Ottawa’s Advanced Symbolics picked for Lazaridis ScaleUp Program

Erin Kelly
Advanced Symbolics CEO Erin Kelly. File photo.

An Ottawa-based artificial intelligence company is among 10 women-led businesses selected to participate in the fourth cohort of the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program.

The program, run out of the University of Laurier, supports Canadian companies in their drive to become global powerhouses. In addition to the standard qualifications such as showing initial market traction with a minimum of $1 million in annual revenues, all of the 10 companies chosen for this year’s cohort are led by women.

“The gender gap in tech amounts to a lost opportunity,” Kim Morouney, managing director of the Lazaridis Institute, said in a statement. “The Lazaridis Institute intends to be part of the solution.”

This year’s group includes Ottawa’s Advanced Symbolics, an AI company that uses sentiment analysis to track social media postings and public attitudes. Its tool, dubbed Polly, has been lauded as a disruptor of traditional polling methods – it was closer than most pundits to accurately predicting the outcome of United States’ 2016 presidential election – and is being used to track worrisome posts that could be precursors to suicide attempts.

Over the next six months, Advanced Symbolics will take part in a series of workshops in cities across North America, tapping into the Lazaridis Institute’s network of mentors and business development professionals.

Chief executive Erin Kelly said in a statement that her team was honoured to be selected for the program, which she believes will be key to the firm’s successful global expansion.

The Better Software Co., which participated in the program’s inaugural cohort back in 2016, is the only other Ottawa-based company to have gone through the Lazaridis program.