Canadian Digital Media Network Helps Startup Cyborg Trading Establish New York Presence and Attract Investment
Cyborg Trading, a startup that develops automated trading technology for financial firms, was able to be in the right place at the right time to build the business thanks to a ‘soft landing’ program recently introduced by the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) in concert with Communitech. With financial support to take critical staff to New York, Cyborg Trading was able to close a $2 million equity round with Canadian investors, garner two long-term deals valued at close to $200,000 per year, attend a key trade show and gain market intelligence from being at the core of ‘the city that never sleeps’.
The CDMN recently introduced its program to help startups in the digital media and mobile space gain traction in other countries, as well as enabling companies from outside Canada to locate here, creating jobs and opportunities.
“Canadian startups that need to be where the investment dollars are available or where new business is emerging can find support ‘landing’ outside Canada through our soft landing program,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the CDMN.
Cyborg’s CEO and Chief Financial Officer were New York bound, but the company also needed Cyborg’s Chief Technology Officer and algorithm engineer to travel to New York to gain market intelligence at a major industry event. However on a startup budget, bringing more people to New York wasn’t feasible. CDMN’s soft landing program was able to fund the additional travel costs and as well, provide hoteling space at an incubator space in Manhattan for three months.
“It’s pretty much a sink or swim scenario when you hit New York, and you need to spend time in the city to be taken seriously by investors,” said Ben Bittrolff, Cyborg Trading CFO. “Being part of the CDMN’s soft landing program opened doors and enabled us to get closer to the market.”
Cyborg, which has subsequently opened a New York sales department at the NYU-Poly Varick Street Incubator where they were ‘hoteled’, is on its way to expanding from a team of 25 to 36 people in the coming year. The company also has locations at the Communitech Hub in Waterloo and in London, Ontario. Cyborg specializes in developing automated trading technology for hedge funds, brokers, banks and professional lenders.
CDMN’s soft-landing program provides up to three months of residency in partner facilities equipped to support companies’ growth, and up to $4,000 Canadian for transportation and hotel costs. Bittrolff says the CDMN program is an enviable support system for emerging startups.
“Quite a few of the incubator startups in New York wished they had the programs that we have access to in Communitech and CDMN,” said Bittrolff.
The soft landing model unfolding in Waterloo Region is being replicated across the country working with other CDMN ‘nodes’ in all provinces. Communitech is not only the tech association representing the close to 1,000 tech companies in Waterloo Region, but is also a CDMN node and a federal centre of excellence in commercialization and research.