Montreal-based ideation company TandemLaunch has raised $5 million in venture capital funding from BDC Venture Capital.
TandemLaunch scouts, accelerates and commercializes early-stage technologies from the world’s top universities for major consumer electronic brands.
Private angels and advisors have committed an additional $5 million, while TandemLaunch is aiming for a final closing round of $15 million in total.
"We are delighted that BDC Venture Capital has decided to join our efforts, both as an investor and as a partner," said Helge Seetzen, TandemLaunch’s CEO. "The fact is: money matters, but mentorship matters even more. It is for this reason we think BDC Venture Capital is an ideal investor for our program."
BDC’s $5 million investment stems from the Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2013, in which the feds earmarked $100 million in additional funds for high-growth firms and firms graduating from business accelerators. According to the government, the funds are part of an effort to stimulate a more innovative economy that supports small and medium-sized businesses.
"TandemLaunch has a strong capacity for business acceleration and an enviable track record of sourcing projects with high commercialization potential from university research from across the world," said BDC Venture Capital’s Jérôme Nycz. "We believe this investment will provide many tangible, positive impacts for the Canadian venture capital ecosystem and has a high probability of performing strongly from a return standpoint, especially given the large size and growth of the consumer electronics industry."
The brain behind TandemLaunch is Seetzen, an award-winning German technologist and serial entrepreneur who came to Canada to study physics at the University of British Columbia. After university Seetzen became CTO of BrightSide Technologies, a Vancouver-based developer of high dynamic range imaging-based electronic display technologies, in 2004. BrightSide was later acquired by Dolby Laboratories in 2007.
The 35-year-old eventually came to Quebec to open TandemLaunch in the heart of Montreal’s Westmount neighbourhood. There, a bustling two-floor office is home to several young teams developing emerging technology solutions. TandemLaunch provides them a small amount of initial funding, an incubator-accelerator-like environment and a pipeline to commercialization.
Some of TandemLaunch’s initial portfolio companies include Mirametrix, a manufacturer of portable, high performance gaze-tracking devices developed by Dr. Craig Hennessey and a small team of researchers. In the new world of intelligent televisions, viewers will perform functions such as changing the channel with a simple eye gaze, using Mirametrix’s technology.
Other TandemLaunch portfolio companies include Intelligent Mixing, which lets musicians be the sound engineer. The company creates fully automated, studio-quality mixes in real time using a set of machine learning and spectral analysis based algorithms.
Meanwhile Dr. Piotr Didyk and his team at E-Stellar Technologies developed two solutions called 3D Disparity Solutions and Resolution Eyes. 3D Disparity Solutions improves the visual quality of 3D displays while giving viewers the choice to choose between watching 3D or 2D at the same time, on the same screen. Resolution Eyes is a software solution that displays high-res detail on low-res monitors, increase perceived image quality and text legibility without draining processor power and battery life.
Finally, 3LD Noise Reduction is a solution developed by Dr. Aishy Amer, providing screen viewers fully automated, real-time noise removal for sharp and crystal clear images.