Two entrepeneurs working on the main floor of the Digital Media Zone. FILE Photo

Movin’ on up in 2014

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By Andrea Vacl

The Digital Media Zone (DMZ) had a landmark year in 2013, achieving its largest enrollment of 48 new startups. As of 2014, funding for current participants and alumni totalled $24.5 million.

500px (a high-quality photography platform) raised $8.8 million in seed funding, the highest of any startup. The company also partnered with Bing and hired 30 new employees. Other former startups from the DMZ also raised considerable investments.

Kira Talent, an innovative interview platform, raised $2 million; Greengage Mobile Inc., a platform that helps organizations reach sustainability goals through mobile communication, raised $1 million and Figure 1, a medical imaging reference app, raised $2 million.

Since the DMZ opened in 2010, its 123 startups have created more than 900 jobs. For example, former DMZ startup SoapBox hired five new employees.

“The DMZ is helping more and more companies achieve a level where they can compete on a global scale and attract high-level investment,” Alex Baker, a partner at the venture capital firm Relay Ventures, said in a recent news release.

“Being surrounded with other entrepreneurs [who] were facing similar challenges and learning from them was extremely valuable,” Lindsey Goodchild, the CEO and cofounder of Greengage Mobile Inc., said.

Valerie Fox, the executive director at the DMZ, said in a press release that the DMZ will focus on corporate partnerships, relationships with other incubators, international outreach and new specific Ryerson zones ranging from fashion to food in the next year.

“Altogether, this means a richer, more developed entrepreneurial ecosystem that will help create greater economic and social impact for Toronto, Ont. and Canada,” Fox said.

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