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NB Company Awarded Startup Visas

Two co-founders of Fredericton-based Ara Labs Security Solutions are the first successful Atlantic Canadian applicants to the Startup Visa Program, the federal government announced last week.

They were also the first successful applicants in the country under the program using the sponsorship of a venture capital fund, New Brunswick Innovation Fund.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander visited Fredericton last week to announce the award for Ehsan Mokhtari and Hadi Shiravi Khozani. The two natives of Iran helped to found the company when they were doing their PhDs in computer science at University of New Brunswick.

The Startup Visa Program grants residency status immigrant entrepreneurs as long as they are sponsored by a Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor organization or business incubator. It is designed to encourage the migration of talented entrepreneurs into the country.

NBIF, which invested $250,000 in Ara Labs earlier this year, sponsored the pair in their application. Though the New Brunswick application is the first from the region to succeed, there are other groups in the region, including Innovacorp, working with applicants in the program.

“As a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship, NBIF is interested in working with entrepreneurs and start-up companies who wish to set up, launch, and operate their innovative businesses in New Brunswick,” said NBIF President and CEO Calvin Milbury in a statement.

Ara Labs has developed a platform for the real-time monitoring of fraudulent behaviour affecting the advertising campaigns of its customers.

The company has raised $500,000 in seed financing, with equal contributions from NBIF and Moncton-based Technology Venture Corp.

Ara’s software-as-a-service product detects, reports and mediates malware and botnet activity across the Internet in real-time. Malware affects more than 95% of the world’s Global 5000 enterprises each year, costing the global economy about $1 trillion. Most viruses, malware and botnets are designed for criminal activities, such as the theft of private information, money and intellectual property.