High-profile Funders and Service Providers Get On-board for Communitech HYPERDRIVE Tech Startup Incubator
As Communitech launches its HYPERDRIVE program to jump-start commercialization of high-potential tech startup companies, high-profile funders and service providers are lining up to support the innovative program. Investors Canrock Ventures, Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), BDC Venture Capital, Research In Motion (RIM), OMERS Ventures, iNovia Capital, and Rho Canada Ventures have confirmed their participation in the HYPERDRIVE program, with the intent of seeding and cultivating the best in tech and ultimately resulting in more successful Canadian-grown tech companies.
“Investors recognize this as a great opportunity to get in at the ground level on innovation in Canada, and we’ve been delighted that HYPERDRIVE has attracted high-calibre funders to enable the program’s kickoff,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech. “This is another proof point of Waterloo Region emerging as a major tech hub in North America – second only to Silicon Valley as the best place to start a tech business.”
HYPERDRIVE builds on the best practices of U.S. funding incubators such as YCombinator, TechStars and 500 Startups, but including its three-month sprint component, provides up to 24-months of coaching and lifecycle funding from seed funding to angel investment to full-blown investment house commitment. HYPERDRIVE was announced April 10th at Communitech’s annual Tech Leadership event, and builds on Communitech’s 15 years of experience in fueling innovation through strategic programs.
“At OMERS Ventures, the goal we share with other investors and entrepreneurs is to build a vibrant and successful knowledge economy in Canada. We’re very excited to be part of the HYPERDRIVE program, which we believe will help foster the innovation required to help create the next RIM, Desire2Learn or OpenText right here in Canada,” said Sid Paquette, Senior Associate, OMERS Ventures.
“A key part of BDC Venture Capital’s strategy is to bring early financing to the most promising Canadian tech enterprises through well-structured accelerator programs like HYPERDRIVE,” explains Michael Mahon, Director, VC Strategic Investments and Initiatives at BDC Venture Capital. “Canadian tech entrepreneurs can win big on the world stage, but they need a strong, supportive ecosystem to get the edge. HYPERDRIVE is a great example of an ecosystem coming together to take some of our best and brightest to the next level.”
“The advantage of Waterloo Region is that overheads are still low compared to New York or Silicon Valley. Tech companies need access to talent and Waterloo has that, and they need reasonable costs, and Waterloo can offer that,” said Jim Estill, Partner, CanRock Ventures. “Communitech and what the organization offers – the network, the setup, the mentors, the volunteers behind them – is really second to none.”
Private sector service providers are also lending their weight to the program, including legal firms, accounting firms, insurance providers, software and hardware partners, and banks keen to support critical startup needs with in-kind support valued at more than $100,000 per company.
Klugman said the service provider component is an important aspect of bringing innovative ideas to commercial offering, as startups need sound advice on legal contracts and patent protection, insurance coverage for employees, and establishing suitable financial transaction processes.
“The big differentiator for HYPERDRIVE is that we surround startups with every advantage of the ecosystem from day one,” said Klugman. “Communitech provides world-class coaching in cooperation with Waterloo Region programs such as the Accelerator Centre and the University of Waterloo’s VelcoCity incubator so that, along with support from strategic partners, the resources are in place to help companies build products and seize their market opportunity.”