Today in funding: MineSense, Propulse Analytics, NRStor, SecureKey

This past week, startups all across Canada got a boost with rounds of funding. Here’s the latest on who raised how much, and from whom.

MineSense closes $19 million financing round

Vancouver-based MineSense, a company that provides data analytics systems for the mining industry, has announced the close of a $19 million financing round.

The round was led by investors in the mining industry, including Aurus Ventures and Caterpillar Ventures, with participation from existing investors Cycle Capital Management, Chrysalix Venture Capital, Prelude Ventures, and Export Development Canada (EDC).

“Attracting new investors to the investors’ syndicate is part of our strategy developed with MineSense, to have major ore extraction and energy players sharing deep knowledge of the mining industry,” said Andrée-Lise Méthot, founder and managing partner of Cycle Capital Management. “This partnership with a leading mining operator and the leading global transport and equipment manufacturer will bring international exposure to this disruptive technology, and help accelerate commercialization in new markets.”

MineSense’s system integrates directly into current mining shovels and conveyers to provide real-time data that enables ore sorting and enhances mine planning.

“Aurus will bring an international view and a window into the important Chilean market,” said Jeff More, CEO of MineSense. “And having a major player like Caterpillar as a new strategic investor provides a strong partner with global reach. We are also thrilled to have the continued support of our existing investors.”

Propulse Analytics raises $1.4 million seed round

Montreal-based Propulse Analytics, launched with $1.4 million in seed funding from Stradigi Ventures and Wobemail Online Services.

The company uses deep learning to provide analytics on the desires and intent of consumers, so retailers can provide accurate product choices to their customers.

According to TechCrunch, Propulse Analytics will focus on marketing its service to small and medium-sized retailers to help them make better product recommendations to their customers.

NRStor secures $11 million and gains access to $200 million

Toronto-based NRStor, an energy storage project developer, announced that it has received an $11 million equity financing commitment, and access to $200 million in additional capital in support of several NRStor projects.

The funding commitment is part of a strategic partnership with the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada (LiUNA), a major pension fund with $5.7 billion in assets, with participation from NRStor founder, chair, and CEO Annette Verschuren. Fengate Real Asset Investments will manage LiUNA’s investment in NRStor.

“The significant investment in NRStor demonstrates that Canadians are global leaders in energy innovation,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “It demonstrates how innovation can create entirely new markets, or give existing industries a new lease on life by making them more productive and efficient. These opportunities create better jobs for Canadians – well-paying, middle-class jobs. The technologies behind NRStor can result in greater energy efficiency and a cleaner environment. That’s how innovation leads to a better Canada.”

NRStor, which recently moved into the MaRS Discovery District, will use the funding to support its projects, which are meant to scale renewable capacity and make electricity systems more efficient. Verschuren says the financing will help NRStor overcome key financing challenges that cleantech companies face when attracting institutional capital.

“Our vision at NRStor is a future with clean and reliable energy,” explained Verschuren. “Our partnership with LiUNA shows that pension funds and infrastructure investors also understand the importance of financing clean energy infrastructure, and the business case around the industry.”

QD Solar raises $2.5 million to advance its solar technology product

Toronto-based QD Solar, which was created by the University of Toronto and MaRS Innovation, has secured $2.5 million in Series A financing. The round was led by DSM Venturing, with matching investment participation from existing investors MaRS Innovation and KAUST Innovation Fund.

QD Solar creates quantum dot-based solar cells using nano-engineered, low-cost materials that can absorb otherwise wasted infrared light. The company says the financing will help QD Solar continue to develop its solar technology, which has the potential to increase energy output of solar panels and lead to significant cost savings.

“MaRS Innovation worked closely with the University of Toronto to found, seed-fund, and incubate QD Solar, because of the game-changing potential of the technology,” said Rafi Hofstein, the president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “We are thrilled to see this endorsement of the company, and the technology, from leading investors like DSM and KAUST, as well as the Government of Canada, through SDTC.”

The development of QD Solar’s technology is also supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which invested $2.55 million in the company in March 2016.

SecureKey Technologies recieves $800,000 grant to develop Cloud Identity Ecosystem

SecureKey, which provides identity and authentication solutions, and the Digital ID Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC), an organization committed to developing a Canadian digital identification framework, have together received a new grant of $800,000 to enable the development of a Cloud Identity Ecosystem.

The grant was funded by the Command Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analytics (CCICADA), a research center funded by the US Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate. SecureKey and DIACC will use the grant to develop a blockchain-powered “cloud identity ecosystem,” which will give consumers the necessary tools to securely manage their digital identities and assets.

“SecureKey is fully committed to developing a national digital identity ecosystem that puts consumers first and increases both their digital security and privacy,” said Andre Boysen, chief identity officer of SecureKey. “This funding will be essential in making that commitment a reality, ensuring that consumers have access to secure digital protection. The fast-paced development of the digital economy demands that federated identity ecosystems be developed to support trusted transactions online by eliminating security and privacy gaps.”

In October, SecureKey raised $27 million to fund a new digital identity network. BMO, Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, and TD participated in that funding round and help build out the network. While the details of the new product aren’t clear, CEO Greg Wolfond indicated that the company is trying to combine the security of bank logins, telcos, and the government.


Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.

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