Accelerator Centre Client Plasticity: "Why don't more Canadians attend South by Southwest?"

By: Jennifer Moss
Source: Globe and Mail

Plasticity

“Where are all my fellow Canadians?” It’s a question I asked myself as I wandered the trade show floor; as I collided with entrepreneurs from around the world, as I listened to a keynote by Edward Snowden, and attended a session comparing UX design to fly-fishing.

I couldn’t understand why more Canadians didn’t attend or speak at South by Southwest, (SXSW) arguably one of the world’s most important interactive festivals.

When my partner Jim Moss, co-founder and CEO of Plasticity, announced that we would be speaking at SXSW for the third time, we received an onslaught of responses on Facebook. Many people wondered how we managed to land such an opportunity. When I asked startups why they weren’t attending, the two biggest reasons were the cost of attending and the difficulty of being accepted.

I agree. SX is expensive. Flights cost a ridiculous amount and the gouging doesn’t end there: festival passes and accommodations are also pricey, especially in the city core. However, booking months ahead can reduce costs, and this year, an extended shuttle service made it cheaper to get in and out of the conference. As a budget-conscious startup, we took advantage of this new mode of transport and opted to stay on the outskirts of the city.

It also isn’t easy to get accepted as a speaker. In fact, it’s actually incredibly difficult. You have to apply a year out and be ready to deliver a story that is impactful, innovative, thought-provoking and valuable. Oh, and you also compete against 3,600 others, with the understanding that fewer than 10 per cent of applicants will make the cut.

Read the rest of Jennifer’s post – including her guiding principles for the application process – on the globeandmail.com.

Accelerator Centre Client TitanFile offers advice to those tackling the '48 Hours in the Valley' application

TitanFile.comIf you are part of the tech startup community in Canada you’ve definitely heard about 48 Hours in the Valley, powered the C100 group. If you are not familiar, you should get acquainted.

In a nutshell? Twice a year, every year, hundreds of hungry companies vie to be one of the chosen twenty to go to Silicon Valley for two intense days of networking, investor meetings, workshops, and mentorship.

When TitanFile was accepted to go to 48 Hours this past winter, they were somewhat surprised that they made it through considering how much they struggled with the application.

“We are certainly not alone in that sentiment; it’s very difficult to anticipate, with full accuracy, what is going to work, what won’t, and which key points are going to be outstanding on paper,” explains the startup. “Poor feedback mechanisms are an unfortunate reality of applying to a lot of these types of programs. Often times, companies have to wait up to 12 months to try again only to take another stab in the dark.”

“We wanted to accelerate that process and give startups a chance to learn from other people’s mistakes so that they could write a better 48 Hours application in the future,” TitanFile added.

Read the full post written by Olga Lioudvinevitch on techvibes.com.

 

TrustPoint Innovation Technologies and blueRover graduate from The Accelerator Program

Waterloo (Ontario), CANADA, March 20, 2014 – World renowned for its cultivation of technology entrepreneurship, Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre today celebrated the latest two technology start-ups to graduate from its award-winning Accelerator Program.

TrustPoint Innovation Technologies, founded by world-renowned cryptographer and University of Waterloo distinguished professor emeritus, the late Dr. Scott Vanstone, and Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, specializes in secure machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. As a Certificate Authority, TrustPoint creates, manages and distributes the vital credentials that establish secure authentication between wired and wireless products and services that operate within the Internet of Things including Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Broadband Wireless and NFC tags. TrustPoint is leveraging its extensive knowledge and pedigree in Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) to provide the M2M market with the most efficient form of secure authentication.

blueRover is a company in relentless pursuit of intelligence. The company, founded by long time entrepreneur and businessman Loreto Saccucci, provides a technically advanced platform that helps companies in the transportation, food, cosmetic and pharmaceuticals industries monitor, track asset data and resources around the globe and react to business critical changes in real-time.

Accelerator Centre graduates, current clients, and key stakeholders gathered to celebrate the graduation, which centered around the theme ‘learning from the community.’ The morning event also featured a presentation from Ryan Gariepy, CTO of Clearpath Robotics, a highly successful Accelerator Centre graduate. Clearpath is this year celebrating its fifth year in business and was recently featured on Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet.

“Today’s graduates are both focused on providing solutions within the M2M realm, a market estimated to exceed $86 billion by 2017,” says Tim Ellis, CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre. “Once again, we are seeing a tremendous diversity of tech companies flowing through our doors addressing a wide range of business challenges and industries. We are exceptionally proud of Blue Rover and TrustPoint’s commercialization efforts – aided of course by the Accelerator Program’s team of business advisors, mentors and educational programming. Both companies are graduating on a very solid footing and are destined to be significant players within their markets and economic contributors within Waterloo Region.”

About the Accelerator Centre
The Accelerator Centre is the gold standard for accelerating the growth and commercial success of early-stage technology companies. Our proven formula, The Accelerator Program®, delivers an essential combination of mentorship, education, facilities, funding and networking to the highest potential firms. Our in-house programming provides expertise, resources and support when needed to accelerate time to market, customers, and investment.
Since 2006, The Accelerator Program has developed and nurtured over 120 early-stage technology start-ups, creating 1000+ new jobs, generating over $110 million in revenue, and attracting over $170 million in investment. Thirty-six companies have graduated from The Accelerator Program, and more than 85 percent of these companies have remained in Waterloo Region. For more information visit our website at www.acceleratorcentre.com

Social Media Links

Follow us on Twitter @AC_Waterloo
Join us on LinkedIn

For further information, please contact:
Ellyn Winters-Robinson
Communications Advisor
Accelerator Centre
Phone: 519-624-2402
Email: ewinters-robinson@acceleratorcentre.com
@ellynjane

Accelerator Centre Graduate Clearpath Robotics' Blog: "Expanding the Robot Badlands"

Source: Clearpath Robotics – Culture and Community Blog
By: Meghan Hennessey
Re-posted with permission

Clearpath’s blog is written with so much personality, we just had to share it this month.  Meghan Hennessey, Clearpath’s Marketing Communications Coordinator, offers up the latest on their new office space, or ‘Botsmith Lair’ as their team has affectionately named it.  Enjoy the read.

This June, we’ll be celebrating our 5th birthday! The past half-decade has been full of excitement, challenges, achievements and growth. Ah growth – we’ve never really stopped growing, and we won’t be slowing down anytime soon! With 35 new positions to hire for, we’re ready to move for a fourth time in four years. The new robot lair is going through a floor-to-ceiling overhaul to accommodate our team of people, and the bots they make. With minimal nudging, we got all the det’s from our very own co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Bryan Webb…

The Botsmith Lair

“Our new location will have 12,000 square feet of space,” said Bryan. Clearpathians will enjoy an open concept office that includes two floors split with a mezzanine balcony. The second floor mezzanine boasts themed meeting rooms and walls of whiteboards for the operations, logistics and marketing team to utilize. Below the mezzanine will buzz with robots and engineers alike. The engineering space will be surrounded with floor to ceiling whiteboard walls, break-out rooms and have a library for continuous learning; “Clearpath’s team is naturally dynamic and creative, so we’ve taken special care to bring in unique features that will help enhance our culture,” said Bryan. More people equals more robots; this has lead to us quadrupling our production space to allow multiple robot builds at a time and storage of all our inventory.

Okay so pretty standard stuff so far, right? Well hang on to your sensors! The lounge (aka ‘lunch room’) is in progress and will be dec’d out with couches, blackboards, bar stools, a bar, and – what we’re most curious about – will there be anything stocked at this said bar? In his best bot-face, Bryan left it at, “Fridays at 5 should be celebrated, along with the other achievements made throughout the week.”

Read more on the ‘Robot Badlands’ and the ‘Unmanned Experts’ on the full version of their blog.

From startup to ramping up: Read about Accelerator Centre Graduate Clearpath Robotics' success in The Record

By: Terry Pender
Source: The Record

KITCHENER —Clearpath Robotics will soon mark its fifth anniversary with profit, the sale of its 1,000th robot and plans to significantly expand its workforce of highly skilled engineers.

“We have very tangibly left the startup stage,” Matt Rendall, the Kitchener company’s chief executive officer, said.

Later this month or next month, Clearpath will move into larger quarters at 1425 Strasburg Rd. in the Huron Business Park. The new location will contain 12,000 square feet of space, more than double its current location at 148 Manitou Dr.

As it prepares to move, it is also gearing up for its biggest recruitment drive. There are 38 people working there now, and that number is expected to double over the next 12 to 18 months.

“Statistically speaking, the five-year mark is the make-or-break point for startups to succeed or fail,” Rendall said. “We had our best year yet.”

Clearpath’s fiscal year ended in February. The company said it exceeded its goals and is making money.

As Clearpath transitions from late-stage startup to a growing technology company, it must grapple with a challenge common to many in the sector — the retention and recruitment of talent.

Read the full article here.

The Accelerator Centre celebrates the launch of 30 tech start-ups from its innovative JumpStart program

Waterloo (Ontario), CANADA, March 6, 2014 – Waterloo Accelerator Centre is celebrating the launch of 30 technology start-ups from its JumpStart program, a unique six-month mentorship and business acceleration program aimed at assisting engineers and scientists commercialize new products and develop new businesses.

Attendees at the launch ceremony heard the pitches from seven of the JumpStart companies, including Milao Language, an educational technology start-up radically changing the way people learn a new language; Kite, a productivity tool that accelerates building web applications; Deep Trekker, a creator of fully portable, highly manoeuvrable, affordable video submarines; iNotForProfit, a provider of mobile application solutions for the non-profit sector; Wriber, a blogger’s best friend; TrendyMED, a medical device company developing a groundbreaking line of intravenous (IV) infusion products, and Plasticity, a start-up combining neuroscience and technology to make people happier at work.

Since the JumpStart program kicked off in January 2013, 30 technology start-ups each received $5K in mentorship from the Accelerator Centre’s team of in-house advisors along with $25K in matching seed financing. As a direct result of the JumpStart program, participating start-ups have created 180+ new jobs in the Waterloo Region, generated $3.2 million in combined revenue, and are expected to raise approximately $5 million in private investment.

The Accelerator Centre JumpStart program was made possible through a $945K investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

“FedDev Ontario’s investment in the Jumpstart program is helping science and technology entrepreneurs bring their innovative ideas to market,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario. “I would like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners and wish them luck with their start-up companies. These new creative ideas will help benefit the Waterloo Region and all of southern Ontario.”

“For early-stage companies seeking to bring their technologies to market, access to funding and mentorship at this formative stage is often a significant hurdle,” says Tim Ellis, CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre. “Our JumpStart program solves both of these challenges, providing essential seed funding and access to experts who can provide the critical guidance and mentorship geared to helping these young companies realize their business goals.”

“JumpStart has been instrumental in our company’s growth in the last four months,” says Jim Moss, CEO of Plasticity. “It has not only given us the critical early-stage funding that is so hard to come by, but allowed us to tap into incredibly valuable advice and mentorship from seasoned experts who have been at our shoulder to guide us. We have now successfully raised $500K from angel and private investors and our sales are ramping up. We would never have been able to get this far so quickly without JumpStart.”

The Accelerator Centre’s JumpStart program was recently honoured with a 2014 Business Excellence Award for Innovation by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. For a full list of companies that participated in JumpStart, click here.

About the Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre is the gold standard for accelerating the growth and commercial success of early-stage technology companies. Our proven formula, The Accelerator Program®, delivers an essential combination of mentorship, education, facilities, funding and networking to the highest potential firms. Our in-house programming provides expertise, resources and support when needed to accelerate time to market, customers, and investment.

Since 2006, The Accelerator Program has developed and nurtured over 120 early-stage technology start-ups, creating 1000+ new jobs, generating over $100 million in revenue, and attracting over $160 million in investment. Thirty-four companies have graduated from The Accelerator Program, and more than 90 percent of these companies have remained in Waterloo Region. For more information visit our website at www.acceleratorcentre.com

Social Media Links

Follow us on Twitter @AC_Waterloo
Join us on LinkedIn

For further information, please contact:

Ellyn Winters-Robinson
Communications Advisor
Accelerator Centre
Phone: 519-624-2402
Email: ewinters-robinson@acceleratorcentre.com
@ellynjane

 

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