LifeRaft, the Halifax company whose platform uncovers potential threats through social media posts, has brought in noted investor Mike Durland to its team as an investor and adviser.
The company said today that Durland led a “non-dilutive” $1.45 million financing round, and will now become a strategic adviser to the company. The round, which comprises three investors, is non-dilutive (meaning it will not further dilute the founders’ holdings) because Durland and his co-investors are buying out previous investors. LifeRaft would not reveal the exiting investors, but CEO John Gallinaugh said it was a friendly transaction.
Launched in 2014, LifeRaft identifies threatening keywords, such as “kill” and “gun,” on social media sources like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It filters the findings so only the most important information is communicated to the client. Once Liferaft’s clients have been alerted about someone using suspicious terms, they can drill into any post to better understand the context of an individual’s comments.
“This is a strategic round that will allow us to significantly advance our growth and development plans,” said Gallinaugh in a statement. “Leading this round is Mike Durland, a sophisticated investor, who sees the value in our solution and clearly recognizes the potential of Liferaft. Mike is a welcomed addition to our team.”
In an interview, Gallinaugh said LifeRaft is in “good shape financially” and is not poised to raise more money immediately. The company, which raised $2 million in March 2016, has a staff of 20 people and is building up both its sales and development teams. It has clients in about 12 countries with a concentration in such sectors as financial services, insurance and utilities.
“We’ve managed to get very focused in the space we’re in,” he said. “We tripled our revenues from last year and this year we’ve set a goal to double it again. But what we’ve found is it’s about creating awareness and getting in front of the right people and we’re getting better at that now.”
A native of Middleton, N.S., Durland is the former Group Head and Chief Executive Officer of Global Banking & Markets at The Bank of Nova Scotia.
Since making a large donation to St. Mary’s University’s Master of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation program two years ago, Durland has become a force in the Halifax startup ecosystem. He led an $8.5 million investment round in indoor farming concern TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture, and is listed as a board director at the blockchain solutions company PeerLedger. He was recently named an associate at the Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic. Now he’s adding LifeRaft to the list.
“As technology advances, we need to be continually analyzing how it impacts our security operations,” said Durland in the statement. “LifeRaft’s software offering is truly revolutionizing the way critical information is identified and turned into actionable intelligence.”
LifeRaft was recently named one of the Top 25 Up and Coming ICT companies in Canada by Branham Group Inc. The Canadian Trade Commissioners Office also chose LifeRaft to take part in the Canadian Technology Accelerator program in New York City.
Mary Jane Leslie, LifeRaft’s Director of Sales & Marketing, said the CTA program is helping the company connect with advertising and marketing people in New York and build out its network. The company is planning four more trips to New York this year.