AVIN Waterloo Ventures at Communitech

Access up to $50,000 in grant support

Hey, Ontario-based startups and scale-ups!

Are you using HD mapping technologies? If so, apply to access up to $50,000 in grant support with a 1:1.5 match thanks to the Autonomous Vehicle Integration Network (AVIN).

We helped Eye for Infrastructure, we're ready to help you. 

Choose an application category

Successful companies will be awarded:

  • Up to $50,000 to be used towards eligible project costs related to product development, market traction and business scaling. The financial support must be used to:
    • Develop or demonstrate a viable working prototype (product development).
    • Make product or service improvements to generate greater market traction and sales.
  • Time with coaches focused on GIS, spatial analytics, HD mapping, data science, data strategy, and/or data engineering. Additional coaching could include sales, marketing, talent retention and attraction, and more. 
  • Support from experts to overcome project challenges and barriers.
  • Dedicated support from the Communitech Data Concierge program
  • Upon successful completion of the program, Communitech will provide a referral to a demonstration project and/or matchmaking event with corporate partners through the AVIN Demo Zone.

Successful applicants must provide an in-kind match at a ratio of at least 1:1.5 of the amount awarded.

Evaluation

Proposals will be evaluated based on business feasibility, as well as impact on the C/AV ecosystem, contribution to spatial data and HD mapping maturity (firm or ecosystem level) and the innovative application of spatial/HD Map data or HD mapping technology.

Eligibility criteria

  • You are an Ontario-based incorporated startup or scale-up (under 500 employees).
  • You have not received previous financial support through the AVIN Waterloo Ventures at Communitech program.
  • You are currently using or have identified future opportunities to use mapping technology and data driven maps in products or services.
  • You plan to use the program for product development, sourcing first customers and solving real business needs (support is not eligible for use for marketing and/or sales activities).

Apply now

FAQ

General Questions

The OpenHDMaps Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) Ventures program at the Waterloo Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS) supports Ontario based businesses who use high definition (HD) maps and mapping technologies in the development or enhancement of their products or services. Mapping technologies could be directly supporting the connected and autonomous vehicle sector, or supporting other verticals such as transportation, logistics, utilities, infrastructure, internet and media.

Applications may include, but are not limited to:

Connected and autonomous vehicles:

  • Artificial Intelligence for map production
  • Sensor and multiple data source fusion for map production
  • Localization and perception technology
  • Map maintenance/updating and deployment technology
  • Cloud-based storage and processing
  • HD Map usage in C/AV simulation and training
  • C/AV security technology related to HD Map usage

Mapping:

  • Geospatial analytics
  • Map visualization
  • Map usage that improves accessibility
  • Pedestrian navigation
  • Applications of mapping technology in other sectors (e.g., Utilities, infrastructure, fleet management, public transportation, real estate, advertising, etc.)
  • You are an Ontario based (incorporated) start-up or SME (under 500 employees).
  • You have not received a previous Waterloo RTDS AVIN Ventures grant (this is a one-time grant)
  • You currently use or see future opportunities to use mapping technology and data driven maps in products or services.
  • Activities supported through this program include product development, sourcing first customers and solving real business needs.
  • The funding is not eligible for use for marketing and/or sales activities.

The AVIN Waterloo Ventures Program reimburses 33.3% of eligible project costs, upto a maximum of $50,000 to the expenses made. The remainder of 66.7% is an in-kind contribution from the participant. The cash reimbursement to in-kind contribution is a minimum of 1:1.5 for each of the projects. For example, if a company is getting $50000 in funding from the AVIN Ventures program, they have to provide a minimum of $75000 as in-kind contribution.

All eligible expenses need to

  1. be incurred and paid for by the applicant
  2. evidence of that expense needs to be provided
  3. proof of payment is also required

prior to being reimbursed or acknowledged as an in-kind contribution.

Yes, one of our coaches will review it and provide feedback, to make your updates in time for the final submission.

This is optional and you can choose to submit the application without a preliminary review.

This is a one time grant. If you have not received a previous Waterloo RTDS AVIN Ventures grant then you can apply.

Technical Questions

The platform is now live, containing a number of marketplace cards, map visualizations and querying tools. New functionalities are steadily rolling out. 

You can request access to the platform by filling in the following request form where you will need to agree to the following terms of use.  From there you will be able to preview the latest data sets that are available in the Marketplace.  You can then request full access to data sets of interest directly from the platform.

At minimum, you will have access to either the HD vector base map for the Region of Waterloo or a set of streetview imagery for six areas of interest. As part of the HD base map, building footprint, driveway, edge of curb, parking, road, road centerlines, road marking and bike lane vector layers are available for the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. You will also have access to the aerial imagery used to extract those features. See the following link for a sample of the type of data available: https://demo.ecopiatech.com/demo/030/00

Additional datasets cur=rated from Waterloo Region open data sources are also available showing transportation, utility, regulatory, service, obstacles, infrastructure, boundary and environment datasets. 

LiDAR data for 30km^2 of the Waterloo Region is also currently accessible by participants.

As more participants join OpenHDMaps, additional data for the Waterloo region and elsewhere will be added. 

Yes, a number of APIs are available, allowing users to obtain features in a target radius or using feature ID. Additional APIs for uploading, changing, and updating attributes are currently in development. 

These APIs allow users to query raw data for the parts of the Waterloo region that have currently been mapped.

It is a combination of a mapping platform and data marketplace, where users can download, interact with, and upload geospatially enabled datasets. There are a number of analysis functionalities integrated within the platform that allow users to evaluate the data within the system and derive valuable insights.

Data can be uploaded in zipped shapefile or geoTIFF format. You can also share external API and FTP links for end users. Only geoTIFFs and shapefiles will be available for visualization within the platform.

Note that prior to publishing any data on the Marketplace, a Data Contribution agreement will need to be signed.

Shapefiles and geoTIFFs that are uploaded can also be visualized using the platform the Map Browser. Larger data sets can be contributed through FTP and API links.  Additional documents can also be uploaded to the private user Data workspace.

Users do not have the ability to build a web application using the layers hosted in the platform.

Users can upload data into their private workspace on the platform up to 5 GB and work with it immediately. 

Users can also publish the data on the Marketplace, but should contact openhdmaps@communitech.ca first and ensure they have signed the contributors agreement to make sure they understand and agree to how the data on the Marketplace can be used by participants of the OpenHDMaps platform. If they don't have a signed contributors agreement, then OpenHDMaps will remove the card from the Marketplace without notice.

Users can upload files up to 5 GB in size to their private workspace. At this time, users are entitled to 10 GB of free total storage per account. Map files and layers (.exl and .exp) do not count towards this limit.

If users would like to store data greater than these limits, they should reach out to OpenHDMaps.

Financial Questions

Eligible expenses include costs and activities directly related to achieving the objectives for which the funding was granted. All procurement activities must conform to Broader Public Sector Accountability Act (BPSAA).

Actual costs directly attributable to and necessary for the completion of the project and are not wholly or partially for another purpose. One-time costs, directly attributable to implementation of the project; actual cash outlays that must be documented through invoices, receipts, or records - and are subject to verification by an independent auditor. Evidence of payment must be maintained for audit purposes. Costs incurred outside Ontario are ineligible for reimbursement.

Examples of eligible and ineligible expenses can be found here.

For every $1.00 funded (i.e. reimbursed to you), you need to provide $1.50 of in-kind contribution.

Claims forms for reimbursement for eligible expenses need to be submitted by the last day of each month. In order to receive the funds associated with the reimbursement claim, an associated in-kind claim form must also be submitted demonstrating at least 90% the in-kind contribution requirements (e.g. 1:1.5 ratio) is satisfied. Supporting evidence (e.g. timesheets, proof of payment, invoices, etc.) need to accompany each claim and in-kind contribution form in order for the claim to be considered complete. For the final claim, evidence must be provided that the full in-kind contribution requirement is met.

The maximum allowable compensation for a founder is $5,000 per month in-kind contribution (terms and conditions apply), please consult with the Waterloo RTDS AVIN Ventures Program Manager for details.

If a project cost is paid by the participant from a non private sector source (i.e. a source that is not provincially or federally funded) then it is considered an eligible in-kind contribution.

Expenses incurred before the Participant Participation Agreement has been signed are not eligible.

Expenses incurred outside of the Province of Ontario aren't eligible for reimbursement, but can be included as an in-kind contribution.

Only as an in-kind contribution.

Capital items (fixed assets) include equipment, testing tools, and instruments that have residual values as determined by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) at the end of the funding period. The eligible expense items allowed are the cost of utilization/depreciation of capital item (fixed assets) specifically required for the delivery of the eligible project. The prorated cost should be entered under ""Participant Contribution (In-kind)"" in the application milestone table.

Note:

GAAP is a collection of commonly-followed accounting rules and standards for financial reporting. The purpose of GAAP is to ensure that financial reporting is transparent and consistent from one organization to another. Residual Value of an asset, the estimated amount that it will be worth at the end of funding period.

Depreciation is the systematic reduction in the recorded cost of a fixed asset.

Indirect Costs, also called “Overhead”, are those costs which, though necessarily having been incurred during the Work Phase for the conduct of the business in general of the Recipient, cannot be identified and measured as directly applicable to the carrying out of the Project.

Indirect Costs include:

  • indirect materials and supplies (including but not limited to, supplies of low-value, high-usage items which meet the definition of Direct Material Costs but for which it is commercially unreasonable, in the context of the Project, to account for their costs in the manner prescribed for Direct Costs);
  • indirect labour;
  • fringe benefits;
  • public utilities expenses of a general nature including, but not limited to, power, HVAC, lighting, and the operation and maintenance of general assets and facilities;
  • expenses such as property taxes, facilities and office rentals and depreciation costs; and
  • general and administrative expenses including, but not limited to, the remuneration of executive and corporate officers, general office wages and salaries, clerical expenses related to the administration and management of the Project, such as processing claims and reporting, and expenses such as stationery, office supplies, postage and other necessary administration and management expenses.

Indirect (overhead) expenses are considered an ineligible project cost unless otherwise stated.

You will be reimbursed for all the eligible expenses incurred and paid during the project up to the project completion deadline. Any other expenses made before the start date of the project or after the project completion date will not be accepted.

Ownership Questions

Ownership of all intellectual property remains with the participant.

In general, use of the data for participants is limited to research and development activities. The data may not be used as part of a commercial product or service unless terms and conditions between the data provider, data consumer and OpenHDMaps for use of the Data has been negotiated in a separate Data License Agreement.

Other small/medium enterprises (SME) that are participating in the program will have access to the data for R&D purposes at no cost. Large corporate organizations that have partnered with and are contributing to the OpenHDMap project may also be granted access to the data.

Previous cohorts participants

Thanks to our partners

The AVIN Waterloo Ventures Program is offered through the Ontario Centres of Innovation (OCI) RTDS partners: Communitech, University of Waterloo WatCAR and the Waterloo Economic Development Corporation. 

Thanks to the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) for funding the Waterloo Regional Technology Development Site, delivered on behalf of the government of Ontario through Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Mauro Rossi

Have questions?

Mauro Rossi is happy to help.

Director, Advanced Technology Platforms | Email Mauro Rossi or call +1 (519) 888-9944