According to Forbes, Claudette McGowan is the CEO and founder of Protexxa, a Canadian B2B SaaS cybersecurity platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to swiftly identify, evaluate, anticipate, and resolve cyber threats.
She chose to work in cybersecurity because of its potential and the growing threat that internet users confront. Statista estimates that there are approximately 5.18 billion internet users worldwide. Furthermore, McKinsey estimates that the cybersecurity sector is worth $1.5 trillion to $2.0 trillion.
McGowan founded her organization after decades in the banking profession and cultivating ties across other industries. However, her network and credentials have had little impact on her quest for venture capital funding.
Approximately 60% of her investors are women, with BKR, Canada’s only Black VC firm, serving as her principal investor, alongside the Canadian government agency Export Development Canada.
However, for the black entrepreneur, navigating the VC sector has not been easy. Her power and credibility in the banking sector have done little to attract investors’ interest. Despite this, she has persevered, recently raising over $5 million for her cybersecurity startup, Protexxa.
According to her, the journey to raising $5 million has not been easy. Aside from not seeing people who looked like her in meetings, she was also often turned down by potential investors despite her pedigree and the profitability of her business.
“For my entire career, I didn’t see anybody that looked like me in meetings,” said McGowan after her recent VC raise in an interview with Forbes. “I felt like an outlier.”
“It [Protexxa] feels too good to be true,” said one VC. “That’s the one that sat with me because it was the company [VC] I’d given the most to,” said McGowan. “They seemed to be all in, so I shared some secrets about what we’re planning. But they just kept bringing another person and another person to every meeting.”
McGowan claims she can take a punch, but not every young startup entrepreneur does, which might lead to ideas going to waste. “I’m a woman of a certain vintage; I can take a punch,” McGowan explained.
She also mentions that her family has helped her keep her business going. She also became a member of Venture Lab, a startup accelerator; C100, a global community of Canadians in technology; and MaRS Discovery District, which promotes Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs.