Funding roundup: Figment, FIX4 Capital, Highstreet, Appili Therapeutics, Viridis Terra

Five tech companies with Canadian roots have recently secured fresh funding to fuel their growth. Here are the details on who raised money, how much, from whom, and what they plan to put the new capital toward.

Figment secures $63 million CAD to build up PoS infrastructure

Toronto-based blockchain infrastructure and services startup Figment has raised $63 million CAD ($50 million USD) in Series B funding, in what the company claims is the largest funding round to date for a digital asset staking provider.

The round, which did not involve any debt or secondary capital, was co-led by Senator Investment Group and Liberty City Ventures, and saw participation from Galaxy Digital, Anchorage, Declaration Partner, Bonfire Ventures, GSR, GFT VC, JPK Capital, 40 North, Finality Capital Partners, and Hard Yaka. The fresh capital brings Figment’s total funding to date to $83 million CAD.
According to Bloomberg, the round gives Figment a $500 million USD valuation.

Figment, which was founded in 2018, offers staking, middleware, and application layer solutions for cryptocurrency token holders and developers. The company’s Series B round follows its $2.5 million seed raise last October. The startup plans to use the fresh capital to grow its current headcount of 75 and expand the breadth of the services it provides “up and down the Web 3 stack.” Figment said the funding will help it build out the back-end systems and infrastructure that provide yield on digital tokens and other assets.

RELATED: Dfuse rebrands, secures $73.5 million CAD grant to develop blockchain infrastructure

Figment aims to bolster the use of proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchains, which it claims give users greater control of their data, more privacy, and increase financial inclusion. “Staking is a massively important and mission critical part of the blockchain ecosystem and Figment is at the forefront of this technology,” said Emil Woods, partner at Liberty City Ventures.

Last month, Figment was awarded an $80 million GRT grant over five years to join The Graph, a blockchain infrastructure project. Graph, or ‘GRT’ tokens, are Ethereum tokens native to The Graph that are worth approximately $0.93 USD apiece. Fellow Canadian blockchain startup StreamingFast (formerly known as Dfuse) also recently joined The Graph as a core developer in June, after snagging a $73.5 million CAD grant.

FIX4 Capital raises $7.2 million to expand car repair lending service

Montréal FinTech startup FIX4 Capital, which provides affordable and flexible car repair loans, has raised $7.2 million in seed funding to fuel its expansion efforts.

The company’s seed round saw participation from venture capital firm Tactico, investment advisory company Keira Capital Partners, and a group of angel investors, including Martin Lavigne, former president of National Bank’s NBF Wealth Management.

Founded in 2020, FIX4 rolled out its app and quick loan service earlier this year. The company offers open financing of up to $10,000 over 12, 24 or 36-month terms, with an interest rate of 19.9 per cent, granting approval based on vehicle value (based on make, model, year, and mileage) rather than credit score.

FIX4, which does not require references, background or credit checks, offers these loans through its online loan approval system, claiming it can approve customers in less than five minutes. Rick Ness, managing director of Tactico, said the firm invested in FIX4 because its leadership team “has the right combination of industry experience, customer service focus and technology know-how.”

Since its launch, the startup claims it has helped hundreds of drivers access car repairs. “The need for fair financing in the auto repair sector is greater than we could have ever imagined,” said Tave Della Porta, FIX4’s co-founder and CEO. “The response we’ve received from our existing service repair partners and dealerships confirms what we suspected – a percentage of consumers are either unable to repair their vehicle or falling into the arms of predatory lenders.”

Highstreet secures $5 million for VR-based DeFi marketplace

Los Angeles-based virtual reality (VR) startup Highstreet has secured $5 million in fresh funding to fuel the development of its VR-based decentralized finance (DeFi) marketplace.

The round was led by a group of crypto and traditional venture capital firms, including Mechanism Capital, NGC Ventures, Palm Drive Capital, Cherubic Ventures, Jump Trading, GBV, Panony, and Shima Capital. It also saw participation from community builders and influencers like Encrypt Club, Mr. Block, and Miss Bitcoin.

Founded in 2015, Highstreet aims to combine e-commerce, VR, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The startup describes itself as “the world’s first commerce-centered metaverse with a decentralized finance marketplace for limited edition products.” Highstreet has two subsidiaries, Sundance-backed LumiereVR Studio and Retinad Analytics, which it acquired in 2018. The company’s VR world consists of explorable islands with residential areas, a virtual marketplace, and digital assets pegged to real-world products that are sold as NFTs.

The startup plans to use the capital to expand its Unity-focused engineering team and speed up the launch of its mobile and browser companion apps. According to Highstreet CEO and co-founder Travis Wu, the company plans to launch a new retail experience in its VR world.

“Retail consumers have shown increasing attention with digitally native goods, but most brands haven’t been able to tap into this interest,” said Andrew Kang, managing partner at Highstreet investor Mechanism Capital. “Highstreet offers the potential for retail brands to generate interest among its customers innovatively through NFTs.”

According to Vancouver Tech Journal, Highstreet currently has around 40 employees based in Canada and around the world, nearly 15 of whom are based in Vancouver.

Appili closes $3.5 million to advance COVID-19 treatment

Halifax’s Appili Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on drug development for infectious diseases, has closed a $3.5 million convertible security funding agreement.

As part of the deal, Appili has received net proceeds of $3.4 million from Lind Global Fund II, LP, an investment entity managed by New York institutional fund manager The Lind Partners. Founded in 2015, Appili went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in February 2020, raising $10.25 million CAD. The company currently trades on the TSX under the symbol ‘APLI.’

RELATED: Appili receives FDA approval to test drug that could prevent COVID-19 spread at long-term care facilities

As part of a global consortium, Appili is currently sponsoring late-stage clinical trials evaluating an antiviral tablet designed to treat and prevent of COVID-19, after gaining FDA approval to test it last August. The company is also developing a range of anti-infectives, including a broad-spectrum antifungal, a vaccine candidate designed to eliminate a serious biological weapon threat, and two novel antibiotic programs. Appili intends to use the fresh capital to support these efforts.

“Appili is working to develop medicines for some of the most urgent health challenges facing the world today,” said Armand Balboni, Appili’s CEO. “This funding from Lind will help us move our pipeline forward to address these important public health threats, as well as provide Appili greater operational flexibility.”

Viridis Terra secures $3.25 million to develop tech, grow team

Québec City-based environmental services company Viridis Terra has raised $3.25 million CAD in seed funding to develop its TreesOfLives offering and support more degraded land restoration projects.

The round was supported by a group of angel investors, including lead investor Bruce McKean, Gestion ChaMarin, NEL-i, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), and Québec City.

Launched in February, TreesOfLives is an impact investment fund integrated with an artificial intelligence-based platform that helps finance, optimize operations management, and facilitate the sale of sustainable commodities from forest landscape restoration projects. The startup’s offering allows investors to monitor the progress of Viridis Terra’s restoration projects, the return on their investment, and the impact of their contribution with respect to carbon and biodiversity.

“With TreesOfLives, we can turn a cost of restoration, reforestation, and carbon offsetting into an impact investment that generates sustainable returns at all levels—financial, social, environmental, and economic,” said Martin Beaudoin-Nadeau, Viridis Terra’s founder. Beaudoin-Nadeau called the round “a key step in the commercialization and expansion of Viridis Terra’s international operations,” adding that the startup plans to use the capital to add IT, marketing, and sales professionals and further develop its tech.

Viridis Terra, which was founded in 2015, initially focused on the restoration of industrial sites in the mining sector. The company opened a subsidiary in 2019 to diversify its activities and initiate large-scale sustainable forest landscape restoration projects. By the end of next year, Viridis Terra expects to have restored up to 3,000 hectares under phase one of its Peruvian operations, which it plans to use to replicate in other Latin American countries.

UPDATE (08/30/21): This story was updated to include responses from Figment.

Illustration designed by Rawpixel via Freepik

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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