The Legacy of Invest Atlantic

I was depressed after the meeting. Bob Williamson was defiant. It was the spring of 2010, and we had just met with an eminent person in the start-up community. We had outlined Williamson’s plan for a regional conference to unite start-ups and investors in Atlantic Canada. Williamson was insistent that the conference, to be called Invest Atlantic, be pan-regional, even though some sponsors would have preferred an event focused on one province.

What we heard from this person was discouraging. He insisted that the number of regional start-ups was too small to sustain such a conference, and

Continue Reading

Nautel Branches into New Markets

When Peter Conlon looks back at his career, he may muse that September 2013 was the month in which the revolution he has brought to Nautel Ltd. bore fruit.

Started in 1969, the Hackett’s Cove manufacturer was a maker of niche radio transmitters before Conlon became CEO in 2006. But as the world entered its economic catastrophe in 2008, he led Nautel in an initiative to ramp up investment and branch into new markets. As a result the company’s annual revenue has soared from about $15 million in 2006 to about $40 million today, and its estimated market share has more than quintupled.

Continue Reading

Bringing Iranian Sand Tech to Canada

A University of New Brunswick researcher whose technology has helped to stabilize huge sand dunes in Iran is now forming a company to develop commercial applications for the North American market, including the mining and agricultural industries.

Mostafa Aghaei has developed his environmentally friendly Nanocoil product from natural polymers to be mixed with water and used to prevent erosion or other movement of soil, sand or dust. He is now working with the university and Stiletto Consulting of Fredericton to develop the company, whose name is BIOpolynet, and is looking for a business

Continue Reading

What Startups Need in the NS Election

Hannes Weiland and Robert Niven at CarbonCure Technologies in Halifax asked on Twitter last week why no one in the Nova Scotia election is discussing the potential of startups, and asked me to weigh in on the matter.

“I'll bet I'm not alone in voting for the party that credibly addresses the #startupNS economy,” tweeted Niven, the cleantech company’s CEO.

They have a point. If politicians are unveiling policies that would hasten the development of IT, biotech and cleantech companies in Nova Scotia, the message certainly isn’t reaching the voting public. It’s a shame, because startups

Continue Reading

Puritas’ Filter Improves Stored Diesel

Puritas Energy Inc. is striving to make sure that calamities like Hurricane Sandy aren’t exacerbated by failing emergency generators, brought on by changes in the composition of diesel fuel in the past five or six years.

The Halifax company has secured the North American licence to sell DieselPure filters, which were invented by Halifax entrepreneur Peter Kerrin. The device is designed to make sure that diesel sitting in storage tanks for four to six months or longer maintains its potency so it can work when it’s needed.

“One of the challenges in an emergency situation is access to

Continue Reading

Invest Atlantic’s PitchCamp Entrants

Invest Atlantic, the conference for the Atlantic Canadian startup community, has named the companies that will appear at its PitchCamp on Sept. 24 in Halifax.

Invest Atlantic will host PitchCamp the night before the main conference as a showcase for young companies in the area, and a chance for them to get feedback on their business models and pitches. It takes place 4:30 to 6:30 pm next Tuesday at the World Trade and Convention Centre.

The companies pitching at the event are:

• Spring Loaded Technology;

• CompCamp;

• Atlantic Motor Labs Inc.;

• World United CHANGEwear;

Continue Reading

NBIF Preserves Core While Expanding

Almost three years ago, New Brunswick Premier David Alward sat down with Robert Hatheway to offer the Fredericton orthodontist and businessman the chair of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation

From that discussion, Hatheway understood that innovation and research would soon assume a broader position in the province’s development strategy, and that NBIF would play the quarterback position in that new game plan.

“When the Premier asked me to fill this role, he told me that one of the things we can’t do in New Brunswick is continue to look into the rearview mirror,” Hatheway said in

Continue Reading

Planet Hatch Opens in Fredericton

The latest incubation centre and program for Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs were launched in Fredericton on Thursday with the aspirations of being a national or international enterprise by the spring.

Knowledge Park, a development for knowledge industry companies in the New Brunswick capital, officially opened the Planet Hatch Centre (formerly called the Commercialization Environment for Advanced Learning Technologies, or CEALT), which will be home to the new ACcelR8 program. About 180 people registered to attend the launch.

The facility and program are starting off with a first cohort

Continue Reading

Compilr in Talks on Key Assets

Compilr, the Halifax company whose online development environment allows users to learn, write and test code in the cloud, has received interest from a number of potential suitors that may be interested in buying its assets.

Founder and CEO Patrick Hankinson said in an interview the company is talking about the sale of its back-end infrastructure and its educational product. “We’re just re-evaluating what technology we have and who the technology would fit well with,” said Hankinson.

He said the talks could result in the infrastructure and educational platform being sold to one or two

Continue Reading

Karma Secures $1M from Vanedge

Halifax-based Karma Gaming, which develops video games for regulated lotteries, has added to its Series A round of venture capital with a $1 million funding from Vanedge Capital in Vancouver.

The funding, Vanedge’s first in Atlantic Canada, is an addition to the $4 million first closing announced in June, bringing the total for the A round to $5 million. The first closing of the round included $2.5 million from Rho Canada Ventures, the Canadian arm of Rho Capital Partners, which has offices in Palo Alto, Calif., New York and Montreal, and $1.5 million from Innovacorp, the Nova Scotia

Continue Reading