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Meet the Top 20 Companies of Our Fall 2021 Impact Investor Challenge

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A banner introducing the Top 20 startups of Spring Activator's fall 2021 Vancouver Impact Investor Challenge.

Fall is in full drive and we’re excited to have recently kicked off our third Impact Investor Challenge based in Vancouver and dedicated to supporting the impact investing and entrepreneurship ecosystem in British Columbia. This means that it’s time to find out which impact startups were selected into the fall 2021 Top 20! 

With each Challenge, we see many incredible entrepreneurs applying to the program for a chance to hone their fundraising skills, better quantify their impact, and ultimately win $100,000 in investment.

This fall, from Vancouver Island to Kamloops along with IMPACT Startup Visa alumni relocating to Canada, the Top 20 businesses span a variety of industries with a large representation of health and wellness followed by food systems and cleantech. Also represented are ventures undertaking exciting innovation in ocean technology, agriculture, tourism, and more. Seven of the startups are founded by women while eight are BIPOC-led, and thirteen are B Corp certified or in the process of applying.

At Pitch Night on Wednesday, October 13th starting at 4 PM PDT, these businesses will pitch to the fall 2021 investor cohort where a Top 10 will be selected to progress in the Challenge—you’re invited to attend!

Meet the Fall 2021 Top 20 Startups

Artenal Agritech

Artenal Agritech Ltd. was started with a vision to bring technology into the hands of each and every farmer while being cost-effective and pocket-friendly. The company goes against its competitors’ techniques of AI needing large machines, whereby with their new technology AI only needs a smartphone. Artenal is also testing the fastest autonomous harvesting robot, designed for farmers with an orchard size of 5–120 acres. Their machines will replace over 10 workers each while starting at a mere CAD 17,000. Artenal’s mission has always been to be a product-focused company, working with farmers to adapt to their custom needs, so they get the best out of the product. They have achieved the first step by designing a machine that can pluck apples, tomatoes, oranges, avocados, and more.
 
HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

BinBreeze

BinBreeze is an all-natural and non-toxic odour reducing composting powder. This is the founding product from Build A Better Earth, a sustainable technology social enterprise dedicated to cultivating products, beliefs, and habits that help individuals ‘build a better earth’ for future generations. BinBreeze’s vision is of an environmentally empowered and sustainable consumer, living within a thriving circular economy.

HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Brave Technology Coop

The Brave Coop envisions a world where every overdose is reversed. Brave builds technology that detects overdose for anyone, anywhere, at risk of overdose – ensuring that help is on the way, even if someone is using drugs alone. Their mobile app and phone line are available free to end-users and they serve housing organisations and municipal governments through their smart buttons and radar sensors – so that anyone using alone inside supportive housing or washrooms can be revived immediately in the event of an overdose. In September 2021, Brave detected their 100th overdose. Brave is the winner of the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge and the MaRS/Health Canada Opioid Data Challenge.

HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia | Columbus, Ohio

Cascadia Seaweed

Cascadia Seaweed is growing to be the largest North American provider of ocean cultivated seaweed—a climate-positive crop with a variety of uses including food, agrifeed, bioplastics and cosmetics. From seaweed farming to IP-protected value-added products, Cascadia Seaweed is catalyzing an industry that enhances the natural environment and provides economic opportunity for indigenous and coastal communities.

HQ: Sidney, British Columbia

Difinity

Difinity Solutions Inc. is a medical device company designing and developing NeedSwitch – the world’s first interchangeable and modular autoinjector solution for emergency medication delivery.

HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Earth Studio

Earth Studio’s vision is to create a healthier, sustainable, greener world by bringing the outdoors, indoors through the power of plants. Earth Studio is the distributor of vertical living green wall hardware, the most flexible and modular system currently available in the Canadian market. We specialize in bringing nature’s finest and turning them into centrepieces for homes and businesses. We partner with landscape architects and interior plantscapers to breathe life into urban spaces, helping design and develop a greener world for everyone. We use sustainable green solutions that innovate our lives and connect us to nature. Earth Studio is built on a decade of experience in the green wall industry.
 
HQ: Surrey, British Columbia 

Honeycomb

Honeycomb builds applications that help people with dietary needs find suitable food to eat at restaurants. The company uses its AI to predict key ingredients and allergens, helping restaurants showcase their diet-friendly menu to customers who need it most.
 
HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Nyoka Design Labs

Nyoka Design Labs are the creators of the worlds first bioluminescent glow sticks, and more! This cleantech lab develops non-toxic and environmentally friendly alternatives to displace the billion single-use plastic and toxic glow sticks that are thrown away every single year.
 
HQ: Vancouver Island | British Columbia 

I Hear You

I Hear You is your Google translator for Sign Language, where everyone can communicate, learn, serve, and be served in Sign Language as we believe that everyone has the right to be heard and understood. We use 3D technologies, AI, and a Sign Language keyboard to translate from Sign Language to text/audio and vice versa. Connect … Empower … Impact
 
HQ: UAE | Relocating to British Columbia 

ODEN Health Solutions

ODEN Health Solutions Inc. is dedicated to improving access to healthcare for all Canadians through the development of emergency response wearable devices. ODEN is currently developing a wearable device to detect opioid overdoses in people using alone and notifying emergency services in the event an overdose occurs. ODEN balances powerful and reliable solutions with accessibility and cost-effectiveness to ensure that all Canadians can receive the care that they need and deserve. ODEN has received research funding to develop our product and is in the process of patenting our proprietary emergency detection algorithms.
 
HQ: Coquitlam, British Columbia 

OneSpace

OneSpace is a work and wellbeing space located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Founded by four moms, OneSpace opened its doors in the pandemic to support entrepreneurs and working parents as well as create a community hub for small businesses. The OneSpace team recognized the critical need for flexible, affordable childcare; an ever-present issue in the Vancouver community. A novel one-stop-shop for empowerment, OneSpace provides wraparound services to support the needs of the whole working entrepreneur and parent: work space, childcare, and support services for mental and physical wellbeing.
 
HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Origen Air

Origen Air produces IoT-connected, plant-based air purifiers for commercial buildings. They spent the past two years developing their product: the Sentinel, which combines unique plant IP with air quality sensors and a 4K Biobillboard containerized in a visually stunning, illuminated terrarium. Origen Air’s biophilic design is intended to make people feel safe and comfortable in indoor public spaces at a time when IAQ awareness is at an all-time high.
 
HQ: Victoria, British Columbia 

Raven Reads

Founded in 2017, Raven Reads is the world’s first Indigenous-themed subscription service that features books and giftware curated from Indigenous authors and entrepreneurs from across North America.
 
HQ: Kamloops, British Columbia 

The Village App

ITAV Development Inc. is an app development company focused on creating ethical, purposeful technology. Their flagship product, The Village App, efficiently connects people, particularly families and community newcomers, to their personal support network and encourages hyperlocal connections without all the noise and toxicity of social media. Launched late August 2021, The Village App is building a strong user base of individuals locally in the Okanagan and working towards a feature set focused on community organizations. They’re working with IRAP-NRC, Export Navigator and community organizations like Mamas for Mamas, The Bridge and more to grow The Village App into a global product.
 
HQ: Kelowna, British Columbia 

This Fish

This Fish is on a mission to improve profitability and sustainability in the seafood industry through digitization, traceability and innovation. They are a global leader in seafood traceability software and artificial intelligence that reduces costs, strengthens process control, and improves compliance in supply chains. Their goal is to improve the social, environmental, and financial sustainability of global seafood. 

HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Susgrainable

Founded in 2018, Susgrainable aims to be a leading circular economy company within the upcycled food space in Canada. Operating in the East Vancouver community of Strathcona, they have created partnerships with multiple craft breweries, rescuing their spent grain into an innovative shelf-stable product called Upcycled Barley Flour. Susgrainable’s core products are delicious easy-to-make baking mixes that are gaining rapid popularity in the BC marketplace for both their environmental and health benefits. Susgrainable products can be found both online and increasingly in retailers throughout the Lower Mainland. Upcycled Barley Flour, Susgrainable’s signature ingredient, is made by dehydrating and milling spent grain, a by-product from beer production. The result is a flour high in plant-based protein and fibre while also being very low in sugar.
 
HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

UVX

UVX has built a smart ceiling device that reduces infections in indoor spaces using human-safe UV light disinfection, starting with senior homes. The technology continually disinfects air and surfaces in occupied spaces without disruption to operations. It has shown to be 180,000-times safer than sunlight and offers similar protection as though everyone in the room was wearing an N95 mask. UVX is working with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases) and has been recognized as a top 20 Canadian healthtech startup to watch in 2021.
 
HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Usha International

Usha International‘s mission is to empower women in emerging markets to take control of their own health and well-being and give them the resources to positively impact their children’s health. Women in emerging markets lack appropriate health literacy and face problems such as hidden hospital fees, widespread health misinformation, and limited access to doctors. Usha’s mobile app is operational in Bangladesh and aims to solve these problems through curated women’s health content, telehealth support, and a hospital marketplace where users can find pricing and services offered by hospitals nationwide.
 
HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

Viridis Research

Viridis Research is a water technologies company focused on providing resilient and sustainable solutions for the toughest water treatment challenges. Their IP-protected VEOX – system offers a unique regenerative platform allowing for residential and industrial partners to target contaminants ranging from bacterial biofilms, pesticides, microplastics, and even PFAS, landing Viridis on the 2021 Ready to Rocket List as an Emerging Rocket. At Viridis Research, the goal is to continue developing inclusive water treatment products to empower those who need them most in a way that is assuredly safe and eco-friendly. Because we all have the right to safe, clean, and sufficient water.
 
HQ: Vancouver, British Columbia 

WeBookCare

WeBookCare is the digital “front door” mobile and web-based app for caregivers to market their home care services for care seekers to book, improving access to affordable, quality home care. WeBookCare has a distinct appeal over traditionally favoured home care agencies because families often end up saving money because they do not have to pay an agency mark-up fee on top of caregiver wages, and the caregiver still earns more. With the advent of online bookings, WeBookeCare helps care seekers to find local, trusted care the way they like it. Detailed profiles, reviews, Screening Canada background checks, Stripe online payments, and direct communication with the caregiver even if the care seeker is miles away are just a few benefits they offer so families have peace of mind in choosing the best care available. WeBookCare received seed funding from the Launch Online Grant Program, which was made possible through funding from the Province of British Columbia. They launched on August 15, 2021 and grew 4700% within the span of one month.
 
HQ: Gibsons, British Columbia 

ZaNiheza

ZaNiheza is an online marketplace for cultural tourism and virtual experiences in Africa. One of their virtual experiences was filmed for a leading University in North America and delivered to an audience of more than 200 students and staff. ZaNiheza’s aim is to be the number one cultural tourism platform in the world and create employment for youth along the way. They have successfully generated 15 jobs directly thus far, and over 50 jobs indirectly.
 
HQ: Kigali, Rwanda | Vancouver, British Columbia 

Interested in learning more about our Impact Investor Challenge programming or in applying for a future intake?

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