June 11, 2020

UCalgary launches UCeed, a pre-seed and seed funding program

UCeed will drive innovation, help commercialize new technologies, and accelerate UCalgary startup companies
Woman holding baby
File photo: woman holding baby

UCalgary is powering the path to commercialization for discovery and research with the launch of UCeed, a new pre-seed and seed funding program. Funded entirely through philanthropic support, UCeed will spur innovation, help commercialize new technologies, and accelerate University of Calgary startup companies.

“The launch of UCeed is a significant milestone for our university,” says President Ed McCauley. “UCalgary’s focus on innovation works to leverage new forms of discovery, creativity, invention and entrepreneurship to solve societal challenges at the local and global scale. UCeed further powers our culture of innovation and drives the cycle from discovery to real-world solutions.”

Activated by Innovate Calgary, the university’s knowledge transfer and business incubator, UCeed will begin funding ventures in child health and general health through two levels of investment: the Opportunity Fund (up to $150,000 investment) and the Growth Fund (up to $300,000 investment).

“We’re so pleased to launch Canada’s first seed fund for child health, which is a priority research area for UCalgary,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research).

This is the beginning of something really exciting for our community.

"UCeed will continue to grow, providing funding for ventures in new sectors, enabling translation of research into impact for our communities.”

Applications are now open and qualifying ventures can apply for funds through the UCeed website. The application process will be an open call throughout the year, with reviews of qualified applications on a quarterly basis. The first round of investees will be chosen by the fall of 2020.

“By the end of 2020, we are projecting to fund four to eight companies within the child and general health areas,” reveals John Wilson, president and CEO of Innovate Calgary. “These startups will provide jobs and help diversify Alberta’s economy.”

Reinvestment earnings to support future initiatives

Earnings from the investment in the ventures that are launched will be reinvested into UCeed to support future initiatives, continuously supporting the university’s mission in innovation and community impact.

UCeed-funded companies will also benefit from the support of UCalgary’s innovation ecosystem, including the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial ThinkingInnovate CalgaryLife Sciences Innovation HubW21CIMPACTCreative Destruction Lab – Rockies, as well as faculty-based initiatives. 

The UCeed program is made possible by the generosity of Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and River Fund at Calgary Foundation, who will provide a total of $10 million to help commercialize child and general health research projects.

“We would like to sincerely thank our donors for their belief in innovation at the University of Calgary. Their generosity has made UCeed a reality,” says McCauley. “Continued support from our donor community will further accelerate UCalgary startups in the future.”

Overall, the donor community has provided more than $100 million through the $1.3B Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High to fuel innovation at UCalgary — this campaign will close successfully on June 30, 2020.

Visit the UCeed website to apply for funding for child or general health projects.

  • Photo at top by Don Molyneaux, for the University of Calgary