Guelph-based Pollinate Networks Inc. secures major investments to scale up


May 31, 2022

GUELPH — BDC Tech Lending Group has recently provided a significant investment of more than half a million dollars in funding to Pollinate Networks Inc., to accelerate development of its platform-based mentoring software and algorithm. Adding to the growth momentum of this Guelph, Ontario-based HR software firm, the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) has delivered additional funding to ensure the Pollinate Platform site will be fully responsive to the needs of users with unique accessibility requirements.

From its inception in 2008, Pollinate has embodied a passion for the power of networking through effective knowledge transfer, and the difference it can make when mentoring is properly implemented. Co-founded by former MBA classmates Christy Pettit (CEO) and Giovanni Salas, PhD (CTO), the company has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to its software offerings.

After decades of work in the field, Pettit and Salas arrived at the crucial understanding that mentoring – and especially the proper matching of mentor and mentee – are the real difference makers in the Human Resources sphere. According to CEO Pettit, “When we started this business, we knew that the best matches would come from understanding the learning and collaboration style of the person. After searching extensively, we couldn’t find an existing tool we could adapt that compared collaboration styles and enabled algorithmic matches, so we created one. That psychometric tool is called the Knowledge Transfer Index and it serves as the foundation of our matching software.”

The matching software in question is a best-in-class matching algorithm called Cross-Pollinate AI™. It improves the outcome for mentoring and knowledge transfer programs, resulting in an increase in productivity for individuals who are looking to work together collaboratively. Pettit describes it this way:

“The software offers a way to match people into pairs, triads, or groups – often called cohorts – in a way that we can predict their likelihood to succeed as a team or a pair, particularly around knowledge sharing. This is important because people feel extremely disconnected right now. Cross-Pollinate AI™ is a way to make sure that people are connected in the organization, the network, or the ecosystem for the right reasons, and doing so in a bespoke process.”

The process is working very well for Pollinate’s clients so far, across the globe and a variety of sectors. BDC Tech Lending is now advancing funds for further development of the Pollinate software platform. The loan’s flexible terms are tied to the continued success of the company as it continues to grow. Senior Account Manager Mallory McKewen of BDC explains:

“Pollinate has a very strong team, led by a resilient woman entrepreneur. They know their market well from having provided consulting services for many years, and this pivot to the software product is an excellent next step for the business. There’s an ability to scale, and contribute meaningfully to the local and Canadian economy.”

Pettit and Salas are grateful for the faith BDC has shown in their vision over the years. “BDC has been a long-time supporter of Pollinate’s vision to build mentoring programs for organizations that value human connectivity,” Pettit explains. “This funding will help Pollinate continue its mission to improve mentoring programs by ensuring that its Cross-Pollinate AI™ matching algorithm remains the most advanced matching algorithm in the industry.”

This major show of financial support for the company is bolstered by an additional $80,000 in funding from the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, through its AIE Incubator Fund.

“Innovative solutions can help to ensure access and provide meaningful employment to people with disabilities, who are historically limited in their opportunities to access employment,” says Jamie Burton of the CCRW. “Pollinate identified an accessibility gap that directly impacts the participation of persons with disabilities in employment, specifically mentoring dynamics. Pollinate will demonstrate true inclusion through the promotion of diverse top talent and marketing of inclusive workplace cultures, spaces, and services. We are working together to broaden understanding of accessibility, learn what is possible, and remove barriers to ensure equitable participation in the workplace.”

Pollinate Networks Inc. is a Canadian Tech Success story that shows how the world of human resources is changing, and how the use of technology that makes learning, collaborating, and working together in mentorship more accessible for all.


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About Pollinate Networks Inc.

Founded in 2008, Pollinate Networks is the brainchild of CEO Christy Pettit, MBA and her business partner, CTO Giovanni Salas, PhD. Started as a consulting business over 15 years ago, the company re-focused and developed a revolutionary matching algorithm called Cross-Pollinate AI™ that is supported by a client-focused mentoring platform. Cross-Pollinate AI™ is the most effective matching algorithm in the mentoring landscape. Both Pettit and Salas have a true passion for the power of networking through effective knowledge transfer and the difference it can make when mentoring is properly implemented. Visit


About BDC Capital

BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. BDC Capital serves as a strategic partner to the country’s most innovative firms. It offers businesses a full spectrum of capital, from seed investments to growth equity, supporting Canadian entrepreneurs who have the ambition to stand out on the world stage. Visit


About Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

CCRW is a not-for-profit organization focused on promoting and supporting meaningful and equitable employment of people with disabilities. As innovators and agents of change, CCRW builds partnerships, develops skills, shares knowledge, and influences attitudes towards increasing the capacity of persons with disabilities to seek and retain equitable and meaningful participation in society. Visit


For more information contact:

Cindy Collins



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