GE Canada, BDC Capital and Ryerson Futures launch fund for Zone Startups Calgary
TORONTO, April 12, 2017 /CNW/ - The Calgary startup community received a funding boost from investors today. GE Canada (GE), GE Ventures, BDC Capital and Ryerson Futures Inc. announced the ZSC Seed Accelerator Fund during BDC's Canadian Corporate Innovation Summit. The fund will help companies in Zone Startups Calgary (ZSC), an accelerator that drives growth of startups in the industrial internet of things, cybersecurity and energy sectors, on their paths to commercialization.
"We are excited to join GE and Ryerson Futures to catalyze the ZSC Accelerator Fund and we invite others to join us in funding the active innovation ecosystem in Calgary," said Michael Denham, President and CEO at BDC. "In addition to capitalizing the fund for seed investments, BDC Capital will also facilitate access to other investment opportunities for ZSC-backed companies though our own Venture Acceleration Program. This partnership is a perfect example of how leading corporations have found new ways to engage and exchange with the innovation ecosystem and, in the process, create opportunities to support and scale the local startup space."
Based in GE Canada's Customer Innovation Centre in downtown Calgary, ZSC is part of an ecosystem of GE engineers, industrial customers and startups working together to solve big industrial challenges. ZSC grows startups quickly by helping companies establish market validation, develop customer opportunities and launch field trials while providing access to mentors, advisors and funding opportunities, including opportunities to partner with GE Ventures, a capital partner for startups. There are currently eight companies operating in the accelerator.
"This new fund is a testament to the success of ZSC and the startup community in Calgary, and shows how successful these accelerators can be for all parties involved," says Elyse Allan, President and CEO of GE Canada. "The startups are working with some fascinating technology and creating digital industrial applications that are already helping both GE and its customers find operational and cost efficiencies."
Other corporate partners will be joining ZSC to benefit from the strong deal flow, and the opportunity to engage with the early leaders in the industrial internet of things, strengthening the overall ecosystem.
"Working closely with our network of corporate partners has proven to be one of the best ways to help companies realize their market potential and accelerate their growth," says Alan Lysne, Managing Director of Ryerson Futures. "Connecting capital, along with our programming and extensive network, will further accelerate the development of companies in our program."
The funding will be made available to companies in ZSC that are showing early commercial traction in a highly scalable market, building from the successful model Ryerson Futures has established in Toronto and India.
BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 110+ business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.
GE (GE) is the world's Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.ge.com/ca
About Ryerson Futures
Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) operates corporate accelerator programs focused on growing and investing in early-stage technology companies. RFI's programs include Zone Startups Calgary in partnership with GE, Zone Startups Sports + Media in partnership with Rogers, and Zone Startups India including programs with Barclays, Axis Bank, the Bombay Stock Exchange. RFI is also the accelerator program and seed fund connected to the DMZ at Ryerson. Since 2013, RFI companies have raised over $240MM in external financing. For more information, visit ryersonfutures.ca.