Inovia Q4: Welcoming Boosted, Clearbanc, Future Family, Spatial, & EiR Sam Pasupalak; a Trip to Kenauk Nature, Plus Stephen Curry in the House!

An Epic Close to 2018

We hope the holidays provided you and your teams some well-deserved R&R! As we pivot into the new year with a refreshed spirit, we also want to take a moment to share our Q4 highlights, which were threaded together by a story of stronger partnerships and faster growth.

We welcomed standout fintech companies to the portfolio, including SMB funding platform Clearbanc ($70M Series A) and fertility financing startup Future Family ($10M Series A). Later in the quarter, both companies topped up their funding rounds: Clearbanc added $50M to support loans to customers, while Future Family added $100M to underwrite loans for treatments. In AR/VR news, we welcomed Spatial and its enterprise-focused platform in an $8M Series A, and cheered on Thalmic’s rebranding to North, which coincided with the launch of its beautifully designed line of smart glasses. We also invested in Boosted alongside Khosla Ventures, and Patrick joined the Board.

We expanded our list of Advisors to serve founders with deeply experienced mentorship — welcoming Robin Bienfait (former VP, AT&T, former CTO, RIM). Q4 was also a busy season of events and awards. We were happy to see Vidyard and North named to YC’s Top 100 by Valuation; SnapTravel’s Henry Shi made the Forbes 30 Under 30, and several portfolio companies topped Deloitte’s Top 500 North America and Top 50 Canada list.

As a team, we connected in Quebec at Kenauk Nature, for a time of reflection and planning for the new year. Among our top takeaways was the pure awe for each of the founders in our portfolio, and the continued and diligent steps they take to ensure their vision comes to life. We look forward to supporting those efforts this year, and for making more great headlines with you all.

— The team at Inovia Capital

In the News

ThalmicLabs rebranded as North, with a shiny new Twitter handle to match its crystal clear vision for the future of smart glasses. Their story was captured in Wired, TechCrunch, Globe & Mail, Business Insider, and Maxim. You can also see a demo of North’s new product line on CNBC. 📽️

  • Our favorite coverage of the launch came directly from Founder Stephen Lake, in a piece published on North’s blog — in it, he describes the 5-year effort, which included a ground-up rethink of the company.
  • Later in the quarter, North also announced a great IP play, taking ownership of Intel’s Vaunt patent library: The Verge

Boosted, “The Tesla of eSkateboards” announced a US $60M Series A round co-led by Inovia and Khosla Ventures. Funds will be used to help the company scale quickly and expand attention to the broader electronic mobility market. TechCrunch

Stephen Curry invested in SnapTravel as part of a US $13.8M Series A round (adding to the initial US $8M round which Inovia led in 2017); a move that already has brought attention to this great chat based travel booking platform. Watch his Bloomberg Interview and read Hussein’s post on the SnapTravel Blog. 📽️

Clearbanc, the funding platform that helps e-commerce businesses access capital for marketing campaigns, announced its $70M Series A. Thanks to a great vision and strong brands behind serial founders Michele Romanow and Andrew D’Souza, the news spread like wildfire on BetaKit, TechVibes, Globe & Mail, and TechCrunch. 💰

  • Later in the quarter, Clearbanc announced an additional $50M in funding to directly underwrite new loans to small businesses.

Future Family, which provides guided experiences and alternative funding for families seeking fertility treatments, announced a $10M Series A round, which was captured in Forbes, Startup World, TechCrunch, and Crunchbase. 💰

  • We invested in the company in large part because we believe strongly in Founder & CEO Dr. Claire Tompkins — so we were very pleased to see her appear on’s list of notable female founders.
  • Later in the quarter, Future Family secured an additional $100M credit line to meet demand for funding fertility treatments. Read more in TechCrunch, WSJ, and Crunchbase.

Spatial launched its VR headset targeting business environments — and hit the ground running with the announcement of their $8M Series A. Read more in, Forbes, TechCrunch, Variety, Engadget, VentureBeat, Road to VR, and FastCo 💰

Busbud found a kindred spirit in Clickbus Turkey, and wound up acquiring the company to expand global services: Busbud Blog 🚌

AppDirect announced services to support the healthcare market, which the company covered well on their blog; they also acquired WTG. 🚀

DarwinAI launched its explainability toolkit, which promises to accelerate AI development. Read more on their blog. 🛠️

Advisor Ray Muzyka and BioWare co-founder Dr. Zee receive Order of Canada Award: CBC 🏆

Lightspeed acquired ReUp, and rebranded the platform as Lightspeed Loyalty, with the promise of better empowering small businesses: Blog 👍

…and Patrick joined Lightspeed’s board, along with three other standout leaders: Blog 👍


  • In 2018 we took a more targeted approach to engaging standout leaders to become part of our EiR program. This blog piece highlights our vision and the inspiring outcome of that journey. 💭
  • EiR & Former Uber General Manager Ramit Kar shared his deeply informed wisdom on marketplace startups on our blog. 💡
  • New Inovia Capital EiR and Co-Founder/CEO of Maluuba, Sam Pasupalak, told his very inspiring life story, the path of building Maluuba, and ultimately selling it to Microsoft for $150M — to the London School of Economics Entrepreneur’s Society, and it was captured on a great podcast. Listen here. 🔉
  • Alex, Hannah & Antoine shared their thoughts on why we see Future Family as much more than a fintech startup on our Blog 💭
  • Future Family Founder & CEO Dr. Claire Tompkins shared her personal experience with fertility, and why it inspired h
    er to switch from clean energy to helping other women like herself: Fortune 💭
  • Vidyard CEO Michael Litt was profiled in Forbes in a piece that touches on scaling companies, entrepreneurship, and …firecrackers. 🎆
  • Patrick appeared on the RBC Disruptors Podcast, sharing his personal journey and giving small insights into his philosophy of everything. 🔉
  • Sarah Marion shared best practices for conducting a successful exit interview in Ask an Investor on Betakit ✌️
  • DarwinAI’s Sheldon Fernandez shares his reflections on the biggest moments in AI from the year in Forbes 💭
  • DarwinAI Co-Founder and noted AI researcher Dr. Alex Wong talked about building better tools for AI development on the O’Reilly Data Podcast 🛠️
  • AppDirect Co-Founder & CEO Dan Saks shared his thoughts on cloud computing ten years out in Forbes ☁️
  • Rubikloud Founder & CEO Kerry Liu talked about how he repackaged his company to sell solutions for retail in Entrepreneur 🛍️
  • Stephen Curry shared his thoughts on investing and why SnapTravel fit his personal thesis on building a better world. Bloomberg Technology 📽️
  • CVCA went deeper on Inovia’s participation in Clearbanc’s Series A round in this Behind the Deal 💰
  • DarwinAI was profiled in VentureBeat for its foray into enhancing speech recognition through its advanced AI platform. 💬
  • And last but not least…Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful shared some love for home healthcare startup AlayaCare: Twitter 🙌

Industry Highlights

  • Bench Accounting conducted a survey of small businesses and found some interesting facts: Bench Blog
  • We invested in DarwinAI because we understand that AI can be hard to adopt and maximize. This piece on Geoffrey Hinton and Demis Hassabis goes deeper on this subject: VentureBeat
  • Andrew Arruda, Co-Founder & CEO of Ross Intelligence, gets it right when he says that Canadian startups shouldn’t think about competing with the US — “But instead of trying to change that we have to look at how we stay competitive”: Financial Post

Events & Awards

  • Magaly appeared at Réseau Capital’s Elle Invest event, inspiring women to thrive in the venture/private equity community
  • SaaSNorth was a who’s who of portfolio company leaders, who joined as speakers and panelists — including our own Hugues Lalancette
  • Always-frenetic NeurIPs took place in early December, and we were pleased to welcome standout leaders in AI to a networking dinner in Montreal.
  • Vidyard and North were named to YC Top 100 By Valuation
  • AppDirect held its annual summit, AppDirect Engage in San Francisco in October
  • IoT Security company Armored Things made Bostinno’s list of companies to watch: Bostinno
  • ROSS Intelligence Co-Founder & CTO Jimoh Ovbiagele was a panelist at UofT’s Start.AI conference
  • DarwinAI was the TechInMotion TimmyAwards “Best Tech Startup” Runner Up
    …and DarwinAI was also named to DesignNews’ Top 12 Automotive Startups to Watch: DesignNews
  • Clearbanc Co-Founder Michele Romanow took the stage at #MovetheDial, as well as at Techonomy
  • SnapTravel’s Henry Shi was named to Forbes 30 under 30
  • Vidyard Founder & CEO Michael Litt shared thoughts on learning while growing on the Startup Canada Podcast
  • Deloitte announced its Fast 50 & Fast 500 Canada, and we were pleased to see several portfolio companies on the list:
  • Fast 50 Canada: Vidyard (17), Bench Accounting (7), TrackTik (11), Top Hat (46)
  • Fast 500 North America: Bench Accounting (28), Vidyard (103), TripleLift (106), Top Hat (200), 33Across (362),
  • Deloitte Fast 500
  • Globe & Mail / Canada’s Fast 50
  • The Toronto Women’s Data Group welcomed two engineers from SnapTravel to share their experiences
  • Magaly and Salima joined the Boardlist panel entitled “Path to the Boardroom”, which aimed to prepare future female board members for the journey to become leaders in their community.
  • And this fun moment happened at the Canada Fintech Forum ❤