Joe Allen

Joe Allen

Energia Ventures next month will hold the Demo Day for its third cohort – a group rich in cybersecurity expertise.

Overseen by the University of New Brunswick’s Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship program, Energia is an annual accelerator that works with startups involved in energy, smart grid, cleantech or cybersecurity. These are sectors in which Fredericton has strong expertise.

This year, it just turned out that all four companies participating in the program are involved in cybersecurity in one form or another rather than in energy or cleantech. The organizers recruit companies from around the world and there turned out to be more accepted companies involved directly or peripherally in security.

“If we look at our first cohort, there was one cybersecurity company, but this year they all have a touch of security – it was just the way the cookie crumbled,” said Energia Managing Director Joe Allen in an interview.  “Last year, it was focus on energy companies. It’s hard to predict what the next cohort will look like but we just want to raise the bar every time.”

The Demo Day will take place Dec. 11 at the Beaverbank Art Gallery in Fredericton. You can register here

Energia, which is open to companies from around the world, had hoped to have six companies in the program this year, but two of the international participants had visa issues so four companies will present during Demo Day.

They are:

Gray Wolf Analytics, Fredericton – Gray Wolf is developing a blockchain analytics solution that helps detect money-laundering. Its analytics platform can overlay on any blockchain and track cryptocurrency and detect if criminals are moving money around.

Tail Wind, India – This company is developing an ‘asset tokenization platform’, which allows the owner of a financial asset (say, a company or real estate), to create a cache of tradable tokens that represent ownership in the asset. This will allow the asset’s owner to raise money by selling the tokens, which can later be traded or bought back by the issuer. The company is starting with video game development so the developers can raise money by selling stakes in the game by issuing tokens.

ServUs Health, Fredericton – Servus is developing a matchmaking support platform for seniors – a digital solution that can connect seniors to such programs or services as health clinics, physiotherapists or other amenities.

Clanz, Tel Aviv – Clanz is focused on artificial intelligence software that uses sound to monitor vulnerable populations, such as toddlers, the elderly or disabled people. Using machine learning, it measures the tonality of a voice and can detect problems even among people who are unable to speak. It can be installed in a phone or CCTV to bring in an extra layer of security.

Each Energia team receives $20,000 in non-dilutive funding and the opportunity to pitch to the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation for an equity investment of as much as $50,000.

[The CEO of Gray Wolf is Dhirendra Shukla, who is also the head of the TME program. Allen said there was no conflict in the company receiving the equity funding because approval for that funding rests with NBIF not Energia. Shukla recused himself from the discussions on the non-dilutive portion, leaving those discussions to his co-founders. Allen said the non-dilutive funding is an amount that, while not insubstantial, is not out of line with other programs of this sort.]

Allen said recruiting international companies has provided great benefits for the program, and for Fredericton. For example, Tail Wind is looking into applying to the Startup Visa program to move to Fredericton. And the international contacts help the whole ecosystem.

“When I talk to people overseas, I begin almost every conversation by telling them where Fredericton is,” said Allen. “So I think it is great exposure for Atlantic Canada.”

 

Disclosure: UNB's TME program is a client of Entrevestor.