Announcing the latest graduates from the award-winning Accelerator Program: I Think Security Ltd. & Monstercat Inc.

Waterloo (Ontario), CANADA, September 12, 2013 – World renowned for its cultivation of technology entrepreneurship, Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre announced today that I Think Security Ltd. and Monstercat Inc. are the latest companies to graduate from its award-winning Accelerator Program. The Accelerator Program has graduated 33 companies into the marketplace since its inception in 2005, generating 1000 jobs, and contributing more than $90 million in revenue to the Waterloo Region economy.

Cyber risk is now a top priority for CEOs of enterprises large and small, and a single security breach can lead to millions in lost revenue and reputation damage. I Think Security, founded by cryptologist and security expert Dr. Cédric Jeannot, provides bulletproof security solutions for the enterprise aimed at protecting a company’s most sensitive corporate information. I Think Security’s products for data protection, cloud security and mobile security leverage military-level encryption, yet are easily installed and deployed within even the largest organizations. I Think Security products are in use in more than fifteen countries worldwide.

With singles charting at #1 worldwide on Beatport, albums hitting #1 on iTunes dance charts in over 16 countries, and more than 1 million plays on YouTube, Monstercat is proving to the world that independent labels have the ability to reshape the music industry landscape, while supporting up and coming musicians. The company was founded by University of Waterloo grads, Ari Paunonen and Mike Darlington.

“We continue to be so incredibly proud of our graduates, who continue to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the economy of Waterloo Region. Today’s graduates, I Think Security and Monstercat are literally at opposite ends of the technology spectrum, with one company providing solutions to a highly risk averse enterprise audience, while the other surfaces musical talent within the electronic music scene. Yet both companies excel at what they do, and have a tremendous future ahead of them, thanks to the mentorship, business advice, education and support they have received through the Accelerator Centre’s Accelerator Program,” says Tim Ellis, CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre and Accelerator Program Inc.

About the Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre, located within Waterloo’s David Johnston Research and Technology Park, is a world-renowned, award-winning facility dedicated to developing and commercializing technology start-ups. Through its Accelerator Program, early-stage companies benefit from in-depth business coaching and seamless support services, including access to office facilities, coaching and mentoring, education, connections to capital, networking, R&D support and outreach, talent recruitment, technology transfer assistance, and commercialization expertise, enabling technology start-ups to move to market faster, create jobs and stimulate economic activity.

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AC Graduate Axonify featured at FastCompany.com

“For most customer service reps, helping people choose the best health care plan isn’t a game. But it can be. Some companies have taken to using simple games with cleverly embedded training elements to prepare employees for their jobs. While workers enjoy a little gaming time, their employers get a little training time as well.” Source: Ben Paynter, Fastcompany.com

Click here to see the full article. Visit Axonify online, or read their blog.

AC Graduate Clearpath Robotics named for People's Choice Awards – they need your vote!!

Clearpath Robotics has received honorary status in the
International Business Awards – vote Clearpath today for favorite company

(Kitchener, ON, Canada – September 4, 2013) Clearpath Robotics is in the running for the 2013 People’s Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Companies; a feature in the International Business Awards, which are now in their 10th year. The general public worldwide will vote for their favorite companies until September 18 at http://favoritecompanies.stevieawards.com/default.cfm. To vote for Clearpath Robotics, enter code Y216B or select the category ‘Industrial’.

“This is an incredible recognition for our company and our efforts in product innovation to automate the world’s dullest, deadliest and dirtiest jobs with robots. Robots are going mainstream and this nomination is proof!” said Matt Rendall, Chief Executive Officer at Clearpath Robotics.

Clearpath’s Grizzly Robotic Utility Vehicle was announced the Gold Stevie Award winner in the International Business Awards last month for ‘Best New Product or Service of the Year – Industrial Products & Services’. The win has qualified Clearpath Robotics for the 2013 People’s Choice Stevie Awards for Favorite Companies; in addition, it has brought recognition to Clearpath’s ability to develop state-of-the-art, leading edge robotic vehicles. Grizzly, for instance, is the first of its kind to fuse robotic automation and utility vehicles. Any traditional utility vehicle implement can be attached to Grizzly RUV, making this robot adoptable by mainstream users.

Clearpath Robotics designs and builds unmanned vehicle robotics for research and development. The Company was founded in 2009 and has grown into a multi-million dollar company since, with customers in academic, environmental, industrial, and agricultural industries. World leaders utilize Clearpath’s platforms and services for leading edge research initiatives. Initiatives have spanned from next-generation Mars Rover prototypes to autonomous mining vehicles in harsh environments.

About Clearpath Robotics
Clearpath Robotics, a global leader in unmanned vehicle robotics for research and development, is dedicated to automating the world’s dullest, dirtiest, and deadliest jobs. The Company serves leading researchers in over 30 countries worldwide in academic, corporate and military environments. Recognizing the value of future innovation, Clearpath Robotics established PartnerBot, a grant program to support university robotics research teams, internationally. Clearpath Robotics provides robust solutions that are engineered for performance, designed for customization, and built for open source. Visit Clearpath Robotics at www.clearpathrobotics.com, follow us on Twitter @clearpathrobots or like us on Facebook.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in five programs: The International Business Awards, The American Business Awards, the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

# # #

Contact:
Meghan Hennessey
mhennessey@clearpathrobotics.com
Kitchener, Ontario
N2C 1L3 Canada
Ph: 519-513-2416 x833
www.clearpathrobotics.com

 

Waterloo Accelerator Centre and FedDev Ontario Provide up to $175,000 in JumpStart Funding for Start-Ups in Southern Ontario

Seven companies each awarded $25,000 in funding through pitch competition.

Waterloo Region – August 28, 2013 – The Waterloo Accelerator Centre (AC), a world-renowned, award-winning facility dedicated to developing and commercializing technology start-ups announced today it has handed out $25,000 in JumpStart funding to seven young companies, following a highly competitive pitch competition held at the AC’s Waterloo facility. Twelve finalists pitched their company’s story for 5-minutes each before a panel of expert judges, including Dave Caputo, CEO of Sandvine, Chris Howlett, Technology Mentor at the Waterloo Accelerator Centre, Steve McCartney, VP Startup Services at Communitech, and Tim Ellis, CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre.

The winning companies now receive $25,000 in matching seed funds and the right to participate in the AC’s extensive mentoring program, which provides start-ups with access to experts in marketing and sales, HR, PR/communications, technology, and finance.

The funding is being provided through the JumpStart program, which received an investment of up to $945,000 by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s (FedDev Ontario) Scientists and Engineers in Business initiative.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the Waterloo Accelerator Centre’s JumpStart program,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario. “Our investment in the program is helping the region’s science and technology entrepreneurs develop their business and management skills and launch promising start-up companies. This will help bring innovative ideas to market, creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for our region and all of southern Ontario.”

The seven JumpStart winners are:

  • USB Hub – a company designing the world’s best USB Hub
  • SoundBrush (www.getsoundbrush.com) – a tech-based company that promises to revolutionize the way people create and discover music.
  • TrendyMED (www.trendymed.com)- a medical devices company developing a ground-breaking line of intravenous (IV) infusion products.
  • SciGit (www.scigit.com) – a Waterloo-based company whose collaboration software is used by over a hundred institutions.
  • Concertninja (www.concertninja.com) – a platform for live music fans to crowd fund events in their city. Think KickStarter, but for concerts.
  • Kite (www.runkite.com) – a productivity tool that accelerates building web applications.
  • Milao Language (www.milaolanguage.com) – a Waterloo based educational technology start-up that will radically change the way people learn a new language.

In addition to its $25,000 seed funding, Milao Language’s CEO Camelia Nunez also took home the $1,250 People’s Choice award from the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN). The Accelerator Centre is a member of the CDMN.

This group of seven companies is the third cohort of JumpStart program beneficiaries. The program was launched in June 2013, benefitting from $945,000 in support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (www.feddevontario.gc.ca) through its Scientists and Engineers in Business Program. The third cohort will wrap up at the end of March, 2014.

“For early-stage companies seeking to bring their technologies to market, access to funding and mentorship at this formative stage can be a significant hurdle,” said Tim Ellis, CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre and Accelerator Program Inc. “The JumpStart program addresses both of these challenges for start-ups. It provides essential funding, and through our Accelerator Program, offers these companies access to experts who can provide business guidance and mentorship. ”

“The JumpStart program not only provides us with critical funding at a very vital stage in our company’s growth. It also gave us an opportunity to practice our pitch in front of an audience of our peers and industry experts. We were delighted to be selected as one of the seven companies to enter the JumpStart third cohort, and to bring home the People’s Choice prize for our pitch. It is terrific validation we are on the right path. Thanks FedDev and to the Waterloo Accelerator Centre for providing us with this amazing opportunity,” says Camelia Nunez, CEO Milao Language.

About the Waterloo Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre, located within Waterloo’s David Johnston Research and Technology Park, is a world-renowned, award-winning facility dedicated to developing and commercializing technology start-ups. Through its Accelerator Program, early-stage companies benefit from in-depth business coaching and seamless support services, including access to office facilities, coaching and mentoring, education, connections to capital, networking, R&D support and outreach, talent recruitment, technology transfer assistance, and commercialization expertise, enabling technology start-ups to move to market faster, create jobs and stimulate economic activity. For information visit us on the web at www.acceleratorcentre.com

For more information, contact:

Shane Pegg, Director of Strategic Initiatives
519-342-2400 or spegg@acceleratorcentre.com

Clearpath Robotics Wins Gold Stevie Award® In 2013 International Business Awards

Grizzly RUV Merits “Best New Product or Service of the Year – Industrial Products & Services”

Clearpath Robotics announced that it was named the winner of the Gold Stevie® Award for “Best New Product or Service of the Year – Industrial Products & Services” in the 10th Annual International Business Awards. Clearpath’s new product to be recognized for the Gold Stevie is their most recent robotic platform, Grizzly Robotic Utility Vehicle (RUV). See Exchange Magazine September 2013 Monitor Section

International Business Awards (IBAs) are one of the world’s top premier business award programs. The Stevie Awards, nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word “crowned,” were created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working people worldwide.

More than 3,300 nominations from organizations in over 50 nations and territories were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Most Innovative Company of the Year, Management Team of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others. The Stevie Award winners were selected by more than 250 executives worldwide who participated in the judging process this year.

“The 2013 International Business Awards are noteworthy for featuring the best collection of entries we have ever received,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “The judges have been unanimous in their comments about the quality of achievements, and the expertise with which they were portrayed, in the nominations we received this year. We extend our most heartfelt congratulations to all of this year’s Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners.”

Clearpath Robotics introduced Grizzly RUV in March 2013. The autonomous vehicle is engineered to handle harsh, dangerous environments. With four high-torque motors, rugged 26″ all-terrain tires, class-leading ground clearance, a solid steel chassis, 48V at 400Ah of power, and a base weight of 1450lbs, it is ideal for industrial applications, particularly in agriculture, mining and defense.

“We are honored to be recognized by the International Business Awards and congratulate all of the nominees and fellow honorees for their achievements”, said Matt Rendall, CEO of Clearpath Robotics. “Grizzly Robotic Utility Vehicle is the first of its kind in the industry and the team here at Clearpath is beyond excited for their acknowledged accomplishment – Grizzly would not have come to fruition without the dedicated, awesome team of engineers that stand behind it.”

Details about The International Business Awards and the list of Stevie Award winners are available at http://www.stevieawards.com/pubs/iba/awards/408_2219_24132.cfm. The awards will be presented to winners at a gala awards banquet at the W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain on 14 October 2013.

TitanFile Inc. featured in the media

Staying Secure Online

TitanFile Inc., the developer of a secure collaboration and document-sharing system, has unveiled new features for its product, including the TitanFile Secure Deposit Box, which makes it even easier and safer for clients to receive communications.

Based in Halifax and Kitchener, TitanFile began two years ago as a secure document-sharing platform and launched a new version last autumn that stressed ease of use and flexibility so it could operate seamlessly with other products on any device.  The company is now enhancing that most recent version by adding new features.

The big advance is the Secure Deposit Box, which gives client organizations a web page that serves as an online repository for their files and messages.  Rather than having clients with sensitive, time-critical messages send their correspondence and files as emails, which can end up in a spam folder, the deposit box ensures that all messages end up in a secure place, where they are organized and viewed only by the appropriate people.

What’s more, TitanFile is also introducing a feature that allows people to access files in TitanFile channels (including the deposit box) without registering.  That means TitanFile users can initiate contact with their clients, collaborate and share documents with them, without requiring that they go through the bother of registering.

“The Secure Deposit Box reduces the number of steps (needed to communicate) and makes it easier for our clients to initiate contact with their customers,” CEO Tony Abou-Assaleh said in an interview.  “It was driven by the demand of our clients.”

He added that clients have various requirements in terms of security and often have to apply different levels of security to one document, depending on whom they are sharing it with.  The new TitanFile features allow them to tweak the application easily to suit their needs.

The other features in this release include:

  • Blind Carbon Channel – This lets the TitanFile client see all conversations and files being shared in a specific channel but denies such a privilege to other people accessing the channel.
  • Safe Notification – This allows clients to use TitanFile to send emails that have been stripped of all private content to protect confidential details. This feature helps organizations comply with regulations by keeping sensitive information out of potentially unsecured email accounts.
  • Open Invitation – This function allows the TitanFile client to easily add or remove people from a channel, allowing greater flexibility when collaborating.

Safe Notification and Open Invitation are available to all subscribers, while the other new features are open only to enterprise subscribers.

Co-founded by Abou-Assaleh and Milan Vrekic (now the executive director of co-working space Volta in Halifax), TitanFile raised $250,000 in seed funding from Innovacorp in 2011, and last year raised more than $800,000 from Innovacorp, the First Angel Network and private investors. It also borrowed about $400,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency last year.

Abou-Assaleh said TitanFile will likely raise money again later this year, though it has not set a target yet.

TF Commercial vimeo from Volta on Vimeo.

Kik Raises $19.5M Series B, Bets On Its Cards Platform Play To Take On WhatsApp And Others

Kik has raised a $19.5M Series B funding round, the company revealed today, led by Foundation Capital and including RRE Ventures, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.  The Waterloo-based messaging app company will be using the funding to help continue to support its growth, and the new injection of cash comes at a crucial point for the company as it sets its sights on broader platform ambitions with the recently introduced Cards feature.

I spoke with Kik CEO Ted Livingston about the funding, and asked him specifically about what he thought of WhatsApp’s announcement from last week that it was now larger than Twitter in terms of active monthly users.  Kik, which recently crossed the 50 million user milestone and is adding on new ones at a rate of about 200,000 per day, is far behind WhatsApp in terms of its user base, but Livingston said Kik is much more focused on the long-term goal of what comes next for a messaging app than its most direct competitor.

“There are two sides to it. On one side, they’re massive, they’re killing it, no question they’re bigger than Twitter.  There never was a question in my mind that they’re bigger than Twitter,” he said.  “But when asked about being a platform, [CEO Jan Koum] just completely dismissed it.  He said it wouldn’t be good for WhatsApp’s users, and that the company wants to focus, but also knowing that Kakao has had incredible success doing just that.”

The take on the messaging space that WhatsApp seems to be taking is a little reminiscent of when BlackBerry essentially ignored the iPhone and the launch of the App Store, Livingston says.  Kik, by contrast, seems to be making a larger bet that a model based around turning a messaging app into something more, with the inclusion of its Cards (HTML5 apps within an app which will soon be opened to outside developers), will ultimately lead to a richer experience that results in more lasting long-term growth.

Kik’s choice of investment partners this time around also reflects its larger goals around building a platform and using that to explore monetization options.  Foundation Partners, a new investor for Kik, was chosen precisely based on its strength in those areas, Livingston tells me.

“What’s great about Foundation is that obviously it’s a great firm, and a lot of those involved have been entrepreneurs, and they’ve done like Chegg, Netflix and Pocket,” he said.  “But Anamitra [Banerji] who handled this investment and just became a partner, was employee number 30 at Twitter, first product manager and created and drove all their monetization.  So he’s basically the perfect guy for what we want to do.”

Kik is a growing player in a rich and diverse field, but like WhatsApp and others, the time has come for these companies to emerge and prove they have monetization plans that work, if they aren’t looking for an easy exit.  This funding will help as Kik begins to mature its own platform goals, which so far seem to be catching on with its existing users.

Stratford Accelerator Centre featured in The Beacon Herald

Accelerator Centre puts pedal to the metal

True to its name, the new Stratford Accelerator Centre is off to a quick start.

Even before it had officially launched at its downtown home, the centre – which is an offsboot of the successful Waterloo Accelerator Centre – already received 10 applications for its award-winning program that mentors, supports and cultivates early stage technology and digital media companies.

And even before holding a formal grand opening, it already has seven clients on board here.

Shane Pegg, the centre’s direction of strategic initiatives, introduced a few of them at a recent Avonova meeting at the University of Waterloo Stratford campus, and offered an overview of just what will be happening at 6 Wellington St.

“Our mission with the Accelerator Centre is to work with the community to help accelerate early-stage companies, to help them move from concept to commercialization,” said Pegg.

For their monthly rent, clients accepted into the program get much more than just a desk, a phone line and the use of the photocopy machine.

They have access to mentors and advisors, as well as a team of business professionals than can help them navigate things like grant applications, financing, sales, marketing and human resources.

What’s offered is “all the different aspects from an entrepreneur toolkit that you need to help move you from the point you’re at to point of launch and beyond,” said Pegg.

Dan Heitbohmer is looking beyond.

He’s among the initial group of clients at the centre hoping to accelerate his business, BuildCircle, which provides cloudbase software services for contractors to help streamline their communications with subtrades, and improve the bidding process.

“The mentorship there is just fantastic,” said Heitbohmer, suggesting that the professional guidance and networking opportunities offered through the centre are invaluable to a young business.

MotoRegistry, which provides management software for the motor sport industry, is also hoping to capitalize on those local resources.

Founder and CEO James Emmerich said the Stratford Accelerator Centre is just what are startups need.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity for small business, or just people with ideas to have someone that can help them grown that idea into a full-fledged business,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be a huge benefit for Stratford.” Emmrich is not the only entrepreneur at the Accelerator Centre revving the engine of a motorsport-related business.

Myles Bartholomew, a Global Business and Digital Arts student at the university, is working on MXM Nation, which provides online resources to help connect amateur motorcross racers with sponsorship opportunities.

A fellow local learner a the Stratford campus, Master of Digital Experience Innovation (MDEI) student Don Wright, has teamed up with Anne Dixon and Stratford digital media strategist Bob Telfer on an initiative called Empatico.

The early-stage company commercializing software, based on Wright’s extensive work in behavioural science that focuses on interpersonal conflicts, and how to improve dynamics between groups of people.

And another software company at the centre is exploring the business model for a one-stop site that categorizes, curates and promotes local news, events and offerings, serving them up online through social media.

Pegg said the first crop of client companies at 6 Wellington St. embody the strong entrepreneurial spirit the Accelerator Program wants to nurture.

Along with the main Accelerator Centre in Waterloo, and the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, Stratford will be part of a “core” that helps to incubate up-and-coming technology and digital media companies in the region.

Pegg said he sees the centre working in partnership not only with the University of Waterloo Stratford campus, but with others in the city committed to supporting and enhancing the local business ecosystem.

“It is about building community,” said Pegg.  “That’s why we’re here.”

mike.beitz@sunmedia.ca

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