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NACO Names Canada’s Angel, Exit, and Most Promising Startups of 2017

Hosted by National Angel Capital Organization, the World Angel Investment Summit is taking place this week in Montreal.

The NACO Awards, which recognize Canadian investors and promising startups, were awarded at the Summit’s gala ceremony tonight with awards for the Canadian Angel of the Year, 2017 Exit of the Year, Most Promising Canadian Startup of the Year, and Most Promising International Startup of the Year up for grabs.

The winners of the 2017 NACO awards are:

Most Promising Canadian Startup of the Year: Portl Media

Portl Media creates interactive media and entertainment kiosks, which aims to eliminate idle time by providing education and entertainment options to users through a network of strategically placed media and entertainment content. The Toronto-based startup first launched their mounted screens in rideshare vehicles for passenger use.

Most Promising International Startup of the Year: Hykso

Hykso manufactures wearable sensors for elite, professional fighters and combat sport enthusiasts. The sensors track performance data such as punch count, speed, and intensity, and the Hykso app lets athletes track their progression. Hykso, which is based in Irvine, California, is also backed by Y-Combinator.

2017 Exit of the Year: Daiya Foods and Michael Volker

Daiya Foods specializes in manufacturing plant-based foods, offering alternatives free of dairy, gluten, and soy. The Vancouver-based company was acquired in July 2017 for $405 million by Otsuka.

Michael Volker is an entrepreneur active in the development of new high-technology ventures. He manages WUTIF Capital, an Angel Fund for startups, through which he invested in Daiya Foods Inc.

2017 Canadian Angel of the Year Award: Sophie Forest, Managing Partner, Brightspark Ventures

Since starting as Brightspark’s managing partner in 2003, Ms. Forest has led and overseen more than 50 investments in technology companies, and is known for working closely with the startups she invests in, and for her hallmark nurturing and listening qualities. Notably, she has played a pivotal role in the investment, growth and exit of Radian6, leading to a 23x multiple on capital invested and becoming one of the most successful technology exits in Canadian history.

A complete list of all the Startup of the Year finalists is here.

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