PragmaClin, Willful, NovaResp among nearly 30 healthtech startups backed by new CABHI funding

Each startup is receiving between $150,000 to $500,000 based on company stage, needs, and evaluation processes.

The Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), which works to promote innovation that helps older people and those with dementia, is investing $9.5 million CAD across nearly 30 healthtech startups. 

The financial support is coming through CABHI’s Mentorship, Capital, and Continuation (MC2) Program. On top of financial backing, the MC2 program aims to help early-stage healthtech and FinTech companies validate their businesses with acceleration services, including access to end-user validation, business and research experts, and CABHI’s network of innovators and investors. 

The majority of companies supported in this round are Canadian healthtech companies, but some United States-based firms received funding as well. A CABHI spokesperson told BetaKit that 27 companies have been finalized so far, and that it will release details on the remaining three companies once finalized. They added that the individual company investments range from $150,000 to $500,000 based on the company’s stage, needs, and evaluation processes.

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Among the supported companies is St. John’s, Nfld.-based startup PragmaClin, which was co-founded by scientist, entrepreneur, and Newfoundlander Bronwyn Bridges in 2020. PragmaClin’s flagship offering is the Parkinson’s Remote Interactive Monitoring System, also known as PRIMS, which allows patient visits to be performed remotely while data is collected via sensors.

Having already secured $2.5 million via provincial funding and pitch competitions, Bridges is now working on raising a seed round. BetaKit sat down with Bridges last month, where she discussed the software she developed, why Canadian healthtech companies prioritize FDA approval over Health Canada, and her experience as a young, female founder. 

NovaResp is another Atlantic Canada startup among the recipients of the CABHI funding, contributing to a $3 million seed extension the company announced last month. NovaResp originally closed a $2 million seed-plus round in early 2023. 

NovaResp uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide data and personalized therapy for users who suffer from sleep apnea. The startup claims it can predict and prevent episodes of apnea before they occur, resulting in a patient’s positive airway pressure machine operating at a lower, more comfortable air pressure level.

Toronto-based will and estate-planning software startup Willful also received support from CABHI, contributing to its latest $1-million funding round. 

RELATED: With latest funding and Scotiabank partnership, Willful sets its sights on profitability

Willful was founded by CEO Erin Bury and her husband Kevin Oulds in 2017, and offers a suite of digital estate-planning tools that can be used to create a legally valid will and power of attorney documents from home. After launching in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland this past January, Willful’s platform is now available in all 10 Canadian provinces. 

CABHI says that more than 50 percent of its alumni companies have received follow-on funding, notably including digital physical therapy provider Sword Health, which recently secured a $3-billion valuation, and virtual-care platform Akira Health, which was acquired by Telus Health in 2019. 

“Having now solidified our most recent two funding cohorts, the MC2 Program has directed over $33 million to companies working with older persons to develop solutions that have the potential to reimagine the aging experience,” CABHI’s senior manager of investments and venture services, James Mayer, said in a statement. 

Last month, CABHI received a $39.2 million commitment from the federal government’s new Strategic Science Fund to continue its work in accelerating the development of products and services that support aging and brain health. 

Image courtesy of Georg Arthur Pflueger via Unslpash.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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