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NATO-Backed Tech Accelerator Proposed for Halifax

Posted on: Nov 21st 2022 02:00 PM

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Source: Entrevestor

Author: Avery Mullen

The city could become one of nine to host a program aimed at helping NATO countries maintain technological competitiveness.

The federal government is proposing to make Halifax home to the North American headquarters of NATO's new Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic, or DIANA.

Created by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization , DIANA is meant to promote cooperation between the defence sector and the startup economy. Instead of focusing on military technology, it will work with companies in spaces like artificial intelligence, big data, quantum computing, biotech and advanced material. NATO countries are increasingly facing competitive pressure from nations like China in the domains on which DIANA is focused.

NATO has not yet accepted Canada’s proposal, but if it does, the city will become one of nine to host DIANA outposts.The Halifax office America would work closely with the European Regional Office in London and coordinate the work of accelerators and test centres throughout North America.

"As home to several major universities and research centres, hundreds of science and technology start-ups and Canada’s Atlantic naval fleet, Halifax is well-positioned to support DIANA, as well as innovators and industry across North America," said Defence Minister Anita Anand, in a statement.

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Eight Honoured with Digital NS Awards

Posted on: Nov 21st 2022 01:57 PM

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Source: Entrevestor 

Author(s): Peter Moreira and Avery Mullen

The industry association handed out its Tech Forward Awards on Thursday.

Digital Nova Scotia on Thursday presented its Tech Forward Awards to individuals and organizations in eight categories, to recognize innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity in the tech industry.

The IT industry association for Nova Scotia for the past several years has presented awards that recognize not just excellence in the IT sector, but also members of the industry who champion diversity and inclusion.  

The organization held the awards ceremony the night before it received a $343,327 grant from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to launch five new educational programs over two years.

“Digital Nova Scotia is a hub, connecting our digital industry across Nova Scotia to help drive the growth of our sector, and the advancement of our province's digital acceleration,” said CEO Wayne Sumarah in a statement.

“The programs supported through ACOA will allow us to upskill entry-level digital talent, expose youth to careers in technology, drive innovation, and support a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

The five training programs for the tech community will be called Digital Skills for Women, Digital Discovery Camp, Ask an Expert, Digital Skills and Capacity Building and Recognizing Impact in the Tech Sector.

Originally founded in 1989, Digital Nova Scotia offers a slate of training and networking programs for technology sector workers, with the stated goal of “fostering growth in Nova Scotia’s digital economy.”

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Upcycling: Halifax immigrant, entrepreneur turns old newspapers into green-chic bags

Posted on: Nov 09th 2022 01:45 PM

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Source: Saltwire

Author: Bill Spurr

HALIFAX, N.S. — You may not know that in Halifax there’s a high demand for crinkle paper. 

But Purush Cannane realized there was not only a market for the paper used to fill the empty spaces in packing boxes but also for shopping bags made from materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. 

Cannane, founder and CEO of Greenii, and recently honoured for sustainable entrepreneurship, came to Canada from India in 2010. A software engineer, he worked in Ontario for big companies before moving to Nova Scotia in 2018. 

“I started a couple of businesses when I was a teenager. I did not realize I was an entrepreneur, I just did it for fun and I learned a lot of things about how to do business, how to make some extra income,” Cannane said. 

“Later, I realized there is an entrepreneur in me.” In July 2019, he was selected to be part of a Launchpad Accelerator organized by Dalhousie University. Fortuitously, this was when governments began announcing bans on single-use plastic bags. 

“They select 10 companies, they give $10,000 to each company for good ideas. You have to pitch in front of an audience, the money is for yourself and to develop a prototype,” said Cannane. 

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Ocean-based startup companies in Atlantic Canada make top 10 in global list

Posted on: Nov 09th 2022 01:30 PM

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Source: CBC News 

Author: Paul Withers

Atlantic Canada's ocean technology startup sector has been ranked in the top 10 in a new report on the global blue economy.

An international organization that promotes entrepreneurship, Startup Genome, issued the rankings on Wednesday. In comparison,Vancouver's startup hub was ranked 14th.

The blue economy is an attempt to make more responsible use of  ocean resources. 

"It's very exciting to see that Atlantic Canada is ranked in the top 10. We are 10th though. So I think there is certainly more opportunity for us to continue on our growth trajectory,"said Kendra MacDonald, CEO of the Ocean Supercluster, a federal innovation fund, headquartered in St. John's.

The Ocean Supercluster may be one reason for the region's relatively high ranking. The report said most investment in ocean startup companies around the world comes from the public sector.

In 2018, Canada committed $153 million to the Ocean Supercluster to drive innovation and promote new business.

Innovacorp 10th in top investor startups


The Supercluster said it has approved 70 projects with a total value of more than $360 million, including private-sector money, which will deliver more than 120 new made-in-Canada ocean products.

The Startup Genome report ranked Nova Scotia Crown corporation Innovacorp 10th in top investors in startups.

MacDonald said more private sector investment is flowing into startups but government money gets them off the ground.

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Adaptiiv Closed A Round in 2021-22

Posted on: Nov 07th 2022 02:20 PM

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Source: Entrevestor

Author: Peter Moreira

Halifax-based Adaptiiv Medical Technologies has revealed it closed a Series A funding round worth “less than $10 million” in the past year and a half, and is planning on a Series B raise next year.

Adaptiiv CEO Alex Dunphy revealed the funding round last Thursday during a fireside chat at BioPort Atlantic, the region’s main conference for the life sciences industry. During the talk, he described the six-year-old company’s strong growth and its plans to develop manufacturing operations in Nova Scotia.

“[The round] was all about growth,” said Dunphy in an interview after his appearance at BioPort. “It was all about building our supply chain and transforming to become a medical device manufacturer rather than just a software company.”

Adaptiiv started in 2016 to solve a huge problem in the treatment of cancer. During radiation treatment, physicians create what’s known as a bolus, a piece of plastic that is placed over the cancerous area in a patient undergoing radiation therapy. The radiation hits the bolus, builds up and then is transferred into the tumour.

There can be no air pockets between the bolus and the skin, which complicates matters given that every body is unique. Hospitals using the Adaptiiv product buy a system that includes 3D printers with special filaments, so boluses customized to each patient can be printed within seconds. The boluses can be reused as the patient receives repeated radiation dosages. Or, if the patient’s body shape changes over the course of multiple treatments (not uncommon, as patents often lose weight through the process), the medical staff can print off another bolus.

After closing a $3.2 million seed round in 2020, the company began to grow more quickly and Dunphy’s team understood that it needed to build international partnerships. It struck two major partnership that were announced in May of this year, and they transformed the company.

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Drinkable Wins $55K BIC Prize

Posted on: Nov 07th 2022 02:18 PM

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Source: Entrevestor

Author: Peter Moreira

Drinkable Water Solutions on Thursday took home the $55,000 prize in the annual BioInnovation Challenge, which will help finance the commercialization of its consumer-friendly water-testing device.  

Halifax-based Drinkable has developed a device that is smaller than a smartphone and tests water for about a dozen common contaminants, such as lead, arsenic and uranium. CEO Matt Mizzi explained that the product’s initial application will be to help the millions of people with wells to test their water in an easy and affordable way.

He said it will be “the world’s first effortless, affordable and accurate water-testing device.”

Now in its twelfth year, the BIC pitching competition was held during BioPort Atlantic, BioNova’s annual conference for life sciences and biotech in Atlantic Canada. The finals were held in-person this year with three finalists pitching before a judging panel and audience at Pier 21 in Halifax. The other finalists were Charlottetown-based Tunistrong Technologies and Halifax’s Hollo Medical.

The BioInnovation Challenge has a history of launching some of the leading life sciences and medtech companies in the region. The eight semi-finalists from 2020, for example, raised over $1 million in funding over the following year. And in 2019, former BIC winner ABK Biomedical raised a banner US$30 million funding round.

This year’s winner, Drinkable Water, aims to produce a device that would cost about $150, and will encourage users to test their drinking water periodically, with each test requiring a $15 cartridge that fits into the device.

The company, which is working with a research team at Cape Breton University, has raised $160,000 in equity investment, and $300,000 in non-dilutive funding. Mizzi said it needs a further $390,000 in equity.

The long-term goal is to increase manufacturing enough that economies of scale will drop the production cost significantly, then use the technology to help reduce water-related illnesses in under-developed countries.

“This is about more than just wells,” said Mizzi. “Today, water-related illnesses lead to half the world’s hospitalizations and it’s heading in the wrong direction.  . . . If we want to keep civil society, we have to sort out water safety today.”

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Passiv Raises C$3 Million

Posted on: Oct 18th 2022 12:40 PM

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Source: Entrevestor

Author: Avery Mullen

The Fredericton-based fintech startup has raised a US$2.2M seed round after graduating from Y Combinator.

Fredericton-based Passiv has closed a US$2.2 million or roughly C$3 million seed funding round following the fintech startup's graduation from the prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator.

Passiv plans to spend the money developing its new product, SnapTrade, which is an API, or application programming interface. It is intended to allow app developers to connect their software to clients’ retail brokerage and cryptocurrency exchange accounts so they can trade stocks and other financial instruments.

So far, about 20 apps use the SnapTrade API to provide services to more than 200 million investors globally.

“Over the past five years running our own B2C app, we've gained tremendous insight into the needs and challenges of developers who need connectivity to their end users' trading accounts,” said Passiv CEO Brendan Lee Young in a statement. “With Passiv's SnapTrade API, developers can focus on building their products.”

The “B2C app,” Young mentioned was Passiv’s original product, which automatically advises passive investors on how to rebalance their investment portfolios. Users can input a set of parameters, such as what types of assets they want exposure to, and Passiv will recommend a basket of assets or financial instruments that meet those parameters.

Passiv’s latest funding round comes less than a year after the company said it had raised $800,000 and reached nearly $2 billion worth of assets under management.

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Why CareerBeacon Bought Ruutly

Posted on: Oct 18th 2022 12:28 PM

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Source: Entrevestor 

Author: Avery Mullen

The Moncton jobs board startup quietly entered into a handshake deal with the Toronto venture last year.

CareerBeacon’s purchase of Toronto’s Ruutly, the Moncton recruitment company’s second acquisition this year, was aimed at consolidating pieces of technology that work better as a software suite than as individual tools, according to the heads of both companies.

Ruutly, founded in 2016 and led by CEO Ryan Porter, allows companies to show prospective employees job postings tailored to their interests, such as by automatically displaying an ad’s contents in the viewer’s own language. Porter said the CareerBeacon deal was aimed at giving Ruutly access to a job listings ecosystem where the system could be deployed at scale.

“When we started working on Ruutly … it became clear pretty quickly that we were going to need to either build an ecosystem or be part of an ecosystem on a larger level,” he said in an interview.

“When we came out here to New Brunswick and started talking with Yves (Boudreau, CareerBeacon CEO), it really opened the door in my brain to understanding what being part of an ecosystem could actually look like.”

Co-founders Yves Boudreau and Benoit Bourque started CareerBeacon in 2014 to make backend software for online jobs boards. The company was originally called Qimple, but has since undergone two rebrandings, with the latest having been to adopt the name of another business it absorbed earlier this year.

The CareerBeacon acquisition, before which Boudreau and Bourque’s company was called Alongside, was paid for with the help of an $8 million capital raise comprised of 40 percent equity funding and a loan from TD Canada Trust. The original CareerBeacon was one of the largest jobs boards in Atlantic Canada.

Talks between Ruutly and what is now CareerBeacon started before the other merger, and the parties agreed on a deal in principle, but waited to finalize the buyout until Boudreau’s team had closed their other deals.

Boudreau added that from CareerBeacon’s perspective, Ruutly’s experience working with blue-chip clients like British pharmaceutical giant GSK, German industrial conglomerate Siemens and bookseller Indigo was a major part of what made the deal appealing.

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Oceantech: OLF, Telus Partner on Education

Posted on: Oct 12th 2022 03:09 PM

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Source: Entrevestor

Author: Avery Mullen 

The Richmond, BC-based Ocean Legacy Foundation, or OLF has announced it is partnering with telecom giant Telus on a public awareness campaign about plastic pollution in oceans.

Founded in 2013 and helmed by Executive Director Chloe Dubois, the OLF funds research on reducing ocean plastics, as well as advocacy work, research and development for waste management systems and cleanup projects to mitigate existing plastic pollution.

The organization also offers online training materials for both educational settings and industry players under a program dubbed the EPIC Academy — short for education, policy, infrastructure and cleanup.

Under the new partnership, Telus will help fund the OLF’s efforts to promote the EPIC Academy, although in a statement, neither party clarified the monetary value of the deal.

“The Ocean Legacy Foundation believes worldwide change occurs with dedicated and well-informed individual, government, and corporate action," said Dubois in a statement.

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