$900 million of venture capital dollars were invested across 144 deals in the third quarter of 2022, bringing the year-to-date total above $7 billion invested across more than 500 deals as investment “continues to normalize to pre-pandemic levels,” according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.
Kim Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of CVCA, noted one positive trend of Q3 was “an uninterrupted growth at the seed stage.”
Investment into early and seed-stage companies demonstrated the most resilience last quarter, comprising 45% and 43% of all transactions respectively, CVCA data shows.
In any market, Seed and Series A rounds can prove pivotal milestones for startups. Until that first true rush of capital, startups are often bootstrapped, typically operating lean on shoestring budgets with a short runway to a steep cliff.
Lack of financial and related support—such as the wisdom and expertise good investors can supply—marks a big reason why the vast majority of new businesses fail within their first few years.
As any entrepreneur will attest, it takes an ecosystem to launch a startup.
Recognizing this, Calgary.Tech took a look at some recent plays in the Alberta technology scene and what each means.
In October, Ownly raised a $2.5 million seed round. The Calgary-based property technology startup raised the capital to support a “rapid expansion into US markets.”
The Alberta startup’s platform allows customers to shop, pre-qualify, finance, and buy new homes—online, from any device. Working with ERP, CRM, and lot management software, Ownly enables transparent online home shopping while delivering data analytics into customer shopping behaviours and buying experiences.
“With economic uncertainty in the housing market, the affordability crisis is forcing builders and sellers to find new and innovative ways to connect with their customers through cutting-edge technology,” explained Ownly cofounder Jason Hardy.
He believes his platform “creates the needed seamless experience for homebuyers and builders.”
Since launching in 2020, the Canadian startup has experienced 100,000 online builds and 4,000 homebuyers in Canada actively shopping for and saving homes through the company’s MyHome Portal.
With fresh capital, Ownly can scale its platform and bring a secure, frictionless experience of homebuying into North American markets, according to a statement from the company.
“This funding allows us to keep our momentum going at a faster and stronger pace,” says Hardy.
Aiming to be the “Shopify of real estate,” the Software-as-a-Service platform is determined to deliver what it believes is the future of new home shopping.
The startup, which launched earlier this year, raised over $1 million from the crowdfunding and with additional support from existing shareholders.
The financing will be used to fund strategic technology acquisitions, support sales and marketing activity, and for working capital, according to a statement from the company.
Calgary’s Prairie Merchant Corporation, UK-based Fullbrook Thorpe Investments, and Farm Credit Canada were initial seed investors for Hempalta earlier this year.
The company has made improvements to its product lines, production scalability, and distribution channels over the past year—which now include Canadian retailers such as Safeway Canada and Calgary Co-op as well as online sites such as Amazon and Loblaws.
While we parts of the tech industry struggle to raise money, energy tech startup IronSight is doubling down on expansion and hiring plans.
IronSight announced this month the close of a raise led by ARC Financial to help the company recruit talent from the tech sector as it continues expansion into the U.S. market. It had previously announced scale-up funding by ARC Financial in 2021.
After a recent influx of opportunities in the U.S., IronSight set out to raise capital to expand its team and bring on strategic investment partners. Among the firm’s new investors are known names in the energy and tech sectors such as Scott Saxberg, Patrick Elliott, Michael Kanovsky, Dr. T. Chen Fong, and John Rossall.
Using cloud-based software, IronSight digitizes field data capture and operations workflows involving people, equipment and service logistics. Doing so “creates immediate operational and administrative efficiencies that help clients make business decisions that increase productivity, reduce costs, optimize assets and enhance safety,” according to a statement from the startup.
The company was founded in Edmonton by two former vac truck operators, Shawn Martens and Adam Jessome, in 2017.
“We knew the technology equity raise conditions were tough, but we believed in our platform and the culture we have at IronSight,” said Martens, IronSight’s President. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work planning our approach, building an exceptional product and generating momentum.”
The upcoming hiring push will add 16 new positions—a 50% increase to the current employee base.
“One thing we feel really gives us a competitive advantage is our culture and our people,” added Jessome, IronSight’s Vice President of Product. “Our product was built from the field up by people who know what it’s like to be out in the middle of nowhere, knee deep in their work with nothing but the right tools and a dedicated team at their side.”
In addition to IronSight, companies such as Edmonton’s EZ Ops and Calgary’s Aimsio and Galatea Technologies have been working with energy producers and service providers to expand their scope and further digitize the patch.
Relay: miQ, Mobsquad, and More
Alberta Enterprise recently invested US$10 million into Relay Ventures Fund V to support innovative early-stage Alberta technology companies.
Included in Relay’s Fund V investments is Alberta-based fintech company, miQ, a savings and credit building platform.
In a previous fund Relay invested in Calgary-headquartered Mobsquad, a technology talent services provider.
Through Fund V, Relay will provide seed and Series A funding to startups in industries with high potential for growth fuelled by rapid adoption of technology.
“Relay is excited to continue our active engagement in Alberta’s innovation economy,” said Irfhan Rawji, Managing Partner of Relay Ventures.
“The past several years have witnessed substantial growth of the sector, and we expect that to continue,” Rawji added.