Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Singapore’s Most-Funded Startups of 2017 (so far)

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Though tech startup investment is in decline across Asia, a new data analysis from Tech in Asia should offer some hope for startups in Singapore looking for funding.

Tech firms have netted nearly $2.7B in the country’s 10 biggest funding deals of 2017 — the bulk going to Uber-rival Grab in the largest single financing deal in the history of Southeast Asia.

In general, transportation, internet infrastructure and fintech firms seem to be attracting the bulk of investments, according to the Tech in Asia Database.

1) Grab, $2B, Logistics/Transportation

2) AirTrunk, $307M, Internet Infrastructure

3) Hooq, $95M, Music and Entertainment

4) Trax, $83.5M, Recognition Tech/Software as a Service

5) TenX, $81M, Fintech

6) Singapore Life, $50M, Fintech

7) CXA, $25M Health/Professional Services

8) Astroscale, $24M, Clean Tech/Space

9) EndoMaster, $14.6M, Health

10) Instarem, $13M, Fintech

B.C. Entrepreneurs Get a Big Boost From Tech Heavyweights

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Drawn by favorable government policies, a deep talent pool backed by world-class educational institutions and proximity to Silicon Valley, Vancouver has lured some of the world’s largest technology companies.

The arrival of these tech heavyweights has unleashed a ripple effect boosting startups in Vancouver and the rest of B.C. as expertise and capital flow from these newcomers, according to Ernst & Young’s B.C. technology sector leader Richard Mockett.

Successful entrepreneurs are regularly teaming up to provide the next generation of entrepreneurs with guidance and funding.

“What that does is creates a sort of cluster effect,” says Mockett. “There’s a lot of entrepreneurs spending a lot of time, capital, and experience in developing the next generation of entrepreneurs… It’s just phenomenal to see the energy, the passion, the whole community is bringing to B.C.”

Need a Silicon Valley Champion? Meet Joanne Fedeyko

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Since moving on from her role as executive director of the C100 last year, Joanne Fedeyko has continued to be a champion and a partner for Canadian startups, scaleups and corporate organizations that want to develop a deeper innovation strategy.

“I help people build trusted networks in the Valley,” says Fedeyko, now CEO of Connection Silicon Valley. “Whether you’re a startup, corporate, or someone in-between, think of me as your innovation partner who will help you navigate the Valley ecosystem.”

As the 2017 event season kicks into gear, you can expect to see Fedeyko at key startup events across Canada and in Silicon Valley. Between flights and private events, Fedeyko sat down with TechPORTFOLIO to talk about how her company, Connection Silicon Valley, supports companies at all stages and in sectors such as IoT, Energy Tech, Life Sciences, Retail Tech and Ag & Food Tech.

TechPORTFOLIO: Why do people need help building networks in Silicon Valley?

Joanne Fedeyko: The “Silicon Valley normal” is not normal outside of the Bay Area — which many people realize. But it can be a very helpful place if you tap into the network, passion and urgency around new technologies being created and funded in the Valley. I want to help Canadians make the most of their time when they come to the Valley by tapping into those critical success factors.

Many startups, accelerators, corporations and even economic development agencies are coming to the Valley to build their own networks — and it’s wonderful to see! They book meetings and ask for introductions, but if they don’t have the right connections they might miss out on some huge opportunities. For my clients, I’m a dedicated resource who will fill their calendars with meetings tailored to the goals of their trip. I connect them to the right people at the right time in their innovation journeys.

TechPORTFOLIO: Startups typically head to Silicon Valley for funding, so what does this look like for a corporate partner?  

Fedeyko: We are seeing a plethora of corporations from across the globe recognize the need to tap into the innovation in these startup ecosystems, particularly Silicon Valley. It’s important for corporate leaders to visit these tech hubs and immerse themselves in the technology trends that are disrupting their industry. Corporate innovators shouldn’t just have a single head of innovation, they should have innovation partners — people that can help them engage with startups in a way that is successful for both parties.

For my corporate clients, I curate multi-day immersion trips in the Valley that include meetings and workshops with a variety of key players — technology hubs, accelerators, VCs, startups and other corporate innovators and influencers. These trips expose corporate leaders to the culture and processes needed to manage inbound requests from startups and understand what is the best way to bring the startups into their corporate environment.

TechPORTFOLIO: Do you help people make connections outside of Silicon Valley too?

Fedeyko: Absolutely! I’m an expat Canadian living in the Valley for almost 20 years and I’m relentlessly building my network to make connections across Canada, in the Valley and in other critical tech hubs across the globe. I want to give my clients a leg up, regardless of where they call home.

Top Hat Takes Vanguard Position in EdTech with $22.5 Million Funding Boost

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The textbook era is over. VC investment in sector-shifting EdTech innovations, like interactive classroom apps and web-based assessment tools, is mounting. Toronto-based startup Top Hat, under the leadership of CEO Mike Silagadze, is the latest to benefit: the company just netted a $22.5 million investment in a series C funding round, according to Bloomberg.

With its cloud-based interactive software that helps educators create and distribute academic content, Top Hat’s technology is currently used in 75% of the top 1,000 schools in North America. The rivals Top Hat’s taking on next? Traditional “overpriced” textbook publishers like McGraw-Hill and Pearson. Backers including Union Square Ventures, iNovia Capital, and Georgian Partners have put millions of dollars of confidence behind this savvy startup.

Once considered a risky venture, as TechCrunch reports, EdTech has captured the attention of investors and teachers, too. As EdTech Magazine reports, 84 percent of students, faculty, and administrators believe a digital shift will help them conquer classroom challenges.

VR Startup Strivr Raises $5 Million in Initial Funding

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Football’s latest star is a VR startup.

In an initial funding round, Strivr Labs Inc raised $5 million towards expansion across sports and the workplace, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Founded by former Stanford University football player and assistant coach Derek Belch, and Jeremy Bailenson of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Strivr provides training tools for professional and college football teams.

Using proprietary software and virtual-reality headsets such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Gear VR, the company gives football players the ability to run plays and scenarios as if they’re in the middle of play. Current customers include seven professional teams, 13 college teams, and one high school team.

Can they leverage this VR product from the stadium to the boardroom? Strivr’s funders are saying yes.

The funding, led by Menlo Park, California-based Signia Venture Partners, will allow Strivr to expand its software applications to corporate customers for VR-based training programs designed to help improve reaction time and decision-making in customer service scenarios.

Strivr is profitable and has an estimated valuation of $20 million to $33 million, according to Signia VC founding partner Zaw Thet, who will take a board seat.

NextAI Announces $5M in Funding to Develop an AI Ecosystem in Canada

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Artificial intelligence innovators will be getting a major boost from some of Canada’s largest companies and a $5 million CAD fund. NextAI is a crucial tool in combating the brain-drain loss of entrepreneurs and talented students to other countries.

The NextAI program, an offshoot of the national entrepreneurship nonprofit NEXT Canada, is dedicated to establishing the country’s position as a leader in AI entrepreneurship and innovation. Launching in February, the program will bring AI-focused startups from around the world to its Toronto hub and provide them with mentorship, education, corporate services and state-of-the-art technology, in addition to up to $200,000 per team.

Founded by executives at RBC and Magna, the group has received additional funding by BDC Capital and Scotiabank, as well as sponsorships from leading Canadian technology companies such as IBM.

“Artificial intelligence is one of the most transformational technologies impacting business today, and Canada must remain at the forefront of exploring its commercial and scientific opportunities,” said Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC. “By partnering on NextAI, we’ll help entrepreneurs from around the world develop their next AI ventures here in Canada.”

Propelling Tech Industry Success For Women: The Right Funders and the Right Insights

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The discussion around funding women entrepreneurs is growing more active by the day. One thing is clear: driven women entrepreneurs aren’t willing to accept a funding system that favours male founders out of familiarity and prejudice.

As strategist Allison Collinger points out in her push to a Forbes piece, funding women makes bottom-line sense:  

Payal Kadakia’s contribution to this roundtable of women founders on funding? “Highlight your ability to solve problems and persevere no matter what challenges come up.”

Girls in Tech points to a telling stat in this Tech.Co gathering of tips for women founders on the funding market: “Nearly 80 percent of the women in the study used personal savings as their top funding source, even though 31 percent of them had angel investors and 14 percent had venture capital funding.”

Women are driving other women to thrive and succeed in the tech startup world. Whether that help comes in the form of funding or actionable advice, it brings us closer to achieving gender balance—and the increased flow of great ideas and products that comes with it—in the tech industry.

ResolveTO Brings the Focus of Startupfest To the Enterprise Space

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

As corporations seek to embrace startup agility and self-disruption, startups are grasping for the correct funding and scale-up approaches in a tech industry that morphs by the second.

Bringing the different sides of the tech enterprise conversation into dialogue at one innovation-and-growth focused conference was what the brains behind the successful Startupfest were committed to do: and ResolveTO is where that conversation comes alive.

From January 25 to 27 in downtown Toronto, ResolveTO is assembling keynotes from across the tech and business spheres, and supercharging relationships between startups and potential partners or funders.

With speakers ranging from Sukhinder Singh of Joyus to Ryan Broshar of Techstars, and insight from funding powerhouses like Ian Friedman of the Goldman Sachs Investment Partners VC & Growth Equity fund, the knowledge crossover between the tech and business sectors on the ResolveTO floor makes this event a must for every ambitious enterprise driver. The “Speed Dating” Zone, complete with a $100K prize, adds a curated matchmaking touch, bringing startups and enterprise into conversation with heavyweights such as BDC, Rogers, Deloitte, and DMZ.

To find out more, take a look at ResolveTO’s detailed agenda here.

2017 Fundica Roadshow Offers $1 Million To Promising Canadian Startup

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Entrepreneurs are on alert: This spring, the 2017 Fundica Roadshow is touring Canadian cities. The top prize? A $1 million investment award provided by First Stone Venture Partners.

Now in its fifth year, the Fundica Roadshow offers early-stage innovators from across Canada the opportunity to pitch their startup to a panel of angels, VCs, banks, and government organizations. This year, the tour will stop in 10 different cities from Halifax to Victoria, and each of the city stop winners will be invited to the Grand Finale, where the $1 million investment will be awarded.

“First Stone is delighted to now be officially working with Fundica in the cross-Canada search for investment-worthy Canadian startups. Consistently we see highly credible prospects presenting at the Fundica Roadshow,” said Margo Langford, an FSVP partner and company recruiter.

The first three 2017 Fundica Roadshow stops will be in Toronto on February 28, Montreal on March 16, and Ottawa on March 24. For more information, click here.

A “Global First Approach” For Growth Potential in Fintech

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Dinaro Ly, Director of the MaRS FinTech cluster in Toronto, connects rising fintech companies with financial industry stalwarts. TechPORTFOLIO recently spoke to Dinaro about the potential that smart startups tap into by incorporating cross-border planning and setting their sights on the world market.

TechPORTFOLIO: Startups in the fintech sphere have demonstrated major appeal to funders. Are fintech companies with an international component to their business plan even more appealing?

Dinaro Ly: Startups with a strong international expansion plan will always have more appeal to local and international investors, especially within the realm of partnerships and capital.  However, it also means they have to work twice as hard to compete with locals in those markets who may already have a home base advantage in understanding market dynamics, access to capital and other key players.

MaRS has made it a priority to build the right resources to help Canadian startups get more plugged in to strategic markets as recently demonstrated by our partnership with NTT DATA and other innovation hubs.

Canada has a fairly conservative and risk adverse culture, so a ‘global first’ approach can also give confidence to investors about the growth potential of a company.

The math is straightforward; Canada has a highly banked population and developed industry but still represents a small market opportunity by comparison to other markets around the globe. If you can demonstrate world domination with credible numbers to an investor, you’re on the right path.

TechPORTFOLIO: Do financial regulations present a major obstacle to fintech startups with international ambitions?

Dinaro Ly: Startups will always have to navigate regulation in whatever market they intend to expand to. Some markets have regulation that will be in favour of their development and some will be a hurdle.

My advice to startups who are looking to expand to markets where they are unfamiliar with the regulatory environment is to find experts in those industries and work with the regulators to ensure your startup has the necessary regulatory oversight needed to be successful in those markets.

TechPORTFOLIO: For fintech startups, how important is it to form partnerships with established international financial institutions? Is this a necessary part of successfully doing cross-border business?

Dinaro Ly: There are 3 critical components you need to consider in order to be successful cross border, and they are all tied to each other.

1.  Know the regulatory environmentIf the regulatory environment is difficult to navigate and it prevents you from being successful, you should consider working with regulatory experts or established financial institutions to assist in managing that burden.

2. Understand consumer behaviours and norms in those marketsGiven the sensitivities associated with personal finance in general, forming partnerships with established financial institutions in those markets would be a critical component to establishing trust, strong market penetration and scale. It would be costly to acquire customers on your own.

3. Partnership. Establish a shortlist of key financial institutions that can help your company build trust and scale quickly.

Regulations like PSD2 in Europe encourage more third-party providers (fintechs) to emerge and will provide them with the resources necessary to build competitive products while leveraging the existing banking infrastructure. Regulations like this will prove to be extremely beneficial for startups, and force traditional financial institutions to diversify their partnership models.