The Short Report - July 2, 2020: Saskatchewan moves on blue hydrogen, North sells south, and more

Mark Mann
July 2, 2020


Saskatchewan approved a first-of-its-kind hydrogen production project under the province's Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive (SPII). Proton Technologies will extract hydrogen from existing oil reservoirs and trap the remaining carbon dioxide in the ground, through a patented process. SPII offers a 25 percent transferrable royalty credit on eligible innovation projects and is open to pilot and commercial scaling projects that demonstrate oil and gas innovation in an operational environment. -

A new research report by Evidence for Democracy and the Professional Employees Association (PEA), titled Spotlight on Integrity, found that 48% of scientific professionals in the BC public service lack sufficient research capacity to meet their Ministerial mandates, and 93% believe the public would benefit from greater professional capacity in the public service. - E4D

The Black Innovation Fellowship (BIF) at Ryerson's DMZ announced a $1 million program expansion as the initiative moves into its second year, with a $500K donation from Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein and entrepreneur Lindsay Taub, which will be matched by the university. The funding will enable BIF to serve more than five times the number of startups currently in the program in the next year. - Ryerson DMZ


The Kitchener wearable tech company North will be sold to Google's parent company Alphabet for an as-yet-undisclosed sum, after the company's pivot from smart armbands — then as Thalmic Labs — to smart glasses failed to pay off. North attracted significant investment, raising more than US$180 million in equity and debt, but simply didn't find enough buyers for its consumer product. "North is now effectively being stripped for parts." - The Globe and Mail

OTTO Motors, a division of Clearpath Robotics, is receiving $29 million in funding from a Series C round to expand its autonomous mobile robot platform in factories. The company's clients already include GE, Toyota, Nestlé and Berry Global. - TechCrunch

The Toronto-based software startup Humi raised $15 million in a Series A funding round, bringing its total raised capital to $20 million. Humi develops applications for human resources (HR), payroll, and benefits. “We are using the majority of the capital that’s been raised to further develop the key components of what we believe make up a really innovative solution in this space," said co-CEO Simon Bourgeois. - BetaKit


A group of strategic investors led by Li Ka-shing purchased $2.7 million common shares in BC's WELL Health Technologies, which consolidates and modernizes clinical and digital assets within the primary healthcare sector. Through Horizons Ventures, Mr. Li Ka-shing has invested in such successful innovative companies as Facebook, Spotify, DeepMind, Siri, and Impossible Foods. - WELL

Fusion Pharmaceuticals, a Hamilton-based biotech firm, raised $213 million in its initial public offering, after initially stating its plans to raise $125 million by offering 8.4 million shares at a price range of $14 to $16, and then upsizing to $17. - Nasdaq


Dr. Carolina Tropini, Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia, has won the 2020 Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D Scholars Award in the field of Engineering, worth $150K. The award honours women making key discoveries, spearheading innovation and shaping the future in STEM fields. - UBC

University of Alberta wildfire expert Mike Flannigan will serve as principal investigator for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s new Canadian Wildfire Strategic Network, which will receive $5 million from the federal government to "bring the best minds in wildfire science together to train students, develop tools and improve the state of knowledge related to wildfire management." - Folio

Innovation minister Navdeep Bains named ten business leaders to the new Industry Strategy Council that will be led by Monique Leroux, vice-chair of Fiera Holdings Inc: Murad Al-Katib, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGT Food and Ingredients; John Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer of D2L Corporation; Rhonda Barnet, President and Chief Operating Officer of AVIT Manufacturing; Paviter Binning, President of Wittington Investments Limited; Ben Cowan-Dewar, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cabot Links; Karimah Es Sabar, Chief Executive Officer and Partner of Quark Venture; Karen Hamberg, Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability at  Westport Fuel Systems Inc; Mark Little, President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy Inc; and Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Montreal Port Authority. Canada's Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer joins as an ex-officio member to provide perspective on science and research. -

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