The Government of Canada is investing a collective $4.4 million into two Ottawa-area startups to help spur economic growth and jobs in the capital region.
The funding is expected to add 85 jobs between the two companies, and the government hopes it will leverage another $12.6 million in private sector support.
BluWave-ai is a cleantech startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help utility companies add renewable energy sources to their electricity grids, while Tehama provides a cloud-based software solution for remote teams.
The funds are meant to help BluWav-ai build and commercialize software products to manage electric vehicle (EV) fleet operations, which the startup claims will reduce energy consumption and the number of carbon-emitting vehicles on the roads.
For its part, Tehama will use the funding to integrate new technologies into its platform to support global expansion efforts of its Carrier for Work solution. The latter is what the startup calls its platform that combines Desktop-as-a-Service, security, audits, and networking for hybrid workforces.
Both startups applied to the federal government’s Business Scale Up Program for the funding. A government spokesperson told BetaKit that the startups also received this capital because “both of these businesses will help Canada achieve our broader economic and climate-change goals, which are top priorities for our government.”
Established in 2017, Kanata-based BluWave-ai, along with Hydro Ontario, is currently collaborating with two Ontario provincial government agencies on a project that will use AI to manage EV charging during peak demand periods.
The three-year project announced in April, and called EV Everywhere, is designed to help meet the growing energy needs electric vehicles are anticipated to create in the Ottawa area.
BluWave-ai CEO and founder Devashish Paul said the investment from FedDev Ontario will help the startup deploy its EV Fleet Orchestrator AI product with fleet operators in Canadian, United States, European, and Indian markets.
BluWave-ai’s Fleet Orchestrator offers EV fleet charging and dispatch management; integration of solar generation and battery energy storage; and management of mixed fleets.
Founded in 2019 as a spin-off from Ottawa-based Pythian, Tehama was created out of a need to improve the software available to connect a remote workforce, and protect company information from the threat of security breaches. Pythian is a global IT services company that Paul Vallée, CEO and founder of Tehama, founded in the 1990s.
Tehama raised $14 million CAD in a Series A round in 2020 with the intent of using the funds to invest in its product and for expansion.
Vallée said the funding could not have come at a better time given that the demand for work-from-home solutions is forecast to increase. “This $2.7-million repayable contribution from FedDev Ontario will help us press on through these tumultuous times, supporting enterprises as they adopt tools that enable the secure exchange of work over the internet,” he added.
Filomena Tassi, the federal minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, said helping companies innovate to create high-quality jobs is a continuing priority for the federal government.
“Investments like these ensure that tech hubs like Ottawa continue to attract new investments and contribute to a growing economy,” Tassi said. The creation of new jobs is particularly important as waves of layoffs are sweeping through the technology sector, impacting everything from startups such as Ada, Thoughtwire and Fineao, to publicly-traded tech companies like Shopify, Amazon, Meta, and Twitter.
FedDev Ontario has been actively funding numerous companies in recent months. The agency announced $7.5 million for three Kitchener-Waterloo companies in October, providing Shinydocs with $4 million, Encircle with $2.1 million, and Proto Research with $1.4 million.
The federal agency also gave Ontario-based GreenCentre Canada a $2.6 million investment to launch a new accelerator program for businesses in the cleantech sector in July; and Toronto-based solar and hybrid energy startup Clear Blue Technologies secured up to $4 million in funding in July as well.
Since 2015, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, claims to have invested over $200 million in more than 190 projects in the Ottawa region, estimated to create nearly 8,000 jobs.