The Big Read

Pandemic leads to investment boom for Canadian parent-tech startups

VANCOUVER — When Julia Slanina started fundraising late last year for Treehouse, the pre- and postnatal care platform she founded, some of the venture capitalists with whom she met lived up to the stereotype of being dismissive of female entrepreneurs—especially one pitching a product for parents. “I walk virtually into the space and they just look and they say, ‘Well, oh, it’s just a woman talking about pregnant people,’” said Slanina of some of the investors at those meetings.

Other VCs, though, were eager to talk—if not because they themselves were parents, then because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s upheaval of parenting as we knew it.

The pandemic has been the biggest force prompting investors to look more closely at the space in which Slanina’s Treehouse operates. The emerging sector, called parent tech, received over three times more venture capital dollars in Canada last year than in the previous six years combined, according to PitchBook data.

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