Chasing Horses not Unicorns: Growth program update

What do ponies, unicorns and centaurs have in common? The answer… These are terms typically used by media to categorize a startup company based on their valuation.   For example, a unicorn has a valuation of over $1 billion, centaurs just over $100 million and ponies just over $10 million.

While media and startup enthusiasts have glorified unicorns in recent years, we need to appreciate that a unicorn is not the norm - it is the outlier.  An Atlantic Canadian unicorn within the next 5 to 10 years is a possibility, however; the trouble with chasing unicorns is that they require hundreds of millions in funding or outsized exits to drive returns for investors and typically breed a dangerous environment of unrealistic objectives, wasted resources and can take a negative toll on the mental health of our startup founders. 

Propel ICT believes there’s more than one-way to build a billion dollar startup that makes founders and investors happier and the term for this type of company is called a horse.  Horses are just as fast and majestic as a unicorn but without the show-off horn and magical powers.  Not everyone will agree, but it’s a pragmatic approach that reflects the realities of the region, which in turn will provide plenty of opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to build great companies though revenue growth and modest funding.  

To build more horses Propel ICT is developing a Growth program, that will be the first of its kind in our region focused on revenue-first technology based companies who are seeking growth through revenue and long-term returns ideally without being forced into a public offering or acquisition.  The program will emphasize the development of good business fundamentals through measurable and sustainable growth metrics, real customers, revenue and cash.

Led by the former co-CEO of Remsoft Steve Palmer, Growth’s mission is to help companies increase customer acquisition and revenue while helping companies scale organically.  

Propel ICT is looking to meet with companies who meet the following criteria, to help validate the requirements for the program. We want to meet with you if your company fits the description below:

  • You must be an Atlantic Canada based ICT company (Product or Service)
  • Minimum $1M annual revenue
  • Average annual revenue growth of 15%
  • Must have an existing business plan and demonstrated ability to execute on the plan
  • Must have an addressable market of at least $250 million
  • Must be export focused with more than 50% revenue from outside Canada

Invitation-only information sessions will be held in early November for companies interested in participating in the program.  To receive an invitation or to speak with a member of our team please send all inquiries to  


NOTICE OF MEETING: 2016 Annual General Meeting

The 2016 Annual General Meeting for Propel ICT will be held using GoToMeeting on Wednesday, September 14 from Noon to 1:30pm

Members wishing to attend the Annual General Meeting can join the meeting beginning at 11:45 a.m. 

To join from your computer, tablet or smartphone:

You can also dial in using your phone:

Canada +1 (647) 497-9379

Access Code: 983-648-349

#propeldemoday delivers amazing startups, entrepreneurs & alumni success

Missed the excitement at Propel Demo Day 2016 in Halifax?  Have no fear, the full video recap is here.  Enjoyed participating and attending?  Share with your friends and revisit the companies that inspired you the most.  The momentum in Atlantic Canada continues to strengthen as these incredible founders and entrepreneurs are helping re-shape our new future.

PropelICT Demo Day 2016 - filmed on location at Neptune Theatre, Halifax, NS

Propel ICT Demo Day June 21, 2016 Halifax Nova Scotia

Only 2 weeks out, and the Atlantic Canada tech scene will come alive with the Propel ICT Demo Day where a number of our recent cohort companies will show off their businesses and their vision.  Together with our community partners Planet Hatch, Venn, Volta, LaunchPad PEI and CommonGround, we are happy to announce the following 14 companies, including 8 from the Launch program and 6 from the Build program.

Launch Program


SHED -- Shed has created a platform to help homeowners quickly and easily hire a service provider to carry out chores around the home.

Swell Advantage – AirBnB for docks and moorings.  Swell helps the boaters find short-term docking space and the owners of wharves and moorings to make money from their waterfrontage.


Airbly – Airbly has developed hardware and software that automates flight logs for small aircraft.

Mighty Pebble Games – This is the maker of Miner Meltdown, a 2D team-based competitive multiplayer game that takes place in an underground mine.


ReadyPass -- ReadyPass helps create smart and simple transit for passengers, bus drivers, and cities of all sizes.

Yimbie -- Yimbie matches user preferences with merchant products and services within communities.

St. John’s

SEAformatics -- Seaformatics has developed an energy harvesting system that allows researchers to collect ocean data at a low cost, with low risk and with improved performance.

Empowered Homes – This company is developing a smart thermostat system for homes and small businesses that have multi-zoned heating.

Build Program:

TotalPave, Fredericton – TotalPave has developed software to help municipalities assess the condition of roads in a simple and inexpensive manner.

WellTrack, Fredericton – This company has developed an online platform to help companies improve the mental health of their employees.

Garago Software, Moncton – Garago has developed a system for storing and extracting information that can improve the efficiency of an organization.

Repable, Moncton and Toronto – Repable is developing an analytics tool for the competitive gaming industry.

WoodsCamp, Lunenburg, NS – WoodsCamp connects buyers and sellers of timber in the massive private woodlot segment.

Onset Communication, Charlottetown – This company has developed a system to help film crews make creative decisions and communicate more quickly, thereby reducing production costs. 

Join us at Demo Day on June 21:  register here