News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB team top winner at NBIF Breakthru competition

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Mar 25, 2019

Category: myUNB , UNB Fredericton

UNB’s Canum Nanomaterials won both the grand prize and the people’s choice award at the 2019 New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s Breakthru Competition on March 21.

They received $436,000 in cash investments and professional services, which includes funds from both NBIF and Opportunities New Brunswick, and a golden ticket to a Dragon’s Den audition in Toronto.

Canum Nanomaterials has created an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and highly scalable technology that produces fullerenes, which are used in flexible solar cells and as antioxidants in health supplements. Winning this start-up money will allow the Canum team to scale up their production, which is already in high demand.

“It’s been an incredible learning experience over the past several months, developing and refining our business plan for the Breakthru competition,” says Kyle Woods, president and CEO of Canum Nanomaterials. “It feels great that our hard work has paid off. We’re especially grateful to all of our support team and mentors, including UNB. This wouldn’t have been possible without their support.”

Taking home second prize in the competition is R I D D L, a cloud-based software as a service that provides data to impact investors to guide better investment decisions and the tools that manage and measure impact investment. Impact investing is growing in popularity — it allows investors to back companies, not just for financial gain, but to also solve real-world problems, such as global warming and childhood illiteracy. Jenelle Sobey, one of the founders of R I D D L, received her MA from UNB in 2011 and is currently teaching social innovation at UNB's Renaissance College.

“We’re fortunate to be working to grow this business in New Brunswick, a place where we all have deep ties and where we grew up,” says Ms. Sobey. “Each of us has built various expertise through working in other places and industries, and now we’re building in New Brunswick an export-focused technology that will allow investors to standardize impact investments.”

The three other finalists include the UNB-affiliated group Better Than Reality, Punch Reviews and Sensory Friendly Solutions.

The NBIF initially received 34 business plan submissions for its biennial pitch competition, which were then cut down to five earlier this month. All the teams participated in two entrepreneurship boot camps, where they were provided with advice, mentoring and support from successful founders and operators of local and national businesses.

Media contact: Angie Deveau

Photo: Canum’s Dr. L.P. Felipe Chibante, Jayson Brown, Kyle Woods, Alex Clarkin and Dane Sheppard. Photo credit: NBIF.