The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) held its 2018 Awards last week, presenting awards for Most Promising Startup of the Year, Exit of the Year, and Angel of the Year.
The Most Promising Startup of the Year Award, which was presented by Panache Ventures, was awarded to Zoom.ai, a chat-based productivity software that enables employees and entire companies to automate simple tasks. The award recognizes an early-stage startup that has experienced outstanding growth over the past year, and Zoom.ai raised a total of $5.2 million in seed funding to further develop their platform and expand their reach. Zoom.ai also picked up the New Startup of the Year award at this year’s Canadian Innovation Awards.
The second of three distinct awards given out was the Exit of the Year Award, which was presented by RBC and awarded to Genesis Robotics, Michael Gibney, and Dr. Basil Peters. The award recognizes the most successful exit by a Canadian startup that received financing from a NACO group.
Genesis Robotics is a mechanical innovation company that creates electric motors to power machines and robots. Genesis Robotics raised a total of $30 million in four funding rounds and provided a 32x return on investment to its Angel investors before exiting. Two key players in this exit were Michael Gibney, President of Genesis and proven entrepreneur, and Dr. Basil Peters, Angel investor and CEO of Strategic Exits Corp.
Perhaps the most anticipated award of the evening is the 2018 Canadian Angel of the Year Award. Sponsored by BDC Capital, the recipient of the Angel of the Year award was Randy Stewart Thompson, Chairman and CEO of Valhalla Private Capital. The award is given to an experienced investor who is has made the largest contribution to the development of Canadian Angel investing.
“Mr. Thompson is the definition of an active investor, who takes a mentorship role in the companies he works with, recruits new Angels to join the community, and helps build the infrastructure for the Canadian innovation ecosystem to succeed,” says Yuri Navarro, Executive Director of NACO.
The NACO World Angel Investment Summit and Gala Awards take place annually, honouring contributions to the Canadian technology ecosystem, which continues to advance within the global landscape.
“Early-stage startup investment is fundamental to building a strong ecosystem and Angel investing plays a leading role,” says Jérôme Nycz, EVP at BDC Capital. “[We have] been sponsoring this award for a few years now and we applaud the role Angels play in launching and scaling start-ups as well as praise their exemplary approach to supporting Canadian Entrepreneurs.”