MaRS Enterprise and Fintech Ventures – Who’s Raising?

Join the MaRS Enterprise and Fintech Investor mailing list


While it’s been a rough year, Canadian innovators actually created roughly 100,000 STEM jobs over the pandemic and are in a great position to succeed. And as vaccines rollout and society begins to re-open, a cohort of the country’s most-promising startups are launching new funding rounds that will help them grow and further Canada’s recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about any of the companies listed below, please reach out to Filip Stoj, advisor, capital services: fstoj@marsdd.com.

(Note: MaRS is a non-profit entity and does not take fees or equity from any capital raised by the companies in our venture network.)

AiHello

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $1.5 million

AiHello is an ecommerce specialized ad network that helps seller’s market and advertise on all ecommerce platforms including Amazon, Shopify and WooCommerce. The company uses A.I. to optimize the bids and keywords in order to maximize sales for the lowest ad costs. The funds will be used toward setting up a sales team, inbound and outbound marketing, as well as creating video content and hiring evangelists.

Aux Mode

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: Undisclosed

Aux Mode helps content owners manage rights in the rapidly evolving world of content streaming.  Since 2013, the company has helped studios, distributors and producers maximize revenue and protect content from theft. Aux Mode has deep experience in managing content, but most importantly, the company creates proprietary software to help content owners collect and accurately report revenues to their various partners. The company’s goals are to make their software solution the leading AVOD revenue reporting software for content owners, because what takes content owners hours, takes Aux Mode minutes. Proceeds from the raise will go toward: operating costs and employees; PR; marketing and advertising; developing new features and adding platforms to open additional long-term growth for clients’ content libraries.

Asset Direct

Sector: Fintech
Round: Series A
Amount: $6 million

New technology has essentially created credit options for billions of people who would have been unable to access credit just a few years ago. Asset Direct helps connect global borrowers, previously unable to access credit, with alternative lenders that are willing to lend to them. In order to access wide swaths of these customers, they work with partners that interface with them where they work, bank or shop. The proceeds from the raise will be used toward international expansion into India and Brazil, and product development and technology upgrades.

Bacon Financial Technologies

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed extension
Amount: $500,000 to $2 million

Hardbacon’s mission is to help Canadians make better financial decisions. The company’s mobile app connects to its users’ bank and investment accounts to help them plan, budget and invest. The technology inside Hardbacon’s application allows users to centralize all finances under the same roof. Giving users the ability to set up their budget, track their spending, plan their financial goals, and also analyze their portfolio. In addition, Hardbacon provides users a clear and transparent view regarding most products through its financial products comparison tool. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used to support the company’s sales and marketing growth strategy across Canada, as well as enhance current technology.

Belong

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $1 million

Belong helps drive the power of your sports community. Belong is the easiest and most efficient tool to engage with your fans, delivered quickly through native iOS and Android apps, with your club’s name, entirely branded and ready to download. Belong allows sports clubs to create a tailored experience for each fan through a mix of exclusive content, insightful engagement and ecommerce, making your club the most relevant voice in the community, on and off the field. The proceeds from the seed raise will be used toward sales and marketing.

Blue Pier

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: $1 million

Blue Pier is Canada’s first and only pension plan as a service technology that enables employers to deliver customized pension programs. The company’s advantages over competing products fall into three buckets: economic (lower costs; better investment performance; institutional-grade services); operational (no administration work; no fiduciary risk; no risk exposure to other employers/workplaces); and fiscal (tax-deductible expenses; no payroll taxes on employer contributions; typically, a minimum of 30 percent more tax-deferred retirement income than other vehicles). In November 2020, Blue Pier launched Canada’s first pension plan for doctors. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used as follows for marketing (47 percent), new hires for clients sales and support (21 percent), operations (20 percent), and product and technology development (12 percent).

Boss Insights

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: Undisclosed

Boss Insights gives banks and fintech companies business data on demand, accelerating lending from months to minutes. Patent pending, Boss Insights offers one API to accounting, banking and commerce (QuickBooks, Salesforce, Stripe) letting a bank know where a business was, is and will be on demand. Winning multiple awards, the company doubled last year’s revenues and expects to triple them in the next six months. Boss Insights solves the critical data gaps empowering financial institutions to revolutionize business banking. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward scaling the sales team and investing in new tech development.

Cloudamart

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Series A
Amount: $10 million

Cloudamart built an on-demand online marketplace for small and large businesses to showcase their products and have them fulfilled within one hour. The company’s platform has food, grocery, retail, pharmacy and crowdsourced drivers in one app, for users to purchase from anyone at anytime from anywhere within their vicinity. Proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward growth into six cities.

CYA

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $3 million

Cya Live is an immersive social broadcast platform for shared real-time experiences that features a three-sided marketplace for influencers, studios/businesses, and consumers. Cya Live’s ultra-low latency content delivery network (CDN) facilitates multi-way real-time interaction. The company’s primary source of revenue at the current phase is through ticket sales and licensing fees. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward automation, scaling, business development and marketing.

EatSleepRIDE

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: $1.5 million

EatSleepRIDE (ESR) is on a mission to make motorcycle transportation more sustainable, more accessible and much safer. ESR is pioneering mobile usage-based insurance for two-wheelers. The company’s behavioural telematics data and safety score A.I. make it possible for carriers to “see” the difference between a safe rider and an unsafe rider in real-time. And ESR’s best of breed customer centred platform engages riders, creating a ripple effect of safety in the U.S.$35-billion motorcycle insurance market. That’s why Swiss Re, the world leader in re insurance, has partnered with ESR to help carriers gain an advantage in predicting and preventing motorcycle related injury, while providing partners with the data to digitally bind new policies using ESR’s underwriting I.P. The funds will be used toward: hiring technology and A.I. talent needed to implement motorcycle insurance telematics pilots with two insurance carriers and one MGA in the USA; developing ESR’s underwriting I.P. and funding the regulatory approval process for the two-wheel insurance product; and marketing and advertising to onboard 50,000 additional users.

LumiQ

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Series A
Amount: Undisclosed

LumiQ is a podcasting app that provides accountants with verified professional learning through engaging conversations with business leaders. LumiQ is disrupting an outdated billion-dollar industry that offers terrible content on outdated platforms. The company sells primarily B2B to organizations ranging from small companies to enterprise. Since launching in May of 2019, LumiQ has grown rapidly, having reached $1.5 million in ARR by the end of 2020. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward U.S. expansion.

Micruity

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: USD $3.5 Million

Micruity is the PLAID for annuities. The company is infrastructure for annuity data with a primary focus on the communication of defined contribution plan participant data between life insurers, fund/asset managers, and 401,000 recordkeepers. Today, there are disparate datasets and no data sharing standard in the $6-trillion 401(k) space. By using the Micruity platform, 401(k) plans can provide the pension-like guarantees that millions of Americans want. The company’s goals over the next 18 months are: +$1.3 million ARR, 10 life insurers/fund managers integrated, SOC 2 (type 1 & 2 passed). Proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward developers (30 percent), sales, product, and operations (42 percent), marketing (five percent), third-party services including SOC 2 (five percent), legal and accounting (five percent), and culture, hardware, rent (13 percent).

MetaVRse

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: U.S.$3 million

MetaVRse is a universal X.R. game engine. Until now, creating X.R. games, apps and experiences took forever, cost a tonne and was only for a select few developers. Now creators can build 10 times faster with MetaVRse’s code-optional JavaScript snippets, and share directly from the web — no more waiting for app store approvals. The funds will be used toward product development, market expansion and user acquisition.


Mercku

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Series A
Amount: Undisclosed

Mercku focuses on wireless connectivity solutions — products such as mesh Wi-Fi systems and connectivity tools that empower everyday home and business use. Built by engineers who have invented over 480 patents in wireless communication technology, Mercku’s products provide powerful and reliable connections in a fast-growing space. Household connections are more important than ever as working from home becomes commonplace. Born in Canada, Mercku has offices in Germany and China, and clients around the world. The company will be using the funding to grow the market for connectivity as a service (CaaS) and expand upon its global client base of more than 25 customers. Mercku has also launched an industry-leading Wi-Fi 6 mesh router that is the focal point for its CaaS growth.

MinervaAI

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Pre-Seed
Amount: $500,000

MinervaAI is a regulation-tech company providing intelligent automation to banks and neobanks, crypto and fintechs to satisfy the regulatory requirements for the enhanced due diligence and anti-money laundering investigation processes. MinervaAI reduces the review and investigation time from seven hours to under three minutes. MinervaAI uses deep learning to gather and assess data and provide risk, sentiment and context analysis, enabling analysts and investigators to make better decisions, faster. The funds will be used to fuel development and the acceleration of the company’s product road map, and to build out the sales function.

NuPort Robotics

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $4 million

NuPort Robotics is Canada’s first autonomous trucking company focused on automating the middle-mile transportation using self-driving trucks. This is between two fixed points (e.g., distribution centres to nearby rail terminals, shipping ports, etc.). NuPort is addressing the problem of severe driver shortage and an ever-increasing cost of drivers in the trucking industry by using self-driving autonomous trucks technology. NuPort’s mission is to automate global supply chains using self-driving trucks, increasing sustainability through the adoption of clean transportation solutions and reducing the cost of operations for clients in retail, logistics and automotive manufacturing. The funds will be used toward: building, testing and deploying the company’s technology on Class 8 trucks; proving the scalability of its business model; filing for patents; purchasing hardware and paying salaries; and generating revenue from clients.

OpenHouse.ai

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $1.5 million

OpenHouse.ai gives homebuilders the power of Netflix to sell more homes. For homebuilders, the company developed a personalized search as a service platform that enables a personalized home buying experience, while collecting real-time market-research data, resulting in a 50 percent increase in contact conversion rates, a 12.5 percent decrease in the sales cycle, and a 41 percent decrease in digital-marketing spend for customers. Proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward sales and marketing (80 percent), including channels, onboarding, team expansion, digital ad spend, conferences, and sponsorships; and toward R&D (20 percent), which will include product scalability.

Overbond

Sector: Fintech
Round: Series A
Amount: $7 million

Fixed income trading will be entirely digital by 2025. Overbond provides trade automation solutions as the most precise and fastest A.I. algo solution in the market. With more than 300 percent year-over-year growth in the last three years, Overbond is now ready for international expansion. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward international scaling of the company’s SaaS trade automation product, as well as sales and marketing expansion.

Phaze

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: $1 million

Phaze is an open platform powering global payment disbursements for neobanks. Proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward hiring engineers to integrate more brands that will help increase margins, as well as salespeople to help onboard more enterprise customers.

Pllenty

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: $1 million

Pllenty is transforming and reinventing the space between payments and communications. The company has had great success with enterprise-level customers by combining the essential parts of both offerings into a new kind of digital, PCI compliant, customizable, one-stop shop. The company has implemented full payment and communication digital transformations for large not-for-profit organizations and commercial clients. Pllenty becomes an essential part of a client’s business flow and it enhances customer loyalty and allows for expansion of services provided. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward expanding marketing/sales efforts and the company’s technology offering over the coming year. Specifically, the funds would be used for marketing support, taking advantage of virtual outlets considering the current COVID environment, as well as tech development spending to add services and maintain current systems for growth.

Readocracy

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: U.S.$1 million

Readocracy is the first knowledge branding platform. It verifies, quantifies and organizes all the articles, videos, podcasts and books you consume — anywhere — using your existing habits, and rewards you with badges, prizes, special access, and a knowledge profile that stands out on Linkedin and more. Privately, it provides you with insights like Fitbit for your information diet. Teams and businesses use it to learn together, safely showcasing their commitment and expertise. It’s made possible with Readocracy’s privacy-first proprietary tech, which can tell if somebody was really paying attention, and how intensely. It has already processed over 100 million page views and was recently awarded by Mozilla. The funds will be used toward engineering and design, to further differentiate core tech, and to build out the integrations required to create an ecosystem on top of the company’s platform (40 percent); member and partner acquisition through thought leadership marketing, as well as unique campaigns with experts, brands, and publishers (40 percent); and legal and overhead, including additional patent (20 percent). The company aims to reach break-even in 15 months.

SalesChoice Inc.

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $2 million

SalesChoice is an A.I. B2B SaaS company that specializes in ending revenue uncertainty. The company’s software is integrated into the Salesforce AppExchange, and is an IBM Business Partner. SalesChoice’s largest client is Purolator, with over 250 sales resources on the platform, and in their third year of MRR. SalesChoice has been building out its A.I. SaaS platform, proving its A.I.-guided selling use cases out in select accounts in mid to large enterprises. The company has won over 17 awards for its pioneering efforts, and is now tracked by leading analysts like Gartner, IDC, and Aragon, and has won Start Up Canada Awards. The proceeds from the fundraise will be used toward scaling and growth/acceleration.

SingleKey

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: $1 million

SingleKey takes the stress out of renting by protecting residential landlords from loss of rental income and property damage due to delinquent tenants. The company offers two primary services. The first is a tenant credit and background check report, which helps landlords choose the right tenant. This is a fully-automated, self-service SaaS platform. The second service is a rent guarantee program that protects landlords by guaranteeing rent payments up to $60,000; covering property damage up to $10,000; and covering all legal fees. SingleKey has a capable and experienced team and has acquired over 3000 paying customers in its first year of operation. The funds will be used primarily to sustain and accelerate the company’s growth, including customer acquisition spend, hiring staff, and executing on the product road map, in order to hit the company’s objective of more than $150,000 in MRR by end of 2021. The use of funds will also include marketing (scaling the existing marketing channel and hiring content creators to continue building SEO), sales (hiring two new resources to convert marketing leads), development (hiring one more engineering resource to work on developing a new product line scheduled for release in 2021), and lastly, customer service (hiring to provide a better customer experience).

SortSpoke

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $3 million

SortSpoke helps financial institutions turn unstructured documents into structured data, making it easy to automate operational processes that continue to rely on staff for manual data extraction.  SortSpoke delivers four to 10 times productivity, 50 percent reduction in errors, and can be implemented in days. SortSpoke is powered by its own patent-pending R&D that can rapidly learn to extract any data from any type of document in any language, including unstructured documents with unlimited variations. This makes SortSpoke the most flexible and rapid to implement solution addressing the $30-billion intelligent-document-processing market. Proceeds from the fundraise will be used to build on the company’s early success in the insurance vertical by: enhancing the core product with vertical specific capabilities in life and P&C insurance to increase deal velocity, addressable market and retention; increasing marketing and inside sales activity to five times sales funnel over next 12 months; and building a self-service solution for public use to serve as a capital-efficient marketing and business development channel.

Soundpays Inc.

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed extension
Amount: U.S.$1.6 million

Soundpays is a cutting-edge, mobile engagement solution using patented ultrasonic sound technology to digitally connect consumers directly to any media in real-time. Ideal for the sports, entertainment and TV/streaming broadcast sectors, it allows content providers to achieve an entirely new level of audience engagement: one where viewers may pull call-to-action options, including instant, single-touch purchases, directly from the content that they are seeing or hearing. The technology, with its “see now, buy now” capability offers a profound opportunity to convert customers in the power of the moment.  Viewers can engage while commuting or shopping, or in a casual setting such as watching T.V. or sitting in an entertainment venue. The funding will be used to grow Soundpays’s technology team for executing on its product road map, including the launch of an R&D project which will generate one to five new patents. Additionally, this funding is aimed to get the company into the market with big brands in their pipeline in North America, and to launch with their partners in Japan.

Synervoz Communications

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: $500,000

Synervoz is a Toronto-based software development company focused on voice, audio, VoIP and entertainment. The company designs, develops, and co-creates apps that allow people to hang out together online, especially while listening to music, watching videos, playing games and working remotely. The company offers white label apps, SDKs and custom development services.

The primary use of cash will be to grow the company’s engineering team in order to accelerate internal I.P. development efforts. Synervoz will focus primarily on its SDKs. This will help the team in the following ways: increasing the share of revenue obtained from already-developed code, as opposed to custom development services; and the company will be expanding customer reach by offering an off-the-shelf license (i.e. SaaS), rather than limiting its offering to companies who can afford to pay at least $5,000 in custom development. With pre-built solutions, Synervoz can help customers get to market in less time, and with a stronger offering, the company will appeal to larger companies contemplating building internally.

Tacit

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Series A
Amount: $10 million

Tacit develops and operates maegan, an enterprise ordering platform for the hospitality industry. maegan allows customers to order at their own pace, on their preferred digital channel. It creates a one-stop-shop experience, allowing customers to select a location, browse menus, order and pay. Tacit works with enterprise foodservice operators in campuses, restaurant-chains, hotels and casinos. Tacit’s key differentiator is the integration and partnership with existing technology providers to the restaurant industry, such as point of sales, payments, loyalty, gift card and marketplace platforms. The platform provides an efficient digital ordering solution for enterprise food services operators. The funds will support the implementation of several large clients, growing the sales and implementation teams, and for penetrating new markets.

TimeSaved

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: Undisclosed

The software platform of the rapidly evolving on-demand workforce, TimeSaved is accelerating worker placements in regulated industries. Created to help people get back to work, the company automates 74 percent of staffing agency processes in the light industrial and healthcare verticals. TimeSaved is in market in the U.S. and Canada, and is looking to increase penetration in these two markets. Proceeds from the fundraise will be used for sales and marketing.

Treasure Financial

Sector: Fintech
Round: Seed
Amount: $1 Million

 An educational debit card for kids, powering financial literacy. Treasure‘s mission is to make the next generation wealthy by empowering parents with tools to teach their kids how money really works.

Proceeds from the fundraise will be used to develop product and drive early growth.

Videolinq

Sector: Fintech
Round: Pre-Seed
Amount: $500,000

Live streaming to multiple social media platforms is both expensive and complicated. Brands and their agencies spend an average of $25,000 per broadcast to introduce or promote products online. Videolinq reduces this cost in up to 80% with an affordable web-based productivity tool. Videolinq is a centralized workspace solution for teams to create unique live broadcast experiences on multiple social media platforms by interacting with viewers and collecting insight data analytics showing engagement and marketing growth. In just a few clicks, content creators, influencers, and event producers use their webcam or professional video equipment to publish live streams to up to 25 social media platforms.

The company has self-invested $250,000 in building their SaaS platform. Videolinq is 2-years in market and has traction. In 2020, the company grew from 50 to over 600 subscribers and passed $135,000 in revenues. They are raising pre-seed funds to help maintain a steady growth for 18 months. Funds will be used to help continue organic marketing initiatives, cover on-going development, and scale up online infrastructure in new regions.

Workwolf

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: USD $4 Million

Resume fraud costs North American businesses $660B per year. Even the smartest companies in the world have inefficiencies in their hiring practices because of inaccurate data on professional networks and in resumes. Workwolf is a technology platform that solves for this by making credential verification almost instant. “Resume 3.0” is the resume that is already verified and can be confirmed in real-time, authenticating credentials like lawfulness, academic achievements, records of employment and references all in seconds, not weeks. The technology removes the need for traditional third-party background checking and a user’s credential vault can be connected to an individual resume, LinkedIn, Indeed, GlassDoor or Facebook account. Proceeds from the fundraise will be use to 1.) Increase user adoption with paid ads and hiring 3 additional sales and service team members, 2. Hire 3 more developers to increase monetization pathways with additional products and services (ResumeBuilder) and the (AlphaBoard), 3. Expand the market further into the United States.

YOURIKA

Sector: Enterprise
Round: Seed
Amount: Undisclosed 

YOURIKA combines decades of artificial intelligence research with its proprietary technology to create products that make learning more efficient, effective, and equal for all.  Their latest product, ORBITS, features a smart transcription service that automatically turns virtual lessons into organized, searchable and reviewable notes via text or video – helping time-constrained students, learners, and educators save time, stress less, and achieve more. The founding team includes top AI leaders from the University of Waterloo and was the first and only Canadian company backed by the Amazon Alexa Fund Accelerator. The funds will be used towards driving product-market fit, surpassing $100K in MRR, and securing key hires and filling team gaps.


DISCLAIMER: MaRS disclaims any and all liability in the event any information supplied here proves to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or results in any investment or other losses. The information here is believed reliable, however MaRS does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information. MaRS is a non-profit that does not collect fees from any capital raised by companies in our venture network.