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.
*Excluding statistical outliers and including undisclosed amounts that were reported to NCFDC and included in the total.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator – NCFDC
thriveFORWARD Start-up Testimonials
Sloane Paul – Founder
ARC Motor Company
Christopher Hakim—Co-Founder & CFO
Select Canadian Supplements
Keepwise Loss Prevention System
William Jones—Founder & CEO
From the Team at OOt
Co-Founder, Magnify Access
– CEO, Tick Stick Corporation
From the Team from CABN.CO
Founder & CEO, CarbonOne
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
VP Operations - Foddr
“We love working with NCFDC and FedDev Ontario through thriveFORWARD. Thank you for your continued guidance and support.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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!”
Founder - Rubicon
“My sincere appreciation goes out to all of you at thriveFORWARD for your support and help.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Founder – ICEBERG Cyber
Episode 10 of Season 1 brings you to the intersection of seaweed and artificial intelligence with Thomas Storwick, Co-Founder of Coastal Carbon. Thomas’ start-up is a southern Ontario-based innovation-driven enterprise supporting next generation sustainable aquaculture and marine ecosystem restoration.
Episode 9 of Season 1 brings you to the frontier of medtech and digital health with William Jones, Founder & CEO of Leynek Medical. Leynek Medical is a southern Ontario-based start-up developing innovation-driven solutions in cancer oncology and patient care.
Start-ups working on solutions for policetech, community innovation and first responders got a boost from NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative, with the support of FedDev Ontario and the Government Canada’s Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF). Three southern Ontario ventures are helping to ensure the operational efficiency, excellence and effectiveness of police services and allied organizations through their innovative technologies.