Vancouver-based business incubator Wavefront has shut down, BetaKit has learned.
According to those familiar with the matter, the incubator and accelerator, which focused on supporting mobile and IoT technology companies, halted operations on Friday.
The halting of operations has also affected the organization’s Toronto office. Those familiar with the situation indicated that doors to the location have been locked, with Wavefront’s sign taken down. “It’s totally dark,” one source told BetaKit.
The shutdown has also led to the termination of multiple Wavefront staff, although BetaKit has yet to confirm the total number (Wavefront lists a total of 32 different staff members on the organization’s website).
In 2014, Wavefront was allocated up to $9.5 million in CAIP funding over the next five years.
According to one communiqué from a now-former Wavefront employee obtained by BetaKit, the shutdown will affect not only tenants in Wavefront’s spaces, but halt ongoing programming, such as its RevUP and Venture Acceleration Program. According to this message, payments for these programs would have been processed May 1st.
In general, there seems to be confusion about next steps, with former employees working to find associated startups detailed information, alternate local partners to help continue or wind down programming, and building access for tenants to grab business and personal effects. As of Wednesday, May 17th, some startups were still in the process of securing their belongings.
In 2014, Wavefront was one of four BC-based incubators and accelerators to receive government support through the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP). As part of the program, Wavefront was to receive up to $9.5 million over the next five years, with a requirement to demonstrate “matching contributions on at least a 1:1 basis during the period of the contribution funding.” The initiative was part of $100 million committed by the Government of Canada over 2013 and 2014 as part of its Economic Action Plan. Wavefront had also received $19.6 million in NCE funding starting in 2011 through to 2021.
The Wavefront website lists multiple government organizations as partners on its website, including the National Research Council Canada (IRAP funding), Global Affairs Canada, and Western Economic Diversification Canada, as well as the governments of British Columbia and Canada.
BetaKit has reached out to multiple people in Wavefront’s organization, including President and CEO, James Maynard, and members of the board. At time of this update, all have either declined or failed to respond to requests for comment.
“After assessing its options in the face of declining sources of revenue, [Wavefront] has determined that the appropriate course of action is to cease operations to ensure that there is an orderly liquidation of its assets for the benefit of its creditors,” the statement reads.
“It is the hope of Wavefront’s board of directors and management that many of these services which have helped increase Canada’s global competitiveness will be maintained and supported by other organizations.”
Update (05/17/18): This article has been updated to include additional information on Wavefront’s status, as well as a statement from the organization.