Innovate BC, NRC IRAP invest $2 million into 13 BC cleantech companies

4AG Robotics
BC Fast Pilot program has invested $9.9 million into 75 projects to date.

Thirteen cleantech companies based in British Columbia have received a combined $2 million in research and development (R&D) funding from Innovate BC and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

The funding came from the BC Fast Pilot program, which aims to help small and medium-sized businesses design, build, and operate a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology. According to a statement released Monday, the funding will be used to support cleantech projects that the companies are piloting.

“BC Fast Pilot allows small businesses the ability to accelerate their development process, resulting in a rapid growth in our clean tech sector.”

Brenda Bailey

Since the program started in 2019, $9.9 million has been invested into 75 pilot projects, including the most recent group of recipients. Each project in this latest round is receiving up to $200,000 from Innovate BC and NRC IRAP.

“BC Fast Pilot allows small businesses the ability to accelerate their development process, resulting in a rapid growth in our clean tech sector that benefits both our economy and our environment,” Brenda Bailey, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, said in a statement. 

One of the companies awarded funding by the federal and provincial governments was Salmon Arm, BC-based 4AG Robotics, which recently secured $17.5 million in Series A funding and found a new CEO in former managing director of Conexus Venture Capital and Emmertech Sean O’Connor.

RELATED: InBC invests $29 million into 4AG Robotics, Clarius Mobile Health, Pender, Amplitude Ventures

4AG Robotics, previously known as TechBrew Robotics, will use the funding to pilot its automated system for harvesting, trimming, packaging, labelling, and shipping mushrooms. The other 12 funding recipients include:

Aerometrix Services: developed a drone-based laser spectrometer system to detect and quantify methane emission sources.

BQE Water: will test and validate its water treatment technology to remove thiosalts from waste waters generated during mining.

Browns Bay Packing Company: will pilot a sustainable, recyclable alternative to Styrofoam and paper based thermal inserts.

CanDry Technologies: piloting a low-temperature energy-efficient dehydration technology. This pilot will validate if the technology is applicable to the berry market.

Catch Data: trialing systems for biosecurity of ports and conservation locations from rodent infestations with Parks Canada.

Crush Dynamics: creating a powdered version of Purdy’s puree product for widespread use in chocolate applications.

Deadwood Innovations: will be proving their proprietary wood densification process to reclaim low quality timber from beetles and fire damaged stands and low-grade lumber.

Demizine Technology: this pilot will take place in First Nations communities to demonstrate that an instant wastewater treatment system can operate in a Canadian climate with minimal maintenance.

Ensemble Scientific: piloting a precision irrigation support system tailored to help farmers collect data and make irrigation decisions faster and more efficiently.

Farment Bio Solutions: project will demonstrate the feasibility of a processing and fermentation system to generate renewable natural gas and fertilizer from digestate waste.

Industrial Plankton: will prove the performance of its seaweed bioreactors in a commercial setting and demonstrate the production capabilities of the system when deployed in the ocean.

VoltSafe: piloting a retrofit electrical safety kit that marinas can use to improve energy their management capabilities.

BC’s cleantech sector has attracted significant investment in recent years. According to a report from, the cleantech companies accounted for a sizable portion of total venture funding in 2022. Stakeholders in BC’s cleantech sector, including the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance and the Foresight Cleantech Accelerator, have worked to make the province a global leader in this category.

This latest funding marks the Fast Pilot program’s fifth disbursement of funding. Previous startups whose pilot projects were funded by the program include Poseidon Ocean Systems, SenseNet, and Aqua Intelligent Technology.

Feature image source 4AG Robotics.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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