The Accelerator Centre Announces Continuation of the AC JumpStart Program into 2021 with $5.5M in Funding from FedDev Ontario

Waterloo (Ontario), CANADA, November 30, 2018 – The Accelerator Centre (AC) is pleased to announce the continuation of the AC JumpStart Program through a $5.5-million contribution from FedDev Ontario.

The AC JumpStart program, which is operated in partnership with FedDev Ontario, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College, was launched in January 2015 with the objective of providing funding grants to startups across southwestern Ontario. The program provides $30,000 in seed capital and professional, one-to-one mentorship in sales, marketing, human resources, technology, and product development, as well as access to market research and connections to additional investors.

The program fills a critical role in the local startup ecosystem, providing the early-stage capital that is required in order to get innovative ideas off the ground. Now in its fourth year, the program has supported 194 startup companies utilizing almost 8,000 professional mentorship hours. Together, these companies have brought hundreds of new products to markets and created more than 500 full-time jobs in the region.

The renewed funding from FedDev Ontario will allow the Accelerator Centre to support an additional 126 companies through four cohorts, seeing it run to the end of 2021.

Applications for Cohort 9 of the program are open until January 7, 2019, with the recipients starting the program in February 2019.

“The Government of Canada is proud to support Canada’s innovators, helping them succeed on a global scale. This continued investment in the AC JumpStart program from FedDev Ontario will allow more early-stage technology companies to thrive, which strengthens the innovation ecosystem in southern Ontario and creates highly-skilled jobs for Canadians.”

  • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Science, Innovation and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario

“The AC JumpStart Program is an essential source of capital for startup companies in this community. We are pleased to continue to partner with FedDev Ontario and our local academic institutions to provide both the funding and the mentorship that make the program so impactful. We are incredibly proud of the success and impact that the first 8 cohorts of AC JumpStart have made in the community and we are looking forward to supporting an addition 126 startups over the next two years.

  • Dr. Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre

Quotes from AC JumpStart Recipients

“What we do requires a specialized skill around deep analysis of data. AC JumpStart enabled us to bring in key personnel offering unique value to our customers. It really helped accelerate our focus. One of the biggest benefits coming out of the AC is the mentor guidance it provides. Mentors give you that real feedback that most people don’t have the heart to tell you. They understand business. That sincere perspective is what makes the AC different from other incubator spaces out there.” – Charles Chung, CEO, Brisk Synergies

“The AC JumpStart program has helped our business tremendously. The funding helped us assemble our first order of inventory and fuel marketing and awareness efforts. However, the coaching from the AC’s incredible mentors has provided us with the most benefit. The Accelerator Centre community is warm, supportive, and full of entrepreneurial spirit and it is fair to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without the program and the mentors’ amazing support.” – Emily Rudow, CEO, Oneiric

“AC JumpStart is a great program and it was super valuable to have access to mentors. The program gave us the time to prototype and build a business model that works. Because of the AC JumpStart funding, we were able to really research and understand the market and hire our first employees to build out our product and sales. I can confidently say we wouldn’t be here at all without AC JumpStart. – Jeremy Hedges, CEO, InkSmith

About the Accelerator Centre

Our world-renowned, four phase accelerator program was developed based on our proven methods and best practices from accelerators and incubators around the world. The program, combined with our proven mentorship model, gives you the resources and guidance you need to grow all areas of your business, get your product to market faster, increase sales, and scale.

For more information visit www.acceleratorcentre.com.

About FedDev Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) delivers funding and services to help create, retain and grow businesses, cultivate partnerships and build strong communities. The Agency is helping to support a strong southern Ontario economy and position the region to compete globally.

For more information, visit www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca.

For further information, please contact:

Tabatha Laverty
Manager, Marketing and Communications
tlaverty@acceleartorcentre.com

Novalte – Smart Solutions Aim to Improve the Quality of Life for Those with Accessibility Needs

Michael Cullen, Cofounder of Novalte, a monitored Smart Home Accessibility Technology company is no stranger to working with those who face everyday accessibility issues.

Born and raised in Ireland with 5 years professional experience working as a control engineer and then +10 years experience in healthcare as an accessibility consultant, Michael had not only the passion to make a positive change in the industry, but had the expertise to solve a big problem.

While Michael was working in Ireland as a Control’s engineer, he worked in Guatemala building two Hydro power stations there, it was there that he learned the positive effect technology can have in changing people’s lives. It was here that passion to drive change in the world with technology was ignited.

When he came to Canada in 2008, with the economy suffering and fewer job opportunities Michael was faced with possibility of needing to return to Ireland to find work. With a strong conviction that there was a bright future for him here in Canada, he decided to stay and took a job he didn’t love to make ends meet.

While sitting down having a coffee in Yonge and Dundas sq, he saw a gentleman struggling to walk with drop-foot, a condition that can affect someone after having a stroke. He had just purchased the first iphone at the time and knew that there was enough technology in that little device to help that lad walk and questioned “So, why aren’t we doing it?”

Michael made the career change to work as a rehab engineer at a kids rehab hospital in Toronto, “Bloorview Kids Rehab” and then a couple of year later changed to work at an adult rehab hospital. He was working part-time as an accessibility consultant and made the leap of faith to do it full-time and that is when Novalte was born and since has help over 350 people to live independently over his tenure in this field

One of the common challenges with applying tech solutions to accessibility problems is that each individual requires a custom solution.

“Seems like a ridiculous business model, having to customize a solution for each client… but I knew how technology could automate the process and allow us to provide solutions to hundreds and eventually thousands of people.”

Instead of trying to create a one-size-fits-all solution, Michael decided to build a system that is fully reconfigurable and modular that can be tailored to each individual’s custom mobility challenges via software remotely.

The technology works to create an “accessible smart home” for those with mobility concerns so they can live more independently in their daily life. Leveraging existing smart devices as well as Novalte’s own hardware, they have a single solution that combines these disjointed pieces together and make sure it works with their 24 hrs remote support.

“Picture the hub looks something like a cable box, it is installed in the customers home by one of our dealers. They also install the other parts of the puzzle to enable someone with mobility issues to live independently based on their needs. This is usually a combination of Novalte’s other peripherals and off the shelf consumer smart devices.

“The system can be either accessed by the user’s voice or by an accessible switch for individuals that are non-verbal. Once everything has been setup for the customer the system is connected to Novalte’s server which enables them to troubleshoot and change the system remotely. The Emitto system has the ability to do minor troubleshooting automatically. The system is designed to work with or without the internet, but once the Emitto detects that it doesn’t have connection to the internet it will automatically turn off the modem for a period of time and then turn it back on.”

Michael stated that the remote troubleshooting is their market differentiator. He said that while smart devices make the lives of abled bodied individuals easier, it enables a person with mobility challenges to live independently. So, when these devices that they rely on to get through everyday stop working it can really impede daily life for them. The Emitto takes all of this into account.

Novalte received a $100k from March of Dimes Canada to do a pilot study using their technology. The idea of the pilot study was to show that by using technology to improve quality of life for individuals with mobility challenges, organizations that provide attendant services can operate more efficiently.

It was joining the AC Jumpstart program that Michael says had a direct correlation to the company growth that occurred and continues to happen. “The ability to ask questions about what to do next in a strategic manner from experts that could guide us, instead of stumbling through it all ourselves had a significant impact on our business, and we are so grateful for it.”

Looking forward

In addition to growing the team in 2019, Michael looks forward to more pilot studies in Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver as well as building in additional functionalities to enable Novalte clients to live more independently.

“We are also building the ability to control more security functions in the home. Often people with accessibility issues will leave the doors open all day long because care workers come and go… but that leaves them vulnerable. So having the ability to lock and unlock the doors and to only let certain people in and out will significantly improve security, and we are really looking forward to introducing this feature”

If you have any questions or inquiries about the platform or want to get in touch with Novalte, reach them at http://www.novalte.ca/contact

AC JumpStart is made possible by and investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Laurier, and the University of Waterloo.

Accelerator Centre wins 2018 Canadian FinTech & AI Accelerator of the Year Award

Waterloo, ON – November 27, 2018 – The Accelerator Centre has been named Accelerator of the Year by the Digital Finance Institute at the 2018 Canadian FinTech & AI Awards.

The award recognizes the accelerator or incubator that has demonstrated success in helping FinTech or AI startups to launch their businesses and develop technology, or work with others in the sector to develop the most impactful innovative products or services. The award also highlights the importance of incubators and accelerators in fostering ecosystem support or other forms of support that advance innovation.

“We are incredibly proud to accept the Accelerator of the Year Award at this year’s Canadian FinTech & AI Awards,“ says Accelerator Centre CEO, Paul Salvini. “Each year, we work with an average of 100 new startups and approximately half of those companies are currently working with AI technologies or are innovating in FinTech; it is an exciting space that is going to continue to grow and change the world around us.”

In addition to working with AI and Fintech startups in Kitchener-Waterloo, the Accelerator Centre is expanding its impact by partnering with other innovation hubs across Canada, including the University of Guelph and Invest Ottawa, to create new programming options for entrepreneurs in those regions that leverage the AC’s award-winning program model.

“Our goal in licensing The Accelerator Program™ is to share best practices and our program model with innovation hubs across Canada so that our programming can create and support even more innovative companies in AI and FinTech and other emerging sectors across Canada,” says Salvini. “Our goal is to drive innovation and economic growth across the country.”

In 12 years of operation, the AC has worked with over 500 startup companies that have raised over $560M of investment and created over 3,000 full time jobs in the region. Their portfolio of graduate companies, including Kik, Miovision, Axonify, SSIMWAVE, FindBob Inc, Magnet Forensics, Clearpath Robotics, and eleven-x are the best-of-the-best in the local innovation ecosystem and represent over $3B in corporate value.

“We are grateful for this recognition of our programming and of the success of our client companies,” says Salvini. “We are looking forward to continuing to support and connect entrepreneurs to the product development, mentorship, and funding opportunities they need to be successful and contributing to making Canada a world leader in AI and FinTech innovation.

For further information, please contact:

Tabatha Laverty
Manager, Marketing and Communications
tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

Soundscape.io: High Quality Music for Professional Content Creators

When Soundscape.io founder and CEO, Jason Greenberg, graduated from Berklee College of Music, he found himself in Los Angeles, working as a film and TV composer. It was his dream job, but he quickly realized it didn’t feel right. Writing music in large quantities with quick turnarounds led to not just creative burnout, but a crisis of character as well.

A true advocate for the artistic expression and emotional connection that music evokes, he was left uninspired decided to make a change and create an affordable, subscription-based music licensing solution, that offers authentic, curated music for video production.

With the recent explosion in commercial online video production, Jason saw the need for a fully automated solution for film and video production. This led to the creation of Soundscape.io in 2017, an immeasurably deep music catalog featuring over 1,000 artists – all available in an easy-to-use, unlimited subscription model.

Valuing authenticity and quality over quantity, Soundscape.io contracts content from musicians and then helps license it out to their database of clients, splitting the profits with the artist and empowering them to add revenue streams to their business and gain exposure.

 

Designed with creatives in mind

When it comes to the customer experience, Soundscape.io has creative video and film producers in mind. The system is fully automated and puts forward relevant content making it easy for producers to find what they need. Utilizing a tiered pricing system, they can accommodate users from DIY vloggers all the way to large production houses who require larger volumes of work.  made with their ideal customers in mind, which typically fit into the following three categories:

“There is no shortage of interest in licensing high quality music,” Jason says. “Especially with the increase of content creation and video being used online. Music is needed by everyone, whether a customer is a DIY’er or a big corporation, so we feel very grateful and proud to have created a platform to not only provide that to those interested in buying, but also empowering musicians to make money from their craft.”

In 2018, Soundscape received the AC JumpStart grant and joined the Accelerator Centre to accelerate the development of the technology and expanded their team; adding a head of Marketing and Sales with experience in music production and composition.

“The mentorship at the AC is unparalleled,” explains Jason. “With the help of AC JumpStart, we’ve been able to scale the business, increase revenue and solidify some of our biggest contracts yet. Looking ahead, we are exited to further develop the platform and grow our team.”

Musician or professional looking to license music can visit https://www.soundscape.io/ for more information or to get started on the platform!

AC JumpStart is made possible by and investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Laurier, and the University of Waterloo.

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