thriveFORWARD Sub-Regional Highlights Part 3: The GTA
VENTURE13, COBOURG, ONTARIO, January 23, 2024—With the support of FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada’s Jobs and Growth Fund, NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative backs technology entrepreneurs and industrial innovators across all of southern Ontario in their leading efforts to grow, expand their business, create jobs and contribute to the inclusive and sustainable industries of our region’s future.
Early-stage thriveFORWARD ventures in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) included some of the most exciting up-and-coming start-ups in Canada in 2023. With matching, performance-based seed funding and acceleration, these start-ups have already went on to raise more than $8 million in follow-on funding.
- Green and cleantech innovation in the GTA was at the forefront of the thriveFORWARD portfolio, led by CarbonOne, SpinorX, Symbient, Exhale Aerosystems, Advanced Biofibres, Renergy, Pahk Solutions, Cabn and Fathom Storage. Ecosystem partners helped to develop breakthrough cleantech projects in Toronto and across southern Ontario, providing support to both innovation commercialization (for deployment stage companies) as well as very early-stage experimental deeptech that could play a pivotal role in the emerging era of circular economics.
- In biotech, agtech and food production, NCFDC’s strategic partnership with Bioenterprise propelled next generation ventures. thriveFORWARD backed Daily Blends, Gwella, FoFu, Nirvana, Beagle Scientific, Krop, Mycro Harvest and Genuine Taste, strengthening critical sectors identified by FedDev Ontario through the strategic objectives of the Government of Canada’s Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF). Mycro Harvest was featured in Episode #4 of the Frontier Entrepreneurship Podcast.
- AI, computer vision, predictive analytics and advanced logistics applications were brought forward by CaCao Systems, ExpressUAV and ZapMetals, in various applications from advanced manufacturing to drone systems, with the support of FedDev Ontario. ZapMetals (automated machine shop) was featured in Episode #5 of the Frontier Entrepreneurship Podcast.
- In medtech and related applications, thriveFORWARD advanced Anatomiz3d, Glissner, Foqus, Leynek Medical and PocketMD.
- GTA SaaS start-ups in the thriveFORWARD portfolio included Bidmii, Cercling, Cheffer, Chexy (Forbes Toronto Top 30 Under 30 along with NCFDC N1M-backed Convictional Commerce Founders), Avail, Conscious Cart, Iceberg Cyber, jitto, LockDocs and OOt along with accessibility platforms Magnify Access, Deaf AI (Desjardins Start-up Prize Winner at the U of T) and Voiceflip, in gaming and music Limelight and StreamSIX and fintech ventures Fund the North and P2PHub.
- Featured in the flagship Episode #1 of NCFDC’s Frontier Entrepreneurship Podcast was acclaimed spacetech start-up, Magnestar.
While these next gen thriveFORWARD Start-ups are commercializing new and innovative products and services, established companies in the region (SMEs) also co-invested in innovation capital, in talent and tech:
- With the support of FedDev Ontario through NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative, investments in innovation in the food and beverage production and strategic supply chain partners impacted a total of 13 SMEs across the GTA (Greenhouse Juice, Flavorcan, Rootree, DOM International, Casa Bonita, Pure Food Meat Solutions, King Cole Ducks, Wilmott Orchards, Sunny Crunch Foods, B. Box, Rapid Aid and Osmow’s Commissary).
- At the forefront of cleantech and greening operations, projects led by Hybrid Power Solutions in Etobicoke (designer and manufacturer of battery systems to replace gas and diesel generators) and Evergreen Environmental in Durham Region (a leader in organic waste management) laid the groundwork for sustainable growth.
- In Toronto, biomanufacturer ProteinQure is leading computational protein drug design through investment in cutting edge methodologies while Piramal Healthcare in Aurora invested in strategic productivity enhancements.
- In Markham, EAIgle advanced enterprise computer vision solutions for the workplace and public spaces while Shiftlink developed their notification platform for employers.
- In Milton, ROMAC implemented cobot solutions for advanced manufacturing capacity-building.
- In Mississauga, thriveFORWARD and MasterNet invested in gravometric feeders to improve production systems and reduce waste, drove global business expansion with E. Morrisson Equipment (producing specialized water systems for dental applications) and invested in strategic innovation capital for enhanced productivity, innovation and sustainability with Kal-Trading, who process post-industrial plastic parts and materials into re-usable pellets.
With FedDev Ontario, thriveFORWARD helped to trigger investments in innovation capital at a 5-to-1 clip, generating strong public ROI.
“thriveFORWARD investments were made possible by the leadership of FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada,” said Wendy Curtis, Executive Director of NCFDC. “Whether in the GTA or in southwestern or eastern Ontario, together we advanced some of the most exciting Ontario-made technology solutions in the region. New products, new services and process innovations will strengthen competitive advantage and open new domestic and global market opportunities now and well into the future.”
For more information about the thriveFORWARD initiative, please visit the official webpage.
And you can catch upcoming episodes of NCFDC’s Frontier Entrepreneurship Podcast on Podbean and all major platforms. Season 1 features start-ups backed by FedDev Ontario through NCFDC’s thriveFORWARD initiative, including ZapMetals, Mycro Harvest and Magnestar.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator – NCFDC
thriveFORWARD SME Testimonials
Gabriel Johnston - President & CEO
Chase Winters - Chief Performance Officer
Greenhouse Juice Company
Mauro Pennacchioli - President
Jas Vanvat, VP, Finance
Jane He – CEO and Founder.
“Exciting news! Our company is proud to announce that we have been selected to participate in thriveFORWARD, which will help us accelerate our growth and achieve our business goals. We’re grateful for the support from NCFDC and FedDev Ontario, which is making this opportunity possible."
From the Team at JGW Machine Ltd.
“With the support of FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada’s Jobs and Growth Fund, NCFDC launched thriveFORWARD to accelerate industrial investment in innovation across southern Ontario. Our smart feeder project was funded in part by thriveFORWARD. A big thank you to this partnership with special mention to Belplas/Movacolor for getting us the equipment needed.
Every job is a self-portrait of the people who do it: autograph your work with excellence.”
From the Team at MasterNet Ltd.
“We are now a major participant in the private label industry in Canada! Before this project, our production capacity was completely dedicated to our own brand. Now we manufacture directly for national supermarket chains as well as co-packing for smaller companies. This would not have been possible without the support of thriveFORWARD.”
Director – Casa Bonita Foods
“Shoutout to NCFDC thriveFORWARD for their support. The work you do fuels the work we do.”
Founder – Carrot Bacon
“Our company was able to accelerate U.S. market expansion thanks to the project funding we received from thriveFORWARD. Our clients expect that we operate at the speed of business, and scaling in large competitive markets demands speed and efficiency. Thanks to thriveFORWARD's funding, we rapidly onboarded new talent, acquired critical resources, and successfully secured business deals with some of the largest enterprise brands on the Fortune 500 list. We are on pace to meet our next milestone of organizational growth and the funding we received from thriveFORWARD was paramount to our corporate expansion.”
Chief Executive Officer - EAIGLE Inc.
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.