Carleton, uOttawa get funding boost to build tech startups

Noibu
From left, Noibu's Kailin Noivo, Robert Boukine and Capital Angel Network's executive director Nolan Beanlands. File photo
Editor's Note

A previous version of this story attributed Invest Ottawa's $16.9 million in funding to the province of Ontario rather than the federal government.

Two of Ottawa’s universities have received a total of $2.5 million in new funding aimed at training the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.

Carleton University announced last week that the federal government is giving the school $1.08 million for its new Disruptive Technologies Lab. The lab will be built at the Institute for Advanced Research and Innovation in Smart Environments, a 40,000-square-foot facility currently under construction that will be devoted to applied research in fields such as cleantech and biotech.

Money for the project will come from the $16.9 million in funding Invest Ottawa is expected to receive from FedDev Ontario over the next five years to help emerging companies scale up.

The university says the lab will help students and researchers at Carleton turn ideas with commercial potential into prototypes of products. The hope is that those prototypes will become the basis of viable startups that can be further nurtured at regional incubators such as Invest Ottawa’s facility at Bayview Yards.

In a statement, Carleton said the new research centre will bring together professors and students from five faculties ​– science, engineering and design, business, public affairs and arts and social sciences ​– to collaborate on research and training in areas such as 5G wireless, smart cities and data analytics.

“Carleton continues to lead in the area of entrepreneurship and disruptive technology working closely with local industry and partners,” Rafik Goubran, Carleton’s vice-president (research and international) said in a statement. “This interdisciplinary project will solve real-world problems and benefit Canada socially, economically and environmentally.”

U of O MakerLaunch

Meanwhile, the University of Ottawa announced its engineering school will get a cash injection of $1.5 million from a group that includes Shopify chief technology officer Jean-Michel Lemieux, a 1996 uOttawa computer science grad; local entrepreneur Agil Agil, who graduated from the university with a bachelor of engineering degree in 1999; and Natalie Raffoul, managing partner at intellectual property law firm Brion Raffoul.

The money will go toward MakerLaunch, a new nine-month incubator program for students and recent alumni of the Faculty of Engineering who have launched tech startups. Participants receive business coaching and mentorship, help with building prototypes and up to $50,000 in seed funding if they reach certain milestones.

The first three startups to take part in the program are e-commerce venture Noibu; travel app maker Wandure; and GameStrat, which has developed a platform that allows coaches and players to instantly review video of games and practices from the sidelines using mobile devices.