As Startup-Corporate Links Grow, Traditional Businesses Benefit

When Halifax-based Harbr announced its $1.75 million funding round in March, there were some unexpected names on the list of investors.

The company, which is developing an artificial intelligence product for the construction industry, said the co-lead was Halifax developer George Armoyan, whose interests include Geosam Capital and Clarke Inc. Other investors included such construction industry leaders as Don Clow of Crombie REIT, Jim Spatz of Southwest Properties, and Victor Kielbratowski of Halifax-based Kiel Developments.

The Harbr funding exemplified a trend that’s taking place in the Atlantic Canadian economy: traditional businesses and startups are getting to know each other. Until recently, there was limited interaction between the two groups, but that’s changing.

And that is important for two reasons. First, it means that startups in the region are benefitting from exposure to the brains and back pockets of the most successful business people in the region. The second reason might have an even greater economic impact. The region’s traditional industries are learning the benefits of innovation and spending more on R&D, a trend that is boosted by their relationships with startups.

Read more about this story in Entrevestor.

Banner photo: Harbr founders Dave Kim, left, Jeff Kielbratowski and Ashley Kielbratowski. Image: submitted.