Carpooling startup Netlift on the verge of closing seed round

Netlift has raised $1.3 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), Cycle Capital and other investors.

According to Cantech Letter’s Terry Dawes, the announcement came as a first close of the total funding, with the full round to be announced at the end of the month. According to Netlift, the round comes as both investment and a grant.

Netlift wants to “help workers and students get to their destination faster and at a lower cost,” via its app. The app was originally launched in 2012 in partnership with both the Vanier College and St-Laurent Cégeps in collaboration with the MOBA/Mobilité alternative initiative. MOBA was created in 2001 by the St-Laurent borough to help ease traffic congestion problems for commuters looking to get to school or work from the suburbs.

“After more than two years of technology validation and market testing, we are pleased with the financial and strategic support of major investors such as SDTC, BDC Capital, Cycle Capital and our angel investors,”  said Netlift president Marc-Antoine Ducas. “Their support will help us accelerate our transition to the commercialization phase and offer a compelling solution both in Quebec and beyond our borders.”

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With the cash, Netlift will look to strengthen its app for both individuals and busineses, as well as enter the Ontario market before the end of 2017.

BDC Capital was the first fund to support Netlift, when it gave a convertible note after the company completed Cycle Capital’s Ecofuel accelerator.

“In addition to helping to reduce greenhouse gases, Netlift’s multimodal carpool app will also provide an effective solution to congested cities,” said Andrée-Lise Méthot, a partner at Cycle Capital.

The app uses a patent-pending algorithm that combines geomatics, optimization and operational research. Netlift claims its technology improves matching rates between passengers and drivers between 25 and 200 times more effectively than traditional carpooling systems.

As Cantech letter reported, it also includes an electronic payment platform, which means there’s no money exchange between users. Companies can offer the service to their employees, as well.

Users of the app include Bell Canada, the City of Montreal, the Montreal Airport and Montreal area higher education institutions, and the Saint-Laurent and Vanier College Cégeps.

“Netlift is part of a growing trend in connected and intelligent mobility, where such business models have the potential to disrupt the industry while improving the efficiency and accessibility to public transit,” added Methot. “We are proud to see that a company that was accompanied in a unique way through the Ecofuel Accelerator and well stimulated by Cycle Capital’s environment, continues to successfully grow to other stages of development.”

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