Lise Birikundavyi is principal and fund manager of BKR Capital (formerly Black Innovation Capital), which launched in June 2021 with a lead investment from BDC Capital. When she took on the role, Lise made history as the first Black woman to lead an institutionally-backed venture capital fund in Canada. And the mission is clear: Lise is working to make access to funding for Black-led tech start-ups more equitable and inclusive.
Having worked in finance in places like China, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Canada, Lise developed a deep understanding of the inequities that exist for entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds. Access to capital is one of the biggest challenges Black entrepreneurs face, and unconscious bias often plays a role in why many of them are unable to receive the funding they need — even when their product fills a need or solves a problem. Not only is Lise serving as an agent of change for Black entrepreneurs in the tech space, but as the first Black woman at the helm of a VC fund, Lise believes in wielding the power of capital markets to level the playing field and fuel wealth creation for black communities.