St. John's tech company Mysa raises $6.2M for expansion efforts
Money coming from private investors and BDC Capital program
Although 2020 has been challenging for St. John's tech company Mysa, the company says it has moved past problems caused by COVID-19 and is announcing $6.2 million in new investment.
The cash comes from two sources: $3.2 million from existing investors, and the other $3 million from a Business Development Bank of Canada program meant to help businesses affected by COVID-19.
Mysa, which makes smart thermostats, felt the effects of the pandemic earlier than most, says co-founder and CEO Josh Green. While the company employs 70 people in St. John's, Green said, its raw components and manufacturing involve China.
"We actually saw the impacts of this earlier, back in January and February, with delays and uncertainty in terms of inventory and supply chain," he told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show on Thursday.
"That's in a much better place, although there's still some uncertainty there."
COVID-19 not only threw Mysa's manufacturing into disarray, but also their fundraising efforts, which Green said involved pitching to deep wallets from Silicon Valley to New York City.
"They loved the company; however, as soon as COVID hit, just the uncertainty really froze their investments. So that was a real challenge," he said.
When BDC announced its COVID-19 program, which matches other investors' donations, Green said it was the "perfect opportunity to help."
Some of Mysa's initial investors who helped the company start production in 2017, such as Venture NL and Killick Capital, kicked in the $3.2 million that BDC matched.
"They've seen our journey the whole time through.… Even though there may be uncertainty, they feel they are placing their bets on the business fundamentals," he said.
Clean technology companies like Mysa — which produces two types of smart thermostats that control electric heating, and is carbon-neutral-certified — are an attractive area for investors, and one Green says will be key to the economic recovery from the pandemic.
"With this funding, we're going to be expanding into new types of product categories, for different types of heating and cooling systems, which is really interesting," he said, adding some of the money will also go toward sales and marketing.
Green said company sales are now around the 100,000 mark and have shipped across Canada and the U.S. Amid that growth, Green says the company has no plans to leave St. John's, and as it continues to grow, he added, finding the right talent close to home is one of their easier hurdles.
"We have had fantastic experience finding all of the skilled workers that we need here in Newfoundland and Labrador," he said.
"The oil and gas sector has created this wealthy of amazingly talented people, and so many of that skill set is directly transferrable over to tech companies."
With files from The St. John's Morning Show