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February developments in the Innovation District saw a boost to funding options for entrepreneurs and developments in the oceans, health, and environmental sectors.

Province Supports Sandpiper

The provincial government has contributed $5 million to Sandpiper Ventures, the first venture capital fund operated by the Atlantic Women’s Venture Fund.

The investment helps the fund launch its $20 million early-stage fund which will invest in ventures led by women, mainly in the Atlantic region.

“This investment by the province will attract additional capital to the fund and to the region from across the country,” Sandpiper Founding and Managing Partner Rhiannon Davies said in a statement.

The province also recently announced a new Venture Capital Tax Credit, which will offer investors a credit of 20 percent of their investment. The maximum eligible investment is $500,000.

Nova Scotia is also backing the initial fund of early-stage financing group, Concrete Ventures, and Funds 1 and 2 of the growth-stage fund Build Ventures.

The Rounds Grows in US

The Rounds, which operates social networks for physicians and pharmacists, is expanding in the U.S.

The company did well last year as Canadian physicians used the private social network to collaborate on healthcare challenges. Last fall, the venture closed a funding round of almost $1 million, largely through existing investors.

The venture (whose corporate name is Boondoc Technologies) is also collaborating with Dalhousie University researcher, Christine Chambers, on a channel called Solutions for Kids in Pain, or SKIP.

In 2019, The Rounds provided more than $500,000 to extend the reach of SKIP and it has now formed an online community of 1,500 healthcare providers.

So far in this fiscal year (which began last September), company revenue is up 63 percent over the same period last year.

The company is expecting revenues for fiscal 2021 to rise 300 percent and has increased staff from 14 to 29 people in 10 months. New employees include Holly Bond, previously the Director of Investment Attraction at Halifax Partnership, who is now Chief Strategy Officer and in charge of expansion into the States.

“The big thing for us in 2021 is launching in the U.S.,” CEO Tim Rice told Entrevestor. “We're already working with [the American Medical Association] and the roll out is utilizing their network and our network.”

Alentic Seeks Funds to Fight COVID

Alentic Microscience, whose handheld diagnostic device is used on the International Space Station, is raising money to adapt its product for the battle against COVID-19.

Alentic’s imaging device easily reads patients’ results at the point of care, using just a drop of blood. The device allows the Canadian Space Agency to monitor astronauts’ immune systems in real-time.

The company has created tests that can identify which COVID-19 patients face the highest danger and require medication. People who suffer most from COVID often show a decline in white blood cells and an increase in circulating levels of various proteins.

“COVID has been consequential as it’s affected the way we’ve worked and dealt with suppliers,”

Founder and CEO Alan Fine told Entrevestor. “It’s also presented some urgent and important needs, such as the need for diagnostic tests associated with COVID and our technology can be very valuable in that regard.”

The venture is currently raising a bridge funding round and will try to raise a Series A round later this year. It recently received a $3 million loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The technology is based on Fine’s work as a research professor at Dalhousie University.

Alentic is also examining whether its technology can fight COVID by detecting antibodies in the blood and by allowing quick and affordable readings from nasal swabs.

Arolytics Raises Funds to Track Methane Emissions

Arolytics, a maker of software that helps oil and gas companies track their methane emissions, has raised $710,000 in equity financing.

The company, which is also based in Calgary, recently won Startup TNT’s Calgary Investment Summit. The venture also received investment from M-Tech Innovations and Metiquity Ventures. It won $25,000 in investment in the May 2019 Volta Cohort pitching competition.

ReelData Co-Founders
ReelData Co-Founders, Hossein Salimian and Matt Zimola

The company was founded by Dalhousie University computer science grads Zimola and Hossein Salimian and has created software that assesses video from aquaculture tanks to gauge the health and biomass of fish stock and ensure the fish are receiving the correct amount of food.


Carol Moreira is a Principal of Entrevestor, which provides news and data on Atlantic Canadian startups.”

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