Funding

This is where you will find a partial list of funding and financing sources of interest to Canadian (especially Ontario) early-stage companies. Many of these I dealt with personally or at least have some familiarity. I strive to keep this up-to-date within reason.

Capital Angel Network – a network of angel investors in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

Purple Angel – Ottawa based group originally formed by ex-Nortel/BNR executives now with interests expanded beyond telecommunications

Maple Leaf Angels –  Toronto-based group of high net worth private individuals who invest in seed and early stage technology companies. I have pitched to them and found them well organized and efficient. The key is to have an internal champion who will push the deal through. Also, it is much harder for companies outside of Toronto area to develop and maintain this relationship.

Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) – Funded by the Province of Ontario, the IAF is a seed fund that invests up to $500K in emerging Ontario technology companies. The IAF program is managed by MaRS and delivered through the Ontario Network of ExcellenceMy experience in the past with this Fund has been somewhat mixed. I found it a bit bureaurocratic and politically driven but I hear this is changing.

Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) – this list is useful as a source of active Canadian Venture Capital firms

IRAP – provides funding to qualified firms and their innovative R&D projects. This is a workhorse program for Canadian technology startups. I have dealt with them many times on various projects. The amount of funding (grants) varies from year to year depending on the current program budget and the number of applicants. In general, typical amounts fall into $50-$300K range but I had projects with up to $500K support. It is a well run program and likely the first one to tap onto for startups.

Youth Employment Program – provides grants $15K-$30K supporting hiring of recent young grads. This program is administered by IRAP. I dealt with them several times and found the process smooth.

SRED –  SR&ED Program gives claimants cash refunds and / or tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work done in Canada. This is the premiere Canadian government program to support private R&D and therefore of vital interest and value to technology startups. Combined with provincial supplements it typically provides cash refunds of up to 65% of incurred eligible R&D expenses. Thus it is a fabulous program for high-tech startups as long as you have the cash to cover your expenses first (as it is a refund program). If you don’t you may still benefit from factoring your to-be-received grant.

Export Market Access (EMA) –  offers grants of up to $30k in total, up to twice a year, for up to 50% of business development expenses such as participation in trade shows as independent exhibitors or Ontario Missions, travel and accommodation and development of marketing materials. My experience with this program was positive although it requires above average amount of formalities and is run in a rather bureaucratic manner. Worth going after once you are ready for going global.

Ontario Exporters Fund – matches up to $40K per year the first two year salaries of a business development manager hired by an eligible company (new hire, Ontario payroll).

Going Global Innovation –  provides $5K to $75K to support in-person discussion, meetings and related activities to solidify a global R&D partnership.

International Science and Technology Partnerships Program (ISTPP) – grants of up to $400K to support bilateral R&D collaboration between Canadian technology companies and partners from China, India or Brasil.

Canada Israel Industrial Research & Development Foundation (CIIRDF) – supports bilateral industrial research projects between Canadian and Israeli companies and supports up to 50% of the costs of approved joint research projects. I have dealt with this organization and secured a grant for one of my ventures. This is a well run program.

Finally, there is a government maintained searchable database of always changing government programs and funding sources that is worth checking out.

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