Atlantic Canadian startups attract record investments — and 4 other things to know this week

Posted on September 30, 2019 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

Brendan Brothers is a co-founder of St. John’s software company Verafin.

Here’s looking at you, Atlantic Canadians startups! 

Startups in the region attracted $166.6 million in private money in 2018 — a record amount, according to Entrevestor’s latest report.

Half of those businesses were in the IT sector, and collectively, all of the businesses employed 1,000 more people in 2018 than in 2017.

New Brunswick startups led the investment totals with $84.7 million.

According to the numbers, the ocean tech sector is one to watch. Though half of the region’s ocean tech companies are less than three years old, collectively, they all raised $8.3 million and employed 713 people.

Verafin’s big, big deal

Speaking of major investments, a St. John’s tech company that fights financial crime received a game-changing injection of capital. Verafin landed a $515 million investment, said to biggest venture deal in Canadian history.

To give you an idea of just how much money that is, Newfoundland and Labrador’s entire tech industry was comprised of 80 firms who, collectively, made $1.5 billion in 2017.

That means Verafin’s big deal is worth a third of the entire industry’s revenues that year.

Verafin co-founder Brendan Brothers says the massive investment means he and the rest of the Verafin can stop thinking about funding for a while and instead put all of their resources toward their goals of expanding Verafin’s main customer base beyond Canada and the U.S. and into Europe, Asia and the rest of the world.

Brothers says being based in St. John’s gives the company a unique, unexpected advantage.

Read all about it right here.

Nova Scotia bans the bag

The Nova Scotia government has introduced a motion to ban single-use plastic bags at retail check-outs. If the motion goes through, businesses will have a year to get ready.

This makes Nova Scotia the third Atlantic Canadian province to make a move on banning the bag.

Retailers will still be allowed to use single-use plastic bags for live fish and bulk items, and exemptions will be made for charities and food banks, the Nova Scotia government said in a release. The new rules will also let government regulate other single-use plastics.

Does this affect your business? We’d love to hear from you! Email [email protected] and tell us how you anticipate the new rules will change things up for you.

Pot producing power in New Brunswick

There’s another cannabis cultivator setting up shop in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. 

Sunleaf Microcultivation has been approved to produce cannabis and will be setting up in the town alongside Tidal Health Solutions. 

Tamara Follett, who owns and operates Sunleaf, told CBC New Brunswick that the product from the company’s 100 outdoor plants will shipped to British Columbia to Pasha Brands, the largest craft cannabis brand house in North America.

Across the country, cannabis sales are soaring. Recent numbers from Statistics Canada show that sales increased 14 per cent from June to July this year.

How will climate change affect oil revenues?

A think tank based in London, U.K., took a look at the economic viability of the world’s largest recently-sanctioned oil projects and found that many of them risk losing major money if global leaders uphold their Paris Agreement commitments. 

Carbon Tracker’s latest report, Breaking the Habit, assumes that projects with the lowest break-even costs will be tapped first to supply oil in a so-called Paris-aligned world: a world in which global temperature rise has been capped at 1.5 C, as per the Paris Agreement goals.

Mike Coffin, a former BP geologist and one of the report’s authors, had a look at the data for Atlantic Business Magazine and also found that oil from a number of projects on the horizon in Newfoundland’s offshore — including the Bay du Nord project and the West White Rose extension — may not be in demand in a low-carbon world. 

The report also concluded that the world’s already-sanctioned oil and gas projects will take the earth past the 1.5 C mark if carbon capture and storage techniques don’t improve.

Read all about it here.

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