This week’s funding roundup includes some of the most innovative technology companies in Canada. In case you missed them, here are five of the most exciting funding announcements from this past week:
FutureFit AI, a Toronto-based corporate upskilling solution, won TD Bank’s Ready Challenge and received CAD $1 million (USD $760k) for innovations towards the future of work. The company also received a prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Reimagining Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge.
“These awards substantiate FutureFit AI’s work in helping learners and workers discover and pursue future-proof skills and careers in the age of AI and automation without being limited by their age, stage or background,” said Hamoon Ekhtiari, founder and CEO of FutureFit AI. “We need a Google Maps for the Future of Work to re-imagine hiring, higher education, learning and training.”
And this is exactly what FutureFit AI is creating: the Google Maps of skills development. The solution enables users to explore skills and careers, setting goals or ‘destinations’ and uses AI to recommend how to achieve them. The recommendations draw from market information and the user’s foundational skills to provide a custom ‘map’ for career improvement.
Canada Learning Code
Another winner of the 2018 TD Ready Challenge was Canada Learning Code, a non-profit that offers coding events and workshops to help Canadians learn valuable skills. Canada Learning Code received CAD $1 million (USD $760k) as one of the ten winners of the challenge.
“We are excited to put TD’s grant to work to scale up our Ladies Learning Code program from coast-to-coast-to-coast,” said Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO of Canada Learning Code. “The world is changing and we need to do more to empower Canadians to learn the skills they will need for the future.”
The company hopes to use this money to expand its Ladies Learning Code program, one that focuses on giving women and young girls the opportunity to develop programming skills and preparing them for success in a digital job market.
Validere, an IoT and artificial intelligence platform for oil and gas trading raised CAD $7 million (USD $5.3 million) in a seed funding round this week. The seed round was led by Sallyport Investments and included Y Combinator, Moment Ventures, Real Ventures, and ZhenFund.
“More than $2 trillion worth of crude oil is traded annually. As oil constantly changes hands, batches mix together irreversibly changing the product’s quality,” said Ian Burgess, co-founder and CEO of Validere. “The industry largely bases important operational decisions on poor quality data. Our platform not only informs product quality reliably and in real time, but it also uses AI to help oil and gas companies optimize product movement.”
Validere will use the seed financing to expand into the US and continue the development of the AI platform, ultimately helping the company to improve oil and gas quality and gain valuable insights into blending, logistics and trading.
Canadian digital media company theScore announced a CAD $8.5 million (USD $6.5 million) non-brokered private placement, with John Levy Family Holdings Ltd., Relay Ventures Parallel Fund II L.P., and Relay Ventures Fund II L.P. planning to participate.
“This offering will support and accelerate our ongoing work to capitalize on the introduction of legalized sports betting in the United States,” said John Levy, Founder and CEO of theScore. “We believe theScore’s large and engaged audience, combined with our expertise in delivering great mobile experiences provides us with exciting opportunities in this space.”
The offering is dependent on approval from TSX Venture Exchange, but if approval is granted proceeds from this offering will go towards the development of theScore’s sports betting business.
Leading Canadian digital healthcare platform, Think Research, has raised over CAD $25 million (USD $19 million) from Fidelity Investments Canada ULC, Kayne Partners, Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., and National Bank of Canada. This is one of the largest capital raise investments for any healthcare technology company in Canada.
“Our suite of clinical decision support tools help providers deliver the best care possible while generating treatment and behaviour data to fuel next-generation healthcare AI applications,” said Sachin Aggarwal, CEO of Think Research. “This round of funding gives Think Research more than $25 million in additional capacity to accelerate our innovation on a global scale.”
Think Research will use the investment to expand its product line, enter into new markets, and continue developing and advancing the platform’s machine learning aspects.