Technology companies nab $26M in digital supercluster funding


Canadian healthcare-technology companies have recently received $25.8 million for artificial intelligence (AI) related projects from the federally funded, Vancouver-based lender previously known as Digital Technology Supercluster. 

Now rebranded as DIGITAL Canada’s Global Innovation Cluster, the organization has been dribbling out money through co-investments with Canadian technology companies. Since 2018, it has doled out more than $200 million to companies it deems merit funding. 

The announcements come as the federal government has upped its commitment to make Canada a global hot spot for AI. In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $2.4 billion package of measures in advance of his government’s Budget 2024 to secure what he called Canada’s AI advantage.

Two of DIGITAL’s recent investments involve Vancouver-based companies. 

In April, DIGITAL announced a $3.1 initiative led by Gotcare to enhance Gotcare’s platform with AI-driven, patient-matching capabilities, delivery of in-home healthcare and virtual support through Gotcare’s Health Ambassador network. The money may also be used to help Gotcare graduate its conceptual model for AI in predictive health monitoring into a marketable product. 

RxPx is another company with a Vancouver presence, as it is headed by BIV Influential Women in Business recipient Lynda Brown-Ganzert. DIGITAL is co-investing $10.5 million in an initiative led by RxPx to use AI to make clinical trials more complete, successful and relevant in part by improving patient recruitment. 

DIGITAL’s other investments are to ventures across Canada. 

It is co-investing $9 million in an initiative led by Swift Medical, which has offices in Toronto and Chicago. Swift Medical plans to use the capital to develop AI tools to standardize and improve care assessments for wounds. The work will use Swift Medical’s AI-based technologies to identify wound types and create precise 3D models. Those models are expected to simplify treatment in health-care settings. 

Finally, DIGITAL is co-investing in a $3.2-million initiative led by Montreal-based AlayaCare, which plans to use the money to introduce the first large-language-model-based, smart AI assistant for home-based care.

Excitement about AI has been palpable for more than a year. Indeed, it was BIV‘s newsmaker of 2023. 

OpenAI’s November 2022 launch of its free, publicly available chatbot ChatGPT inspired many investors to go all-in on the technology niche. Generative AI powers dozens of B.C.-based companies. 

Signs that giddiness about AI remains in full bloom came after markets closed this afternoon, when stock-market darling Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq:NVDA) reported quarterly earnings that beat already high expectations. 

That company makes semiconductor chips designed for use in AI platforms. Its earnings were US$6.12 per share, up 461 per cent from the same quarter one year ago. Its revenue rose 262 per cent, compared with the same three months in 2023, to US$26 billion. 

Nvidia’s shares were trading up more than six per cent in after-hours trading. Before the after-hours action, Nvidia’s shares had risen 97.12 per cent year-to-date, and 209.4 per cent over the past year. 

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