Charlottetown-based Forestry.io announced the close of a $744,000 ($560,000 USD) seed round. With this funding, Forestry.io is the first startup in Canada to close a round of funding that includes an AngelList Syndicate since its approval by the Ontario Securities Commission last year.
Forestry.io’s funding round included an AngelList Syndicate led by noted Flight.vc‘s Gil Penchina, who has previously invested in LinkedIn, Cruise Automation, and Dollar Shave Club.
Forestry.io’s content management system is meant to simplify posting and updating material processes on static websites. As more developers move away from using WordPress to build custom websites, there’s a lack of CMS options available that fits into a developer’s workflow. Forestry.io works to bridge this gap.
“Since we started working on this, we’ve seen a whole host of players in the space; we’re not the only ones. It’s getting really competitive really quickly because what a lot of people are seeing is, there’s a big opportunity here. There’s an opportunity to be the next WordPress.”
When CEO Scott Gallant and co-founder and CTO Jordan Patterson were preparing to join Techstars NYC in July 2016, they spoke to other entrepreneurs who went through similar experiences, including one who participated in 500 Startups in California.
“He said, ‘it would be awesome if we could have Angellist in Canada. When we finished 500 Startups and we raised our round, all the US companies were topping up their rounds on AngelList Syndicate, but we couldn’t because we’re Canadian,” Gallant was told. He continues, “At the time, we were really considering, should we flip to a US corporation or should we stay a Canadian corporation? We really deliberated on this, and one of the huge advantages of being a US corporation was, you got access to AngelList. It’s a tool in your toolkit of fundraising.”
Luckily for the Forestry.io team, AngelList announced its initial Canadian launch through Ontario a short time after, before spreading across Canada in March 2017.
“It’s almost essential for the startup ecosystem here; it allows companies like us to remain Canadian,” said Gallant.
The company plans to use the funding to hire four people (marketers and developers) from across Canada, though it’s focused on hiring a marketer based in Atlantic Canada.
“We have an Ottawa office, but we spent a lot of time in New York City too because that’s where we did Techstars,” Gallant said. “We feel like, today, you can build a business from anywhere and we’re really lucky to have one foot in US system one foot in Canadian system, because we benefit from investors, experience, and mentors in the US, but also benefit from government programming which helps us extend our runway.”
The company has had users on the platform in July as a beta, and officially launched in November, While users worked under the pretext that Forestry.io was a free trial, the company plans to charge for the service this month.
“We’re really inspired by companies like Shopify, who build great companies from Canada under the Canadian system and create great jobs. What we want to do is build the next Shopify, but in the region here Atlantic Canada,” said Gallant. “We had great support for businesses and entrepreneurs through Innovation PEI here. So we actually see a ton of advantages of staying here.”