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Fast-growing AI startup lands $16.3 million in funding

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A startup company that was co-founded by Waterloo Engineering alumnus Mike Matta has raised $16.3 million to continue growing and developing its business intelligence and surveillance video software.

Solink, one of the fastest-growing companies in Ottawa, synchronizes security video footage with information on sales transactions and analyzes the combined data using artificial intelligence (AI) to give retail business owners insight into their operations.

Its software monitors for unusual activity and issues alerts, with clients using it for everything from daily inventory auditing to uncovering transaction scams and catching shoplifters.

“Business intelligence (BI) is powerful,” Matta, the chief executive officer, said in a news release this week. “But when we integrate video as a layer of information, we disrupt the traditional concept of BI. We add truth and context that can make the difference between a poor or an informed decision.”

Backers 'immediately saw value'

The funding was led by Chicago-based Valor Equity Partners, owner of restaurants that use the Solink software and an early backer of Tesla and SpaceX.

“We began our relationship as customers through a portfolio company, and immediately saw value in the Solink platform,” said Jon Shulkin, a partner at Valor. “Their commitment to innovation and customer experience is a big part of what compelled us to invest in the company.”

Also involved in the funding round are Generation Ventures, ScaleUp and the Business Development Bank of Canada’s IT Venture fund.

Solink’s system is used at 2,500 quick-service restaurants – including Tim Hortons, Chick-fil-A and Five Guys - and consumer loan branches, primarily in the United States.

Matta, who earned an electrical engineering degree from Waterloo in 2007, has said he hopes to expand the company’s workforce from 60 to 100 employees by the end of the year.

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