Women still face unfair funding challenges: A new report from the Conference Board of Canada detailed many hurdles women founders face getting capital, from extended fundraising periods to jaw-dropping moments during pitches. Sampler founder Marie Chevrier Schwartz told BetaKit about an experience with one notable Canadian VC after she got engaged. “Literally, word for word, he said, ‘Well, don’t you just want to go get married and have babies now? Why are you fundraising?’”
UofT and Moderna announce partnership: The University of Toronto and COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna have signed a new research agreement. Scientists at the two organizations will collaborate to develop tools and therapies to prevent and treat infectious diseases.
Made-in-Canada MedTech: Markham-based tech hub ventureLAB has received $2.5-million in provincial funding to advance Canada’s readiness for future pandemics. The funding will be used to create a new medical technology stream in ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative that supports hardware and semiconductor startups.
What’s in the Box? About $2.7 million: Boxhub, a Toronto-based startup, has announced a $2.7-million seed round. It claims its all-in-one platform for buying shipping containers removes the hassle of dealing with shipping lines, depots and trucking companies. The company said the funding will be used to accelerate its expansion into the U.S.
Lunchtime yoga for everyone: Wavy has created a platform that simplifies planning and management of online team-building events, such as virtual beer tastings and wellness workshops. The company has raised a $2.5-million seed round to expand its team as it scales across Canada. Brittany Forsyth, a founding partner at Backbone Angels, which was among the investors, told BetaKit that Wavy creates “intentional connection and belonging in a world of work that’s rapidly evolved to become digital by design.”
Bitcoin banking: Fintech startup Cybrid announced a $3.8-million seed round to expand its platform that enables financial companies to offer cryptocurrency products to their customers. Karim Gillani, co-founder and general partner at Luge Capital, said Cyrbid is “the connection between traditional financial products and the future of finance.”
Cosm Medical raises seed round: Toronto-based Cosm Medical has secured a $4.7-million seed round to create custom medical devices for women suffering from pelvic floor disorders. CEO Derek Sham says he founded the company after he saw firsthand the hardships that a lack of options for pelvic floor disorders caused his grandmother. “I thought, I’m going to use my grandma’s experience to launch something to change the standard of care,” he told BetaKit.
Sustainable fashion: Chizoba Udeh-Martin, founder of Toronto-based label Zoba Martin, has been fascinated with clothes design since seeing her aunt create her own wedding dress as a child in Nigeria. Although her plans to open a storefront and workshop were put on hold by the pandemic, Udeh-Martin told BlogTO she has an ambitious strategy to grow her brand this year through sustainable fashion and creating custom-made pieces that family members can pass on from generation to generation.
Big bao business: Filipino sandwiches from Scarborough’s Bao Mama are a hot commodity. They have quickly gained popularity across the GTA thanks to a strategy of building interest with Toronto food influencers. Co-owner Elizabeth Buenaventura told BlogTO that her “ultimate goal was to introduce Filipino food to non-Filipinos in the most welcoming way, in this sandwich style concept, and be the first and best of its kind to ever do it in Toronto.”
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