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Investment Accelerator Fund announces funding for five Ontario technology startups

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Brings total investment in new enterprises to $28.8 million in 62 companies

Toronto, January 29, 2013 – Five Ontario companies have received funding from the Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF), bringing the program’s total investment in Ontario’s emerging enterprises to $28.8 million in 62 companies since its inception.

As Ontario’s most active seed-stage investor, the IAF helps startups develop their businesses and positions them for further investment by angels and venture capitalists. It is funded by the Government of Ontario and delivered by MaRS.

Since September 2012, the IAF has invested up to $500,000 in each of the following companies:

  • Atomic Reach links brands and bloggers via its content curation platform.
  • In the Chat helps clients identify social media content relevant to their brands, categorized for ease of use and delivered for action.
  • Jibestream uses digital technology to help people search and retrieve information in public spaces.
  • Privacy Analytics helps companies in the health, consumer Internet and financial industries protect the privacy of personal data used for analysis and research.
  • Vana Workforce provides Cloud HR tools specifically designed for the needs of small and medium enterprises.

Chris Wiegand, CEO of Jibestream, says the IAF’s investment has been integral to the company’s success.

“Working with the IAF through MaRS has given Jibestream important resources far beyond funding,” Wiegand says. “We have been the benefactor of expert advice, access to outside programs and introductions for additional capital investment. The IAF has been the single greatest contributor to our ability to scale the company at this stage of our business.”

The fund invests up to $500,000 in companies with the potential to become global leaders in their fields and provide sustainable economic benefits to Ontario. To date, IAF portfolio companies employ more than 850 staff in high-value jobs, fuelling Ontario’s innovation economy. Funding and support from the IAF will help these innovative companies introduce new technologies that will make businesses more efficient, benefit quality of life, improve our health and protect our environment.

To date, IAF portfolio companies have raised more than $130 million in follow-on capital, according to Barry Gekiere, the IAF’s managing director.

“The IAF continues to seed early-stage companies with dynamic management teams, truly innovative technology and great growth potential, and these five most recent investments are no exception,” says Gekiere. “Our role is to provide funding to help these companies achieve commercial success and go on to attract additional funding to support their growth.”

John Huehn, CEO of In the Chat, says the IAF’s investment has helped the company expand its services into new regions and continue the rapid development of its platform.

“Beyond the IAF’s financial investment in our company, we have also greatly valued the support and guidance of the IAF management team,” Huehn says. “The due diligence process that the IAF ran with In the Chat was thorough and prompted new thinking about more than one area of our business plan. The IAF’s continued support post-investment has made it a highly trusted and valued partner to our company.”

More information on the IAF’s most recent investments:

Atomic Reach (Twitter: @Atomic_Reach) is a robust content marketing platform that enables brands and bloggers to expand their reach, improve user engagement and drive more revenue through community collaboration. For many brands and bloggers, creating content is challenging, time-consuming and expensive. However, a dynamic and constant flow of content is an essential requirement in building traction, growth and awareness. The company’s mission is to help revolutionize the interaction, exchange and promotion of great content.

In the Chat (Twitter: @IntheChat) is a “customer service in social media” company. In the Chat has developed an end-to-end analytics and servicing platform that leverages advanced search and text mining to help its clients identify social media content that is relevant to their brand, categorized for ease of use and delivered for action, either via root-cause problem resolution or through individual customer engagement. Benefits realized by clients include increased sales, reduced service calls and improved customer loyalty.

Jibestream (Twitter: @Jibestream) helps people search and retrieve information in public spaces using digital technologies. As innovators blending ease of use with a sophisticated foundation, the company’s platform introduces new and revolutionary capabilities while building direct bridges to other technologies.

Privacy Analytics (Twitter: @privacyanalytic) helps companies in the health, consumer Internet and financial industries protect the privacy of personal data used for analysis and research. Its solution offers secondary users of personal information high quality, de-identified data suitable for complex analytics, while still meeting the most stringent legal, privacy and compliance regulations. Privacy Analytics works with some of the largest research organizations and pharmaceutical, healthcare and insurance providers in North America. The company’s software has been used to de-identify more than 100 million records.

Vana Workforce (Twitter: @vanaworkforce) is a global provider of on-demand human capital software and service solutions specifically designed for the needs of small and medium enterprises. Developed on the industry’s leading cloud platform, Force.com, Vana Human Capital Management delivers a complete and integrated human capital management solution for global organizations, including the core human resource system of records, benefits and compensation, absence management, performance and talent management, career and succession planning, workforce collaboration and workforce analytics.

About the Investment Accelerator Fund

The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) (Twitter: @MaRSIAF) provides up to $500,000 in seed funding to qualified emerging companies in Ontario. As a critical component of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), the IAF supports the launch and development of innovative companies in Ontario’s priority sectors of advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, cleantech and life sciences.

About MaRS

MaRS Discovery District (Twitter: @MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada’s next generation of growth companies.

For more information, contact:
Melissa Hughes
Manager, Media & Community Relations
(416) 673-8100 ext. 2710
mhughes@marsdd.com

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