Business Bulletins News

IW Business Bulletin – September 16, 2022

Prince Albert Photocopier Ltd. acquired by majority Indigenous-owned investment company, Optek Solutions LP. Photo by Optek.

Andgo closes $5.6 million Series A round

Andgo Systems, a Saskatoon-based workflow automation tech company, announced on Sept. 13 it has raised $5.6 Million CAD in Series A funding. The round was co-led by Toronto’s First Ascent Ventures and Waterline Ventures, based in Boston.

“This funding will help Andgo address the far-reaching shift filling challenges that organizations are facing,” said Tom Ross, Andgo co-founder and CEO. “Andgo is positioned as the category leader in driving intelligent shift fill automation in complex industries with unique staffing challenges, such as healthcare and manufacturing. We focus significant effort on providing flexible tools to make the lives of nurses and other frontline employees easier.”

Andgo provides solutions for shift filling, including managing employee absences, filling vacant shifts and handling vacation requests for organizations with complex shift management needs.

“Andgo is changing the game for how large organizations can tackle very complex workforce scheduling challenges,” said Tony van Marken, managing partner, First Ascent Ventures. “Our investment in Andgo reflects our belief in the tremendous market potential for their technology and management’s ability to execute on their vision. Andgo has demonstrated an ability to deliver value to the most demanding companies on a consistent basis, which is exemplified by their 100 per cent customer retention rate. We are very excited to partner with Andgo and welcome them to the First Ascent portfolio.”

The company has seen significant growth in North America in healthcare organizations, and will use the funds to meet demand and grow the Andgo team.

“We are excited to support Andgo as they continue to scale their disruptive solutions, particularly in healthcare,” said Robbie Greenglass, Waterline Ventures Managing Partner. “With workforce trends affecting employee availability and satisfaction, healthcare organizations need to innovate in order to thrive. Andgo is well positioned to deliver on helping organizations with this transformation.”

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan names new executive director

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) announced on Sept. 15 that Dion McGrath will join the organization as executive director effective September 19.

“One of the factors that attracted me to this role with APAS is how it has evolved and grown to be a leader in identifying policy solutions for the success of the ag community,” McGrath said. “Looking at the variety of
ssues that APAS has advocated on behalf of producers, they have shown time and again to be an effective voice for ag producers and that is a great environment to be part of.”

McGrath previously worked at Southeast College as CEO, and at positions in the public sector. McGrath succeeds Duane Haave at APAS. Haave retired from APAS in August.

“We think Dion’s wealth of experience will make him a great fit for our organization,” said APAS president Ian Boxall. “I look forward to working with him on a variety of policy topics in the coming years.”

AGT Food collaborates on yellow peas

AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. (AGT) has partnered with Equinom to develop and commercialize ingredients from Equinom’s ultra-high protein yellow pea varieties. The agreement will see the companies develop new plant-based food ingredients with Equinom’s proprietary Manna™ technology platform. The technology will provide AGT with ultra-high protein yellow peas for pulse fractionation, processing, production and marketing.

“To meet the growing global demand for better plant-based foods, we need more innovative, sustainably-produced ingredients that deliver on food functionality and fulfill the demand from both consumers and food companies for high-quality, plant-based protein products that are good for the environment,” said Murad Al-Katib, AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. president and CEO. “We believe that this partnership with Equinom compliments the significant process engineering work that AGT has developed for producing plant-based protein products. This partnership will bring a new approach combining Equinom’s advanced breeding technology and expertise with AGT’s ability to make quality ingredients and food products.”

The agreement will see AGT market and sell the co-branded ingredients to food companies in its existing and new customers.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with AGT and leverage their breadth of know-how and expertise in pulses and grain processing, production and marketing of ingredients,” said Rick Mignella, Equinom’s chief business development officer. “We prioritize partnership at every level of the supply chain and view this collaboration with AGT – a like-minded, purpose-driven innovator in the ingredient space – as central to facilitating the widespread adoption of plant-forward eating that is so critical to improving the health of our growing population and our planet.”

Optek Solutions acquires Prince Albert Photocopier

Prince Albert Photocopier (PAP) has been acquired by Optek Solutions LP (Optek), a Saskatoon-based IT firm.

PAP, a Ricoh Canada dealer is a market leader in the Prince Albert area, offers IT solutions in the region. It will now join Optek, which provides IT solutions and support for organizations throughout Saskatchewan. Optek was originally launched in 2021 by Athabasca Basin Development, Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies and Kevin Aebig, Optek’s CEO. In June 2022, Kitsaki Management joined Optek’s management in order to acquire PAP.

“As a group, we are very excited to work together to acquire PAP and build on the excellent foundation established nearly 30 years ago by Dan Fenton and Carolyn Fenton,” said Geoff Gay, Athabasca Basin Development’s CEO. “As investors, when we looked at PAP, we all saw a successful, established business and we look forward to supporting the company as it continues to provide excellent service to their customers.”

Dan Fenton will assist in the transition, and once complete, Aebig will head Optek and PAP. “Athabasca Basin Development, Kitsaki Management, and Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies are three very successful Indigenous-owned investment groups based here in Saskatchewan that collectively own over 35 businesses, including an IT Services company whose leader has decades of experience in IT,” said Fenton. “Carolyn and I felt this was the right group to take good care of the company and help take it to the next level.”

Optek is owned by Athabasca Basin Development, Peter Ballantyne Group of Companies, Kitsaki Management and Aebig Investments.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for everyone,” said Aebig. “PAP is a solid, established business with a strong track record of providing service to a huge geographical area. PAP is a growing company in a growing sector and the focus for all of us is in taking care of customers and employees and continuing the spirit of the legacy that was established. I look forward to working with Dan and the employees to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.”

Helium Evolution hires CFO

Calgary-based Helium Evolution Inc. (HEVI) announced Sept. 12 that Kristi Kunec has been appointed as chief financial officer, effective immediately.

Kunec previously worked for Kanata Clean Power & Climate Technologies Corp. and Pine Cliff Energy Ltd. She is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and earned her CPA, CA designation in 2006.

“As a relatively new entrant to the capital markets following our TSXV listing in March, I am very pleased to welcome Kristi to the HEVI management team and to work alongside a financial executive of her calibre,” said Greg Robb, president & CEO atHEVI. “We look forward to leveraging Kristi’s extensive expertise in financial reporting, strategic planning and corporate finance as we continue to develop and prove up our sizeable land base, and advance our goal of achieving commercial production of helium in the next 12 to 24 months.”

Saskatoon’s GFG Resources appoints new VP

GFG Resources Inc. has named Natalie Pietrzak-Renaud as vice president, exploration effective September 12, 2022 She will lead GFG’s exploration programs at its Timmins, Ont. gold projects.

Pietrzak-Renaud is a long-time professional geologist with over 20 years experience in exploration.

“We are pleased to welcome Natalie to the GFG team, to our leadership team,” stated Brian Skanderbeg, President and CEO. “Natalie’s significant experience and expertise in greenfield targeting and exploration will add considerable value to our efforts to uncover the significant geological opportunity in our Timmins gold portfolio.”

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