Nova Scotia Business Inc.’s Scale-up Hub: Atlanta program has announced its six-company fall cohort -- down from eight participants in the spring session -- with four startups from Nova Scotia, one from Newfoundland and Labrador, and one from New Brunswick.

Created in 2018, the Scale-up Hub program encourages Atlantic Canadian companies to commit to spending extended periods in a major city with the aim of gaining clients and developing a network. It includes six months of services from an American business development professional to help founders make local connections, and costs C$1,000. The six-company participation limit is new this fall.

NSBI Sector Lead for ICT Lisa Dobson said in an interview that Scale-up Hub is using a rolling enrolment model, with the eight companies from the spring cohort set to finish the program early next year. She said that due to COVID-19, the cohort companies have been relying on a mix of telecommuting and, in some cases, travel to Atlanta.

A previous iteration of the Scale-up Hub program based in Boston focused primarily on business development. At the prompting of Scale-up Hub advisor Steve Nicolle -- a founding partner at PEI-based, early stage venture capital fund Island Capital Partners -- the Atlanta version of the accelerator now also aims to help entrepreneurs connect with potential American funders.

"The Southeast market is a great jurisdiction for tech companies from Atlantic Canada," said Dobson. "In particular, there are great opportunities in the financial technology space. They have 'Transaction Alley' in Atlanta, medtech with Emory University, (hospital network) Piedmont Health, the CDC. That region of the U.S. ... can be a very lucrative market for Atlantic Canadian companies.

"I also want to say that, although Scale-up Hub is based in Atlanta, Georgia, we look for opportunities in the broader Southeast market. We look at Carolina, we look at opportunities in Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama. It's not exclusive to just Georgia."

NSBI launched Scale-up Hub, now funded by federal and provincial governments, as a vehicle to help scaling companies establish a base in foreign markets and generate sales. It began with Scale-up Hub: Cambridge in the Boston area and this year expanded into Georgia.

Here’s a look at the six participating companies:

Mariner Partners

Saint John

Mariner is a technology conglomerate headed-up by Chairman Gerry Pond, former CEO of NBTel, and CEO Curtis Howe, former CTO of Bell Aliant. Its subsidiaries include Shift Energy, which makes energy optimization software for commercial buildings, and East Valley Ventures, a network of angel investors.

The Rounds


The Rounds, led by CEO Tim Rice, is a closed social network for Canadian doctors, a place where they can discuss medical issues among themselves to improve the treatment of patients. A few years ago, the team also launched QID, a similar network for pharmacists, whose client-base extends beyond Canada.

AltoMaxx Technologies

St. John's

AltoMaxx, helmed by Co-Founder Steve Priestley, is a service company that operates drones and associated technology for enterprise clients.


Bedford, NS

Prosaris CEO Colin Sewell and his team are developing ultrasonic sensors that will use sound waves inaudible to the human ear to detect gas leaks, including for emissions monitoring, which is a growing market thanks to regulatory pressure in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Dugo Technologies


Run by CEO and Co-Founder Kianoosh Yazdani, Dugo is developing software for tracking and managing the energy usage of cell towers, including battery management software.


Bedford, NS

SonaPay makes payment processing systems, including hardware and software, for businesses. Its product offerings include mobile payment processing, point of sale systems and cash advance services for merchants.