The Volta Cohort, a new micro fund for Atlantic Canadian early-stage companies, got its start last night by awarding a total of $125,000 to five Halifax companies.

Volta Labs, in partnership with Innovacorp and BDC Capital, launched the fund to provide capital for early-stage companies. The startup house’s CEO Jesse Rodgers said there’s a gap in the ecosystem in funding early-stage companies in the region, and he hopes Volta Cohort can fill it.

Some 15 companies – including Phased In from Cape Breton and Art Sharks from St. John’s – presented their companies before a panel of six judges and a full house of spectators. The $25,000 funding and mentorship packages were given to teams that demonstrated strength of team, impact, disruption and ambition. Traction was not a great consideration.

“This definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Rodgers after the event. “We had an amazing applicant pool and all the presenting companies did well in their presentations.”

Three of the presenting teams were led by female founders, and two of them were winners.

Rodgers declined to reveal the details of the funding vehicle, except to say that they are “very founder-friendly.” Applications for the next Volta Cohort, which will take place in six months, are now open here

The companies chosen to join the first Volta Cohort were: – a SaaS tool that is solving the timesheet problem for digital agencies and software consultancies.

Flock – a SAAS knowledge-collection platform helps large organizations to familiarize freelancers and new employees with their operations.

MyMem – An app that helps people with dementia remember key events in their lives and information about themselves and their families. Using voice-based software, it is technology that a person with cognitive problems can use with ease.

Rovault – A device for shrimp-processing facilities that improves the industry’s average yield by detecting good products from the waste pile. The company has designed a camera system that can identify species in terms of size, growth and health.

Trip Ninja – Unique search technology to leverage travelers’ flexibility to find them savings on airfare for multi-city trips. After attending a recent trade show, the company is now in talks with 11 online travel agencies to use its technology.

 “The quality of the pitches made this decision very competitive,” said Rodgers. “We are looking forward to providing these high potential founders with the opportunity to demonstrate some meaningful success.”