Tether from Halifax was awarded a $100,000 seed investment from Innovacorp to build on its early business success.

Innovacorp announced Tether as the provincial winner of the I-3 Technology Start-Up competition, today, Feb. 9, at an event that marks the end of the five-month competition. (CLICK HERE FOR SIGHTS AND SOUNDS from the I-3 awards event.) 

"Innovation leading to a robust knowledge-based economy is critically important to Nova Scotia's prosperity," said Premier Darrell Dexter. "Innovacorp's I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition once again highlights the innovative and competitive entrepreneurial spirit that exists across Nova Scotia."

Tim Burke and Stephen Hankinson have developed a simple and inexpensive way for laptop users to connect to the internet through smartphones, including the BlackBerry. For users who do not have free wired or WiFi access, but need to connect their laptops to the internet in an airport or a taxi, for example, Tether enables users to quickly connect through their smartphones, for a one-time fee, without incurring any additional charges. Tether has attracted worldwide media attention, including coverage in The New York Times, and has already been sold to thousands of users.

"This competition has both challenged and helped our company to improve our business approach," said Tim Burke of Tether. "The cash, seed investment, and in-kind services we have won, combined with the exposure and credibility of being named first out of over 100 submissions, will propel our business forward."    

The provincial I-3 Technology Start-Up competition was launched on Sept. 9. In the weeks after the launch, Innovacorp received 133 formal submissions from entrepreneurs across Nova Scotia.

I-3 stands for idea, innovation and implementation, the early steps in the commercialization process. The competition identifies and supports high-potential early stage knowledge-based companies and encourages entrepreneurial activity across the province.

"Tether has a solid plan for future growth, a clear understanding of its target market, proprietary technology, and financial and operational feasibility," said Dan MacDonald, president and CEO of Innovacorp. "We look forward to playing a key role in the bright future of this company and many others."

The I-3 competition allows Innovacorp and its 29 partners to improve the business-building assistance they provide to knowledge-based companies in Nova Scotia.

In total, $800,000 in cash, seed investment, and in-kind business-building services was awarded to the 10 winners. In addition to the $100,000 seed investment given to the provincial winner, the first-place zone winners each received $100,000 in cash and in-kind business building services and the second-place winners won a $40,000 package.

Tether was selected as the provincial I-3 winner from among the five zone winners:

Zone 1 (Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties): LST Energy, Jim Trussler, Gus Swanson and Philip Landry, Pictou

Zone 2 (Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties):
Xona Games, Matthew and Jason Doucette, Yarmouth

Zone 3 (Digby, Annapolis, Kings and Hants counties): 
Clare Machine Works Ltd., Vince Stuart, Meteghan Centre 

Zone 4 (Halifax Regional Municipality): 
Tether, Tim Burke and Stephen Hankinson, Halifax 

Zone 5 (Victoria, Cape Breton, Inverness and Richmond counties): 
Health Tech Outcomes, Corrine McIsaac, New Waterford

Innovacorp's High Performance Incubation (HPi) business model, recognized internationally as a best-practice technology commercialization approach, incorporates incubation infrastructure, business mentoring, and seed and venture capital investment. Every day, Innovacorp staff provides hands-on business guidance, tailored to meet the unique and evolving needs of high-potential early stage technology companies.

To learn more about the I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition, visit WWW.INNOVACORP.CA.

See below for images from Innovacorp's I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition Awards Reception - February 9, 2010, at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

All photos: (c) 2010 Craig Buckley

I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition provincial award winner Tether. L - R: Patrick Hankinson, Stephen Hankinson, Tim Burke.

Premier Darrell Dexter congratulates I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition provincial winners Tim Burke and Stephen Hankinson of Tether.

I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition 1st and 2nd place zone winners.

Dan MacDonald, president and CEO of Innovacorp, addresses the crowd at the I-3 Awards Reception.

For more information contact:

Jennifer Guy
Innovacorp  
902-424-8670 ext. 1197 
Cell: 902-225-7284
JGUY@INNOVACORP.CA

April MacLeod 
Innovacorp 
902-424-8670 ext. 1177
Cell: 902-441-9198
AMACLEOD@INNOVACORP.CA