Ryerson University’s DMZ has unveiled a new Angel Investor Program designed to help improve access to capital for early-stage founders. Launched today, the program seeks to advance Canada’s startup scene by helping angels foster more meaningful and productive connections with promising tech startups.
While Canada’s startup investment landscape has garnered significant momentum, seed and pre-seed deals have slowed and the focus has shifted to later-stage deals and institutional funding. The DMZ’s Angel Investor Program will fill critical gaps in early-stage funding for founders, creating new pathways for entrepreneurs to scale and grow. The program is open to both new and seasoned angel investors; no previous experience is required.
In comparison to their U.S. counterparts, Canadian startups take longer to reach their first round of funding, are slower at closing deals, and raise fewer funds. Early-stage founders at the seed stage and earlier are considered to be ‘risky’ investments, making it particularly difficult to raise an initial round of capital. Through this program, the DMZ plans to change that narrative and create a competitive market that directly supports the development of Canadian startups.
“If the Canadian startup ecosystem wants to create more world-leading businesses, we need to ensure that our tech startups receive funding quickly,” said Abdullah Snobar, Executive Director of the DMZ. “By creating a fast-moving, competitive investment market, our home grown companies will be better positioned to succeed, scale and drive innovation.”
In addition to generating funding for early-stage founders, the DMZ’s vision for the program is to foster a support system for angels in Canada. By providing them with deal flow, mentorship, and a knowledge-sharing hub to network and share best practices, the DMZ will help angels improve their portfolios and secure better investments.
“Many entrepreneurs face various barriers when it comes to accessing capital, and angels play a vital role in the Canadian tech scene by unlocking opportunities to accelerate innovation,” said Emily Smiley, Head of Partnerships and Investor Relations at the DMZ. “Through our new program, the DMZ hopes to open up angel investing to a greater number of accredited investors by helping first-time and seasoned investors navigate the ecosystem.”
For many founders, a friends and family investment round to kick off their business is not feasible, especially in the absence of generational wealth. The DMZ aims to address this issue by making capital more accessible to early stage founders, and, beyond its Angel Program, support underrepresented founders including women and Black founders.
While the DMZ is officially launching its Angel Investor Program today, it has facilitated many introductions between its companies and investors over the years. “Canada provides a strong landscape for angel investors,” said Beshoy Sidrak, General Partner, Lo Ventures and Seed Investor, Kepler Communications. “From our rich talent pool, university support, and non-dilutive funding available, risk is significantly reduced. My experience investing in a DMZ company, Kepler Communications, was better than I could have imagined. Supported by the DMZ, they had the right tools to navigate a fast-paced and uncertain environment. We were able to achieve great success.”
For more information on the DMZ Angel Program and full eligibility requirements, please visit dmz.to/angelprogram.