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About Startup Halifax

Startup Halifax ecourages local businesses to be early adopters, supporters, and advisors to early-stage entrepreneurs.

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Halifax, Nova Scotia,


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Startup Halifax highlights funding support

Feb 27, 2018

Burke, CTO Stephen Hankinson and a few other co-founders started Affinio about five years ago as a company that could monitor social media data and present a visual analysis that would help users understand consumer intentions. In its first few years, the team largely targeted advertising agencies, and has since moved on to targeting major brands, especially in the consumer packaged goods and media sectors. The Affinio system can work with data collected by the client and also with social media, bringing machine learning and visualization platforms to help clients understand their markets. TechCrunch said that Affinio has been quietly testing Microsoft for Startups for a few months. As part of the program, Microsoft gave Affinio a clear playbook to follow, as well as helping the Halifax company create collateral content (which is a collection of media used to support sales), case studies and video content. Burke said that Microsoft didn’t just give him a checklist to follow but worked closely with Affinio to make sure the program was beneficial. “It’s amazing how the organization as a whole has bought in,” Burke told TechCrunch. “Everybody knows the goal and direction.” In November, Affinio announced a US$9 million (C$11.4 million) funding round , led by Toronto-based Round13 Capital, a new investor in the company. The other participants in the round are Whitecap Venture Partners of Toronto and Halifax-based Build Ventures , both of which invested in Affinio previously. The Series B funding came two years after Affinio raised a $4-million VC round from Whitecap, Build, New York-based Social Starts, New York-based BRaVeVentures, and several angel investors. Before that, Build backed the company in its $1.5-million seed round in 2013. That means the company has raised upward of $15 million in five years, and Burke said the company hopes to raise its next round in mid-to-late 2019. Startup Halifax To Showcase Funding by Jennifer Lee | Feb 26, 2018 Startup Halifax is hosting an event March 12 that will show founders and executives what funding options are available for startups. The event, which starts at 6 pm at the Halifax Central Library, will feature talks from such organizations as Innovacorp , BDC , and  ACOA  and will show founders the financial resources that are available and how to access them. “This is truly a great opportunity for startups and entrepreneurs to see what services and funding opportunities are available to help them start and grow,” reads the event description on Eventbrite. “Following these presentations, there will be an opportunity to network with like-minded people, renew old contacts and make new ones over refreshments and pizza.” The event, which is called Support and Funding Options for Startups, is free to attend but organizers would like for folks to register online beforehand. To register, click here . ABK Raised $9M in Equity in August by Peter Moreira | Feb 26, 2018 ABK Biomedical has raised more than $9 million in an over-subscribed round of equity funding that closed last August. The larger equity base has allowed the company to borrow $3 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund. The Halifax-based medical device maker revealed that it closed the Series A funding round – one of the largest in Atlantic Canada last year – during discussions about its latest borrowing from the AIF, a fund operated by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. ABK is working to improve a process used to kill some forms of tumour: tiny beads cling to tumours, depriving them of blood flow and thereby shrinking or killing them. The company hopes that its first product – which is now awaiting regulatory approval in the U.S. – will be one of the first beads on the market that can be seen by x-ray, and this will help doctors assess how well the treatment is working. As well as helping to finance regulatory applications, the company said the new funds will help it to manufacture its products in Nova Scotia once it receives regulatory clearance. “The AIF funding announced yesterday will be supporting some of the most advanced medical device manufacturing capabilities in this region, and will help us to succeed as an Atlantic Canadian medical device company that will manufacture locally and sell novel life-saving products globally,” said CEO Bob Abraham in an email Friday. It had been known that ABK was raising money, though the size of the round was surprising. Abraham said the company was originally after $7.6 million in funding but it attracted more commitments than expected, with most of the funding coming from the U.S. and Asia. Innovacorp , which had invested in the company previously, contributed $1.1 million to the round. “This significant foreign investment came as a result of the recognition of the value of our portfolio of imageable embolic products in development, the great team we had assembled and importantly, the recognition of the significant support ABK receives in Atlantic Canada through organizations such as ACOA,” said Abraham. ABK – which last raised funding in 2014 through the Halifax-based First Angel Network and Wilmington Investor Network of North Carolina – was one of several Nova Scotian startups to close funding rounds of $8 million or more last year. Halifax’s Manifold , Affinio , Metamaterial Technologies  and Liverpool, NS-based Aqualitas all closed major rounds. (The Aqualitas round may be considered to be more project financing for its core cannabis business.) The next big news for ABK is likely to be regulatory clearance in the U.S. for its first product, the x-ray-visible beads. This product is currently being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration in a 510k application, which establishes whether a device is safe and effective. ABK hopes to gain approval later this year, “after which we are planning a controlled launch into the U.S. market,” said Abraham. He added the company hopes for Health Canada approval in late 2019. Abraham also said the company is working on another series of beads, the Y-90 radioembolic product, which actually emits radiation. “We are quite excited about the potential of this product to be a game changer in our field,” said Abraham, adding that the regulatory requirements mean it will have a longer road to commercialization. ABK is also in the early stages of developing a degradable bead which will block blood supply to tumours then disappear from the body after a short period of time. Mariner Buys Firm, Names VP of Data by Peter Moreira | Feb 26, 2018 Mariner , the diversified tech conglomerate based in Saint John, has acquired Ottawa-based SEASI Consulting Inc. and named the consultancy’s principal Donald Richard the Vice-President of its Data and Analytics practice. Mariner issued a statement last week saying it had completed the acquisition and that Richard, a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, would set up his team in Halifax. "It’s exciting to be returning home to Nova Scotia, and to be joining a key player in the Atlantic Canadian technology industry,” said Richard in the statement. “Mariner is truly a class act, taking world-first analytical solutions to market globally, as well as funding, mentoring and supporting . . . startups in Atlantic Canada.” Richard will lead a growing team of consultants working in the areas of data management, data architecture, business analytics, and data science, said the statement. He will also continue his work in developing local chapters of international tech and data organizations. In the past, Richard has been instrumental in developing chapters of Transforming Data with Intelligence, DAMA International, and America’s SAP User Group. “With over 20 years of domain experience, Donald is a respected thought leader and has served as a trusted adviser on many high-profile initiatives in both the public and private sectors,” said Paul Eisner, President of Mariner Innovations. Mariner began in 2003 when veterans of iMagicTV, which provided software for video services, launched a new company to improve the delivery of videos online and alert providers of any problems with video transmissions. That business, known as xVu, is the core of Mariner’s business. The company’s other three pillars are: Shift Energy, which has developed an internet-of-things application to conserve energy in large facilities; Mariner Innovations, which provides advisory and professional services and project delivery; and East Valley Ventures, the loosely held portfolio of 22 startup investments, held by Mariner itself and/or members of its network. Mariner employs more than 200 IT and software professionals working with clients both regionally and around the globe. Jobs: Dash Hudson, HeyOrca by Jennifer Lee | Feb 23, 2018 In our Jobs of the Week column today, Halifax-based  Dash Hudson and HeyOrca  of St. John’s are both looking to hire account executives to work with their sales teams. Dash Hudson is a visual marketing strategy company. Its visual intelligence platform, Vision, provides a one-page solution for its clients to manage visual marketing. HeyOrca developed a social media planner built specifically for marketing agencies. Its goal is to help agencies build better relationships with its clients. The Jobs of the Week column features openings posted on the  Entrevestor Job Board, which focuses on jobs in technology, innovation and startups in Atlantic Canada. The Entrevestor Job Board helps match job openings and candidates in the tech and startup communities and is operated by Entrevestor and  Alongside . Here are excerpts from the postings: Halifax Responsibilites  Work with our sales team in the business development process including lead generation, sales outreach, progress tracking and closing with leading global luxury, apparel, consumer electronics, media, beauty, food and publishing brands. Maintain active engagement with new and existing leads through creative outreach and follow-up communications designed to move leads through the sales funnel. Achieve monthly and quarterly sales quotas... Apply for the position here. St. John's  Responsibilities  Maximize individual pipeline of leads and achieve monthly quota Work with Sales Development Rep to ensure prospect’s information is being passed on correctly Conduct product demos and re-qualify prospect’s fit Document all activities related to leads/accounts in CRM... Apply for the job here . DHX’s WildBrain Surging on YouTube by Peter Moreira | Feb 23, 2018 Here’s a little-known fact about children’s animation company DHX Media — its fastest-growing segment is the one that posts free content on YouTube. The Halifax- and Toronto-based company released results last week for the quarter ending Dec. 31, and the company said its organic revenue growth (which excludes acquired businesses) was 37 per cent. But what’s interesting is WildBrain , DHX’s wholly owned unit that posts stuff on YouTube, reported organic growth of 73 per cent — about twice the level of the overall company. That’s surprising when you consider London-based WildBrain makes its money — $34 million in gross revenues for all of 2017 — off a platform most of us associate with home videos. It turns out that YouTube is the leading platform for children watching video, grabbing 15 per cent of their viewing time. That exceeds the 13 per cent of their time that goes to traditional TV and the nine percent that goes to Netflix. “YouTube is not meant for children,” Samreen Ghani, head of WildBrain’s content production and operations, said in an interview Wednesday in WildBrain’s headquarters near London’s Euston Station. “But YouTube is one of the largest platforms where kids are watching content because it’s free.” The WildBrain story dates back about four years, when DHX set out to capture the ad revenue from DHX content that people posted on YouTube. The company soon realized there was an opportunity to make money on YouTube and it was a fast-growing business. The operation became WildBrain, which now employs more than 80 people and has several different revenue channels. The company develops YouTube content using the catalogue of DHX children’s cartoons. These segments are usually three to five minutes in length. WildBrain gets 55 per cent of the ad revenue from this content, which adds up given the cartoons are often watched a million times or more. Ghani explained the content can be produced quickly at one-20th the cost of, for example, a cartoon for TV because YouTube cartoons are shorter and of varying quality, which means a segment can become profitable on the YouTube ad revenue it earns. What’s more, there’s extremely fast feedback from WildBrain’s proprietary analytics tools, which helps the company produce related content, often within two months. WildBrain became so good at producing YouTube content that other media companies, such as NBC Universal and Turner, came to the company asking that it produce their YouTube animation. Toy companies like Mattel have also contracted WildBrain to produce their YouTube content, which can range from animation to videos of kids playing with the toys. Ghani showed me a Fireman Sam segment that comprised a two-minute animation, then went to a paid advertisement for the toys shown in the animation. It helps to build brand awareness for the toys, she said, and the analytics can tell the toymakers which toys resonate with children. More and more children are watching these segments. WildBrain fans watched 13 million minutes of its content in June 2014. Within three years, that figure had jumped to seven billion minutes — 390 per cent compounded annual growth. Ghani said there is no sign that children’s and parents’ love of YouTube is abating. The main drive now is to gain more recognition for the WildBrain brand so parents know the company produces quality, appropriate content for children. “That’s what we’re really pushing for now — to be the top-of-mind brand for parents, in the same way Disney and Nickelodeon are,” Ghani said. Saint John Mulls Adopter Program by Jennifer Lee | Feb 23, 2018 A city councillor in Saint John has put forth a motion for the city to create an early adopter program that could help budding businesses find and land government contracts. Councillor Greg Norton presented this motion to council early February. He says the program would create a mutually beneficial relationship between the city and its innovative entrepreneurs. “The city has problems that could be solved by virtue of an early adopter program,” said Norton in an interview. “We can support those that are trying to build the economy. They need that marriage . . . [and to] cut through the bureaucracy quicker than traditional pathways.” Entrepreneurs often fill out lengthy proposals and wait for long periods of time that sometimes can lead nowhere, he said. The current process is clunky and takes a lot of time. To help his fellow councillors understand just how an early adopter program could help entrepreneurs, Norton teamed up with James Stewart, the CEO of EhEye . Stewart’s company applies artificial intelligence and data analytics to video surveillance. “Having worked for a municipality, I can say that it is tough to innovate from within,” said Stewart. “There are just too many competing priorities and very little tolerance for failure. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, struggle daily to find meaningful problems to innovate on. Creating a formal program to provide a line of sight to these problems, and allowing outside innovation to occur, will bring powerful, creative solutions and jobs to the region.” Norton also reached out to Mark Breen, the Senior Economic Development Officer with Enterprise Saint John . The two will make a presentation before council on the impact of municipal early adopter programs on March 26. “By partnering with municipalities, innovators have the opportunity to use their technology to work on civic problems and refine their technology and gain valuable insight,” said Breen. “This will help them commercialize their technology and scale up for a global marketplace. The municipality also gains multiple benefits. It gets access to cutting-edge technology to solve significant problems at a fraction of what an off-the-shelf solution may cost. The municipality also demonstrates that it is open and supportive of startups. This enhances the attractiveness of the entire region.” A quick example of how local innovation can solve municipal problems is the regional spread of HotSpot Parking’s pay-by-phone parking and transit solution. The Fredericton company's product, which allows people to pay for parking with their phone, was first adopted by its local government and has since spread across the Maritimes. Norton is now working on getting all of council on the same page about the motion and gathering support within the community. He says he’d ideally like to see a fully developed program pitch ready in the next six months and has already received some support from his fellow councillors. “Some of the problems that cities [have], like snow removal, parks and recreation, those things we have a good grapple on," said Norton. "But the things that can create a more people-happy city, I think an early adopter program will help.”  With Cash, Swept Ramps up Staffing by Jennifer Lee | Feb 22, 2018 Matt Cooper: 'We very intentionally spent our time and set our sights on Atlantic Canada.' (Photo: Jennifer Lee) Having raised US$2 million late last year, janitorial software producer Swept is now beefing up its team and aiming to hire just the right staff. And the Halifax-based company is also doing its best to make sure the hires take place in Atlantic Canada. Matt Cooper, the COO and co-founder of Swept, told about 40 Dalhousie University students and entrepreneurs at Launch Dal ’s Fireside Chat last week of Swept’s growth since it raised the funding. And he emphasized the importance of proper hiring and choosing the right team members for an early-stage company. In October, with help from venture capital firms iNovia and Afore Capital , Swept closed a US$2 million round of funding and set out a plan to increase its staff to about 20 members. “We’re using that equity to hire more director roles and hiring people who are way smarter than Mike and I,” said Cooper in an interview after the chat. He says he and his co-founder, CEO Michael Brown, are trying to hire within the region. “We spent a lot of time attracting and building here — we very intentionally spent our time and set our sights on Atlantic Canada.” Since the October raise, Swept has taken on five new employees and is still looking for the right people to fill development, sales, marketing and director roles. “We’re working with our heads down to build the plan that we set out (and) our plan should be complete in the next month,” said Cooper, who added the company has no immediate plans to raise fresh capital. Swept creates software for the commercial cleaning industry, and its tech helps connect cleaners with their bosses and customers, letting the employer check in with their cleaners on the job. Cooper says the problems in the cleaning industry are systemic. Employees, especially those who work night shifts, often feel overlooked and sometimes are not given clear instructions for their shift, leading to a high turnover rate in the industry. According to Cooper, solving the cleaning industry’s retention problem wasn’t Swept’s original business plan. What started as a cleaning company morphed into janitorial software development while going through Propel ICT’ s accelerator program. Cooper says good research and “self-awareness” led to that pivot. “If you don’t do the research, you’ll end up creating something nobody needs,” he told the crowd. “The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to find someone to complement that.” The fireside chats are part of Launch Dal’s Collide program. It aims to bring in graduates of the program to talk about their successes and, more importantly, their failures in the business world. Swept is not a graduate of Dal’s Collide program but organizers made an exception. “Normally we keep it in Dalhousie but I’ve been seeing Swept in the news or on Career Beacon, so obviously they’re hiring and they’re growing so we reached out,” said Sarah MacLellan, the program co-ordinator for Launch Dal. She was pleased that Cooper gave a real, honest talk about Swept’s growth. “We need to bring in people who talk about all of their journey, the good and the bad, not just meeting the milestones.” Disclosure: Dalhousie University is a client of Entrevestor. Starting Point Sets Attendance Record by Jennifer Lee | Feb 22, 2018 | 1 Over 185 students attended the 2018 Starting Point conference. (Photo: Jennifer Lee) The fourth annual Starting Point Student Entrepreneurship Conference is coming to a close today and organizers say the number of participants reached a record this year. A total of 185 students registered for the three-day conference put on by the Sobey School Business Development Centre  at St. Mary’s University, and more showed up at the door. The theme of this year’s conference centred on being fearless. “We want to teach them that entrepreneurship is not as scary as it sounds,” said Sarah Meaney, one of the organizers. “However you want to make your entrepreneurship journey is up to you and it should be fun and not scary at all.” Organizers made a few changes to the schedule structure to respond to the growth. They extended their master classes—sessions taught by entrepreneurs—over the course of two days and added an additional class. Attendees got to learn from local companies such as Skyline , Halifax Paper Hearts and one of the creators of the Sickboy podcast . The organizers also mixed up the locations and opened parts of the conference to the public. Starting Point also opened its doors to about 30 high school students to take part in its high school pipeline workshop and other events. This year, he was back with that same $500 to donate to Starting Point’s funding pool. The conference handed out $8,000 in cash prizes over the course of three days, as well as $500 in door prizes. Attendees got the chance to start funding their business ideas right away through events like the Funder Speed Dating and the Iron Entrepreneur. On the second night, Tristram Stuart , an entrepreneur and food waste advocate, gave a keynote address at Casino Nova Scotia. He is the author of such books as The Bloodless Revolution and Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal. Starting Point, which aims to “change the world through entrepreneurship” by teaching students to hone their entrepreneurial ideas, will close this afternoon with an awards ceremony at SMU. “It starts with them just sharing,” said organizer Michael Sanderson. “It’s like a snowball going down a hill. That’s why I love this conference  -- because I meet so many students on Day 1 and they don’t want to share their idea and by the end of this conference they’ve won money, everyone is telling them they have a good idea. But more importantly, they’re engaged."   Nominations Open for Startup Awards by Peter Moreira | Feb 22, 2018 Startup Canada , the organization that promotes entrepreneurship across Canada, has opened applications and nominations for the 2018 Startup Canada Awards. Anyone who wants to nominate themselves or someone else for an award can do so here before April 3. As part of the awards celebrations, Startup Canada will hold regional presentation ceremonies across the country and then a final national ceremony. Startup Canada has yet to announce the dates and locations of the presentation awards. “We know that the entrepreneurial road is tough, but the rewards are worth it when you have a community backing you and celebrating your successes,” said Startup Canada Events Lead Kathryn Forrest in an email. Now in their fifth year, the Startup Canada Awards are presented this year in 18 categories, half of which are only offered at the national level. Last year, three Atlantic Canadians won national awards , including Anne Whelan,​ ​President​ ​and​ ​CEO of ​Seafair​ ​Capital​ ​Inc. of St. John’s, who was named Entrepreneur of the Year. For the time being, Startup Canada is encouraging people to send in nominations in any of these categories: Advancing the Environment and Culture in Canada Startup Canada Entrepreneur Promotion Award Startup Canada Entrepreneur Support Award Startup Canada Policy Prize (National Only) Startup Canada Community of the Year (National Only) Startup Community Leader of the Year Award (National Only) Startup Canada Communities Collaboration Award (National Only) Entrepreneur-led Businesses Demonstrating Excellence Startup Canada High-Growth Award Startup Canada Woman Entrepreneur Award Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur Award (Under the age of 19) Startup Canada Senior Entrepreneur Award (Over the age of 65) Startup Canada Indigenous Entrepreneur Award (National Only) Startup Canada Newcomer Entrepreneur Award (National Only) Startup Canada Resilient Entrepreneur Award (National Only) Outstanding Impact in Canadian Entrepreneurship Startup Canada Entrepreneur of the Year Award (National Only) Adam Chowaniec Lifetime Achievement Award (National Only) KnowCharge Sues NBIF and FAN by Peter Moreira | Feb 21, 2018 | 2 KnowCharge, a 10-year-old company that makes static-electricity-resistant packaging for the electronics industry, filed the suit last month in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton, naming five defendants:  NBIF; FAN; Ross Finlay, a Co-Founder and Director of FAN; NBIF Chief Executive Calvin Milbury; and Joe Allen, who was NBIF’s Director of Investments until December 2017, and now heads the accelerator programs at University of New Brunswick. The court document alleges that Milbury, Finlay and Allen breached their fiduciary responsibilities to KnowCharge and that the funding organizations enabled them. The 94-clause filing details the relationship of the parties over the past nine years, during which time NBIF invested $700,000 in the company and FAN members $438,831. “Litigation is always a last resort, but unfortunately all attempts (over several years) to resolve amicably were not only rebuffed, but positions have hardened,” said KnowCharge CEO Rob Morrow in an email to Entrevestor last week. Finlay and NBIF Chair Cathy Simpson (speaking on behalf of the Foundation, Milbury and Allen) declined to comment, saying the matter is now before the court. (Disclosure: NBIF is a client of Entrevestor.) Morrow and Co-Founders Edgar Gallibois and Chris Marshall founded KnowCharge to commercialize technology that solved a problem for the electronics industry. The company has said that about 6 to 8 percent of electronics goods are ruined because of static electricity in packaging, but it has come up with special paper that protects against static electricity. The court documents say the company raised $150,000 from NBIF in 2009. Two years later, the company raised another round of funding, securing $438,831 from 27 members of FAN, and a further $200,000 from NBIF. Under the funding agreement, FAN and NBIF were each permitted to appoint one director to the five-member board, and selected Finlay and Milbury respectively. Morrow and Gallibois represented the co-founders. Once the four directors were chosen, said the document, “fundamental disagreements over the direction of KnowCharge arose. These disagreements generally divided along the lines of founders and funders, with the founding shareholder representatives Morrow and Gallibois in disagreement with the funder nominees Milbury and Finlay over corporate strategy.” The document also notes that the shareholder agreements granted NBIF and the FAN members the right to “put options” on their shares – that is, the right to make the company buy back their shares after five years. The four directors were unable to agree on a fifth member, and that effectively gave NBIF and FAN a veto over the board, said the document. By May 2014, the company needed new capital. Morrow (who said he had been working without compensation for some time) received a term sheet from Toronto-based Green Century Investments , or GCI, outlining a $4 million investment program that valued KnowCharge at $8 million. The document said GCI would make the investments in several tranches over three years, and included a “pathway” to the new investor gaining 50 percent of the company. Morrow and Gallibois favoured the GCI investment, believing it would offer the company an opportunity to secure grants from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the government of New Brunswick. However, the court document said the offer was opposed by Milbury, who doubted GCI was a good long-term partner for KnowCharge, and Finlay, who said the investment was too complex and that a recent purchase order could attract other investors. At a May 2014 board meeting, Milbury and Finlay proposed KnowCharge make a counter offer, in which GCI’s first round of investment would buy out NBIF and the FAN members. The document says Morrow and Gallibois doubted it would work and believed any requirement to buy out existing investors would be “a barrier for any new investment.” The four directors debated the response, and the documents say the GCI proposal was “rejected through a series of untenable counteroffers directed by Milbury and Finlay.” Milbury said NBIF would invest a further $500,000 in the company, said the document, enough to unlock non-dilutive funds offered by ACOA and the New Brunswick government. However, this financing was proposed at $2.15 per share, compared with $4.0665 per share set out in the first tranche of the GCI proposal. By October, six shareholders affiliated with FAN agreed to commit a total of $60,000. Morrow asked NBIF to come in with $250,000, but Milbury said he first had to exhaust options of other sources of funding, said the court papers. In the ensuing months, the company and its investors made several proposals as Morrow tried to find other investors. By the end of 2015, the company had raised no new investment. In January 2016, Milbury resigned from the board and was replaced by Allen, said the document, and a new chair and independent director joined the board. Also that month, NBIF issued the company a convertible debenture worth $175,000. KnowCharge says in the court document that this debenture gave NBIF “explicit control” over the company as it couldn’t change its business or raise capital without NBIF approval. The court filing goes on to say that Morrow was close in February 2016 to signing a multi-million-unit order with a global customer, Avnet-Premier Farnell, and that GCI was again interested in investing in KnowCharge. However, Morrow learned that GCI declined to invest after receiving “negative information” about KnowCharge from Allen, said the document. In July 2016, NBIF issued a second $175,000 debenture to the company, with the same conditions as the first, said the court filing. “With the adoption of the Second Debenture, NBIF had now gained full and complete control over KnowCharge,” said the filing. KnowCharge said it has asked repeatedly to alter the terms of the debentures, saying they prevent the company from raising new equity investment. NBIF has declined to do so, the company said. In an email to Entrevestor, Morrow said the company is still operating, though it recently had to put a major strategic customer on hold. More Women Joining Dal CS Program by Jennifer Lee | Feb 21, 2018 Dalhousie University’s   Faculty of Computer Science , is approaching its goal of doubling the proportion of female students entering its programs in 2018-19. As part of the university's 200th anniversary celebrations, Dal plans to offer at least 60 scholarships of $10,000 each to female computer science students entering first year. The university said this week about 31 percent of the Canadian students enrolled in next year’s computer science program are female, up from the 18 to 20 percent level of recent years. In addition to more financial opportunities for its female students, the faculty is revamping how it teaches computer skills by broadening its curriculum in order to attract more women. “We tried to articulate the importance of technology, and the widespread digitization of industry,” said Andrew Rau-Chaplin, Dean of the Computer Science Faculty. “We want to show our students how it can really change the world.” Rau-Chaplin said they’ve added a pair of courses that will explore the history of science and technology to help students contextualize the real-world impact of their degree. “As one organization after another digitizes, you need more and more people who have that computing experience but are also focused on people,” said Rau-Chaplin, who added that today's students have a drive to understand how their degree can enrich other people's lives. By working with industry partners, Dalhousie is hoping to provide at least $600,000 in funding for scholarships for women in tech. The unversity will announce who these partnerships are with in coming weeks, and Rau-Chaplin hopes that the partnerships can also lead to co-op placements for his students.

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