In partnership with Extreme Startups, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) has launched the newest round of the SmartStart program, which will provide much-needed support to six early-stage ventures in the area of digital media and information and communications technology (ICT) to take their business to the next level. Past SmartStart rounds have not been tied to one particular sector.
These six approved start-ups led by students or recent graduates in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields will receive up to $30,000 from OCE’s SmartStart program, which is funded through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and $30,000 from Extreme Startups, Canada’s premier early-stage technology accelerator. In addition to these initial investments, BDC Venture Capital previously announced that it may invest up to $150,000 to start-ups upon completion of the Extreme Startups program.
Delivering seed capital is crucial to accelerate the growth of these emerging companies, but the SmartStart initiative will also provide vital support services to their young founders. Extreme Startups’ Advanced Track program will offer intense mentorship via the Founders Academy to fully equip them with the tools they need to succeed. These services and guidance will complement the technical skills of STEM graduates with the leadership and management skills needed for entrepreneurial success.
This new SmartStart round will build on the successful relationship between OCE and Extreme Startups, which have already co-invested in 13 young entrepreneurs since their partnership began in 2012.
This month, another four companies were awarded SmartStart/Extreme Startups funding:
- Five Aces Inc. for Candid - a customer-inspired commerce platform that deploys the 250 million photos shared each day on social media to the e-commerce point of sale where they have maximum commercial value.
- ExecNote is a sales automation platform that leverages professional social networks to uncover sales opportunities faster. We do this by empowering salespeople to listen to, educate and engage their customers online. ExecNote simplifies social selling for salespeople.
- FameBit is a marketplace that makes it easy for businesses to find, hire and work with YouTube influencers for product and service endorsements such as product reviews.
- SqueezeCMM is the world’s most advanced content marketing performance platform. It shows enterprises the business impact of their marketing content.
An additional five companies received SmartStart funding from OCE:
- 42 is a predictive analytics platform that leverages point-of-sale data to provide an in-depth understanding of what each person likes, so retailers have a better idea of how to engage customers.
- Eve Medical is the medical device company behind HerSwab, an easy to use, reliable way for women to screen for the infection that causes cervical cancer.
- Formarum has developed an automated consumer product that disinfects the water used for recreational purposes. The device can be used by owners of swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, ponds, and decorative water features.
- Global ChipTag is an "EzPass for Parking" empowering customers to be informed of vacant parking spots on their mobile devices, and be automatically charged for the time consumed. This technology obviates the need for customers to roll down their windows, or get out of their car, to get a parking ticket or pass.
- TrendMD Inc. is a medical trending engine that instantly delivers personalized, high impact articles to doctors. With over 2,000 new publications added to PubMed daily, TrendMD uses social media metrics and algorithmic filters to identify the few must-read articles.
In total 39 companies have been funded through SmartStart including the 17 co-funded with Extreme Startups.
Extreme Startups is currently accepting applications via their Advanced Track program. For program guidelines and application details visit www.extremestartups.com/apply