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Halifax’s bubbling startup scene has started to draw the attention of both investors and tech talent on the national stage. It boasts affordable real estate, scenic landscapes, and tons of exceptional talent from its nearby universities. This ‘hidden gem’ in Canada’s startup scene quietly became the fifth largest tech hub in the country in 2021.
A growing number of training programs, government incentives, mentorship organizations, venture capitalists, and startups have put Nova Scotia’s economy into overdrive. With new funds and startups popping up faster than ever, Halifax is one Canadian city investors won’t want to miss. The Nova Scotian capital has transformed into a hotspot that’s helping startups to grow into key players in Canada’s innovation economy.
Here are some Halifax startups to watch in 2022 and beyond:
Year founded: 2018
Dairy industry startup Milk Moovement lives up to its name. This cloud-based supply chain software helps the dairy industry move milk from farm to store more efficiently than ever before.
Dairy is a 600-billion-dollar industry. It’s also a perishable product, which means supply chain management makes a big difference in profits. With Milk Moovement’s platform, farmers and distributors can track and route milk shipments in real-time and work to optimize delivery schedules. This means more profits for dairy producers and less waste overall.
“The software brings all stakeholders together in real-time,” according to the VP of Supply Chain at California Dairies, “[the product] has changed the way business is managed, decisions are made, and communication flows.”
The business model works, and Milk Moovement has the customer base to prove it. The company moves over 30 billion pounds of raw milk annually between its 2500 farms and 5000 users. Revenue has risen accordingly, attracting the interest of lead investor VMG Catalyst in a $20M Series A round in July of this year.
Year founded: 2020
CEO Zach Laberge founded Frenter when he was only 16, intending it to be an online marketplace where users could rent bikes, kayaks, and other equipment. After a pivot in late 2021, the company now operates a SaaS e-commerce platform designed to help rental businesses run their online stores.
Although most of the company’s revenue comes from subscriptions, Laberge hopes the business will eventually take a fee on every transaction Frenter processes. He’s already been busy, having acquired Alberta-based company Rentbridge last fall. The move expanded Frenter’s reach into the West Coast and upped its user base by two-thirds.
According to Laberge, the Frenter team has been updating its AI product to accommodate a larger market. It has also been working on securing preliminary funding in preparation for a large raise. Frenter has already attracted the attention of many funds, including its lead investors Connetic Ventures and Killick Capital, who went in on a recent pre-seed round worth 350k in May of 2022.
Year founded: 2019
While ‘land-based aquaculture’ may not be a term you hear every day, fish farms have been around since the 1800s. Technology has seen plenty of change since then, but Halifax startup ReelData AI hopes to take the process even further.
With ReelData’s AI, companies can analyze video within fish tanks to determine the size and health of the fish. Finding optimal feeding levels is a delicate balance: overfeeding wastes resources, and underfeeding inhibits growth. With the right technology, it’s possible to reduce waste and operate a facility more effectively overall.
Earlier this year, the company announced a long-term partnership with the Norwegen company Salmon Evolution ASA. The deal will provide Salmon Evolution ASA with the company’s ReelAppetite feeding software. The deal will help Salmon Evolution autonomize its feeding process, substantially reducing wasted feed, improving consumption, and stabilizing water quality.
Lead investors S2G Ventures have just closed a $2.5M funding round with the organization, which expects to use the money to scale its AI product to accommodate a larger market.
Year Founded: 2020
Halifax’s fish farmers aren’t the only ones getting a digital boost. Local startup KorrAI has also set out to tackle another one of the province’s major industries: natural resources.
“We started KorrAI to help mining companies efficiently locate and extract minerals,” says CEO Rahul Anand. Korr’s cloud-based platform accomplishes this by creating ‘digital twins’ for different phases of the mining process. The outcome is an enhanced ability to plan, monitor, and maintain exploration activities.
While a typical deployment for mineral exploration can take 12 months, Korr’s founders say they can take the timeline down to weeks. The premise has garnered interest from lead investors at Y Combinator, who have added Korr to their cohort and provided the company with 500k (USD) in funds.
Year founded: 2020
Dear Life is taking the obituary process into the 21st century. The company’s online platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically combs through its user’s video clips. Instead of short-written obituaries, Dear Life creates a vivid, cinematic experience for the user. Their proprietary AI software dramatically reduces the time it takes to aggregate potentially scattered stories, memories, and media. This process makes documenting a life well lived much less cumbersome.
It’s the technology that has investors interested: an initial beta test revealed that users weren’t as interested in memorializing others’ lives as they were in capturing their own. The program’s AI, which helps cut down on the time-consuming task of gathering media, made the process easier in an otherwise difficult time.
This pivot has earned Dear Life a $2M raise from its lead investor OMERS Ventures. The new capital will allow Dear Life to increase its investment in the development of its machine learning technology.