ventureLAB launches nation’s first Hardware Angel Network

Markham, Ont.-based ventureLAB last week launched the Hardware Angel Network (HAN), a new entity that it described as the “only hardware and deep-tech focused investor network supporting pre-seed and seed stage startups in the country.”

The network, the organization said in a release issued at Collision 2023 in Toronto, “catalyzes investments in the Canadian hardware and deep-tech sectors,” through the raising of capital and development of third-party partnerships for startups.

“We’re at the peak of the hardware revolution and it’s only fitting that we now take a step forward to strengthen the ecosystem with the launch of the hardware and deep-tech network,” said Matt Skynner, chief operating Officer at ventureLAB.

“(HAN) is committed to supporting startups in their investor journey and we look forward to playing a role in connecting them with unique industry leaders, hardware investors, academia, non-profit organizations and more. Building the right environment is the utmost priority of our network, to create a space for startups to thrive, grow and scale locally, and compete globally.”

This initiative also aims to bridge the divide for Canadian hardware and semiconductor companies looking to raise critical funds to develop state-of-the-art technologies. According to ventureLAB, more than 25 investors from Ontario, Quebec and B.C. have already signed on.

“At the Hardware Angel Network, we are improving access to capital for Canadian deep-tech and hardware companies by bringing together a community of aligned investors. We are creating the largest community of hardware and deep-tech investors in Canada,” it said.

The formal launch at Collision took place at the #YRtech (York Region) pavilion; the region. which is home to ventureLAB, describes itself as Canada’s second largest technology hub, with upwards of 4,600 ICT companies.

Jonathan Wheatle, director of economic strategy at York Region, said the decision to launch HAN at Collision was an easy one, for the annual event brings “in an international audience to experience what York Region and many of our counterparts in and around the GTA have to offer in terms of tech innovation.”

He said, “a strong tech community, like what you find in York Region, benefits from an announcement like this, which is bringing together the first hardware angel network.

“What’s important about it, is it’s not just for partners or funding partners from within York Region. Partners from across the country are at the table in this funding partnership.”

“Some of these companies will be at different stages of readiness. As businesses grow, you can’t overlook the financial element of it, in that a business has to have the right capitalization in order to execute its plans.

Wheatle added, “having an angel network with experienced angels that know that space well is important, because it’s more than just the money. It’s the partnership. It’s the network, it’s the connections that they have that will round out how business moves forward. For some of those businesses, it will be about moving off the ground while for others it might be about expansion. There will be a range of supports that could be enabled here.”

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. He has extensive experience as a reporter, feature writer and editor and has been covering technology-related issues for more than 30 years.

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