The federal government gave eight Toronto area startups a shot in the arm worth a combined $4.85 million today.
The recipients sharing the money range from a sticker and label firm toa company developing a medical device for non-invasive prostate cancertreatment.
Announcing the funding at the Creative Economy Summit in Toronto thismorning, federal science and technology minister Gary Goodyear said focusing on thecreative economy – Rotman School of Management professor Richard Florida’s theory thatnurturing a city’s creative industries builds a strongerlocal economy overall – is key to keeping Canadian regions competitive.
“I’m familiar with the impact a creative economy can have on an area,”said Goodyear, referring to his home riding that includesKitchener-Waterloo, Ont. “Our whole area has been transformed by ideasand innovation.”
Loans must be repaid
The funding comes in the form of repayable interest-free loans throughInvesting in Business Innovation, a program that provides startups withfinancing, access to private capital and commercialization support.It’s run by the Federal Economic Development Agency forSouthern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), which was set upin 2009 to bolster southern Ontario’s economy following layoffs andplant closures in the region’s manufacturing sector, especially the auto industry.
One of the eight startups, Fuse Powered Inc., will receive a total of$500,000 from the program. The funding will help the company furtherdevelop Fuseboxx, a mobile gaming platform that letsgame developers collect, analyst and manage aggregated real-time playerdata so they can predict and improve the performance of their mobilegames. It’s like Google Analytics for mobile games, said chieffinancial officer Fay Wu.
“If you can see that a certain place in a game is stickier, you canhelp a developer increase the revenue from that game,” said Wu.
Early stage funding
FedDev is unique because it provides earlier stage funding than mostfinancing programs, Wu said.
“Most investors want to come in once you’re commercialized, not whenyou’re in the early concept stage,” said Wu.
Under the FedDev initiative, the companies can also get access to acombined total of $15.2 million in additional financing from venturecapitalists and angel investors.
For example, Fuse Powered Inc. is also getting money from the BlackBerry Partners Fund to defraythe total $1.5 million cost of its two-year plan to develop Fuseboxxfurther. Part of that plan will extend Fuseboxx’s availability, nowlimited only to iOS, to Android in the next quarter.
The other startups receiving FedDev loans are Trillium TherapeuticsInc. ($965,000), Profound Medical Inc. (now developing non-surgicalprostate cancer therapy; $867,000), Axela Inc. ($708,333), Field ID($575,000), StickerYou Inc. (their technology makes customized stickersthat can be printed anywhere; $539,305), Futurestate IT ($500,000), andShiny Inc. ($197,500).
More details about the companies and FedDev can be found here.