The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) has announced 10 semi-finalists for its 2019 Breakthru Competition.
NBIF holds the competition every two years to encourage entrepreneurship and startup development in New Brunswick. This year, 36 participants submitted business plans for a chance to win startup capital and support.
The winner receives more than $300,000 in investment prizes, including in-kind services and startup equity. Two other competitors, second place and viewer’s choice, also receive $175,500 and $100,500, respectively. All participants also receive coaching from industry professionals in the province.
“Teams that are moving on were really successful in demonstrating customer validation, and showing that there was a viable pipeline for their product.”
In 2017, the grand prize totalling almost $375,000 went to Pfera, a birth prediction tool for horse owners.
“We use the same criteria to judge these business plans that we do for all our investments: analysis of the product, team, market, and financials,” said Daniel Hoyles, an investment analyst at the NBIF. “All of the applicants [this year] were great, but the teams that are moving on were really successful in demonstrating customer validation, and showing that there was a viable pipeline for their product.”
Amongst the semi-finalists are Aurea Technologies, which aims to help solve climate change by creating portable wind turbines to create and store energy for USB devices, as well as Potential Motors, creators of an electric conversion kit that streamlines the process of converting fossil fuel vehicles to electric. Both startups graduated from Energia Ventures.
Sensory Friendly Solutions, also named a semi-finalist, developed an app that allows people with sensory sensitivities to share and rate sensory-friendly spaces.
“We had really strong applications from companies ranging from cleantech to blockchain to augmented reality,” Hoyes said. “The Energia Accelerator at [the University of New Brunswick] in particular was able to produce some great candidates, which is fantastic because it feels like the competition has benefited from the presence of an innovative provincial accelerator.”
Recently, NBIF partnered with Innovacorp to invest $1 million in select companies participating in Phase 2 of Propel’s Incite accelerator.
The teams competing in Breakthru will make final adjustments to their business plan, and NBIF will select five startups to pitch to a panel of judges on March 14.
The majority of the investment cash comes from NBIF, and Opportunities NB, with support and services from seven other organizations including, Deloitte, Cox & Palmer, and CBC New Brunswick, which provides a ‘golden ticket’ to a Dragon’s Den audition in Toronto.
The winners will be announced at the Breakthru LIVE Awards Dinner on March 21.
Featured image via Pixabay.