Welcome to 44 Gaukel: Accelerator Centre Launches New Hardware Innovation Lab

img_8815webAn incredible mix of art and technology in a groundbreaking new facility

Today we’re thrilled to announce the official opening of our new hardware innovation lab in the heart of downtown Kitchener. Located at 44 Gaukel St., this newest expansion offers hardware startups 10,000 square feet prototyping and lab space, access to tools and resources, including 3D printers, as well as a freight elevator and loading dock for shipping and receiving.

The facility is run in partnership with ArtsBuild Ontario, an organization dedicated to supporting local artists by providing tools, training and resources that support the development and sustainable creative spaces. The facility is also supported in part by the City of Kitchener.

“We’re very excited to work with the City of Kitchener and ArtsBuild Ontario as we expand our world-class incubation offering, helping innovative hardware and IoT companies grow and scale their businesses here in Waterloo Region, ” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “Expanding into Downtown Kitchener allows the AC to support our clients who want to be in a central, urban environment, while continuing to bring the same excellence in programming, mentorship, and experience that we’re renowned for.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Accelerator Centre and the City of Kitchener in providing creative space for our community’s artists and arts organizations,” added Lindsay Golds, Executive Director, ArtsBuild Ontario. “We are so pleased to offer those in need of rehearsal or administrative space an affordable and suitable location for their important work in Downtown Kitchener. We are excited by the potential for collaboration opportunities between the tech and the arts sector that this location can provide.”

The historic building, originally built as a Canada Post depot, also houses the University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab and part of Conestoga College’s School of Media and Design on the first floor. Joining the Accelerator Centre and ArtsBuild on the second floor is MyShop, an industrial makerspace, offering an array of industrial prototyping tools, as well as training, allowing Clients at the AC to rapidly design and build their products right inside the building.

“Being a part of the new hardware lab at 44 Gaukel Street is an important and exciting move for us. The Accelerator Centre’s support has been pivotal for our business and we’ve already developed new customers through people visiting the facility. Being in the business of 3D printing, InkSmith is right at home in a space where art and technology collide.”
Jeremy Hedges , President, InkSmith

“There are so many great things happening in hardware and advanced manufacturing right now in Waterloo Region,” says Josh Kubassek, President at MyShop. “It’s important for us to be a part of the AC’s lab at 44 Gaukel, helping to empower startup companies to design and prototype these amazing new technologies.”

The Accelerator Centre and ArtsBuild Ontario invite the community to celebrate the opening of 44 Gaukel on Tuesday, October 4 at 4:00 – 8:00 p.m., on the second floor. Tenants from both the arts and technology sectors will be showcasing their work at the event.

The space is filling quickly, however both the Accelerator Centre and ArtsBuild Ontario are currently accepting applications for tenancy. Apply to the AC.

Waterloo technology creates the next evolution of keyboard and mouse

palette_3How AC JumpStart Client Palette’s hardware is changing how we interact with software

When you first look at Palette, you might think it’s a DJ mixing board. But look a little closer and you’ll realize it’s a customizable input device used for photo editing and software.

Partnering with several high profile companies like Adobe has turned what began as a 2013 fourth-year design project into a company that has since shipped to more than 40 countries. It’s a game changer for those who interact with the digital world.

Calvin Chu, CEO of Palette, says the traditional dragging of a mouse cursor and keyboard shortcuts can only take you so far.

“We looked at different types of interfaces in the world and saw that a lot of them had similar components,” says Chu. “We realized these tools were made for specific jobs.”

This caused him to ask a critical question – “What if we could make tools that are tailored for your work instead of a one size fits all keyboard and mouse?”

Palette’s physical sliders, dials and buttons that adjust brightness and control is making that possible. It doesn’t hurt that its magnetic sides allow it to be rearranged like Lego pieces.

A $60,000 AC JumpStart – University of Waterloo award is helping Chu and his team expand Palette.

Funded by FedDev Ontario and the University of Waterloo, AC JumpStart is delivered through the Accelerator Centre and provides early stage technology startups with the seed capital, mentorship, and market-readiness tools needed to build a business in today’s knowledge economy.

“Coming from a technical background, it can be difficult understanding the finance and sales side of things,” says Chu. “The mentors and their experience have been great for us.”

So far, the majority of business comes from the United States and Europe. Almost no one guesses where Palette actually comes from.

“Our customers – including our Canadian ones – always assume we’re in Silicon Valley,” says Chu.

AC JumpStart’s mentorship is helping Chu strategize Palette’s expansion into distribution and retail internationally. The most popular Palette kit across the globe so far is their Expert Kit.

Chu credits its success to balancing between the Starter Kit’s lower cost and the Professional Kit’s advantages. There’s also the option to customize your own kit from scratch or add custom pieces to any existing kit. No matter what customers choose, Chu says they all serve the same purpose.

“There’s a better way than dragging your mouse and using shortcuts, and we’re taking the steps to provide that for people,” says Chu. “We’re making people’s jobs easier.”

Meet the first cohort of Phase One

We’re pleased to announce the first cohort of the newly developed Phase One program.

“I am very excited to welcome these new companies into this incredible new program.  We’re looking forward to helping them build and scale truly innovative global businesses.” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “It was an extremely competitive process to select these companies from the wide spectrum of applications we received, but I am proud to have this group of very talented, high-potential entrepreneurs in our first cohort.”

Companies joining the first cohort of Phase One are

  • Green-tech chemical processing company Advanced Chemical Technologies
  • Healthcare software company Aspire
  • Online marketplace Backpacker College
  • Collaboration software developers Care Connector
  • Neuroscience platform DeepSubconscious
  • Collaborative Marketing Technology iGotPro
  • Hardware solution for trucking Industrial Cyber Sensing
  • Word of mouth marketing App InstAppDeals
  • Privacy-centric social platform LiiV
  • Biomedical technology engineers MechanoSight
  • Digital psychology resource centre PsyAlive
  • Facial recognition software Vocord
  • ViewCommerce developer WEcord
  • IT and Integrated Communications Specialists Xenium

Phase One is the first of four phases within our recently restructured two-year incubation program. Customized to the needs of each company, the program offers a unique combination of expert sessions and peer-to-peer learning, blended with the traditional mentorship the incubator is well-known for.

Phase One concludes with Presentation Day; an open house event where companies present to a panel of experts and business leaders who determine whether a business is ready to enter the second phase of the program. Companies successfully entering Phase Two are automatically considered for up to $40,000 in funding and mentorship through the AC JumpStart program.

AC Co-Presents Award Winning Documentary KONELĪNE


The Accelerator Centre is proud to Co-Present

KONELĪNE: our land beautiful

The AC is pleased to partner with Princess Cinema, Sustainable Waterloo Region and Alternatives Journal to help bring the award-winning documentary KONELĪNE: our land beautiful to the screen at Waterloo’s Original Princess Cinema, Sept 16 – 22.

WINNER – Best Canadian Documentary, Hot Docs 2016

Where: The ‘Original’ Princess Cinema

When: 16-22 September (check Princess Cinema calendar for show times)  

View the  KONELĪNE Trailer:

Set deep in the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation, KONELĪNE captures an epic canvas of beauty and complexity as one of Canada’s vast wildernesses undergoes irrevocable change. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Nettie Wild, KONELĪNE is a work of visual poetry that delights in exploding stereotypes with scenes of breathtaking spectacle. Heidi Gutfrucht, both a big-game hunter and fierce environmentalist, swims her 17 horses across the unforgiving Stikine River. A Tahltan First Nation diamond driller bores deep into the same territory his elders are fighting to protect.  A white hunter carries a bow and arrow while a Tahltan elder shoots moose with a high-powered rifle.

Cameraman Van Royko won the 2016 Award for Best Documentary Cinematography from the Canadian Society of Cinematographers for KONELĪNE, which is shot and projected in wide screen with surround sound.

What the critics are saying:

“Transcendent, epic spectacle. […]She lets the camera hunt for art in every frame, mining veins of abstract beauty rather than sharp nuggets of political narrative.  She allows every image an ecumenical gaze.”
– Brian D. Johnson, Maclean’s

“Astonishing, stunningly beautiful. […] Equal parts sigh, song and cry.”
– Linda Barnard, Toronto Star

“Breathtaking, gripping. […] Finds beauty in unexpected places.”
– David Perri, The Northern Miner

“A feast for the eyes […}in the hands of an expert storyteller. I urge you to see it.”
– Marc Glassman, POV

KONELĪNE: our land beautiful is a Canada Wild production, produced in association with Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds through the Theatrical Documentary Program; Super Channel; Canal D, a division of Bell Media Inc.; Knowledge Network; The Canada Media Fund; developed in association with The National Film Board and Creative BC; produced with the participation of Rogers Documentary Fund; the Shaw Media/Hot Docs Completion Fund; the Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit; and the Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC.

Accelerator Centre announces its largest graduating class to date


Four graduates, four unique business stories

The AC is excited to announce our largest graduating class in our ten year history. The graduation of Ecopia, InTheChat, Trending.info and Knowledge In Development brings the total number of companies to successfully complete the AC’s intensive multi-year business commercialization program to 55.  The occasion also marks the AC’s first graduate from our facility in Stratford, Ontario.

“The companies graduating from the Accelerator Centre today represent the diversity of industry segments and founder backgrounds that characterize the AC’s client base,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “Within just this graduating class we have mature business executives, tenured professors, and serial entrepreneurs — all realizing their dream of starting and building a world-class business. We are also very excited to have our first graduate from our Stratford facility represented today. Trending.info was in on the ground floor with us when we expanded our programming to the University of Waterloo campus in that city. It is fantastic to see the company leave today a graduate.”

Millions of geospatial images are collected by satellites, airplanes, and vehicles every day. With large amounts of data becoming available at an increasing rate, efficient retrieval and organization of useful information from this data has become a large issue. As a result, much of this information is not accessible to those who need it most. Ecopia Tech creates intelligent systems that vastly improve the process of analyzing geospatial imagery through the employment of computer vision techniques.

Knowledge in Development
Founded in 2008, by University of Waterloo professor and researcher Dr. Daniela O’Neill, Knowledge in Development (KID) Inc. publishes and distributes the Language Use Inventory (LUI), a unique assessment of early pragmatic language development, to professionals and researchers. Knowledge in Development’s online platform now allows users to administer the LUI fully online with parents, in house or via email.

InTheChat (ITC) is an industry-leading digital customer engagement platform that enables large-scale enterprises to serve their customers via today’s preferred communication channels: text messaging, social media, web and mobile chat, email and messaging apps. Global leaders in the banking, telecommunications, retail and other industries are using ITC today to free their customers from phone calls to their call centres, while also simplifying contact handling for the company’s front-line teams.

Trending.Info provides social media solutions for businesses, services and associations, allowing them to harness the power of online marketing while building communities of social interest showcased in one place. Founded in 2013 by Randy Huitema, the company today becomes the Accelerator Centre’s first Stratford-based graduate.