BlackBerry, L-SPARK unveil third cohort for connected car accelerator

Deeplite co-founders
Third cohort sees return of Deeplite, Sensor Cortek.

SaaS accelerator L-SPARK and BlackBerry have revealed the four companies taking part in the latest edition of their joint accelerator program focused on connected vehicle technologies.

The third cohort of the accelerator comprises Deeplite, Raven Connected, Sensor Cortek, and Wedge Networks.

Launched in 2018, the joint accelerator program between L-SPARK and BlackBerry was created to help its cohort companies scale their businesses and bring new products to market.

A spokesperson for the BlackBerry and L-SPARK told BetaKit that 25 companies applied for this latest installment of the program. They added that the 2021 edition of the accelerator was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peter Virk, vice president of IVY product and ecosystem at BlackBerry, said that for the first time, participants this year will be working with BlackBerry IVY to build applications based on vehicle sensor data. Previous editions of this accelerator focused on BlackBerry’s QNX technology.

BlackBerry IVY is a software designed for automakers to provide a consistent and secure way to read vehicle sensor data and create actionable insights. In addition to getting access to BlackBerry IVY, the selected companies will also have the opportunity to develop technology and business relationships with BlackBerry.

Each participant is also expected to receive up to $50,000 in matching funding, through the program’s partnership with the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).

“The four companies selected for this very special BlackBerry IVY focused accelerator program with L-SPARK represent the very best of the Canadian smart mobility ecosystem,” said Virk. “Each brings with them a wealth of talent … to deliver high-impact, data-driven services and solutions that will one day transform the in-car experience.”

Montréal-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Deeplite and Ottawa vehicle AI company Sensor Cortek also participated in the second cohort of the accelerator program.

In response to questions about why the two companies have returned for the third cohort, the spokesperson for BlackBerry and L-SPARK said that both Deeplite and Sensor Cortek expressed interest in participating again, and that BlackBerry selected them as a good fit.

Deeplite, which was founded in 2018, offers an interference optimization platform to help developers deploy “edge-AI” to products in vehicles, smart cities, and others. The startup raised $7.5 million CAD in seed funding last year.

RELATED: Deeplite raises $7.5 million CAD seed round to optimize deep neural networks

Sensor Cortek uses deep neural networks to develop AI-based perception systems. The company’s software-based solutions focus on advanced driver-assistance and autonomous vehicles.

Also based in Ottawa is Raven Connected, which provides a video telematics platform that is able to capture images, videos, and other data elements. The company said it is able to do this by incorporating an array of sensors, communication modules, and direct connection to the vehicle’s onboard computer.

According to Raven, these components are embedded into AI and machine learning models to generate real-time insights into vehicle performance, driving, behaviours, road conditions, and pedestrian safety.

Calgary-based Wedge Networks is a cybersecurity SaaS company that specializes in intelligent real-time threat prevention. Founded in 2002, Wedge said that its platform is deployed in millions of connected devices, including autonomous vehicles and intelligent transportation systems.

The accelerator has taken in 14 startups to date, including Preteckt Canada, which was also selected to join Scale AI and MaRS Discovery District’s Supply AI program in April.

Featured image courtesy of Deeplite.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a staff writer for BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter @charlizealcaraz

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