The 2021 Vancouver Impact Investor Challenge (IIC) Finale culminated last week in the first-ever double win for the program.
IIC finalists – purpose-driven ventures from British Columbia with innovative solutions spanning a variety of industries including healthtech and cleantech – pitched their businesses for the final time to the program’s investor cohort.
For these companies, the wins come after having been selected into the top five finalists after two pitching events post-acceptance into the program, and also after having completed a rigorous due diligence process with the investor cohort.
Viridis Research is a BIPOC and woman-led cleantech company addressing urgent global water pollution challenges, from microplastics to harmful contaminants, by eliminating them from water.
“It’s an incredible honour to be the winning venture of this Challenge,” says Dr. Cataldo, CEO of Viridis Research. “We know that our success today will catalyze this financing round and help us overcome the lack of equality around capital funding for women and minority-led startups. The funds are critical to bringing our VEOX technology to the market and preventing microplastic contamination in water.”
Brave Technology Coop collaboratively co-designs drug overdose detection products, works to effectively address barriers that would normally discourage people from seeking overdose intervention, and helps create personal overdose preparedness plans.
“This recognition is a dream come true for Brave,” says Gordon Casey, Brave’s Founder and CEO. “As a cooperative and direct-impact focused organisation, we know we don’t appeal to every investor. The funds will be crucial to our ability to detect and reverse more overdoses in 2022; and the validation by Spring Activator and the investors will, I am sure, prove fundamental to our ability to raise additional capital.”
The Impact Investor Challenge is an 11-week program that Spring Activator runs to grow the impact investor community, guide early-stage and impact-curious investors into impact investing, empower and fund impact entrepreneurs, and help change the world through purpose-driven innovation.
Since the launch of the Challenge in 2019, Spring has trained over 100 impact investors. This has resulted in over $500,000+ awarded in direct investments to Challenge winners, and the catalyzation of additional impact investments made, surmounting $11 million.
The fall 2021 Challenge marked the fifth time of five where the grand prize winner is a woman-led venture, and it also marked the first time a co-op was selected into the program (and received investment).
“It has been an absolute privilege to interact with new investors and early-stage founders throughout this Challenge,” says Davina MacPhail, Impact Investing Program Manager at Spring Activator. “It is especially rewarding to witness individuals who are stepping into the investor role for the first time taking ownership within it, and also to see the growth of purpose-driven founders as they learn an incredible amount from interacting with the investor cohort. Exciting times lay ahead for both of these groups, and especially for the two winners!”