Celebrating Women in the Private Capital Ecosystem

March is Women’s History Month and we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate all women and the achievements of several women in the private capital ecosystem.

Did You Know: The celebration of International Women’s Day has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering held in 1911 supported by over a million people.


The Private Capital Landscape

The private capital ecosystem is fortunate to have female founders who are creating innovative products and services as well as female investors who are providing mentorship and investment.

Angel Investors

Women comprised 17% of Canadian Angel groups in 2018, which was up slightly from 14% in 2017. The highest proportion of female business angels is in Western Canada at 27% and the lowest is in Eastern Canada at 8%.

In comparison a series of studies show the following % participation by women in angel investing for 2017:

  • USA: 22.1%
  • Western Europe: 11% & Central Eastern Europe: 30%
  • UK: 9%

Source: NACO-2018 Report on Angel Investing Activity in Canada, page 23 (link to report)


The global deal volume for female-founded and co-founded teams is stable at 19 percent, with a range of 17 to 19 percent over the last few years.

Source: Crunchbase – YTDQ32019


Celebrating Women in the Valhalla Private Capital Family

Did You Know: 33% of Valhalla Private Capital Co-Founders are women

Meet Our Co-Founders

Jan started her career as a lawyer, Kristina as an accountant and Heather as an engineer.  These diverse backgrounds came together over the course of their professional journeys.  Today they help “Bring Founders & Investors Together” and supporting them on their journey from “Cradle to Exit’.

  • Jan Lederman is Director at Genome Canada. She is a past Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Manitoba; retired senior partner at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, LLP; and a co-founder of Innovate Manitoba, a private sector led nonprofit formed to drive innovation, accelerate startup growth, and stimulate access to capital. Jan is an active angel investor and a Director of a number of startups. In 2019, Jan received an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba. In addition, Jan spent considerable time in Southeast Asia launching Valhalla’s ASEAN fund and sharing knowledge and teaching the up and coming entrepreneurs in the region.
  • Kristina Milke is an active angel investor and A100 member, supporter of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by both mentoring and participating on the Board of Advisors with Venture Mentoring Services, a world-renowned program with a local branch operating at the University of Alberta. Kristina is also on the Board of Directors of NACO whose mandate is to help professionalize and grow Angel investment in Canada. In addition, Kristina spends her spare time participating in outdoor activities, travelling and enjoying a great meal with friends and family.
  • Heather Pontikes has been a champion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem for the past 10 years, leveraging expertise gained during her 15-year career at a multinational consumer products company, where responsibilities included positions in manufacturing, operations, sales, marketing & customer service in both the US & Canada. In addition, Heather has held several board positions for non-profit and community organizations. Away from work, you can find Heather travelling with family, spending time at the cabin, scrapbooking with friends or volunteering in support of children’s organizations.


Did You Know: 75% of Valhalla’s team are women

Meet the Valhalla Team:

Valhalla has a fantastic team of women who touch all aspects of the business and work hard to move the company forward everyday. However, they have some fun ways to spend their time when they are not at work. We thought we would share some of their interests with you.

  • Ashley de Nooij General Manager: Ashley is a dog lover. You will often find her walking her dog Donut along with one of the many dogs she fosters.  She likes to attend concerts, go hiking and try new restaurants. For a change of scenery from Calgary, Ashley will head to the cabin or visit family in Europe. If Ashley is looking for some quiet time you will find her baking or knitting.
  • Camille Hunt Director Metro Vancouver: Camille loves to travel and explore destinations like London or Moscow but is also a big fan of untouched wonders and places that have minimal tourists. Camille is adventurous, she enjoys hiking and backcountry camping or you may catch her playing squash, badminton or rugby. When it is time to relax at home or abroad you can find Camille sitting in a picturesque spot sipping on a great cup of coffee or an amazing glass of wine.
  • Iza Palygiewicz Executive Assistant: Iza chose Calgary as her new home, moving recently from Poland, due to her love of mountains. Iza is an explorer, last summer she spent 5 weeks driving 9,000 km and sleeping in her Honda Civic throughout Alberta and BC. Iza is an accomplished table tennis player but her current goal is to climb the Matterhorn at 4,478 m summer of 2020. Iza does like to relax too, she enjoys spending time with friends over coffee or just taking in the mountain views on a weekend getaway. Did we mention she loves mountains and caving too?
  • Omi VelascoDirector of M&A: Omi has passion for adventure and this has taken her to live in 5 countries and explore another 30 … and counting. She loves salsa dancing, scuba diving, and recently started to learn how to play tennis. Omi is also supporting an orphanage in Colombia and is working closely with the founders to make the foundation more sustainable.
  • Sandra Spencer – Forum Coordinator & Entrepreneur Champion: Sandra loves to travel and goes wherever the road or plane takes her. She enjoys experiencing the food and immersing herself into culture at her destination.  Sandra loves all types of music and enjoys attending concerts and outdoor festivals. She recently checked 2 artists, Garth Brooks & Elton John, off her bucket list.  Sandra spends time with friends playing cards or board games or going to a good escape room.
  • Viviana Angulo – Director of Latin America: Viv is an animal rescuer and is actively involved in movements that protect the Amazon area within Bolivia. She loves traveling and discovering culturally rich places that expose travelers to nature. Bolivia has many of them, so Viv has been traveling within her country of residence a lot more lately. Viv also enjoys quality time with her beautiful daughters, but when they are fast asleep you will find Viv reading a great book.


Did You Know: 30% of women presenting at a Valhalla Angels forum over the last 3 years have received funding.  However, only 8% of total presenting companies has a female founder or presenter.

Meet Our Founders

The following founders raised money from the Valhalla Angels membership. We look forward to seeing more female founders come through the forum and doing more deals.  If you know of a founder looking to raise capital, please introduce us. 

  • Breanne Everett is the founder and CEO of Orpyx & recent recipient of the “entrepreneur” award for the  inaugural Calgary Influential Women in Business Awards 2020! Orpyx has plantar measurement technologies which include wearable sensors used to created life-changing health tools and empower patients and practitioners through data analytics. The Orpyx platform enables a proxy feedback system. Did you know that Orpyx is an anagram of proxy? Breanne is also the recipient of the Entrepreneur Award for the inaugural Influential Women in Business event held this month!
  • Catherine Metrycki is the Founder of Callia. Founded in 2016, Callia is disrupting the floral industry as the best new way to send flowers: online ordering of hand-tied, standardized bouquets in a luxury box across Canada. Callia leverages a digital simplification, a lean supply chain and a strong brand to be the easier, better experience in an outdated $18B floral gifting industry. Now making Callia moments in 24 cities from Victoria to Winnipeg to Toronto to Halifax: almost every city in Canada. Send a beautiful bouquet of flowers to or friend or loved one today!
  • Kara Sam is President & Founder of Bucha Brew.  Founded in 2016 Bucha Brew has created a delicious array of Kombucha beverages. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverages that is a beautifully unconventional way to help people feel better than their best. Through education, connection and a price that’s easy to digest. Kombucha is Bucha Brew’s vessel, contribution, and craft made locally in Delta. Bucha Brew is available in bottles, cans and on draft, try one today! What is your favorite flavor?


Meet Our Members

Valhalla Angels has 20% of membership & sponsor representatives women.

COMING SOON: A conversation with some of our members


Join us today and everyday in celebrating all those working in the private capital ecosystem to bring growth to our economy and to make the world a better place.

Do you know someone interested in learning more about angel investing or presenting at an angel forum? Contact us HERE

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