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DMZ and GroundBreak Ventures join forces to tackle Canada’s housing crisis, by scaling innovative solutions for faster community and market housing delivery

Press Release

TORONTO, June 17, 2024 – At the forefront of addressing Canada’s urgent housing crisis, world-leading tech incubator DMZ, in partnership with GroundBreak Ventures, will support eight innovators with access to expert-led mentorship, business coaching, peer-to-peer support and networking opportunities to scale their solutions and transform the way Canada delivers housing.

Today, the national housing crisis presents one of Canada’s most significant social and economic challenges that extends beyond just major cities. By harnessing the expertise and resources of the innovation economy, new approaches to housing development can be rapidly scaled and implemented across the country. Designed to revolutionize Canada’s housing production capabilities, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Housing Supply Challenge is a 5-year program launched in 2020 that reduces barriers to housing supply by developing and scaling housing solutions.

As a designated Scaling Hub for the initiative, DMZ, in partnership with GroundBreak Ventures, will support eight of the 18 Level-Up semi-finalists selected for the program, including Indigenous and French-operated businesses. The eight semi-finalists supported by DMZ and GroundBreak Ventures include:

  • Association des groupes de ressources techniques du Québec (AGRTQ): An expert hub designed to assist community housing providers in optimizing their funding strategies using innovative financing approaches and industry expertise.
  • Innovation Building Group: An open-access library featuring high-performance, low-cost multi-unit residential designs ready for blueprint use across Canada.
  • One Bowl: An Indigenous-owned and led social enterprise focused on building homes and healthy, sustainable communities with First Nations by using innovations in timber construction and a social enterprise framework.
  • Promise Robotics: A ready-to-deploy homebuilding robotic factory as a service capable of autonomous and rapid production of timber-based low-rise buildings.
  • Tapestry Community Capital: A platform and project consulting group that helps community housing providers in raising low-cost capital through community bonds.
  • Student Housing Implementation Work Unit (UTILE): Facilitates the large-scale adoption of modular construction, focusing on student housing as a consistent, high-volume end product.
  • Ratio.City, a division of Esri Canada: A web-based platform designed to give real estate developers, urban planners, and all developers access to shared data on development potential, precedence, process and compliance to speed up the application and approval process for new construction.
  • Vancity Community Foundation: A Vancity Affordable Housing Accelerator Program which provides access to capital to community housing projects for early-stage planning and pre-development costs.

More information on the other ten semi-finalists participating in the CMHC Level-Up competition can be found here.

“Together, we’re accelerating the deployment of cutting-edge housing technologies and championing a sustainable and inclusive approach to urban development”, explained Sherif El Tawil, Senior Director of Programs and Global Operations at DMZ. “The innovation economy is pivotal in addressing Canada’s housing crisis, driving innovative solutions that streamline building processes and significantly reduce costs. The housing crisis in Canada needs to be a collaborative approach, and we’re committed to making safe, sustainable housing accessible to all Canadians.”

While today marks the official announcement of DMZ and GroundBreak Ventures’ partnership as part of the CMHC Level-Up competition, the two organizations have been working together since 2022. The two organizations initially teamed up to help Canadian startups transform the global real estate landscape by launching the PropTech Incubator stream within DMZ’s flagship Incubator program.

“Issues surrounding housing affordability and sustainability are top-of-mind for virtually all Canadians,” said Scott Kaplanis, Managing Partner at GroundBreak Ventures. “It is our unwavering belief that a commitment to investing in – and embracing – homegrown technology and innovation is crucial to unlocking the productive capacity of our incredible real estate industry.”

Other Scaling Hubs supporting semi-finalists in the program include Foresight Canada, The Decision Lab, Highline Beta, and the University of Toronto’s School of Cities. Each contributes uniquely to the overarching goal of transforming the housing landscape with CMHC’s support.

For more information on CMHC’s Level-Up housing supply challenge, head to the program webpage.

About GroundBreak Ventures
GroundBreak Ventures™ is a venture capital firm specializing in real estate and property technology. It invests as early as the pre-seed stage and provides both the capital and the domain expertise necessary to support the growth of our entrepreneurs, and the businesses they work tirelessly to build.

The firm is based in Toronto and supported by Hopewell®, a multifaceted real estate organization with operations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Arizona. Over its nearly 40- year history, Hopewell® has built extensive industry networks and deep expertise in residential and commercial development, homebuilding, property management and logistics. The company has embraced innovation; a willingness to adopt new technology is a key differentiator in its approach to business.

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