Hyperdrive is Communitech's new $30 million technology startup incubator based in Ontario. When it was first announced a week ago, Communitech didn't reveal any of the funders. Today, they have.
There are some big-name backers behind Hyperdrive, it turns out. Waterloo's BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion, is one. Omers Ventures - which recently invested $20 million into Vancouver's HootSuite - is another, along with iNovia Capital and Rho Canada Ventures. Also investing in Hyperdrive startups will be Canrock Ventures, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, and BDC Venture Capital.
“Investors recognize this as a great opportunity to get in at the ground level on innovation in Canada, and we’ve been delighted that HYPERDRIVE has attracted high-calibre funders to enable the program’s kickoff,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech. “This is another proof point of Waterloo Region emerging as a major tech hub in North America – second only to Silicon Valley as the best place to start a tech business.”
“At OMERS Ventures, the goal we share with other investors and entrepreneurs is to build a vibrant and successful knowledge economy in Canada. We’re very excited to be part of the HYPERDRIVE program, which we believe will help foster the innovation required to help create the next RIM, Desire2Learn or OpenText right here in Canada,” said Sid Paquette, Senior Associate, OMERS Ventures.
“A key part of BDC Venture Capital’s strategy is to bring early financing to the most promising Canadian tech enterprises through well-structured accelerator programs like HYPERDRIVE,” explains Michael Mahon, Director, VC Strategic Investments and Initiatives at BDC Venture Capital. “Canadian tech entrepreneurs can win big on the world stage, but they need a strong, supportive ecosystem to get the edge. HYPERDRIVE is a great example of an ecosystem coming together to take some of our best and brightest to the next level.”
“The advantage of Waterloo Region is that overheads are still low compared to New York or Silicon Valley. Tech companies need access to talent and Waterloo has that, and they need reasonable costs, and Waterloo can offer that,” said Jim Estill, Partner, CanRock Ventures. “Communitech and what the organization offers – the network, the setup, the mentors, the volunteers behind them – is really second to none.”
“The big differentiator for HYPERDRIVE is that we surround startups with every advantage of the ecosystem from day one,” said Klugman. “Communitech provides world-class coaching in cooperation with Waterloo Region programs such as the Accelerator Centre and the University of Waterloo’s VelcoCity incubator so that, along with support from strategic partners, the resources are in place to help companies build products and seize their market opportunity.”