highlighting the other major benefit of the fund: access to 500 new customers via the Activator network.