AVIN Waterloo Ventures at Communitech

Access up to $50,000 in grant support

Hey, Ontario-based startups and scale-ups!

Are you using HD mapping technologies? If so, apply to access up to $50,000 in grant support with a 1:1.5 match thanks to the Autonomous Vehicle Integration Network (AVIN).

Apply now

We helped Eye for Infrastructure, we're ready to help you. 

Choose an application category

Successful companies will be awarded:

  • Up to $50,000 to be used towards eligible project costs related to product development, market traction and business scaling. The financial support must be used to:
    • Develop or demonstrate a viable working prototype (product development).
    • Make product or service improvements to generate greater market traction and sales.
  • Time with coaches focused on GIS, spatial analytics, HD mapping, data science, data strategy, and/or data engineering. Additional coaching could include sales, marketing, talent retention and attraction, and more. 
  • Support from experts to overcome project challenges and barriers.
  • Dedicated support from the Communitech Data Concierge program
  • Upon successful completion of the program, Communitech will provide a referral to a demonstration project and/or matchmaking event with corporate partners through the AVIN Demo Zone.

Successful applicants must provide an in-kind match at a ratio of at least 1:1.5 of the amount awarded.


Proposals will be evaluated based on business feasibility, as well as impact on the C/AV ecosystem, contribution to spatial data and HD mapping maturity (firm or ecosystem level) and the innovative application of spatial/HD Map data or HD mapping technology.

Eligibility criteria

  • You are an Ontario-based incorporated startup or scale-up (under 500 employees).
  • You have not received previous financial support through the AVIN Waterloo Ventures at Communitech program.
  • You are currently using or have identified future opportunities to use mapping technology and data driven maps in products or services.
  • You plan to use the program for product development, sourcing first customers and solving real business needs (support is not eligible for use for marketing and/or sales activities).

Apply now


General Questions

The OpenHDMaps Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) Ventures program at the Waterloo Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS) supports Ontario based businesses who use high definition (HD) maps and mapping technologies in the development or enhancement of their products or services. Mapping technologies could be directly supporting the connected and autonomous vehicle sector, or supporting other verticals such as transportation, logistics, utilities, infrastructure, internet and media.

Applications may include, but are not limited to:

Connected and autonomous vehicles:

  • Artificial Intelligence for map production
  • Sensor and multiple data source fusion for map production
  • Localization and perception technology
  • Map maintenance/updating and deployment technology
  • Cloud-based storage and processing
  • HD Map usage in C/AV simulation and training
  • C/AV security technology related to HD Map usage


  • Geospatial analytics
  • Map visualization
  • Map usage that improves accessibility
  • Pedestrian navigation
  • Applications of mapping technology in other sectors (e.g., Utilities, infrastructure, fleet management, public transportation, real estate, advertising, etc.)
  • You are an Ontario based (incorporated) start-up or SME (under 500 employees).
  • You have not received a previous Waterloo RTDS AVIN Ventures grant (this is a one-time grant)
  • You currently use or see future opportunities to use mapping technology and data driven maps in products or services.
  • Activities supported through this program include product development, sourcing first customers and solving real business needs.
  • The funding is not eligible for use for marketing and/or sales activities.

The AVIN Waterloo Ventures Program reimburses 33.3% of eligible project costs, upto a maximum of $50,000 to the expenses made. The remainder of 66.7% is an in-kind contribution from the participant. The cash reimbursement to in-kind contribution is a minimum of 1:1.5 for each of the projects. For example, if a company is getting $50000 in funding from the AVIN Ventures program, they have to provide a minimum of $75000 as in-kind contribution.

All eligible expenses need to

  1. be incurred and paid for by the applicant
  2. evidence of that expense needs to be provided
  3. proof of payment is also required

prior to being reimbursed or acknowledged as an in-kind contribution.

Yes, one of our coaches will review it and provide feedback, to make your updates in time for the final submission.

This is optional and you can choose to submit the application without a preliminary review.

This is a one time grant. If you have not received a previous Waterloo RTDS AVIN Ventures grant then you can apply.

Technical Questions

The platform is under development, and functionality is steadily rolling out. For example, new functionality that will allow users to directly query the data within the map browser using spatial and attribute filters is currently in the works.

At minimum, you will have access to the building, driveway, edge of curb, parking, road, road centrelines, road markings and bike lane vector layers of the HD vector base map for the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. You will also have access to the aerial imagery used to extract those features and a sample set of street view imagery. https://demo.ecopiatech.com/demo/030/001

As more participants join OpenHDMaps, additional data for the Waterloo region and elsewhere will be added.

Yes, a beta version of an API is available as well as the raw data for the parts of the Waterloo region that have currently been mapped. 

It is a combination of a mapping platform and data marketplace, where users can download, interact with, and upload geospatially enabled datasets. There are a number of analysis functionalities integrated within the platform that allow users to evaluate the data within the system and derive valuable insights.

Data can be uploaded in Shapefile format. You can also share external API and FTP links for end users. Only shapefiles will be available for visualization within the platform.

To add to the map = shapefiles. To contribute data overall= FTP and API links and shapefiles.

Users do not have the ability to build a web application using the layers hosted in the platform.

Depending on the size of the data it needs to be processed by the Ecopia team. On average, this could take 24-72 hours.

Financial Questions

Eligible expenses include costs and activities directly related to achieving the objectives for which the funding was granted. All procurement activities must conform to Broader Public Sector Accountability Act (BPSAA).

Actual costs directly attributable to and necessary for the completion of the project and are not wholly or partially for another purpose. One-time costs, directly attributable to implementation of the project; actual cash outlays that must be documented through invoices, receipts, or records and are subject to verification by an independent auditor. Evidence of payment must be maintained for audit purposes. Costs incurred outside Ontario are ineligible for reimbursement.

Examples of eligible and ineligible expenses can be found here.

For every $1.00 funded (i.e. reimbursed to you), you need to provide $1.50 of in-kind contribution.

Claims forms for reimbursement for eligible expenses need to be submitted by the last day of each month. In order to receive the funds associated with the reimbursement claim, an associated in-kind claim form must also be submitted demonstrating at least 90% the in-kind contribution requirements (e.g. 1:1.5 ratio) is satisfied. Supporting evidence (e.g. timesheets, proof of payment, invoices, etc.) need to accompany each claim and in-kind contribution form in order for the claim to be considered complete. For the final claim, evidence must be provided that the full in-kind contribution requirement is met.

The maximum allowable compensation for a founder is $5,000 per month in-kind contribution (terms and conditions apply), please consult with the Waterloo RTDS AVIN Ventures Program Manager for details.

If a project cost is paid by the participant from a non private sector source (i.e. a source that is not provincially or federally funded) then it is considered an eligible in-kind contribution.

Expenses incurred before the Participant Participation Agreement has been signed are not eligible.

Expenses incurred outside of the Province of Ontario aren't eligible for reimbursement, but can be included as an in-kind contribution.

Only as an in-kind contribution.

Capital items (fixed assets) include equipment, testing tools, and instruments that have residual values as determined by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) at the end of the funding period. The eligible expense items allowed are the cost of utilization/depreciation of capital item (fixed assets) specifically required for the delivery of the eligible project. The prorated cost should be entered under ""Participant Contribution (In-kind)"" in the application milestone table.


GAAP is a collection of commonly-followed accounting rules and standards for financial reporting. The purpose of GAAP is to ensure that financial reporting is transparent and consistent from one organization to another. Residual Value of an asset, the estimated amount that it will be worth at the end of funding period.

Depreciation is the systematic reduction in the recorded cost of a fixed asset.

Indirect Costs, also called “Overhead”, are those costs which, though necessarily having been incurred during the Work Phase for the conduct of the business in general of the Recipient, cannot be identified and measured as directly applicable to the carrying out of the Project.

Indirect Costs include:

  • indirect materials and supplies (including but not limited to, supplies of low-value, high-usage items which meet the definition of Direct Material Costs but for which it is commercially unreasonable, in the context of the Project, to account for their costs in the manner prescribed for Direct Costs);
  • indirect labour;
  • fringe benefits;
  • public utilities expenses of a general nature including, but not limited to, power, HVAC, lighting, and the operation and maintenance of general assets and facilities;
  • expenses such as property taxes, facilities and office rentals and depreciation costs; and
  • general and administrative expenses including, but not limited to, the remuneration of executive and corporate officers, general office wages and salaries, clerical expenses related to the administration and management of the Project, such as processing claims and reporting, and expenses such as stationery, office supplies, postage and other necessary administration and management expenses.

Indirect (overhead) expenses are considered an ineligible project cost unless otherwise stated.

You will be reimbursed for all the eligible expenses incurred and paid during the project up to the project completion deadline. Any other expenses made before the start date of the project or after the project completion date will not be accepted.

Ownership Questions

Ownership of all intellectual property remains with the participant.

In general, use of the data for participants is limited to research and development activities. The data may not be used as part of a commercial product or service unless terms and conditions between the data provider, data consumer and OpenHDMaps for use of the Data has been negotiated in a separate Data License Agreement.

Other small/medium enterprises (SME) that are participating in the program will have access to the data for R&D purposes at no cost. Large corporate organizations that have partnered with and are contributing to the OpenHDMap project may also be granted access to the data.

Previous cohorts participants

See more participants

Thanks to our partners

The AVIN Waterloo Ventures Program is offered through the Ontario Centres of Innovation (OCI) RTDS partners: Communitech, University of Waterloo WatCAR and the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation. 

Thanks to the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) for funding the Waterloo Regional Technology Development Site, delivered on behalf of the government of Ontario through Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Mauro Rossi

Have questions?

Mauro Rossi is happy to help.

Director, Advanced Technology Platforms | Email Mauro Rossi or call +1 (519) 888-9944