Your company has graduated past the startup phase. You’ve got a few dozen employees. You’ve got a product, revenue and good traction.
The problem is how to move on to the next stage, to scale and take advantage of the niche you’ve found.
Both Waterloo-based companies are recent recipients of OSVP funds worth CDN$1 million each, money they’ve earmarked to accelerate growth and hire employees.
“A $1-million grant is absolutely something that is going to allow us to do some pretty awesome things,” says Dave Pooley, CFO at Axonify, a six-year-old company with 150 employees that specializes in educational and training software.
“We were really excited about the opportunity when it came up, and are obviously really excited now that we’ve been awarded the money. It’s going to allow us to focus outside our usual sweet spot and apply some money to international growth, some partnering and some development, something we wouldn’t be able to do without access to this capital.
“I can honestly say this is going to move the needle for us.”
Moving the needle is precisely the aim of the four-year, $32.4-million initiative, funded jointly by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth and the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science. The program is delivered through MaRS, Communitech and Invest Ottawa.
The program is targeted at Ontario-based technology companies that have 20 or more employees and have revenue of between $5 million and $25 million, or have raised $10 million in private capital and have either 20 per cent year-over-year revenue or sales growth or 20 per cent year-over-year employee growth.
For Intellijoint, an eight-year-old company whose products help orthopedic surgeons more accurately perform hip replacements, the OSVP money means it can quickly and aggressively scale in the U.S. and Australia and, eventually, move into markets in Europe. The company, which has 50 employees, recently celebrated the 5,000th hip replacement completed using its product.
“These funds allow us to accelerate some of our commercial plans to hire earlier, to hire more aggressively, to really expand into new markets faster,” says Armen Bakirtzian, Intellijoint CEO and co-founder.
“So it [should make] a significant impact on our commercial success and allows us to make investments earlier than we would have otherwise done, which really advances our timelines and advances our ability to generate revenue.
“It really saves us a lot of time and allows us to get to scale faster.”
Bakirtzian’s advice for other companies thinking of applying?
“Do it quickly. I would encourage any company to go for it. It doesn’t get better than grant money. This process was easier than most. It provides cash that is more than most other opportunities. It’s supportive of companies going to scale. There’s absolutely no reason why you wouldn’t do this.”
For both Axonify and Intellijoint, the process from application to getting their hands on a cheque took between three and four months.
“It’s the most accessible funding source I’ve encountered,” says Pooley.
“I can say to be able to access $1 million, it was a very smooth process, especially compared to some really good programs out there, but ones that only allow you to access a much smaller dollar value.”
Other Communitech client companies have received funds from OSVP under a previous incarnation of the program that provided vouchers worth up to $250,000, including Bridgit, Clearpath Robotics, Fiix, Mappedin, Oculys Health Informatics, TextNow, and Voices.com.
Communitech is a partner of Startup HERE Toronto. This article originally appeared on their site.