thriveFORWARD Start-ups Have Already Raised a Total of $8.3 million in Follow-on Investment

thriveFORWARD Start-ups Have Already Raised a Total of $8.3 million in Follow-on Investment

VENTURE13, COBOURG, ONTARIO, December 19, 2023—In the midst of a difficult fundraising environment and coming out of a venture capital industry slowdown in 2022, 11 companies out of over 100 in the thriveFORWARD start-up portfolio have already raised a total of [at least] $8.3 million in incremental follow-on investment* as a result of technology validation, completion of prototypes and early product commercialization.

thriveFORWARD seed funds and accelerates some of the most innovative new ‘clean and green’ ventures in southern Ontario, companies that are attracting strategic investment from angels and venture funds for nanotech, medtech, artificial intelligence and machine learning, fintech, food production, robotics and more:

  • Enurgen provides an innovative software operating system for end-to-end utility-scale solar asset management. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 matching performance-based funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for early commercialization of the DUET system designer. Enurgen went on to raise over $1 million in an investment round led by 2048 Ventures.
  • Coastal Carbon is the world’s first marketplace that focuses on verification services in ocean carbon credits. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 matching performance-based funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for underwater remote monitoring platform development and commercialization. Coastal Carbon went on to raise $1.6 million from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.
  • Chexy is enhancing rental market transactions between tenants and landlords with a rewards-based fintech platform. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 in funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for beta testing to accelerate technology readiness. Chexy went on to raise $1.3 million from Crossbeam Ventures.
  • Vessl is an innovative prosthetics engineering and design venture. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 in funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for completion of mechanical testing of the prosthetics solution. Vessl went on to participate in the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Texas Accelerator program and secured an additional $20,000 in investment. “We love working with NCFDC and FedDev Ontario through thriveFORWARD,” said Sydney Robinson, Founder of Vessl. “Thank you for your continued guidance and support.”
  • Tenomix is a ground-breaking medtech startup solving inefficiencies in the cancer pathology workflows. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 in funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for prototype completion and went on to raise a major venture round led by FACIT.
  • Hyivy is a data-driven device and pelvic health platform for women. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 in funding for an initial production run of devices to support clinical testing activities and went on to raise a major venture round, also led by FACIT. “We’re excited to acknowledge the support of NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative through the FedDev Ontario Jobs and Growth Fund,” said Rachel Bartholomew, Founder and CEO of Hyivy.
  • New Protein International offers clean sustainable technology for plant protein production. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 in funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for strategic lab equipment acquisition and installation and went on to raise $250,000 from Natural Products Canada. “Our thriveFORWARD project results in Canada’s first hexane-free soy protein pilot plant and is a key piece of infrastructure to enable future collaboration with other oilseed protein companies within Canada,” said Graham Markham, Chief Development Officer at New Protein International.
  • Neptune Nanotechnologies is developing next generation nano-structured materials reclaimed and manufactured from ocean waste. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 in funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for nano-crystal production scale-up and field testing. Neptune went on to raise $1.8 million from the China Canada Angel Alliance (CCAA), with strong participation from Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), Liquid Metal VC, and a few other private investors.
  • ENERZA has developed a conditional risk assessment tool for electrical utility providers through autonomous on-wire robotic monitoring. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 matching performance-based funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative to complete field testing. “thriveFORWARD enabled us to prepare a demonstration for a local utility company after accelerating critical high-voltage testing, positioning us for our next fundraising round, which this project also enabled,” said James Aein, Co-Founder & CEO of ENERZA. ENERZA graduated from the Berkeley SkyDeck Global Accelerator and secured follow-on investment from Access Industries (an undisclosed amount).
  • VETSon is revolutionizing how livestock medicine is practiced with a mobile application. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 matching performance-based funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for testing including an initial pilot project and went on to raise an undisclosed amount from RHA Ventures.
  • Cyclic Materials is creating a circular supply chain for rare earth elements. The start-up was approved for up to $25,000 matching performance-based funding from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative for a test program that helped to position Cyclic for a follow-on $27 million Series A led by Impact Energy Ventures and BMW i Ventures.

This exciting result—right out of the gate—represents a 3.3X multiple of FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada’s initial commitment of $2.5 million for direct financing of Start-ups as part of NCFDC’s Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) initiative. Most thriveFORWARD seed funded companies are wrapping up their projects by December 31, 2023, and even more venture rounds are in the process of closing. These entrepreneurs and innovators are helping our region to prepare for sustainable growth as they build the industries of the future by transitioning to a green economy, fostering an inclusive recovery, enhancing competitiveness, and creating jobs.

“With targeted, timely and precise seed funding for early-stage ventures we can ensure that the most promising southern Ontario technology entrepreneurs complete important strategic milestones, demonstrating their potential to private sector investors,” said Wendy Curtis, Executive Director of NCFDC. “Whether through organic growth, access to financing or getting onto a solid venture capital track like these fourteen fantastic companies, we’re excited to see thriveFORWARD Start-ups advance, bringing their home-grown talent and technology to Ontario, Canada and the world.”

For more information about the thriveFORWARD initiative, please visit the official webpage.

Catch upcoming episodes of NCFDC’s flagship Frontier Entrepreneurship Podcast featuring founders from thriveFORWARD-backed Start-ups on Podbean and Spotify.

*Excluding statistical outliers and including undisclosed amounts that were reported to NCFDC and included in the total.

Contact

Victoria Pichler
Marketing & Communications Coordinator – NCFDC
647-570-7851

thriveFORWARD Start-up Testimonials

“With FedDev Ontario and thriveFORWARD’s invaluable support, we’ve reached major milestones. Notably, we've successfully registered our provisional patent. thriveFORWARD has been instrumental in propelling our success story and fostering innovation. We look forward to continuing this collaborative journey."


Nader Makarachi—Founder
P2PHub
“NCFDC and FedDev Ontario’s thriveFORWARD played a crucial role in providing funding and establishing a partnership with Bioenterprise Canada. We became a member, unlocking a spectrum of services including being matched with an Innovation Advisor. That led to a deep dive on our start-up, sharing insights on our current company status, upcoming milestones, and discussing the challenges and opportunities ahead. NCFDC also facilitated a valuable connection to a local accelerator (Whitby 1855)."


Karthiga Chandrakumar—Founder
Nirvana Foods
“thriveFORWARD is a great program, helping us to further our R&D and work towards commercialization. It has accelerated our ability to gain vital field and operations experience at a very early stage."


Kien Lamson—Director
Fathom Storage
“The PocketMD team was excited to participate in the thriveFORWARD initiative with the support of NCFDC, FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada. Thank you for the opportunity to accelerate our development, and for the vote of confidence in our mission and vision."


Jeevan Singh—CEO
PocketMD
“With the support of thriveFORWARD we were able to grow our network of potential partners and investors."


Crystal Kuyumcu—Founder
Exhale Aerosystems
“Thank you for being the very first organization to believe in our mission and company. We are extremely grateful for your support."


Sloane Paul – Founder
ARC Motor Company
“With the assistance of NCFDC and thriveFORWARD, this project has been a great success… we were able to secure strategic equipment, launch a pilot with two customers (one international) and we are generating revenue from these pilots earlier than expected."


Christopher Hakim—Co-Founder & CFO
Select Canadian Supplements
“thriveFORWARD was instrumental in helping our start-up to produce a hardware device through multiple iterations of testing and design. Thank you very much for your support and for the positive feedback that we received in defining the problem and the solution."


Rolinston Rodney—Founder
Keepwise Loss Prevention System
“This project allowed us to triple revenue from our second largest client, and we believe that in 2024 we will at least double revenue from our largest client. Thank you very much for the support."


Svitlana Skrypnyk—CEO
Avail
“We are so thankful for NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD project and for all the support from the team. Without this funding, Leynek Medical would not exist. thriveFORWARD accelerated our growth, helped us bring on an experienced CTO and we built our first hardware/software product. We will always be thankful for this contribution."


William Jones—Founder & CEO
Leynek Medical
“We’re genuinely thankful to thriveFORWARD… because of your help, we have been able to build our platform and start our first pilot programs. Your backing has set all of this in motion, and we’re truly grateful."


From the Team at OOt
“We are truly grateful for the remarkable progress we have made in our thriveFORWARD journey. Thank you to NCFDC and FedDev Ontario for supporting our mission in building a more accessible world."


Keri Banka
Co-Founder, Magnify Access
“We started out with a vision to create a new category and we were able to design, build and prototype—a major win from the thriveFORWARD program."


Kevin Delano
– CEO, Tick Stick Corporation
“We are appreciative of the opportunity to work together with FedDev Ontario and NCFDC. Our thriveFORWARD project has been a very exciting one—an important showcase for the future of housing—and we continue to receive much positive feedback."


From the Team from CABN.CO
“thriveFORWARD played a critical role in the development of our Minimum Viable Product (MVP). With the MVP completed we were able to launch our Pilot Program with six Canadian food companies, putting us into revenue mode and opening up a number of doors to support our growth moving forward. We are genuinely grateful for the support of NCFDC and FedDev Ontario at such a critical point in our journey."


Brett Wills
Founder & CEO, CarbonOne
“Funds from thriveFORWARD were instrumental in developing and commercializing our gas metering tech, and customers who have deployed our solution on site have committed to further collaboration. Furthermore, this project also unlocked a new business avenue through the discovery of a novel application of our technology.


Michael Skirzynski
CEO, Fractalytic
“We are incredibly fortunate to be recipients of thriveFORWARD funding. We were able to make our dream into a reality and the timing was perfect with global developments in AI.”


Mallory Maynard
Founder, Gibbly
“thriveFORWARD enabled us to prepare a demonstration for a local utility company after accelerating critical high-voltage testing, positioning us for our next fundraising round, which this project also enabled.”


James Aein
CEO, ENERZA
“We've learned a lot through this process, through many iterations of our prototype, and we've found amazing partners to work with going forward. We are thrilled with the outcome, the finished product and being given the thriveFORWARD grant to help offset the start‐up costs of our new product line.”


Yasemin Emory
Co-Founder, Jems
“thriveFORWARD funding was greatly appreciated. It helped to accelerate our growth, to launch and successfully demonstrate our product with potential customers.”


Jacqueline Good
Founder & CEO, Magnestar

“thriveFORWARD was pivotal in allowing us to develop our V1 model prototype and prove the viability of the system. We are very grateful for this opportunity and for the support provided by NCFDC.”


Christopher Klich
Co-Founder & CEO – Mycro Harvest

“In the past few months, our team has made great leaps forward. We have completed our commercialized product, which will be brought to market soon. We have also made a major rebranding effort by changing our visual identity and logo to create a fresh image for our company. Many thanks to FedDev Ontario and NCFDC thriveFORWARD for supporting us in commercializing our 3D body scanner.”


From the Team at FuturU

“With the support of thriveFORWARD, we are incredibly proud to have developed four products ready for commercialization. All are environmental and wastewater friendly, and help to decontaminate arson dogs, and to eliminate transfer of contaminates to vehicles, fire departments and homes of first responders across North America. Initial market feedback has been incredibly positive.”


K. Dee Howard
Co-Founder & President - Sootsoap

“Funding from thriveFORWARD allowed us to evolve our service using faster and more adaptive AI technology that opened up new markets and achieved 'quick wins' with new business and revenue growth for our company.”


Lisa Ferrie
Co-Founder - DEC Data

“We sincerely thank FedDev Ontario and NCFDC for funding our idhubs platform. Your support has been crucial in achieving our goals and bringing our vision to life. thriveFORWARD accelerated our growth and enabled key milestones.”


Rojit Sorokhaibam
Founder - idhubs

“Without this thriveFORWARD project we would not have been in a position to organize our manufacturing process and have our product ready for commercialization in this time frame. Thank you.”


Jamie Tyrell
VP Operations - Foddr

“We love working with NCFDC and FedDev Ontario through thriveFORWARD. Thank you for your continued guidance and support.”


Sydney Robinson
Founder - Vessl Prosthetics

“We are honored to be one of the startups receiving funding support from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative. It helped us accomplish a project that is essential for our technology commercialization.”


From the Team at Foqus Technologies

“We’re excited to acknowledge the support of NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative through the FedDev Ontario Jobs and Growth Fund.”


Rachel Bartholomew
Founder - Hyivy Health

“On behalf of our team at Asamaka Industries, we say thank you to NCFDC and FedDev Ontario, as a beneficiary of the thriveFORWARD project. We're proud to have such an amazing partner who supports our mission to empower both skilled and unskilled individuals with the right knowledge and resources necessary to innovate, automate and improve industrial processes. We look forward to continued partnership in the future.”


Chukwuka Asamaka, M.Eng, P.Eng, PMP
Founder - Asamaka Industries

“The thriveFORWARD grant has been a valuable contribution to our business at this early stage of growth. The funds were a critical resource to help us accelerate building some of the foundational elements of our core vision. We would like to thank NCFDC, FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada’s Jobs and Growth, for investing in Canada’s innovation and future economy.”


Emad Toukan
Founder - Brix

“This program was a great experience especially in regard to the mentoring I received on how to market my business and its products.”


Gabriel Langlois-Rahme
Founder - Infer Model

“ThriveFORWARD helped us create our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and we are now doing customer demos. Awesome initiative. We benefitted a great deal from this program, and I believe the thriveFORWARD team deserves huge credit. Thank you.”


Gari Boateng
Founder - Cercling

“With the support of this funding, we managed to successfully develop the first iteration of our Quality Management System (QMS) and implemented the e-QMS. This is a significant accomplishment as the completion of the QMS allows us to move forward with the preparation of the regulatory submission. Most importantly, all of our employees got involved in the development process to strengthen quality control and management competencies.”


Sadegh Raeisi
Founder - Foqus Technologies

“We were able to secure a multi-year contract with the Department of National Defense to continue developing the technology from this project. We couldn't have got here without thriveFORWARD. Thank you!”


Daniyar Akhmedjanov
Founder - Rubicon

“My sincere appreciation goes out to all of you at thriveFORWARD for your support and help.”


Mehdi Masoumi
Founder - Deaf AI

“Our thriveFORWARD project results in Canada’s first hexane-free soy protein pilot plant and is a key piece of infrastructure to enable future collaboration with other oilseed protein companies within Canada.”


Graham Markham
CDO - New Protein International

“Great level of support from thriveFORWARD. Seamless and streamlined process with excellent communication and service along the way. Would recommend this funding stream to other entrepreneurs starting up that need that extra boost.”


Ryan Fowler
Founder – Wild Lot

“We wanted to thank NCFDC and FedDev Ontario for their support as we scale up to change the way healthcare communicates in Ontario.”


Dr. Duncan Rozario
CMO – Sigma Healthtech

“The support that we received from thriveFORWARD was a game-changer for our cyber security startup. Your onboarding process was surgical and rapid with constructive criticism that sharpened our objectives. The support allowed us to take calculated risks and invest more resources into our commercialization efforts, accelerating our path to market and ultimately enabling us to better protect our SMB clients from the ever-evolving threats in the digital landscape.”


Michael Bakaic
Founder – ICEBERG Cyber

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