Ontario tech hub ventureLAB has received a $4.5-million injection from the federal government to help more hardware and semiconductor-focused tech companies scale through its Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI).
According to a statement from the federal government, the funding, which was delivered through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), will be used to speed up the development of semiconductor and hardware tech firms. By financing access to specialized tools and services, the federal government intends to decrease both the costs and time to market for Canadian-manufactured products.
ventureLAB’s new funding comes as the federal government is increasing its focus on the domestic microchip sector.
The federal government said this latest funding is aimed to support 30 companies in total, and lead to the commercialization of 25 new products.
The funding was described by the government as an “extension and expansion of the activities developed since the creation” of ventureLAB’s HCI, a lab and accelerator aimed at scaling Canadian hardware and semiconductor-focused companies.
HCI provides companies with resources to accelerate their product market entry, retain skilled employees, secure investment, and attract a broader customer base. According to the government, HCI has assisted more than 65 companies and facilitated the development or licensing of 80 new intellectual properties to date.
“This new investment in our Hardware Catalyst Initiative by FedDev Ontario will have a tremendous impact on our ability to continue to grow and scale these great hardtech companies from Canada, while also building a stronger knowledge-based economy,” Hugh Chow, CEO ventureLAB, said in a statement.
FedDev Ontario has provided a total of $17.3 million in funding for ventureLAB to date. In addition to today’s investment, that funding includes $10.7 million for growth and expansion of HCI and $2.1 million to support women entrepreneurship through the WES Ecosystem Fund.
Since its inception in 2011, ventureLAB has been aiding Canadian hardware startups in fundraising, talent retention, technology commercialization, and customer acquisition.
In September, ventureLAB’s board of directors appointed Chow as CEO, replacing Melissa Chee and Matt Skynner, who both left ventureLAB over the summer. Also last year, ventureLAB introduced the HardTech Investor Network, an investor group built to support Canadian pre-seed and seed-stage startups.
ventureLAB’s new funding comes as the federal government is increasing its focus on the domestic microchip sector, a response to shortages caused by the pandemic, international conflicts, and growing tensions between the United States and China.
In late October, the Semiconductor Industry Leadership and Innovation Canada Action Network (SILICAN) published its first policy report, which urged the federal government to provide more support to Canada’s semiconductor industry.
Feature image courtesy of ventureLAB via Facebook.