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.

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.

Previous installments in this series included eastern Ontario and southwestern Ontario.

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.



Victoria Pichler
Marketing & Communications Coordinator – NCFDC

thriveFORWARD SME Testimonials

“Loon Kombucha is incredibly grateful for the support of this project, which has completely changed our business with elimination of bottlenecks, increased production and sales growth.”

Gabriel Johnston - President & CEO
Loon Kombucha
“Overall, this project has led to a significant reduction in our supply chain risk, allowing us to also source locally wherever possible. We remain competitive and positioned to expand into international markets.”

Chase Winters - Chief Performance Officer
Greenhouse Juice Company
“This project could not of be achieved without thriveFORWARD. We are very grateful to be a recipient—the funding not only enabled us to hire locally but also generated employment throughout the supply chain.”

Mauro Pennacchioli - President
National Pasta
“This project allowed us to implement our new technology which has drastically reduced our production bottleneck. Now installed, we are able to increase production. Without thriveFORWARD funding, this project would have been delayed, but now we have a real opportunity for significant growth in Canada and the USA.”

Jas Vanvat, VP, Finance
Osmow’s Commissary
“A great ally can make all the difference in the world. With thriveFORWARD we were able to revolutionize eSignature usability, translating to a user experience taken to the next level. This achievement represents a critical milestone in Signority’s history, and we’re proud to have created many high-skills jobs in Canada. We’re grateful to the NCFDC team for helping us realize our vision of building a strong Canadian tech company.”

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.”

Sergio Llerena
Director – Casa Bonita Foods

“Shoutout to NCFDC thriveFORWARD for their support. The work you do fuels the work we do.”

Tyler Steeves
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.”

Amir Hoss
Chief Executive Officer - EAIGLE Inc.

thriveFORWARD Start-up Testimonials

“thriveFORWARD has been a great program for us and the folks at NCFDC were absolutely top notch in helping us get going."

Brad McKay—Founder &CEO
Meals on the Move
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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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