$600,000 in funding through Canada’s largest early stage neurotechnology venture award

The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) is pleased to announce $600,000 in funding to the 2023 NERVE cohort, a group of six entrepreneurs funded through Canada’s single largest award for early stage neurotechnology companies.

The Neurotech Entrepreneurship to Validate Emerging Innovations (NERVE) program provides $100,000 to awarded Canadian-based entrepreneurs, in addition to 12 months of training opportunities, one-on-one mentorship, and support in order to help kick-start and grow their neurotech ventures. 2023 marks the second year that OBI’s long-running entrepreneurship program has been offered to applicants from across the country.

The six newest NERVE entrepreneurs, who participated in a virtual pitch competition earlier this summer, are:

  • Sadegh Raeisi of Foqus (Toronto, ON), software that integrates with MRI equipment to reduce scan time without sacrificing image quality;
  • Bronwyn Bridges of PragmaClin (St. John’s, NL), a digital tool that assesses Parkinson’s Disease progression using depth cameras for motor data capture and surveys for patient-reported data;
  • Karina Gasbarrino of Sonaro (Montreal, QC), Vaso3D software that provides an artificial intelligence-based solution to speed up atherosclerotic plaque diagnosis and stroke prediction;
  • Michelle Lehman of Think Self-Management (Dartmouth, NS), a unique digital platform to provide healthcare professionals with evidence-based, self-management tools to improve the lives of people living with chronic conditions;
  • Tony Ingram of Axem Neurotechnology (Dartmouth, NS), a remote rehabilitation program supporting stroke recovery that is personalized using an innovative at-home neuroimaging system; and
  • Sakeena Mihar of Savyn (Toronto, ON), a digital neuropsychiatry therapy platform with the ability to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression symptoms.


“The Ontario Brain Institute has great confidence in this group of emerging neurotechnology experts. These six outstanding innovators and their companies join OBI’s growing portfolio of brain health solutions, which features a spectrum of technologies from medical devices to therapeutics and software. These products and services support the treatment, care, and diagnoses of neurological conditions such as dementia, depression and brain injury, and serve to improve the lives of those impacted by brain disorders.”

- Dr. Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Brain Institute

“As Ontario continues to invest in research and innovation across the province, it is extraordinary to see such ground-breaking products and services coming out of the province’s academic sector that are improving the brain health of Ontarians and Canadians. Our government applauds OBI’s efforts to drive collaboration among researchers and innovators to transform the way in which we study, diagnose and treat brain disorders and chronic conditions impacting our loved ones, such as Parkinson’s Disease, depression and stroke.”

- Jill Dunlop, Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities

“As we continue to grow Ontario’s life sciences sector, we’re excited to welcome new companies with fresh ideas. The Ontario Brain Institute’s support and nurturing of the neurotechnology cluster has helped position Ontario as a leader in the development of brain health solutions. Congratulations to the six new NERVE entrepreneurs.”

- Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

Since its inception, OBI has provided over $4 million in entrepreneurship funding, supported 78 entrepreneurs, and helped deliver more than 26 products to market. Moreover, previously funded entrepreneurs have secured $154 million in follow-on investments and created 235 full-time equivalents.

Learn more about NERVE