ORIGINAL ARTICLE theforge.mcmaster.ca April 27, 2021
On April 27, Heirlume, the first AI-powered self-serve online trademark search and registration platform, announced the close of its 70% oversubscribed $1.7M seed round with participation from Backbone Angels, Future Capital, Angels of Many, MaRS IAF, and angel investors, including KOHO Financial founder Daniel Eberhard; Daniel Debow; Sid Lee Executive Chairman Bertrand Cesvet; Create and Cultivate founder, Jaclyn Johnson. Heirlume, The Forge alumnus, will use the investment to fund Heirlume’s launch into the U.S. market and the implementation of key strategic partnerships.
Read the full press release below by Heirlume published on April 27, 2021
Women-led Heirlume Raises $1.7M in Seed Funding to Disrupt the Trademarking Process
AI-powered online trademarking platform will serve strong demand in U.S. market
TORONTO (April 27, 2021) — Heirlume, the first AI-powered self-serve online trademark search and registration platform, today announced the close of its 70% oversubscribed $1.7M seed round with participation from Backbone Angels, Future Capital, Angels of Many, MaRS IAF, and angel investors, including KOHO Financial founder Daniel Eberhard; Daniel Debow; Sid Lee Executive Chairman Bertrand Cesvet; Create and Cultivate founder, Jaclyn Johnson.
The investment will fund Heirlume’s launch into the U.S. market and the implementation of key strategic partnerships.
AI enables flawlessly compliant trademark applications
Heirlume’s artificial intelligence platform ensures thoroughly searched trademarks and flawlessly compliant trademark applications, something that even top-drawer firms often fail to deliver but that well-engineered and rigorously tested machine learning can do at scale, around the clock.
“Up to 85% of small businesses experience trademark infringement, and more than half of them are forced to close or rebrand. It’s heartbreaking for us as practitioners because we know how preventable it is,” says CEO and Toronto-based IP lawyer Julie MacDonell. “We believe all business owners should be able to secure trademark protection as easily as registering a domain name and as affordably as a trip to the ballpark. Now they can.”
Market demand, female founders attract diverse investors
Applications for new businesses are rising at the fastest rate since 2007 in the U.S. and Canada, and MacDonell is betting that most SMBs would register trademarks if they could more easily afford to do so. That market potential, along with the company’s explicitly diverse team, caught the attention of investors.
Heirlume is the first investment from both Future Capital and the recently announced Backbone Angels collective, which exist to close the funding gap.
“Apart from the capital requirements for participating in early-stage financing rounds, the biggest barrier for new investors is access to great investment opportunities,” comments Marlon Thompson, founder & CEO of Future Capital. “Additionally, more and more founders, lead investors and VCs are prioritizing diversity as they raise and deploy capital. We believe our approach is a model to bridge the gap between diverse investors and great companies like Heirlume.”
Backbone Angels Founding Partner and Shopify VP, Assistant General Counsel, Erin Zipes adds, “For Backbone to achieve its mission of elevating the economic position of women and non-binary founders, we need to be filtering for scalable companies poised for very high growth.”
Co-founded in late 2019 by Julie MacDonell; Sarah Ruest, who serves as CTO; and Dave MacDonell, Heirlume aspires to be the largest Canadian tech company with a majority female-identifying tech team. The founders are equally committed to reflecting diversity at every level of the company, from staff to board positions to cap table. A full 65% of the investors on Heirlume’s cap table identify as women or underrepresented investors.
“In the wake of social movements including MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Stop Asian Hate, and equal rights for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and with Covid widening economic inequality, corporations have an immense role to play,” says CTO Sarah Ruest. “At Heirlume, it’s our belief that we have a responsibility to be the change. If the next 10 unicorns reflect our diverse society, we could begin to see a culture shift.”
With this seed round, Heirlume now has the capital and top-tier advisory needed to democratize the trademarking process, while expanding representation for diverse women founders.
W Fund, Mistral Ventures, Innovation Grade Ventures and Fastbreak Ventures also participated in the round.
Learn more at Heirlumeco.com.