Ubios becomes first company in North America to equity crowdfund to the public


Ubios, a Montreal-based company that developed a smart home thermostat, is the first startup in North America to take advantage of new rules that will allow small and medium-sized businesses to crowdfund equity from the public.

Any individual or enterprise can invest a maximum of $1,500 in Ubios through the Quebec-based portal GoTroo. The company’s campaign began Sunday evening, where it’s looking to raise $100,000 in total. Ubios has previously received venture capital from Quebecor Media and Bite Size Entertainment, in Montreal.

“My team and I are very proud to offer Quebecers a unique chance to invest with a concrete solution to water damages,” said Ubios CEO Mathieu Lachaîne.

The public has responded in droves. Just a day after the campaign began, Ubios’ target is now 92 per cent completed, with $92,250 raised.

As Lachaîne alluded to, Ubios calls its smart-home product the first solution that prevents both the occurrence and impact of water damage, a welcomed solution for both insurers and real estate owners alike.

Ubios developed a clever, motion-detecting wall unit that replaces a thermostat for baseboards and electric heaters. It also controls smart management of heat. Ubios’ creation sends commands to a valve at the main water inlet of the home, reducing the risk of water leakage in the home to nearly zero. Equipped with motion-sensing capabilities, the unit detects when people leave their homes, adjusting accordingly.

As La Presse’s Jean-Francois Coderre wrote, “This same valve also monitors water flow at all times, allowing it to detect irregularities that might, for example, be due to a hidden leak in a wall.”

If there is a problem, condo owners, building managers or home owners are contacted immediately.

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Ubios took advantage of new rules within the province of Quebec to become the first startup on the continent to turn to the public for small slices of company equity. It was only in April 2015 that the new rules adopted by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) came in to place, allowing conditional equity crowdfunding.

Those members of the public who take to equity crowdfunding will benefit from “similar conditions to those obtained by the cofounders and private and institutional investors already committed to the Ubios capital, such as Quebecor,” said the company.

Founded in July 2014, the company has signed letters of intent with about 20 property owners, representing more than 16 000 housing units.

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