Friday news roundup: dcbel | Bonlook | Dobson Centre

Several Montreal startups are making news as we approach the end of the week. Here’s everything that’s going on:

 – dcbel raises $40 million

 – Bonlook acquires EyeMeasure

 – McGill’s Dobson Centre surpasses $1-billion milestone

dcbel raises $40 million for smart home energy appliances

dcbel $40 million

Montreal startup dcbel is closing a $40 million funding round from Coatue Management, Real Ventures, WTI and Narrative Fund. The company will launch flagship product in the US, called the r16.

The r16 allows people to charge their electric vehicles quickly at home by harnessing solar energy. They can even get through a utility grid blackout by using the energy stored in an electric vehicle battery to power their home.

dcbel says the r16 uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn a user’s energy habits.

When a user comes home and plugs in their EV, dcbel knows to charge it by the time the user leaves the next morning. And if the user is leaving earlier than usual, they can flag the schedule change in the app and dcbel will plan its energy allocation accordingly.

“It’s mostly an appliance that has your back from an energy point of view,” CEO Marc-Andre Forget told Crunchbase News.

dcbel plans on entering New York by the end of 2021, and the rest of North America within the next 18 months.

 Bonlook acquires EyeMeasure, an iPhone X tool for customers to try on at home

Bonlook Eyemeasure

Cofounders Sophie and Louis-Félix Boulanger


Montreal eyewear company Bonlook has acquired EyeMeasure in an effort to up its technological expertise in the field of optics. EyeMeasure is an iPhone X-based app that grabs measurements necessary for prescription eyewear
purchases. The user can measure pupillary distance (the distance between the centre of each pupil) and bifocal segment height at home.

Initially launched online, Bonlook now operates 37 stores in Canada. The company previously raised $1.1 million from Walter Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and Anges Quebec.

Bonlook says the measurements used by EyeMeasure are essential to a properly adjusted optical product. It allows for instant measuring with increased precision when compared to other technologies currently used in the ecommerce sector.

The application also includes virtual try-on and frame digitization features that can allow a smoother customer

The company said it has been working to identify solutions that can address changes in the industry.

“We are currently reinventing systems that will allow eye care professionals to gain access to greater potential for expansion in terms of e-commerce and to reach more customers in an innovative and efficient manner,” said cofounder Louis-Félix Boulanger.

 McGill’s Dobson Centre surpasses $1 billion milestone

McGill University’s Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship says the startups it has supported have now raised more than $1 billion in seed funding. The incubator-style organization added that its total economic impact includes 450 active startups and 6,000 new jobs.

“Reaching $1 billion in seed funding is a significant turning point for the McGill Dobson Centre and our startups,” said the centre’s director, Marie-Josée Lamothe. “It’s a sign that investors are being persuaded by our entrepreneurs’ vision and see meaningful opportunities to contribute to our economy.’’

The Dobson Centre was founded in 1988 by the late John Dobson and supports entrepreneurs from all 11 faculties at McGill University. More than 40 per cent of Dobson startups are cofounded by women and the Centre engages with 24 partner universities around the world.

Moreover, the Dobson Centre has been recognized as one of the Top 20 University Business Incubators by the UBI Global World Rankings of Business Incubators and Accelerators for 2019-2020.

And in 2020, the PitchBook University Rankings named the Dobson Centre second in Canada for undergraduate programs for entrepreneurs — and first in the country for developing successful female entrepreneurs.

Also housed through the Dobson Centre is McGill’s X1 an intensive summer accelerator program.

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