Halifax-based incubator Volta Labs is launching a new program for startup founders to help them speed up the securing of venture capital.
Volta Cohort will give up to five early-stage founders $25,000 through a micro-fund backed by Volta, BDC’s investment arm BDC Capital and Innovacorp. The goal of the new program is to help fuel the growth of Atlantic Canada’s startups.
“One of the challenges founders face in Atlantic Canada is access to early-stage investment,” Jesse Rodgers, Volta’s CEO, said in a release. “With this new program, we are now able to provide these companies with the resources they need to develop their products and expand operations. Programs like this help to establish Atlantic Canada as a regional hub for technology entrepreneurs.”
Twice a year, Volta Cohort will select a small group of high-calibre founders to pitch their business idea following a selection round through online applications. Fifteen applicants will be invited to a one-day prep session two weeks before taking the stage to pitch to win $25,000.
Winning companies will have a working space at Volta Labs and access to an esteemed board of mentors from Volta’s Resident and Alumni companies. In the Volta Cohort, companies will set milestones and metrics, and meet with the board every two months to track progress.
Between meetings, the companies can tap into all the relevant programming and support Volta provides in Halifax. For founders living outside the city, Volta will arrange support with partnering organizations.
“This financing, and the coaching that comes with it will help some of the most promising first-time founders across Atlantic Canada turn their startup ideas into actual revenue-generating businesses,” said Michelle Scarborough, managing director of BDC Capital’s strategic investments.
Scarborough said the collaboration with Volta Labs is part of BDC Capital’s strategy to strengthen the startup ecosystem in Atlantic Canada. Halifax’s Volta boasts a 600-member network, providing mentorship and support to new and growing startups in the region.
“Volta is engaging with startups at the very early stages, so they’re the perfect managers for this new fund,” said Charles Baxter, Innovacorp’s VP of investment. “Innovacorp has already invested in several Volta companies and we expect Volta Cohort will lead to new investment opportunities for us as the participating ventures mature.”
Applications for the inaugural Volta Cohort are open online until November 1 and the first pitch competition will be held on November 15.