Funding Roundup: Planswell, Acorn Biolabs, Zafin, AmacaThera, 7shifts

It has been a big funding week for Canadian startups, specifically in the biotechnology and fintech sectors. Here are a few funding rounds that you may have missed this week.


Toronto-based Planswell, an online financial planning organization, raised an additional $4 million in seed funding from private investors.  

Planswell has had great success in their first year, building over 100,000 free financial plans for Canadians and making LinkedIn’s list of  Top Canadian Startups. The additional funding will go toward product development and team expansion, in addition to continuing to build strategic international partnerships.

“We’ve talked to tens of thousands of Canadians who are not getting proper financial planning and advice,” said Eric Arnold, CEO of Planswell. “There are so many people that we need to reach. We’re the only company providing free, unbiased financial advice to everyone, including mortgages, investments and insurance that are absolutely in their best interest.”

Acorn Biolabs

Acorn Biolabs has closed a $3.3 million seed financing round led by Real Ventures, Globalive Technology, Pool Global Partners, and Epic Capital Management with participation from other undisclosed investors. Acorn will be using the funding to expand their team, introducing Chief Operating Officer Jacquie Chapman, and Chief Marketing Officer Sonya Verheyden.

Acorn has developed a safe and easy live cell collection kit, enabling consumers to collect cells at home by plucking their hair follicles, which are then safely transported and preserved. The capabilities of therapeutic cell use are advancing, and younger cells are more effective in these therapies.

“In our later years, when we need our cells for regenerative therapies, our cells are the least viable,” said Dr. Drew Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Acorn Biolabs. “The urgency around collecting, preserving and banking youthful cells for future use is real and freezing the clock on your cells will ensure you can leverage them later when you need them.”


Zafin, a financial services software provider, has announced $17.2 million in growth financing from Vistara Capital Partners, Beedie Capital, and Accenture Ventures. The company provides software and services to leading financial institutions, helping them with product and pricing strategy.

The funding will be used for product innovation and will assist in continued growth of Zafin’s global market share.

“This round of funding will allow Zafin to fully execute on our business plans and strategy,” said Zafin Founder and Group CEO, Al Karim. “We highly value our long-term partners at Vistara Capital and Beedie Capital and are excited to be working with Accenture as we jointly deliver value to our clients in the fields of open banking, core transformation, AI and machine learning.”


AmacaThera has announced $3.25 million in seed financing led by Sprout BioVentures and Viva Biotech, with participation from Grey Sky Venture Partners.

The Toronto-based biotechnology company has developed injectable hydrogel platform technology for delivering medical therapies. The technology would enable controlled release of therapeutic drugs delivered through injected hydrogels. The company is based on the research of Dr. Molly Shoichet, and Dr. Mike Cooke will be AmacaThera’s CEO.

“We jumped at the chance to work with Molly and Mike and break open the field of hydrogel-encapsulated therapeutics,” said venture partner Mike Serrano-Wu. “The unique inverse thermal gelling property of AMT-143 will lead to multiple opportunities for the AmacaThera platform to significantly improve patient care.”


Labour management platform provider 7shifts, closed a $10 million USD Series A funding round led by Napier Park Financial Partners, with participation from Teamworthy Ventures, Relay Ventures, and Peter Harrison.

Based in Saskatoon, the 7shifts platform helps the restaurant industry manage staff, schedule shifts, and automate processes, saving restaurateurs over $200 million in labour costs.

“As someone who grew up in a family of restaurant operators, I know first-hand the pain points restaurant managers face in managing staff,” 7shifts CEO, Jordan Boesch told Financial Post. “From the beginning, 7shifts has been intently focused on delivering innovative products to make life easier for restaurants, managers and employees alike.”