Ontario Centres of Excellence Named Latest Partner in HYPERDRIVE Program

WATERLOO REGION, June 7, 2012 /CNW/ - As Canadian startups gear up for Communitech's highly anticipated HYPERDRIVE program, launching mid-June and set to get under way in early July, high-profile partners and funders are following suit to offer their support to the promising tech initiative. Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is the latest partner to contribute its resources to what is considered the next generation of funding incubators.

"Focused on turning ideas into profit and advancing innovation through collaborative research with industry and academia, OCE is a welcome addition with a like-minded mission," said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech. "To continue to grow our relationship with OCE in this way is a great asset, and their commitment to the program will help ensure HYPERDRIVE thrives on a global scale."

OCE fosters the development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner that facilitates collaborations with Ontario's industry, academia, research hospitals, investors and governments. As part of the program agreement, OCE could provide funding directly to companies that have collaborated with or have spun out of an academic institution. In addition, OCE will offer coaching and mentoring to technology startup candidates that are accepted into the program to assist in their growth.

OCE joins fellow program partners and funders including BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion and BDC Venture Capital.

Michael Mahon, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Investments at BDC Venture Capital welcomes the new partner. "When we invest in programs like HYPERDRIVE, we hope that others will follow suit," said Mahon. "It's a good day when the private, not-for-profit and public sectors come together to support our country's best tech hopefuls. We're all in this to accelerate the development of these companies and of the young entrepreneurs behind them, and improve their chances of ultimate success."

Chris Wormald, Vice President of Strategic Alliances at RIM added, "Technology entrepreneurship is incredibly important for Canada's future and Communitech is making a big impact with far reaching benefits. We're very pleased to support the HYPERDRIVE program and its comprehensive approach in helping transform ideas into commercial successes."

Companies accepted into the program will take part in a three-month sprint, focusing on customer and market validation. The accelerated three-month period will also include a trip to New York City where startups will have the opportunity to network with funders, partners, and potential customers. Upon successful completion, companies can earn $150,000 in convertible debt from one of the three funding partners.

"The power to shape the future of the technology landscape in the province lies within the ideas born out of our academic community and the ability to be able to transition them successfully from conceptualization to commercialization. The HYPERDRIVE program will play an important role in helping entrepreneurs on their journey, and we are pleased to be able to participate," said Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Communitech's $30-million-plus HYPERDRIVE program will work with tech startups, sculpting businesses from early stage development to "Series A" VC funded companies. Beginning in early July, the Communitech Hub will serve as the entrepreneurs' home away from home as they are schooled and tested in all aspects of establishing a business and turning a profit.

"Our Canadian entrepreneurs are hungry for opportunity and possess the talent and drive to make their mark in the tech industry. It's our goal to provide these ambitious startups with every opportunity possible to command the market, and without our funders we would not be able to do this," explains Iain Klugman. "HYPERDRIVE is just what Canada needs to spark an innovation avalanche."

About Communitech®

Communitech is located in Waterloo Region, 110 kilometres (66 miles) west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada in an area that includes the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. Founded by a group of dedicated entrepreneurs in 1997, Communitech is the regional hub for the commercialization of innovative technologies supporting and building a Southwestern Ontario tech cluster of more than 800 companies that now generates more than $25B in revenue.  A member of the Ontario Network of Excellence, which is funded by the Ontario government, Communitech supports tech companies at all stages of their growth and development - from startup companies, to rapidly growing SMEs, to large global players - to create greater numbers of successful global businesses for Ontario and for Canada.

About Communitech HYPERDRIVE

Communitech HYPERDRIVE http://www.communitech.ca/hyperdrive/ is a startup incubator that will provide enhanced mentorship and other lifecycle services to early stage tech companies. The goal of the program is to maximize the ability of these companies to commercialize innovations and prepare the companies for investment opportunities. The program will also enable 'soft landings' for experience in foreign markets, and higher visibility for investment sources and business connections.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (www.oce-ontario.org)

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, Ontario Centres of Excellence invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE through its Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), an initiative supported by the federal government, also acts as a catalyst which allows innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable commercial success and global competitiveness. Ontario Centres of Excellence is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is Ontario's innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs. For more information visit www.oneinnovation.ca.

About BDC Venture Capital

BDC Venture Capital is a major venture capital investor in Canada with more than $1 billion in current and planned investments. It is active at every stage of the company's development cycle, from seed through expansion, with a focus on innovative technology-based Canadian companies that have high growth potential, offer unique products or services and that are positioned to become dominant players in their market. BDC VC invests both directly into companies and indirectly into promising VC funds. Its investments are made primarily into companies involved in the areas of Energy/Cleantech, Health and Information Technology. In addition, through strategic initiatives and investments, it plays a unique role in stimulating both the Canadian venture capital industry and the surrounding innovation ecosystem, including leading efforts in entrepreneur and angel investor development. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.

SOURCE Communitech Ltd.

For further information:

Media Contacts
Shelley Grandy, Sr. PR Advisor, Communitech, 905-866-2656 or segrandy@communitech.ca

Shari Balga, Senior Manager, Media Relations, Ontario Centres of Excellence, 416-861-1092 x1034 or shari.balga@oce-ontario.org.

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Communitech Ltd.

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