The Upside of R&D Funding Reform

The total value of the jackpot is $8.85 billion, and there are 4,269 ways to win. Am I talking about a new lottery? No. It’s the funding mechanisms for research and development offered by Canadian governments.

According to The Funding Portal, an Ottawa group that helps innovators tap government funding, 4,269 government programs hand out almost $9 billion to people toiling to build a better mousetrap. Let’s add a bit of perspective to that figure: The entire New Brunswick government’s annual program spending is $8 billion.

So Ottawa and its provinces and territories are handing out more

Continue Reading

The Future of R&D Funding

J.P. Deveau insists his concerns about pending reforms to R&D funding in Canada have little to do with his company, but, worries about how the reforms could affect younger, more vulnerable companies. Deveau is the founder and CEO of Dartmouth-based Acadian Seaplants Limited, which has grown over three decades into a leading exporter of products made from seaweed, including fertilizer, animal feed, and nutritional supplements. The company has 300 employees, exports to 70 countries, and spends about 5% to 8% of its revenues on R&D. I thought he was the perfect person to demystify the current

Continue Reading

DeNovaMed Wins I-3 Contest

There’s a new star in the constellation of Atlantic Canadian startups – DeNovaMed Inc.

The Halifax biotech, which is developing a new class of compounds to battle superbug viruses, was awarded the top prize Wednesday in Innovacorp’s I-3 competition, beating out 141 competitors from across Nova Scotia.

The company, which grew out of the research lab at the IWK children’s hospital, has used computer-aided drug design to develop a new class of antibiotics to treat infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, known as superbugs. These superbugs have proliferated greatly in the last 30

Continue Reading

Exploring The Exempt Market

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a bit of work in the exempt market dealer segment, a class of asset I didn’t even know existed until now. You don’t hear much, if anything, about it here on the East Coast, but it’s an increasingly active market in Western Canada.

I think it’s something we should be more aware of, given the need for capital among regional companies in the coming decades.

So what is the exempt market? It’s a market for securities of issuers who are exempt from releasing prospectuses. For the purposes of this column, we’ll consider them young companies that

Continue Reading

Reader’s Views: Brent Newsome

Today, we launch our Reader's Views section, in which we publish contributions from members of the Atlantic Canadian investor and entprepreneur community. We're starting with Brent Newsome, CEO of NewPace of Bedford, N.S., writing on the need for collaborative political discourse. Got a view? Let us know and we may publish it.

By Brent Newsome

On two mornings recently, I listened to the Minister of Finance and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce spar over their views of Nova Scotia’s economic dilemma on the province’s most popular morning drive time radio show.  Each party dissected the

Continue Reading

Atlantic Canada Too Fragmented

 Last week I tried to explain the landscape of entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada to someone from Toronto. Before I continue, I should explain what I mean by “landscape.”

The person was in Halifax because he needs to learn more about entrepreneurship in the region; he plans to come here regularly to build contacts. I told him that he can’t develop deep relationships in Atlantic Canada by only visiting Halifax. For better or worse, there are at least four communities of entrepreneurs in the region, and the links among them are tenuous at best.

One of our challenges in Atlantic Canada is

Continue Reading

SimplyCast Launches Version 7

SimplyCast, the Halifax-based multi-channel marketing company, announced today that it has launched Version 7 of its software, as we reported in November.

SimplyCast is one of the more ambitious companies I follow here, and has been since its inception.  CEO Saeed El-Darahali was never content just to be another software-as-a-service company and took the time and money to find the staff to develop a unique platform-as-a-service company. Though I often write in praise of exits, I admire El-Darahali for stating openly that he does not want to exit this business until he’s established it as

Continue Reading

GrowthWorks Funds 3 NB Firms

Fresh off a new investment in Newfoundland, GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund has invested $1.75 million in three companies nestled in the bustling tech community of Saint John.

GrowthWorks announced Tuesday it has invested $1.1 million in Enovex Technology Ltd., $400,000 in Spinzo Corp. and $250,000 in MedRunner Health Solutions Inc. The funding announcement comes hot on the heels of the labour-sponsored venture fund leading a $750,000 funding round by Adfinitum, the St. John’s-based advertising data bank.

“The fund is delighted to announce it has invested nearly two million dollars in

Continue Reading Eyes Ontario Market , a Halifax-based online property data and brokerage site, is gearing up to enter the Ontario market this year if a regulatory case forces greater competition in Toronto. And the company may have to raise capital to do so.

Founder and CEO Bill McMullin said in an interview last week that the company is interested in expanding into other provinces, but has to wait until the bodies overseeing real estate data willingly share that data with the site. So far, the company has only had success doing so in Nova Scotia, but it believes Ontario will open up later this year. And the

Continue Reading

New Brunswickers Win Tech Awards

New Brunswick owned the technology podium last year.

The Vancouver-based tech site techvibes announced its startup awards on Friday and the Radian6-Q1 Labs-Gerry Pond grouping raked in the silverware.

Marcel LeBrun, Chris Newton, and Chris Ramsey of Radian6 captured the award for Canadian Entrepreneur of 2011, based obviously on the sale of their company to for about $326 million. Radian6 also won the Most Significant Acquisition Award.

Gerry Pond, an original investor in Radian6 and Q1 Labs (which sold out to IBM) was named the Canadian Angel of 2011.


Continue Reading