6 local startups receive $270,000 in seed funding and support from Concordia’s District 3
Six Montreal-based startups will be getting a big boost thanks to the District 3 Innovation Center Seed Fund Initiative.
The initiative was created in 2015 thanks to a $1 million gift from André Desmarais and France Chrétien Desmarais. The unique grant is dedicated to helping emerging entrepreneurial projects develop prototypes and transform their visions into reality.
In its inaugural year, the seed fund awarded $120,000 in funding and $150,000 in services to the selected emerging local startups.
“At Concordia’s District 3, collaboration lies at the centre of our DNA,” says Xavier-Henri Hervé, director of D3.
“The Montreal ecosystem has flourished over the past six years as a joint effort. We’re proud to unlock the tremendous value of the Montreal science and tech community.”
More than 60 businesses applied to receive support from the fund. Applicants were narrowed down to 12 and then to six through a jurying process involving esteemed members of the Montreal business community.
In the end, the six finalists were invited to present their ideas at Convergence 2019, a pitching event for startups to present their ideas and receive support from D3. Participants had the opportunity to win seed funding and support services in the form of sales, marketing, equity fundraising, legal services, financial management, product roadmap strategies and more.
The winning teams will also be privy to unique networking opportunities with each of the centre’s founders and will receive introductions to major banking institutions.
The top three startups each received $35,000 in grant money, while runners-up earned $5,000. All six winners will also benefit from $25,000 worth of services from D3.
Meet the Seed Fund 2019 winners
North Scientific uses software as a service platform to streamline developer operations through artificial intelligence (AI). They help businesses scale and adopt technologies faster.
Earlier this year, they were accepted into the District 3 Acceleration Program, where they developed a product they dubbed Dops. The AI agent for Jira helps companies automate their software development cycle.
May Al Othman, CEO of North Scientific, says the seed funding will go straight into development costs to pay salaries for developers and engineers. “While other accelerators restrict funding from going into salaries, we're extremely grateful this fund doesn't because that's exactly what we need.”
AiFred Health is a digital health company building clinical decision support tools through machine learning to better manage and personalize the treatment of depression. They were ranked #1 globally in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition.
“We are very grateful for the recognition of the work we are doing to support doctors’ efforts to help their depressed patients faster,” says Marina Massingham, AiFred CEO.
“Winning the audience choice award was particularly meaningful for us.”
Arthur Intelligence applies machine learning algorithms to help clinic managers, doctors and their teams optimize their operations.
“The money will help us launch our commercialization strategy. We’re really looking forward to receiving coaching that will help us gain clarity around our strategy and to take the steps we need to reach our goals,” says Gregory Benko, chief operations manager for Arthur Intelligence.
“D3 has had a huge impact on our lives and being part of the first seed round ever is huge. We'll do our best to honor this support by making Arthur a success and giving back to the community as we grow.”
Benko says Arthur Intelligence is all about creating artificial intelligence that will benefit humanity. “We're on a mission to become the most human-centric company on earth and to achieve our vision to develop the AI that powers the medical clinic of the future.”
Blue City Technologies has developed a revolutionary solution to monitor traffic networks in real-time. As any pedestrian or cyclist can attest, the ability to make it safely across the street affects the livability of a city. Blue City Technology’s mission is to improve the safety of road networks with sensor-based technology.
They are working with city planners to create safer crossings and intersections with their sensor-equipped traffic monitoring mechanisms. Their solutions enable safe crossings for walkers and cyclists.
Impactful Health R&D develops compostable active packaging to prolong the shelf life of fresh foods.
“We are a small startup with a big dream! We are creating the next generation of packaging that is both compostable and can extend the shelf life of fresh fish. This means we will reduce both plastic pollution and organic waste,” says cofounder Mina Mekhail.
The money provided by the D3 seed fund will go towards completing their prototype, a major milestone for the startup. “It will help us set concrete short and long-term objectives to move us closer to commercialization.”
“We are very excited to be one of the six startups to receive the first D3 seed fund. We have been a part of D3 since our startup kicked off, and they have been instrumental to our success,” says Mekhail.
VitalTracer provides personalized medicine to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases through continuous monitoring of vital signs.
Co-founder and Concordia PhD student Zahra Zangenehmadar says they had a lack of expertise in certain areas including marketing, sales and legal, and are eager to benefit from a grant that provides these services.
“VitalTracer will revolutionize personalized medicine by creating an easy and accurate way to track and record all vital signs and prevent cardiovascular disease instead of just treating them. This funding will help us achieve our goals!”
Find out more about District 3, get involved in the Mentor Connect program, or become a sponsor.