Saint Mary’s University’s Venture Grade Fund – a VC fund managed by students – is investing $15,000 in Cribcut, an online marketplace for hair stylists willing to make house calls.

“Cribcut has a novel business model that we are proud to support,” said Saint Mary’s student and Venture Grade associate Emma Scott in a statement.

Halifax-based Cribcut was co-founded by serial entrepreneur David Howe.  Scott said the young investors had confidence in Howe’s lean startup methodology and experience as a serial entrepreneur who has exited three past ventures, including one in Silicon Valley.

Now, Howe has built a software-enabled marketplace for hairstylists. Cribcut's solution helps stylists become travelling hairdressers, providing clients with haircuts, colours, and styles at their homes and offices. In May, the company said it would expand into Toronto as well as offering the service in Halifax.

The company’s software helps stylists with bookings, travel optimization, payments and ratings. It also facilitates new client introductions. Bookings can be made through the online booking app with on-demand appointments available.

"We're happy to welcome Venture Grade as one of our investors,” said Howe. “We're confident that this investment will help us continue growth and product development and set us up for further funding over the coming months."
The Saint Mary’s University Venture Grade Fund is a student-raised and run venture capital fund. It is the first student-raised venture capital investment fund in Canada in which the students raise the capital, the group said in the release.

The fund was started by students of Ellen Farrell at the Sobey School of Business in fall 2016, with connections to Silicon Valley’s C100 group, Boston’s Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England, and initial support from Innovacorp. It has expanded to include members of other Atlantic universities, including Acadia University, Dalhousie University, and Memorial University. Any money made on Venture Grade’s investments is returned to the student fund.

Howe had previous raised $150,000 in equity funding. Investors included Kyle Racki and Kevin Springer of Proposify, Ron Lovett, who founded the Atlantic Chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization, and Bill Wilson, Chairman of Mindsea.