When the organizers of Montreal’s International Aerospace Week wanted to showcase 11 global startups in the aerotech space industry this week, the group of presenters included three companies from Atlantic Canada.
Agile Sensor Technology of St. John’s, Envenio of Fredericton and QRA Corp. of Halifax all presented Monday at the Aerospace Innovation Hub, attended by more than 100 international aerospace executives from around the world. The audience included reps from such blue-chip companies as Panasonic, Boeing, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems.
Starburst Accelerator, a global aerotech accelerator with offices on three continents, and Innovitech, a Montreal aerospace incubator, teamed up to present the pitching event, inviting startups from North America and Europe. It was part of International Aerospace Week, which is now being held in Montreal.
“We are delighted to have been selected for this prestigious event,” Envenio vice-president Scott Walton said in a statement. “The event is an exciting opportunity for us to present our technology EXN/Aero and future plans to renowned global brands, and to demonstrate how our software can impact their operations.”
The pitchers included six Canadian companies, two each from France and the U.K., and one from the U.S. Thomas Belaid, a spokesman for Starburst in Paris, said the organizers have not yet named a winner from the event and are still tabulating the results.
It’s perhaps surprising that half the Canadian contingent came from the East Coast, as Atlantic Canada lacks that huge industrial complex that usually supports startups in aerospace and defence industries. What we do have are universities, and the three companies that presented in Montreal this week all sprang from academic institutions.
Agile Sensor, which grew out of research at Memorial University inNewfoundland, makes components for the burgeoning robotics industry, including drones and unmanned underwater vehicles. In February, the company launched its latest product, Synapse, a performance-monitoring multi-motor controller for drones. Synapse is designed to provide flight data, real-time propulsion system feedback, faster controller response time, and 10 per cent longer flight times.
Envenio began with intellectual property that was developed at the University of New Brunswick. The company has developed revolutionary computational fluid dynamics — or CFD — software, which it calls EXN/Aero.
What that means is that engineers can use the company’s software to analyze and solve problems involving the flow of liquids and gases. The company’s algorithms allow desktop computers to simulate the flow of these substances. Like a virtual wind tunnel, it can simulate how air flows around a vehicle or aircraft to help engineers optimize the shape, structure and performance.
And finally, QRA has developed technology that helps large manufacturers identify flaws in complicated machinery early in the design stage. The idea is to work out the kinks before the manufacturer spends millions of dollars prototyping a machine that has ill-matched components.
The company, which began as a research project at Dalhousie University, launched a new product called QVscribe in February. The new tool makes sure manufacturers use precise and understandable language in their requirements documents. If left untouched, sloppy language in requirements could result in significant rework in both the design and build phases.
Peter Moreira is a principal of Entrevestor, which provides news and data on the Atlantic Canadian startup community.