Today in funding: Sampler, DivDot, Hardbacon


Three Canadian startups have announced fresh funding rounds to fuel their growth. Here’s the latest on who raised how much, from whom, and what they’ll be putting the new funds toward.

Sampler raises $4 million led by StandUP Ventures, BDC Capital

Toronto-based Sampler has raised a $4 million round, bringing Sampler’s total amount of equity financing raised to $10.3 million.

“We’re thrilled that this investment will allow us to continue carrying our vision forward.”

The round was led by existing investors StandUP Ventures and BDC Capital, with participation from EDC, Factory LLC, as well as new investors from Calgary-based financial platform​, The51. The investment will be used to build Sampler’s sales and service teams and accelerate its product roadmap and new offerings.

The funding came as Sampler saw a spike in demand as in-store sampling and events were cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

“When the pandemic hit and in-store demos, events, and trade shows were brought to a sudden halt, brands had to quickly rethink how they were going to deliver such a crucial element of their marketing strategy as product sampling in a socially distant world,” said Marie Chevrier, founder and CEO of Sampler.

“Our company’s growth accelerated quickly and we’re thrilled that this investment will allow us to continue carrying our vision forward while driving new product offerings that will change the way retailers, trade shows, and events conduct product sampling forever,” Chevrier added.

FinTech startup DivDot raises $500,000

Victoria-based DivDot, which digitizes high-value transactions for businesses, has closed $500,000 in pre-seed funding.

The round was co-led by Sprout Fund, WUTIF Capital, E-Fund, Hello Ventures and local angel investors. The funding will be used by DivDot to expand sales and marketing operations, as well as accelerate product development.

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“This funding round will facilitate our ambitious growth plans over the next year and beyond,” said Matthew Smith, CEO and co-founder of DivDot. “During 2020 we are committed to building out our platform and continuously expanding our product offering.”

DivDot enables businesses to move away from cheques and fully digitize payment operations. The startup recently saw a significant increase in new customers as businesses experienced an urgent need to replace traditional payment methods with digital means of processing transactions.

Hardbacon receives $50,000 for AI R&D project

Montreal-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Hardbacon has secured conditional funding of $50,000 for an AI research and development project that is aimed to predict stock prices.

The grant is part of the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). Hardbacon is currently developing a stock-rating system for this project, which will use AI to help investors pick stocks.

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“Many Hardbacon users asked us to tell them what to invest in,” said Julien Brault, CEO of Hardbacon. “Until now we had refused, until one of our employees presented us with a promising academic article that he had written about the possibility of using artificial intelligence to generate predictive ratings. We are grateful that the NRC IRAP has agreed to support this project.”

Hardbacon’s flagship offering allows users to monitor their investments and make better financial decisions. The startup’s app initially relied on user subscriptions, but Hardbacon soon switched to a B2B model, enabling it to generate revenue by helping financial institutions acquire and retain customers.

Image source DivDot via Twitter.

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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