Three early-stage startups – PragmaClin Research, dependbuild and Easy Platter – were awarded $25,000 each Wednesday evening as winners at the 10th Volta Cohort pitching event.

Ten companies from across Atlantic Canada pitched before a crowd of about 100 people at Volta. It was the first in-person Volta Cohort pitch competition since the outbreak of the pandemic. It had been presented as a virtual event in the past two years.

Held every six months, Volta Cohort awards up to $25,000 to as many as five winners at each pitching event. The session on Wednesday night was notable because there were only three winners. In each of the previous competitions, the judges named five winners, with one exception when they selected a sixth winner.

“The Volta Cohort pitch competition is an incredible opportunity for Atlantic Canadian companies to showcase our region as a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship and talent with their innovative ideas and technology, and we are thrilled to support them,” said Volta Interim CEO Matt Cooper in a statement. “Volta Cohort companies continue to see success in our community and abroad – and we’re proud to assist them in their pursuit for growth, expansion and talent.”

In welcoming the crowd back to the Halifax innovation hub after two years, Cooper said Volta Cohort had already pumped more than $1 million into 44 teams, which now employ more than 200 people and collectively have more than $6 million in revenues.

Here are the three winning companies:


Co-Founders, Conor O’Brien and Dr Tom Cooper


Dependbuild is developing cloud-based software to help municipalities and infrastructure developers to identify, assess and track risks to their construction projects. In the next 30 years, almost all infrastructure will have to be refurbished or rebuilt, but civil servants don’t have the ability to assess the projects and the risk they entail. Dependbuild is a Software-as-a-Service product that analyzes data for infrastructure projects. Its target markets are municipalities, construction companies, and data users. It now has memorandums of understanding in place with 16 municipalities and O’Brien expects to be cash flow positive in Year 3.

Easy Platter

Founder, Mandhir Singh


Easy Platter is an online platform that matches users with personal chefs who prepare meals in their homes once a week. The company aims to make a personal chef not a matter of luxury for wealthy people but a matter of convenience for busy families. With the help of the platform, the users plan meals and purchase ingredients, then a dedicated chef comes to their homes to prepare the meals. The company has already generated $50,000 in revenues, and aims to book $500,000 in sales this year.

PragmaClin Research

Co-Founders, Bronwyn Bridges and Gord Genge

St. John’s

PragmaClin is building solutions to allow for remote medical assessments of people with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. The company recently won the $25,000 Woodward Cup at Memorial University, and so far has raised $249,000. The company is developing PRIMS, the Parkinson's Remote Interactive Monitoring System. It allows patients to stand in front of a camera on a laptop or other device and do the movements the system asks for. The system records the motions and sends the data to a medical professional for assessment. The patient is not bothered by having to hook up sensors, and the medical system can increase its caseload. The company is already working with the Eastern Health Authority in St. John’s on developing the system.

Volta Cohort has now funded a total of 47 winners. As well as winning up to $25,000 to begin with, the winners receive mentorship services and office space in Volta or another innovation hub in the region.

Each winner has the opportunity to receive as much as $25,000 in additional funding as long as they stay in the Cohort accelerator program for six months and meet a set of prescribed milestones.

The program is supported by Volta, Innovacorp, BDC Capital and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.


Disclosure: Volta is a client of Entrevestor.