Each month, the team at Switchboard Public Relations connects the dots between the trends, headlines and narratives informing the B.C. tech sector.
For September’s Connecting The Dots, the team breaks down recent funding announcements and multimillion-dollar M&A action, shines a spotlight on BC Tech’s first-ever Dragon’s Den Pitch Night, and explores new partnerships.
Funding flows into tech
The Short: Panache Ventures launched new funding for pre-seed and seed-stage companies; Ideon Technologies announced a $21-million Series A funding; Cognitive3D secured a $2.5-million seed round; and Doodles closed a USD$54-million round.
The Long: In what has been referred to as “a vote of confidence in the Canadian early-stage ecosystem,” Montreal-based Panache Ventures revealed the raising of a new fund with commitments of $100 million for pre-seed startups. Investments from “Fund II” will be made across a diverse range of sectors, with several already made in blockchain, digital coaching, and artificial intelligence. Investments have already been made in 12 companies, two of which – Big Whale Labs and Impro – are based in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s Ideon Technologies secured a $21-million Series A funding in a round led by Playground Global. Ideon’s tech helps geologists identify mineral and metal deposits with precision and confidence, reducing risk and cost, saving time, and minimizing the environmental impact of exploration. According to the company, this funding will allow Ideon to expand production capacity and advance the commercialization of its Discovery Platform, which is helping to transform the critical minerals supply chain feeding the clean energy transition.
In a seed round led by Konvoy, with participation from Space Capital and Boost VC, Vancouver’s Cognitive3D raised $2.5 million for its spatial analytics platform for 3D apps. This round brings Cognitive3D’s total funding to date to $3.5 million. Founded in 2015, the company has plans to expand its current team of nine with the goal of doubling its headcount over the next 18 months.
Following a financing round led by Seven Seven Six, with participation from 10T Holdings, Acrew Capital and FTX Ventures, Doodles announced the closing of a USD$54 million round at a USD$704-million valuation. With this new round of funding, the Vancouver-based company aims to continue developing a new generation of engaging experiences and content using blockchain technology, including NFTs. Led by Chief Brand Officer and Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams, Doodles will also fund product development via acquisitions and proprietary technology, media, and collector experiences.
Four startups emerge from Dragon’s Den Pitch Night as Finalists for 2022 TIAs
The BC Tech Association’s first-ever Dragon’s Den Pitch Night was held on Thursday, September 15, at Microsoft’s offices in downtown Vancouver. The unique event was part of the 2022 Technology Impact Awards (TIAs), which celebrate outstanding B.C. companies that have made significant, positive impacts on the province’s tech sector, and deserve recognition for generating jobs, investment and innovation.
The saw 10 B.C. companies competing in the “Company of the Year – Startup” award category pitched their innovations to an esteemed panel of judges, including Rich Osborn of Recap Ventures; Laurie Schultz, who serves as Director and Strategic Advisor for a number of companies; Noah Shipman from Vistara Partners; and Christy Wyatt of Absolute Software. The unique event, which was part of the 2022 Technology Impact Awards (TIAs), narrowed the field in the “Company of the Year – Startup” category to four finalists chosen from the group of 10. They are:
- Carbin Minerals: Carbin Minerals’ Develops technology that works to enable mines to become massive carbon sinks while producing the metals needed to drive the clean energy transition.
- Daanaa: Daanaa’s proprietary chip-based technology allows forward-thinking manufacturers to reimagine fundamental engineering problems through advanced, integrated power transfer.
- MintList: MintList is an AI-powered car-selling platform was, created in 2020 by award-winning, Vancouver-based TrafficDriven Technologies.
- VodaSafe: VodaSafe’s AquaEye Handheld Sonar is the first of its kind water rescue and victim recovery device. AquaEye® is an advanced underwater scanner, that uses ing the latest in ultrasound and artificial intelligence technologies to identify human bodies underwater.
The winner of the “Company of the Year – Startup” winner award will be announced at the #2022TIA Gala on Thursday, October 6th (get your tickets here), and will receive an investment award of $10,000 from BC Tech to support its growth.
Latest partnerships in B.C. tech
The Short: Launchpad Technologies partnered with Avalara; Spare did likewise with UZURV; ForwardAI and Swoop Funding got together; and Vida Carbon joined forces with Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Long: Vancouver-based Launchpad Technologies is partnering with Seattle’s Avalara, a cloud-based tax compliance automation platform. According to the company, this partnership “will increase workflow efficiency while automating and digitally transforming their accounting functions.” Additionally, Avalara believes this move will enable Launchpad clients to digitally transform their accounting departments in order to spend less time on non-revenue generating activities, and more time on processes that will impact their bottom lines.
Vancouver’s on-demand transit software solution, Spare, has partnered with UZURV in an effort to enable transit agencies to expand their fleet capacity to meet the evolving paratransit transportation needs. Based out of Richmond, Virginia, UZURV helps agencies, organizations, non-proﬁts, and communities to ensure that everyone, no matter their mobility needs, has access to safe, reliable, and aﬀordable transportation. Part of this partnership includes the integration of Spare’s Open Fleets module, through which transit agencies can access existing flexible networks of fleets and fully FTA-compliant drivers, robust real-time insight into third-party fleets, and transparent reporting across both dedicated and non-dedicated trip providers.
In other Vancouver-U.S. partnership news, fintech startup ForwardAI announced a partnership with New York’s Swoop Funding, a business platform to discover funding solutions across loans, equity, and grants. Through a shared mission of democratizing access to small business loans, this partnership will allow Swoop to augment its current data collection process and leverage ForwardAI’s API for access to normalized and standardized accounting data, while providing Swoop with a reliable API for integrated access to accounting, banking, and financial data that’s both ready-to-use and easily scalable.
Vancouver-based Vida Carbon, a carbon credit investment firm that aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change, landed a new title partnership with seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton’s Extreme E team, X44. Through a shared ambition of bringing awareness to climate change and positively impacting the future of the planet, the partnership forms the X44 Vida Carbon Racing team.
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