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A Good Week for Canadian Startups

January, 2019


Five Canadian startups in the biotechnology and fintech sectors recently received sizeable funding that will help grow their operations. Planswell, Acorn Biolabs, Zafin, AmacaThera, and 7shifts received between $3.3 and $17.2 million in seed, growth, and Series A funding.

Toronto’s Planswell, which offers tech-based financial planning services, raised an additional $4 million in seed funding. Eric Arnold, the CEO, claims that Planswell is “the only company providing free, unbiased financial advice to everyone.” Impressively, Planswell has been able to build over 100,000 free financial plans for Canadians in its first year, leading it to be featured on LinkedIn’s list of Top Canadian Startups. With the funding secured, Planswell plans on expanding its team, further developing the product, and building international partnerships.

Acorn Biolabs’ (“Acorn”) safe and easy live cell collection kit led to a $3.3 million seed financing round. Acorn’s kit enables consumers to collect their own cells and preserve them for potential therapeutic use later in life when their cells are less viable. Acorn plans to use the funding to expand its team, and has already begun doing so by introducing a new Chief Operating Officer and a Chief Marketing Officer.

Another software-based financial services provider, Zafin, recently secured $17.2 million in growth financing. Zafin offers financial institutions software and services using AI and machine learning, which assist banks with their pricing and product strategy. According to Zafin’s founder and CEO, Al Karim, the recent funding allows the company to execute on its business plan and strategy.

AmacaThera, another Toronto-based company, recently raised $3.25 million in seed financing. The biotechnology company developed an “injectable hydrogel platform technology” for delivering therapeutics. AmacaThera’s platform is based on the research of a world renowned biomaterial scientist, Dr. Molly Shoichet, and the company is led by one of her key research team members, Dr. Mike Cooke.

Finally, out of Western Canada, Saskatchewan’s 7shifts secured a USD $10 million Series A round for its labour management platform. 7shifts’ CEO, Jordan Boesch, experienced the difficulties of managing restaurant staff first-hand, given his upbringing in a family of restaurant operators. As a result, Mr. Boesch created a platform that allows restaurants to schedule shifts, manage staff, and otherwise automate processes. 7shifts claims to (cumulatively) save over $200 million in labour costs for restauranteurs.


Author: Hassan Rasmi


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