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Local Startups Explore the Boston Market Through the Market Testing Lab Program

Mar 20, 2024

1015 words | 5 minutes
By: Amanda Speroni

In today’s world, startups are always looking for new ways to accelerate growth and expansion. 

A group of representatives from ten startup companies from the National Capital Region and hosts gather for a group picture.

This year, Invest Ottawa collaborated with the Institut Innovation Gatineau and the Consulate General of Canada in Boston to pave the way for ten National Capital Region startups to explore the dynamic market landscape of New England.  

Through the Market Testing Lab, a program run under the Boston Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA), these startups ventured on a journey aimed at uncovering the potential of the US market, while gaining insights into international expansion.  

“We are so grateful for the opportunity to take part in this impactful program. The speakers, mentors, and networking opportunities organized by the Consulate were top-notch, and we have already received glowing feedback from our startup founders on the experience,” said Megan Maltby, Senior Manager, Accelerator Programs & Investor Relations at Invest Ottawa.  

“It’s hard to overstate the value of exploring a new market with help from local experts, familiar with the ecosystem dynamics.” 

An image of the CIC Boston coworking space - with privacy pods and a stairway to a second floor.

What is the Market Testing Lab? 

The Market Testing Lab is a program offering Canadian startups a chance to delve into their target market and learn the intricacies of taking their business abroad.  

Organized by the Consulate General of Canada in Boston, the program provides education sessions with local market experts, strategic mentoring, and access to the Consulate’s vast network for targeted meetings, and invaluable networking opportunities.

Meet the Startups 

Invest Ottawa and the Institut Innovation Gatineau were pleased to host ten tech startups for the program. 

  • DashQ (IO Accelerator) is a full-cycle leasing and communication solution to help property managers optimize their multifamily leasing.  
  • NovaceneAI (IO Accelerator) helps organizations harness the full potential of AI by transforming unstructured raw data into business-critical insights.  
  • Evoke Health (IO Flex) connects families to their loved ones and keeps them informed, while improving efficiency and time management for nurses and personal support workers in senior living.  
  • Voiceflip (IO Flex) is an AI-driven real estate solution that allows users to harness voice search technology to find properties.  
  • Yellowbird Diagnostics (IO Flex) specializes in biomedical imaging solutions across commonly used clinical imaging technologies.  
  • Dicerra Safety Systems (IO Flex) is a safety reporting platform for healthcare and aviation professionals.  
  • NORMEX (IO Flex) is a cloud-based software that automates your food safety, quality and health and safety tasks and operations.  
  • Sugar Coated Technologies (IO Flex) develops bio-based additives for greener coatings.  
  • Strategy F Technologies (IO Flex) is an AI-based software for racing strategies. The software leverages AI advancements to provide teams with comprehensive information about race conditions, enabling real-time analysis of strategic options.  
  • inBeat Agency (IO Flex) is a performance-driven influencer agency that helps blend paid media and micro-influencer marketing to create campaigns that can be measured.  

“It was much more than an event, it was a gathering of some of the brightest minds in the industry and I’m beyond thrilled to have been a part of it,” said Tanguy ETOGA, CEO and Founder of NORMEX.  

“This event was an important milestone for NORMEX, paving the way for new opportunities for growth and collaboration. I look forward to future ventures and partnerships that will result from this experience.” 

Benefits for Startups

A group of people participating in the Boston Market Testing Lab listens to a speaker at a reception.

Boston is renowned for its innovation in knowledge-based industries and is a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving as an ideal testing ground for Canadian startups.

The three-day program allowed the participating startups to explore international demand for their solutions, develop an understanding of key market entry criteria and competitors, and refine comprehensive strategic plans for establishing their company abroad.  

Additionally, startups gained insights into cultural differences, the local talent pool, and relevant stakeholders, while also pursuing technology and R&D partnerships, alliances, and commercial opportunities.  

The program emphasizes face-to-face interactions in the local tech industry and underscores the importance of establishing personal relationships.  

With a packed program agenda, the participating startups were busy making connections, listening to speakers, and learning from peers (including many Canadian expats now based in Boston).  

“Participating in the Boston Market Testing Lab was an eye-opening experience for us at DashQ,” explained Jessica Spiegel, Operations Director at DashQ.  

“Not only did it reveal our potential in the Boston scene and provide invaluable networking opportunities with fellow startups, but it also strengthened our team’s bond as we navigated through new challenges together. From insightful pitching tips to discovering how DashQ stands out, this journey showcased our collective strength and readiness to thrive in new markets.” 

The success of the program wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Mitacs and its Entrepreneur International grant program, which provided critical grant funding for the travel arrangements for all participating companies.  

Additionally, the support of the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Consul General to Boston and the New England States, who attended the MTL welcome reception and was pleased to meet with so many startups.  

A special thank you to our collaborators and host, Serban Georgescu, Senior Trade Officer, Canadian Technology Accelerator and Digital Health at the Consulate General of Canada in Boston, and Dina Santos, Consul and Head of the Commercial section at the Canadian consulate in Boston.  

A group participating in the Boston Market Testing Lab seated, listening to a speaker presentation. Serban and Dina were our boots on the ground and ensured the trip was organized and packed with value.  

“It was wonderful to have these entrepreneurs in Boston for the program – exciting technologies, smart teams, good companies which, we are sure, will go very far and reconfirm Canada’s status as a hub of tremendous innovation,” said Georgescu.  

“Overall, a great collaboration with our partners at Invest Ottawa and Institut Inovation Gatineau. The doors to Boston (and the US) are open now!” 

The Market Testing Lab program is a great example of how working together and looking beyond your home borders can accelerate startup growth. For Canadian startups looking to branch out and find opportunities, programs like the Market Testing Lab are a true gold mine on their entrepreneurial paths. 

About IO Venture Path  

The IO Venture Path is a portfolio of Invest Ottawa’s venture programs designed to help Ottawa’s startups and scaleups shorten their path to success. Each program is designed to serve tech companies’ unique needs at different growth stages. Are you a tech company looking to leverage Invest Ottawa’s programs?  

Learn more about the Venture Path programs.



Invest Ottawa
Invest Ottawa, is Ottawa’s leading economic development agency for fostering the advancement of the region's globally competitive knowledge-based institutions and industries. Invest Ottawa delivers its economic development services through a unique partnership with the City of Ottawa, where the City and Invest Ottawa, through its members set the strategy and manage the programs that move Ottawa’s economy forward. Invest Ottawa is a non-profit, partnership organization that operates on an annual budget that comes from a variety of sources including: municipal, federal and provincial government; membership fees; professional development programs; and private sector contributions.

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