It’s been an eventful autumn for Regina-based incubator Cultivator. In the last three months, the incubator joined C100, saw its startups hit a nine-figure funding milestone, and bid farewell to long-time leader Jordan McFarlen. Spearheading its next chapter will be Laura Mock, who has been named Cultivator’s new director.
Mock will officially begin the new role in January 2024. She replaces McFarlen, who stepped down from the role in September to join Conexus Venture Capital, the venture arm of Conexus Credit Union, which also runs Cultivator. According to Cultivator, Conexus’ chief growth officer Maggie Sinclair has been supporting the incubator in the interim.
“There is so much happening in the tech space and there is a thirst to find investment and talent for Saskatchewan startups.”Laura Mock
Mock is no stranger to Saskatchewan or its tech sector. Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, she most recently led the experience design team at Saskatchewan Government Insurance during its digital transformation. Mock also has experience working with venture-backed organizations, Cultivator said, and has also consulted for tech startups in the past. Her previous roles also span customer experience and sales.
“While my career has been a bit of a winding road, each of those chapters has equipped me with knowledge, skills, experience and a network that I will be able to tap into and apply in a leadership role at Cultivator,” Mock added.
Launched in 2019 by Conexus Credit Union, Cultivator was established with the goal of filling gaps in Saskatchewan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The incubator has spent the last four years aiming to increase the visibility and impact of the area in the broader national technology landscape.
Cultivator runs three incubation initiatives: the “Start” program, a three-month offering for pre-revenue startups; “Grow,” spanning one to two years, targeting founders seeking product-market fit; and “Scale,” a one-year program for businesses with over $250,000 in annual recurring revenue.
The incubator also operates an AgTech acceleration program for Canadian and international startups, and has also hosted its own two-day event, Startup Summit, in a bid to draw investors into the province.
Earlier this fall, startups incubated by Cultivator surpassed $100 million in private funding since its 2019 inception. When Cultivator started over four years ago, Saskatchewan’s startups accounted for less than 0.5 percent of Canada’s total venture capital. Cultivator, one of two initiatives by Conexus Credit Union, aimed to close this funding gap and strengthen Saskatchewan’s standing as a tech hub.
“There is so much happening in the tech space and there is a thirst to find investment and talent for Saskatchewan startups,” Mock said. “Couple that with our province’s innovative and hard-working attitude, the possibilities are endless.”
Feature image courtesy Cultivator.