ventureLAB Receives $4.73M in FedDev Ontario Funding to Expand Canada’s First Hardware Lab and Incubator

March 5, 2021

Hardware Catalyst Initiative expands amid urgency to strengthen Canada’s domestic semiconductor and sensor supply chain


MARKHAM, ON, Mar 5, 2021 – Today, new funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) was announced to bring emerging tech companies in Southern Ontario a step closer to becoming competitors in the $7 trillion global semiconductor market. The FedDev Ontario non-repayable contribution of $4.73M will be injected to expand Canada’s first hardware and semiconductor-focused lab, ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative. The funding comes as manufacturers sound the alarm about a global shortage of chips, which are required to drive innovation in the global economy ranging from the next-generation of electric vehicles, robotics in precision agriculture, 5G communications and mobile devices.

ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative was born out of the need to meet increasing global demand for chips, sensors and related products. The current lack of global supply underscores the importance to invest in Canada’s domestic supply chain. Today’s announcement will help strengthen Canada’s technology sector and marks a significant milestone in creating a new generation of founders who build IP-rich products that are critical to the global electronics supply chain. For each new semiconductor job, almost five other tech jobs are created for the global semiconductor market. 

“The global shortage of chips represents a major opportunity for Canada,” says Melissa Chee, President and CEO, ventureLAB. “We have watched countries receive investment from their governments to strengthen their domestic semiconductor sectors. A made-in-Canada semiconductor supply chain is required to catapult Canada to the forefront of global innovation to create supply chain resiliency and high-value tech and manufacturing capacity. Today’s follow-on investment from FedDev is an instrumental step towards strengthening our tech sector, laying the foundational groundwork we need to build a more resilient Canadian economy.”

Since launching the Hardware Catalyst Initiative in February 2020, the lab has doubled in size, with the latest investment enabling expansion to further eliminate capital-intensive barriers to entry for Canadian founders with the addition of advanced computing infrastructure to virtualize access to a broader set of Canadian companies. Founders in the program have access to technical resources, manufacturing capacity, investment expertise, and networks of top talent to accelerate product development and commercialize at scale. 

“By virtualizing the HCI Lab, Canadian businesses across Canada will be able to fully access the program, encouraging widespread growth in the hardware industry,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and Member of Parliament for Markham–Thornhill.   “Our government’s investment is good news for Canadian businesses scaling up in the hardware and semiconductor sector, good news for Ontario with the addition of 35 new skilled jobs, and goods news in our pursuit of a sustainable and digital economic recovery.”

“The HCI Lab expansion will allow Canadian entrepreneurs to stay globally competitive here in Canada by increasing the capabilities for companies to connect with global leaders virtually and to test new technologies,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “Today’s announcement represents the kind of investment that will strengthen our manufacturers now by giving them the support they need to grow and stay resilient for the future—all while creating good, local jobs.”  

With an initial investment of $5 million from the Government of Canada, the Hardware Catalyst has gained rapid momentum as Canada’s Hardware Hub with a growing global network of private sector industry partners, including AMD, TSMC, Arm, Silicon Catalyst, Synopsys and Keysight, who have contributed equipment, design tools, prototype capabilities, manufacturing capacity, technical expertise and advanced computing to enable a new generation of founders to commercialize their products and scale their companies in a way not previously possible in Canada.


The Second Cohort of Hardware Catalyst Initiative Companies

Following the successful first cohort of Hardware Catalyst Initiative companies, a second cohort — building foundational technologies to power breakthrough products — has been selected. In addition to mentorship from global tech leaders, the eight companies selected will use the specialized equipment and industry expertise to realize their ideas and bring their products to market in an accelerated fashion.

Braze Mobility– An affordable navigation solution for wheelchair users that automatically detects obstacles and provides intuitive audio, visual and vibration alerts to the wheelchair driver.

Enertics Inc.– Provides an early health monitoring, diagnostics and predictive maintenance solution of electrical assets.

Hyivy Health– Creates the first intelligent and holistic pelvic rehabilitation device for women experiencing symptoms from pelvic cancers and diseases.

Qoherent– Helps engineers harness the power of machine learning and quantum computing, in the pursuit of intelligent radio technologies.

Scope Photonics– Builds tunable lenses that bring high quality optical zoom to a compact form factor, for use in smartphone cameras, depth sensors, microscopes and more.

SmartComm Technologies Inc.- Specializes in Wireless Baseband hardware IP and firmware for IoT.

Urban Stalk Inc.- Reduces food insecurity for at risk and urban populations and the negative environmental impacts that originate from agricultural activity.

WeavAir– Proactive end-to-end solution for air distribution systems that prevents the spread of contamination and infection, while reducing operational and maintenance costs.


About The Hardware Catalyst Initiative

ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative is Canada’s first lab and incubator for founders building hardware and semiconductor-focused products. Funded in part by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), this competitive program helps southern Ontario-based tech SMEs accelerate their time to market in a sector that normally incurs lengthy entry and scale times, enabling Canadian hardware and semiconductor companies to grow and scale locally, and compete globally. To learn more about the Hardware Catalyst Initiative, visit


About ventureLAB

ventureLAB is a leading technology hub located in Markham in York Region, Canada’s second-largest tech cluster. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, with a focus on hardware and enterprise software technologies. ventureLAB has enabled thousands of tech companies to scale, and our portfolio of companies have created close to 4,000 jobs that have raised over $120 million in investment capital to continue their growth and scale.


About FedDev Ontario

For nearly 12 years, FedDev Ontario has actively worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region.


Media Contact:

Linda North

NorthPR (for ventureLAB)




Make the Most out of Collision from Home 2021

April 9, 2021

ventureLAB Receives $4.73M in FedDev Ontario Funding to Expand Canada’s First Hardware Lab and Incubator

March 5, 2021

ventureLAB and Silicon Catalyst partner to expand hardware and silicon ecosystem in Canada

September 14, 2020
ventureLAB News

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund to develop innovative solutions in York Region

July 13, 2020
Community news

ventureLAB announces appointment of industry leaders and founders to Board of Directors

June 11, 2020
Success Stories

2019 Annual Review

May 29, 2020
Community news

Navigating COVID-19: Resources for Your Business

March 18, 2020
Community news

COVID-19 Update

March 16, 2020
ventureLAB News

ForaHealthyMe Completes Research Project On Adaptive Activity For Seniors

March 10, 2020

Reducing Unconscious Bias through Tech Undivided

March 9, 2020
Advanced Manufacturing

Tech Undivided – Introducing the Inaugural Cohort & Strategic Mentor Network

February 27, 2020
Community news

Transformative Solutions Made in Markham – ventureLAB Launches the Hardware Catalyst Initiative

February 10, 2020
Advanced Manufacturing

NUVIA Inc. opens its first international office at ventureLAB in Markham

February 6, 2020

Introducing the Hardware Catalyst Initiative’s Inaugural Cohort and Founding Partners

January 30, 2020
Community news

Made In York Region 2019: The Future of Tech

September 20, 2019

Introducing the Hardware Catalyst Initiative

August 29, 2019

ventureLAB receives funding from FedDev Ontario for hardware lab and incubator

June 27, 2019
Community news

Our New Website is Live!

June 24, 2019
Community news

PACE and ForaHealthyMe Inc. Collaborate to Enable Innovative Rehab Care for Elderly Patients

June 12, 2019

Related Articles

Community news

Announcing this year’s AGM Award winners

June 4, 2020
Community news

Keren Moynihan, Boss Insights

October 10, 2019
Community news

Made in York Region 2019

November 21, 2019
Community news

5 Digital Health Companies to Watch

November 23, 2020
Community news

Introducing ventureLAB’s New Innovation Hub Membership

October 6, 2020
Community news

Karen Wong, TAKU Retail

October 17, 2019
Community news

ventureLAB’s Tech Undivided Program Welcomes Second Cohort

August 25, 2020
Community news

Dynamic Duo Finds Love and Success

February 14, 2020

See how ventureLAB is changing Canada's tech innovation ecosystem.