Eight tech companies in and around Waterloo Region will receive up to $5.3 million in investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid announced today.

The FedDev money will augment more than $11.2 million in related investment in those eight companies from angel investors and venture capital firms. The funding will enable the companies to commercialize their innovations and create up to 136 high-quality tech jobs in southern Ontario over the next two years.

"Today we are here to celebrate innovation," Braid said at the Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, where the funding was announced. "These are the types of businesses that will help Ontario prosper in the new economy."

“This investment will help provide eight innovative companies with the tools they need to succeed and grow,” the MP said. “They will use these funds to develop new products, branch out into new markets, enhance their competitiveness and create high-value job opportunities for southern Ontario.”

The eight recipient companies and their FedDev investment amounts are:

- $996,000 for ActivDox, whose software solves the problem of version control by transforming passive electronic documents into interactive ones with active content;

- $988,583 for ClevrU, which is building an e-teaching platform for Canada’s international education market that delivers customized, on-demand learning to mobile devices;

- $987,500 for Primal, to develop products based on a powerful semantic engine that provides customized internet searches specific to each user’s interests;

- $985,000 for Aeryon Labs, to advance design, development and manufacturing of its Scout micro-UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and related systems;

- $750,000 for BigRoad, to develop and implement its mobile tracking and management system for trucking companies;

- $300,000 for ANTVibes, to develop and commercialize its Audible Name Tag tool;

- $250,000 for Qwalify, to develop its electronic human resource management tools; and

- $75,000 for I Think Security, to develop and commercialize its mobile digital content security device

"Aren't the coolest things happening here in Waterloo Region?" Braid said in congratulating the recipients. "It's companies like these who are putting us on the map as the startup capital of Canada."

The FedDev funding, part of the government’s Investing in Business Innovation initiative, is designed to boost private sector investment in startups and accelerate commercialization of innovative products, processes and practices.

Dana Fox, founder of ClevrU, said FedDev's contribution helped accelerate his company's e-teaching platform by unlocking crucial private sector investment from the Golden Triangle Angelnet (GTAN), a group of angels based in Waterloo Region.

"It came at a critical time and it gave the investors confidence to say, 'Okay, let's go and go hard'," Fox told Communitech after the announcement ceremony. "That enables us to go to China with confidence and say, 'Look, not only do we have the technology, but we've got the on-ramp to deliver some incredible things and not have to worry about the finances."

Fox said the combined support of FedDev and GTAN enabled him to hire 17 people.

"I think this is an excellent example of FedDev money at work," Fox said. "It reflects the Canadian government priority on finding those innovative technology companies that are going to deliver really cool technology in emerging markets that will help create jobs back home."