The Volta Cohort program awarded a total of $125,000 to five companies Wednesday night, bringing the total funding provided by the two-year-old program over the $500,000 mark.
In its fourth pitching event, the Volta Cohort invested $25,000 each in five companies, meaning it has now channeled a total of $525,000 into 21 startups based in Atlantic Canada. Volta, the Halifax startup house, organizes the event to help out early-stage companies that need their first equity investment to help them reach the market.
The 16 companies that received Volta Cohort funding in the first three events have also received $533,000 in grants. And four of them have received $3.8 million in follow-on investment.
“We’re really excited about what the founders have been able to do with the Volta Cohort, just taking the concept and running with it,” said Volta CEO Jesse Rodgers. He added that the Volta Cohort has been a two-year pilot project and Volta and its partners will soon decide how to move forward with the program.
The five winners on Wednesday night were:
Arolytics, Emmy Atherton
Arolytics is developing technology that helps industrial companies to cost-effectively monitor leaks of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The company is starting with oil and natural gas wells that leak invisible gases. Arolytics provides a dashboard of up-to-date emission analytics, which saves companies time and money by generating reports needed for regulatory compliance. Arolytics now is going through a one-year contact with an oil and gas contractor, and is working on a $350,000 equity round.
Atomo, Matt Cooper
Cooper, a startup veteran, is developing technology to help SaaS development teams research the market for a product they’re considering. Atomo’s tool will integrate with common customer relationship management platforms like Salesforce to help development teams reach the right people quickly. It will also help the teams make sure they are asking the right questions, and provide a continuous service so companies are in constant touch with their customers. Cooper said the $25,000 would help him finish his minimum viable product and bring it to the 30 customers that want to be early adopters.
ReelData, Matt Zimola
This Halifax startup uses artificial intelligence to collect and analyze data for fish farms. The software can analyze video from fish pens and produce meaningful data on the weight distribution of fish stock and the progress of certain diseases. It helps to automate manual processes like feeding fish, and Zimola said clients have used the word “desperate” to describe their need for the technology. ReelData is already carrying out pilot projects in Scotland, Denmark, the U.S. and Mexico, and will soon be ready to attack major markets like Norway and Chile.
Gibli Innovations, Ben Bschaden
Gibli is developing a sensor providing cyclists and triathletes with real-time aerodynamic feedback to help them optimize their riding position and reduce wind resistance. Rather than train in an expensive wind tunnel, cyclists can use the Gibli product to perfect their body angle. Athletes using the product have found 20 percent improvement in performance. The company has a prototype built, and signed up 14 people to buy the device in its first three days of a presales campaign.
BlackWatch.Tech, Jonathan Raimund
Based in Yarmouth, N.S., the company is developing a wristwatch-like safety device that can quickly locate fishermen if they are swept overboard. The team is designing a product that fishermen will be willing to wear, overcoming the problem of too few mariners wearing safety devices. If someone goes overboard, the device would send signals to the fishing boat so the captain could quickly locate the person in the water. BlackWatch.Tech is working with Dalhousie University, Allendale Electronics and the Ignite startup house in Yarmouth to develop the product.
Companies receiving investment are given space at Volta and access to a board of mentors comprising CEOs and founders of Volta’s resident and alumni companies. For companies outside of Halifax, support is arranged with partner organizations in other cities.