Once a startup has blossomed through seed funding, it may seek additional capital to reach the next stage of scale and growth.
This can be an exciting time for everyone involved: a startup hasn’t necessarily proven itself yet, but the potential and surrounding interest can generate some powerful energy—it’s also a phase where many startups refine or pivot their product as they approach commercialization and monetization.
Overall, things can start to get pretty serious around the Series A round of funding.
“In Series A funding, investors are not just looking for great ideas,” explains Investopedia. “Rather, they are looking for companies with great ideas as well as a strong strategy for turning that idea into a successful, money-making business.”
Fintech.ca took a look at some of recent Series A rounds in the Canadian financial technology scene and what each funding influx meant for the startups, while Techcouver observed the state of Series A in British Columbia.
Note how every company earmarks at least some of their capital for bolstering their workforce with the essential lifeblood of any innovating company in Canada: tech talent.
“Companies that invest in real estate are not satisfied with traditional deal management platforms that focus exclusively on deal tracking,” explains Raj Singh, the startup’s CEO. “So, they have enthusiastically embraced our more data-driven approach to deal management, which enables them to leverage their proprietary information to invest with greater conviction and move quickly on competitive deals.”
In June, Altrio announced that it had raised $8 million.
The Toronto-based startup secured the capital in a Series A round led by Whitecap Venture Partners. The investment included participation from Mantella Venture Partners, Alate Partners, and Colliers.
Altrio plans to use the funding for multiple purposes, including double their headcount to 50 by the end of this year. The company also intends to accelerate development of its product roadmap.
The company’s flagship product is Origin, a data-driven cloud-based deal management platform.
Origin “provides a single source of truth about an organization’s investment pipeline, owned assets, and proprietary market knowledge,” says Altrio, which reduces the time required to perform administrative tasks.
Altrio was founded in 2020.
Shakepay is a Canadian bitcoin technology company enabling customers to buy and earn bitcoin through financial applications.
The Montreal firm made waves when it secured a sizeable $44 million Series A investment round at the start of the year.
The round was led by US-based QED Investors and also included participation from Golden Ventures, Broadhaven, Henri Machalani, Mike Murchison, and several product leaders from Shopify. It was a big leap in capital from the $1 million total Shakepay had raised to date prior.
The funding is being used to scale Shakepay’s business and launch new products that make it easier for Canadians to gain access and exposure to the digital economy. The company is actively hiring for several roles.
“Shakepay is on a mission to make it easy for Canadians to build wealth with the most powerful financial technology ever created, bitcoin,” stated cofounder Jean Amiouny earlier this year.
Novarc Tech (Vancouver)
Novarc Technologies is a full-stack robotics company specializing in the design and commercialization of collaborative robots and AI-based machine vision software and systems for robotic welding applications.
Named to the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business 2022 ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies, Vancouver’s Novarc Technologies raised a Series A investment from Graham Partners Growth in September.
The capital investment will allow Novarc to broaden its robot and AI product line and accelerate its global expansion.
“We’re very excited to have closed this Series A financing with Graham Partners which will be used to fund the expansion of Novarc’s sales and marketing efforts in North America, Europe and Asia, and continued investment in research and development in AI and robotics,” stated Soroush Karimzadeh, CEO of Novarc Technologies.
According to Karimzadeh, the investment “allows us to scale our multidisciplinary team in robotics, AI, vision, welding, sales and support to meet the ramp up in demand for factory automation.”
ClearEstate is a platform that supports executors and planners by streamlining tasks and professional services related to estate planning and settlement.
ClearEstate secured a USD$13.25 million Series A funding round led by a prominent Canadian institutional investor OMERS Ventures.
Created in 2020 following co-founder Alexandre Gauthier’s challenges settling his own late mother’s estate, the Montreal-based startup with offices in Ontario, California, and Texas is now supported by credible investors, including Diagram Ventures, Torstar, Triangle Capital and NAVentures, the venture capital arm of the National Bank of Canada.
With expansion plans throughout Canada and in the four most populous US states—California, New York, Texas, and Florida— ClearEstate is growing an all-in-one estate asset management suite.
The startup’s growth trajectory will focus on extensive recruitment in both the US and Canada, according to a statement, as the company seeks “diligent and forward-thinking software engineers, full-stack web developers, estate professionals, and web sales and marketing specialists.”
Vancouver direct-to-consumer tableware brand Fable raised a $8.4 million Series A round in July to elevate the at-home experience. The Series A round was led by Listen Ventures alongside existing investors True and Sandpiper.
The new funds will be used to increase development across several key business verticals to fuel continued growth, product development and bring on key hires in addition to international expansion.
After a successful debut last year, Fable will be broadening their glassware collection to round out their assortment to include pieces for any occasion. To further house the growing demand for Fable collections, the brand will be opening a new Vancouver boutique in South Granville.
Fable partners with Vancouver’s Mealshare, a non-profit with a mission to end youth hunger in our lifetime. For every bundle sold, a meal is donated to a youth in need through Mealshare. In 2021, as a direct result of Fable purchases, over 21,000 meals were donated to youth in need.
Helcim is on a mission to be the world’s most loved payments company by giving small businesses every possible edge to thrive and enrich our communities.
The Calgary fintech raised a $16 million Series A funding round led by Toronto’s Information Venture Partners and New York’s Aquiline Technology Growth in March. The round also included participation from Generational Platform Partners, Alberta-based Accelerate Fund III, as well as key Canadian tech leaders including Boris Wertz.
The funding will be used to launch new products, Helcim stated in March, as well as investing in growing its team across the organization—adding more than 150 staff through 2024, including developers, customer service, and sales to deliver on these enhanced service offerings.
“We built Helcim to provide the payment tools that allow small businesses to thrive by combining our payments-first approach, accessible and easy to use software, alongside our knowledgeable and helpful customer service,” said Nic Beique, Helcim CEO and Founder.
Helcim relaunched as a payments facilitator in June of 2020.
Perch helps buyers and homeowners make data-driven decisions about their mortgages and real estate.
The mortgage fintech recently raised $4 million in Series A funding from investors including Second Century Ventures, the strategic venture arm of the National Association of Realtors. The Ontario Centre of Innovation and B.E.S.T. Funds, an alternative asset firm investing in technology companies in the financial services, health care, media and security sectors, also participated.
Perch said it will use the investment to continue scaling and growing its operations team.
“With over $100 million in funded mortgages to date and thousands of users that have already joined Perch, this is clear evidence we’re on the right track,” stated CEO Alex Leduc, who founded the start-up in 2018. “As we continue growing, our employees, investors and partners are all key to our success.”
This BC company’s proprietary semiconductors provide medium- and modality-free power transactions. That allows solar panels to overcome conventional hardware restrictions of cell connectivity, optimizers and inverter composition, dramatically increasing power production and reducing BOS costs.
Vancouver startup Daanaa Resolution raised a USD$7 million Series A round led by VoLo Earth Ventures at the very end of 2021.
Alumni of UBC’s HATCH Accelerator Ventures, Daanaa was runner-up in the 2020 New Ventures BC Competition and Techcouver named Daanaa to its 10 Homegrown B.C. Startups to Watch in 2021.
The funding will be used to complete Daanaa’s first product in the solar energy vertical and move into commercialization, which includes bolstering their team; the company is actively hiring to fill several roles currently.
“The deployment of collaborative robots enhanced by vision and artificial intelligence will increasingly be the mainstay in fabrication facilities of many industries—this funding will provide Novarc with the bandwidth to meet this demand,” he said.