2021 was a year in which Halifax’s best startups excelled

Posted: June 1, 2022

The dominant feature of the Halifax startup community in 2021 was the strong growth of growth-stage companies, and none exemplified this trend more than Dartmouth-based Meta Materials Inc.

The manufacturer of specialist synthetic materials had a transformational year as it listed on the Nasdaq stock market in New York through a reverse takeover, raising C$198 million in the process.

Of course, Meta was not Halifax’s only high-flyer last year. You could argue that CarbonCure was the company of the year in Metro Halifax after it won US$7.5 million in the first Carbon XPRIZE, or that the honour should go to Dash Hudson, which quietly continued to grow its customer base to a dizzying degree. Maybe the gold medal should be hung around the neck of Novonix Battery Testing Solutions, a Dal spinoff that is now the centrepiece of Australia-based Novonix Ltd., which is valued at about C$3 billion.

Meta was able to raise a landmark funding round for itself, and its investors. And one of those investors, the provincially owned venture capital fund Innovacorp was able to sell its stake, pocketing a profit of $101 million. That profit went directly to the provincial government, marking the first time the Nova Scotia government had realized a direct gain from a startup investment.

In Entrevestor’s 2021 Atlantic Canada Startup Data report, we see that what mattered last year was big companies doing big things. The smaller or newer companies had a harder time of it, but it was a year in which scaling startups – those with their product in the market – moved the needle in Entrevestor’s data analysis.

For example, the innovation-driven companies in greater Halifax raised a record $307.5 million – a gain of 153 percent over the $121.7 million raised in 2020. Of course, Meta was responsible for about two-thirds of the total, but there were still 21 companies in HRM that raised at least $1 million each.



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