News

So you're in the know.


Relay is sponsoring Flying Upside Down, an all-new conference format designed from the ground-up with founders in mind. The highly curated lineup of speakers will tackle every stage of the journey, from high-level strategy to tactical execution, and will provide new mental models for navigating in the clouds and real insights to put in motion tomorrow.

Link

Relay Ventures today announced that Irfhan Rawji has joined the firm as a Venture Partner. In this role, he will be responsible for the firm’s market development in Western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest.

Irfhan brings to Relay extensive experience as a strategic consultant, investor, and public company senior executive responsible for M&A, strategy, and investor relations. Through his 15-year career, Irfhan has been in senior roles with McKinsey & Company, Onex Corporation, and Birch Hill Equity Partners. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia where he taught finance, public policy, strategy, and leadership.

Irfhan holds an MBA with High Honors from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar, and a BCom with High Honours from the University of British Columbia where he was a Wesbrook Scholar. He is a recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Arnold Edinborough Award.

Link

AdmitHub, an edtech startup that’s creating conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to guide students to and through college, is trying to make that happen. (In fact, the conversation above was one that we had with the company’s chatbot, Oli.) Today, the Boston-based company announced it has raised $2.2 million in seed funding to develop Oli and other campus-specific chatbots, grow its team, and expand the service to more U.S. and international institutions.

Co-led by Relay Ventures and Reach Capital, with participation from University Ventures and others, the funding round follows a previous $800,000 that the company pulled after participating in 2015 Techstars accelerator program. Combined, AdmitHub has raised a total $2.95 million in seed funding.

“We’ve done a heck of a lot of work to create an excellent experience with the bot, but we have only just scratched the surface,” said Andrew Magliozzi, CEO and co-founder of AdmitHub. “We are really excited that we can leverage the collective intelligence of experts across the country to train our bots to deliver free guidance to students.”

Link

Today we are thrilled to announce Relay Ventures III, a new US$150MM (C$200MM) venture capital fund focused on early-stage investments in mobile software, services, content, and technology. Limited Partners in the new fund include: Northleaf Capital Partners, Kensington Capital Partners, Generation Capital, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, EDC, AEC, and Royal Bank of Canada.

Throughout the process, we have concurrently invested in several startups across the US and Canada. Among the portfolio companies that have received investments from our new fund are: Kelowna-based FreshGrade, which provides classroom communication and assessments for K-12 education; 7shifts, a Saskatoon-based startup that provides workforce scheduling solutions for the restaurant industry; Artificial Intelligence (AI) messaging and bot company Automat.ai based in Montreal; wellness rewards and loyalty startup Carrot Insights in Toronto; Kwik Commerce, the Sunnyvale and Tel-Aviv based one-touch commerce company; and UJet, a next generation mobile-first customer service technology company based in San Francisco.

Since our inception in 2008, we have invested C$355MM into 76 companies (24 of which have exited) that have collectively raised over C$1.3B and employ 3,400 people. Today, we have C$670MM under management and are the largest private early-stage fund manager in Canada with an exclusive focus on mobile software, services, content, and technology. We are also the most active Canadian software investor in the U.S.j

Over the last eight years, we have maintained an exclusive focus on mobile and today 1 in 2 smartphones in the world run software from our portfolio companies. We are excited to continue this momentum as we partner with remarkable entrepreneurs making a significant impact in their markets.

Link

“With CAD $13 million (USD $10 million) from Relay Ventures, the company announced the official release of the OMbra targeting female runners. The bra captures breathing patterns and rhythms of runners and processes it into insights delivered through a mobile app, called OMrun, with the goal of helping users become more efficient runners.”

Link

“Founded in 2007, Ecobee is the second largest seller of Internet-connected thermostats in the US, with 24% share of the market, according to research firm NPD Group – second only behind Alphabet’s Nest. In 2014, the $250 Ecobee3 came out with strong reviews that compared it favorably to Nest’s thermostat.”

Link