As Canadian startups gear up for Communitech‘s highly anticipated HYPERDRIVE program, launching mid-June and set to get under way in early July, high-profile partners and funders are following suit to offer their support to the promising tech initiative. Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is the latest partner to contribute its resources to what is considered the next generation of funding incubators.
“Focused on turning ideas into profit and advancing innovation through collaborative research with industry and academia, OCE is a welcome addition with a like-minded mission,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech. “To continue to grow our relationship with OCE in this way is a great asset, and their commitment to the program will help ensure HYPERDRIVE thrives on a global scale.”
OCE fosters the development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner that facilitates collaborations with Ontario’s industry, academia, research hospitals, investors and governments. As part of the program agreement, OCE could provide funding directly to companies that have collaborated with or have spun out of an academic institution. In addition, OCE will offer coaching and mentoring to technology startup candidates that are accepted into the program to assist in their growth.
OCE joins fellow program partners and funders including BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion and BDC Venture Capital.
Michael Mahon, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Investments at BDC Venture Capital welcomes the new partner. “When we invest in programs like HYPERDRIVE, we hope that others will follow suit,” said Mahon. “It’s a good day when the private, not-for-profit and public sectors come together to support our country’s best tech hopefuls. We’re all in this to accelerate the development of these companies and of the young entrepreneurs behind them, and improve their chances of ultimate success.”
Chris Wormald, Vice President of Strategic Alliances at RIM added, “Technology entrepreneurship is incredibly important for Canada’s future and Communitech is making a big impact with far reaching benefits. We’re very pleased to support the HYPERDRIVE program and its comprehensive approach in helping transform ideas into commercial successes.”
Companies accepted into the program will take part in a three-month sprint, focusing on customer and market validation. The accelerated three-month period will also include a trip to New York City where startups will have the opportunity to network with funders, partners, and potential customers. Upon successful completion, companies can earn $150,000 in convertible debt from one of the three funding partners.
“The power to shape the future of the technology landscape in the province lies within the ideas born out of our academic community and the ability to be able to transition them successfully from conceptualization to commercialization. The HYPERDRIVE program will play an important role in helping entrepreneurs on their journey, and we are pleased to be able to participate,” said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence.
Communitech’s $30-million-plus HYPERDRIVE program will work with tech startups, sculpting businesses from early stage development to “Series A” VC funded companies. Beginning in early July, the Communitech Hub will serve as the entrepreneurs’ home away from home as they are schooled and tested in all aspects of establishing a business and turning a profit.
“Our Canadian entrepreneurs are hungry for opportunity and possess the talent and drive to make their mark in the tech industry. It’s our goal to provide these ambitious startups with every opportunity possible to command the market, and without our funders we would not be able to do this,” explains Iain Klugman. “HYPERDRIVE is just what Canada needs to spark an innovation avalanche.”