Dibbzz Partners with Interac to Improve the Experience of Concert Goers

Imagine you are at a local concert venue, about to see your favourite artists preform. You’re excited to be there, but your seats are at the back of the venue. Not the best experience.

Before the show starts, you notice there are empty seats right in the front. You wonder if they are available and if they are, how do you make a purchase? What if there was a way to upgrade to those seats, in real time, right on your phone?

With Accelerator Centre client, Dibbzz’s, new mobile upgrade platform – you can do just that.

In 2016, Dibbzz founder Brennon D’Souza, came up with the idea to find a way to get concert goes and sports fans closer to the action. “I started with trying to use video to give fans the experience of being in the front row, but one day I thought….video is great, but what if I could really get them closer,” Brennon explains. From that pivot, Dibbzz was born.

The platform, which runs on text messages, allows venues to advertise empty seats to patrons before the show. Concert goers simply send a text message to “call dibbzz” on the open seats. Its a win-win for venues and customers alike – the venue gets extra revenue from the seats that would previously have been unsold and fans get a better experience.

Dibbzz joined the Accelerator Centre in the fall of 2016 and quickly began to utilize the AC community to make connections within the market. “Through the AC’s CEO, Paul Salvini, we were able to connect with the Centre in the Square and partner with them to test our ideas,” Brennon recalls. “It was a great opportunity for us to get our foot in the door and get some real-world feedback on the service. That’s been incredibly valuable to us.”

Starting with Centre in the Square, Dibbzz has plans to expand into other arts venues and eventually being available to all performing arts centres, theaters, and sports venues around the world.

In May, Dibbzz participated in a collision day hosted by electronic payment giant, Interac. As a result of the day, they received a $15,000 cash prize to help them bring their platform to more venues. In addition to the capital, Interac is also providing Dibbzz with their resourses and mentorship in expertise to expand the product within the market.

The concert ticketing industry was worth 7.8B in 2016 with the sports venue market being another 75B. With up to 40% of venue seats being unsold, Dibbzz is positioned to transform the way fans experience their favourite shows and events and to help venues be more profitable along the way.

To learn more about Dibbzz, visit dibbzz.com

Media Release: The Accelerator Centre Announces Cohort 6 of their AC JumpStart Program

June 15, 2017

Waterloo Ontario – The Accelerator Centre is pleased to announce Cohort 6 of the AC JumpStart program. The program provides each recipient $30,000 in seed funding and $10,000 of mentorship.

56 Studios

Brothers DePaul

Eagle Vision Systems Inc.

EMAGIN Clean Technologies Inc.

Finservices Inc

Healthy Pets

Jobbee Technologies Corp

Load Army

NanoCnet

Oko Social

Quali Robotics

RascalTech

Serenity Bioworks Inc.

Site Safety Solutions Inc. REBAR Safety

Teal Software

The Hockey Pro

Traffic Is Currency

Vena Medical

Visa Run Inc. (Trade Name: Sherpa)

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About AC JumpStart

AC JumpStart is funded by FedDev Ontario and delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

The AC JumpStart program began in January 2015, with three cohorts of companies participating in the program in 2015, and two cohorts annually in subsequent years. Each cohort receives funding and mentorship over a 12-month period. Over the four year term, the program will support 180 companies. 

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

FedDev Ontario delivers programs and services to help create, retain and grow businesses, cultivate partnerships and build strong communities. The Agency’s programming is designed to support a strong southern Ontario economy and position the region to compete globally.

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

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For more information contact:
Tabatha Laverty
Community Manager
tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

Freeze Frame: AC JumpStart Funding Fuels Vidhub’s Market Expansion

According to eMarketer, there were more than 77 million millennial digital video viewerso in 2015, representing 92% of all US millennial Internet users. Video is the preferred communication platform for this demographic, used for everything from entertainment, to personal communication. It is also increasingly being used for online learning, as more educators turn to video as a simple and intuitive way to better engage learners.

Shub Sengupta and Adam Zmenak are co-founders of Vidhub, a simple to use video review and collaboration tool. The two met back in 2013 at a 24 hour startup event hosted by Communitech, and felt that instant chemistry that happens when two entrepreneurs are destined to work together.  “I think we placed second or third in that competition. But more importantly, we knew we worked really well together as a team,” says Shub.

Shub, a video producer by trade, was quickly able put a new business idea on the table for the team to tackle — a platform that would allow clients to provide better, more accurate feedback to video production teams. He explains, “the video production process is not particularly collaborative. Producers typically need to set up and share footage using a video sharing platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. Then clients provide feedback via email, identifying the changes they want – for instance, I’d like to edit this section out, around five minutes into the video. But the process of collaboration is slow and it is usually really inaccurate. To give good feedback, you need to zero in on a precise second, and frame. So often, there’s a lot of back and forth between the producer and the client to get clarification. This slows down the editing time, affects both the video company and the client and often drives up costs and pushes out deadlines.”

Shub describes his brainchild, Vidhub as ‘SoundCloud comment meets Google Docs for video.’ Simply put, it lets people discuss videos online just as you would in person. Video is uploaded to Vidhub directly or from any video platform (Vimeo, YouTube, Dropbox are all supported). Everyone on the team is automatically notified, and is invited to comment. When a person begins typing a comment, the video is paused so the information can be tagged to a frame and specific time. Everyone can see all comments and can collaborate. Comments can also be exported to a PDF, subtitle or text file. A visual heat map running underneath the video allows people to view footage uninterrupted, but exposes where comments are located in each frame.

Initially, the Vidhub team focused its attention on the video production world – a market they knew well and understood. After building a solid footing, with customers using the product around the world, they are now expanding into the higher education market. “Video is now heavily used by faculty for online and blended learning, and we began getting inquiries from professors, who wanted to encourage student participation and improve learner engagement,” says Shub.

A focus on the education sector also demands more commitment from the two co-founders, who until recently have run their startup in parallel with freelance work. “We’re beginning now to gear up for buying cycles in schools leading into the fall of 2017. The education market is more hands on, and takes more focus and effort. It is a market that makes very big decisions, but not often. So we felt it was time for us to go full time on this venture.”

The move to full time has also allowed Shub and Adam to take more full advantage of the programming and mentorship offered through the Accelerator Centre to allow them take the business to the next level. The company also landed $30,000 in AC JumpStart funding, made possible through FedDev Ontario, which provided the critical fuel for growth. “It was the JumpStart funding that enabled us to finally go full time on our venture,” says Shub. “We had enough revenue to validate but not quite enough to pay the bills. JumpStart made up the difference.”

GainX is on a mission to eliminate billions in wasted innovation spending for global financial services companies

Across the innovation landscape, agility matters. Fast innovators are 42% stronger, 27% more disruptive, get new products to market quickly and generate 30% more revenue from those products.[1]  And yet, 90% of CEOs across all industries remain unsatisfied with their year/over/year progress and returns on innovation. They are plagued by a lack visibility across their complex innovation portfolios and processes. This poor transparency translates into billions of dollars in waste and Innovation DragTM across the industry.

Entrepreneur Angelique Mohring founded her company GainX in 2012 after spending two decades as a technology executive, working for large enterprise software organizations such as OpenText.  “After working with Global 1000s for 20+ years as a tech executive and global change agent, I realized I had the skills, passion and expertise to help the world’s biggest businesses better understand and overcome the innovation challenge and finally realize real financial payback from their efforts,” says Angelique.  “I want people to understand that innovation is so more than simply counting ideas. It is about cultural and digital transformation, and it is about producing measurable business impact.”

GainX, a fast-growing leader in the FinTech market (the company will target other sectors but is initially focused on Financial Services) is leading and defining the Innovation Strategy Management (ISM) market, providing financial services companies with the critical bridge between innovation happening at the edge of business and the core enterprise.

“By combining predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, semantic analysis and in-depth behavioural analytics to drive cultural change and improve innovation capacity, our ISM platform ensures creativity and delivery stay in balance, and allows businesses to achieve sustainable market success and drive greater return on innovation investment (ROII). This results in increased productivity, improved employee engagement, greater clarity of vision and reduced risk of in-market failure,” says Mohring.

Recently, GainX released the findings of a benchmark survey it conducted on behalf of the Canadian financial services industry assessing the innovation capacity of Canada’s leading financial services institutions (FSIs). More than 375 executives and employees participated in the analysis, which captured both data and semantic analytics on innovation derived from their respective organizations. More than 27,000 data points were analyzed through the GainX platform, and FSIs were plotted on an innovation maturity curve, measured against the critical gains necessary for innovation and transformation, including strategy and clarity of vision, appetite for risk, digital enablement, culture, and engagement and collaboration.

While the Canadian FS executives and employees surveyed all identified innovation as a top priority, our analysis found that the sector’s capacity to achieve those goals remains limited. 77% of Canadian FSIs surveyed indicated they lacked an integrated innovation process, and only half (51%) believed their organization to be innovative. More than 90% of those surveyed indicated they lacked a clear, actionable digital strategy and effective tools and technology systems, representing significant barriers to innovation and growth.[2]

After joining the Accelerator Centre in 2015, Angelique has been able to drive the business forward, landing key deployments of the GainX platform in several Canadian banks. Thanks to critical AC JumpStart funding made available through FedDev Ontario, she’s also expanding her presence into the US, the UK and other international markets.

“It’s been powerful to be at the Accelerator Centre and to be able to tap into the fantastic network to draw on the resources most needed to help our company grow. The JumpStart funding provided yet another critical stepping-stone in our company’s development and growth.

“We are on the brink of massive change in the innovation market,” says Mohring. “The emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will provide a critical catalyst for innovation, by allowing organizations to unburden smart people from administrative tasks, and to put the right people on the right project to accelerate innovation. It is going to be a huge year for GainX, and I’m so excited I could just about explode.”

 

[1] Boston Consulting Group, 10th Annual Survey, Most Innovative Companies 2015

[2] GainX Insights™ benchmark analysis data.

Finding a solution for in-home bike training ACJumpStart client STACPerformance

Originally Published on CTVKitchener

For generations, manufacturing has been the economic backbone of our area.

In the 20th century, Waterloo Region was a leading manufacturer of shoes, clothing, furniture, auto parts, televisions and other products too numerous to mention.

More recently, the emergence of the local tech sector has prompted a switch in what’s being produced locally — but it hasn’t stopped manufacturing from employing tens of thousands of people.

In the weekly segment Made Right Here, Max Wark profiles manufactuers from across our area.

Everything from mattresses and canoes to robots and submersible vehicles is produced here. Each week, Max brings you inside another factory to show off another product made right here at home.

Made Right Here is sponsored by The Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and Heffner Toyota.

 

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

Originally published by BNN.ca

Real estate brought to life through virtual reality

David Payne, CEO and founder of Invent Dev, joins BNN to talk about why the virtual showroom is set to revolutionize the real estate and home-building industries.

Flying High: University of Waterloo drone startup Pegasus Aeronautics takes off with the help of AC JumpStart Funding

With applications in law enforcement, agriculture, retail, military and other sectors, the global commercial drone market is booming, with an estimated CAGR of 16.9% through to >$1.2B US by 2022.

For industrial applications, drones — flying unmanned robots — offer a significantly more affordable, nimble and safer alternative over traditional aircraft or helicopters. However there is one significant drawback. Drones, which are typically powered by lithium batteries, are limited in their flight time and range. With the added weight of sensors and cameras, the average industrial drone can only achieve about 15 minutes of fly time, including take off and landing.

This time constraint has proved to be a huge inhibitor for growth, explains Matthew McRoberts, CEO of Pegasus Aeronautics. “If you are doing a land survey or inspection of a wind turbine, the fact drones today have very limited air time really limits their usability.”

McRoberts and co-founders Joe Kinsella and John Biskey met in residence while studying engineering at University of Waterloo. Over the four years, the three collaborated on various school projects, and in fourth year, McRoberts and Kinsella teamed up for their final engineering capstone. The challenge they sought to tackle: a new solution to extend the range of drones.

“We always knew we wanted to do something that was drone related.  Drone range limitation is a well understood challenge within the industrial sector and one of the largest problems facing industrial drone manufacturers, so it was a logical choice,” explains Matt McRoberts.

Many other companies have sought to solve the problem in the past, but most solutions have focused around the battery itself, says McRoberts. “They’ve tried tweaking the battery. Automatic battery swapping. Recharging stations. Even solar power. But they basically are stepping around the primary source of the problem – the battery.”

McRoberts, Kinsella (Biskey joined the team after the initial capstone) decided to chart a different course with their engineering, setting out to create gas/electric (hybrid) powertrain alternative to the battery.

“We felt that a gas/electric hybrid system was the only and best way to solve the problem. But no one had done it before. First, it is very difficult to make gas engines run in the first place. And on top of that, we had to design power electronics that would be lightweight enough they can fit on something that can fly.”

Proving through the capstone that it was possible to create the envisioned powertrain, the team was encouraged by its faculty advisor to found a company to commercialize the technology and Pegasus Aeronautics was born.

Pegasus Product Shot
FedDev Ontario JumpStart funding, secured through the Accelerator Centre, provided the young company with a critical injection of capital to move forward. “AC JumpStart funding and mentorship was a real tipping point for our business,” says Matt McRoberts. “We were facing two paths post graduation. Leave our technology on the table, or pursue it as a business. AC JumpStart allowed us to take our project and turn it into a real commercial opportunity.”

Access to Accelerator Centre’s team of mentors, provided as part of the JumpStart funding program also provided to be instrumental to the founders. “The mentorship we received totally changed the way we thought about how we would structure business. The mentors — Kevin Hood (sales mentor) in particular urged us to do primary research to really understand our industry, our competitors. It gave us a huge edge on the competition. First, we learned that a universal powertrain would have widest appeal and allow us to partner with all industrial drone manufacturers. Second, we learned that ease of use was critical – researchers in the field are not engine experts. I can’t overstate the contribution Kevin made to our business.”

The team at Pegasus Aero are now readying to bring their final product to market. Over the next few months, they will be doing some field beta testing to collect final feedback, and have customers lined up anxious to get their hands on the company’s unique hybrid powertrain.

“Just to get the job done, field teams using drones today are lugging hundreds of pounds of batteries into the field and are spending $14,000 a year or more per platform in battery costs,” says McRoberts. “Our solution is so easy to use, a field worker can pull the drone out of the back, siphon gas from the truck and be up in the air for 8 times as long. Fortunately for us, marketing around those kinds of advantages is pretty much a no brainer. We help industrial drone manufacturers overcome a really big barrier. So when we explain what we do to folks in the industry, the response is “how soon can get our hands on it?”

JumpStart Success Story – Oneiric

web_emilyrudow_kaylanezon

Oneiric Scores Big Success in HockeyTech with Help from AC JumpStart

Take two ambitious but coachable founders, an innovative product and a heavy dollop of hard work and you get, Oneiric, one of Canada’s up and coming hockey tech success stories.

The brainchild of Wilfrid Laurier grad Emily Rudow, the inspiration for Oneiric’s innovative base layer pant grew out of her own hockey-playing experiences.

“I’ve been playing hockey for 20+ years and when I was a kid, I hated the long process of getting dressed and leaving games with bruises at the back of my leg from areas left exposed,” says Emily. “Shin pads were always sliding around all over the place, and there was definitely a need for more safety in equipment to protect players from harm — for instance blade lacerations.

“The idea for our base layer pant came to fruition in my fourth year New Venture creation class at Laurier while completing my Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Drawing on my playing experiences, I developed an enhanced base layer with features to address both dressing and safety challenges. For instance, our pant includes shin pad pockets that allow player dress quickly and more easily, while keeping shin pads more secure. We also added back of leg padding and a cut-resistant ankle to protect those vulnerable areas currently left unprotected by today’s hockey equipment.”

After hearing from her classmates, past coaches, and old hockey friends that the base layer pant was indeed a good idea, Emily decided to pursue the business opportunity post graduation.

While working at a marketing firm in downtown Toronto, she met Kayla Nezon, who eventually became her business partner and co-founder.

Since launching Oneiric’s base layer pant for youth in the Spring of 2016, Rudow and Nezon have been hustling big time to create exposure and open sales channels for their product. The two have competed in multiple pitch competitions, winning RIC Centre’s “Unlock Your Big Pitch,” GTAN|Start, and the Ignite Capital Award, and coming in as a runner up in the Fierce Founder’s Pitch Competition. They also were awarded $30,000 in JumpStart funding through the Accelerator Centre (AC), offering them access to the AC’s team of expert mentors. They have landed 17 retail store partnerships across Canada, and signed a vendor agreement with Source for Sports to distribute their product. They’ve been featured in the Waterloo Record, Canadian Business, the Globe and Mail, and the Financial Post. And, the year culminated with an appearance on CBC’s The Dragon’s Den, where the co-founders were offered deals from several Dragons.

In the face of all this success, the mentorship provided through the AC JumpStart program remains a stand-out for the Toronto-based Oneiric founders.

“The JumpStart program has helped our business tremendously,” says Emily Rudow. The funding helped to bring us to the next level by allowing us to 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.

ACJumpStart 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, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

“We’ve achieved incredible traction with the help of our amazing mentors. If we could stay in the program forever, we would.” – Emily Rudow

eleven-x establishes first purpose-built carrier-grade low power wide area network for IoT

eleven-x

To serve the growing Canadian demand for next generation connectivity, eleven-x is today launching Canada’s first carrier-grade low power wide area network for IoT (Internet of Things). The eleven-x network, built on the LoRaWAN™ open global standard, offers private businesses, manufacturers and public institutions the necessary connectivity to gain valuable information from remote, inexpensive low power devices.

The appetite in Canada for IoT connectivity is exploding, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), with the market exhibiting a annual growth rate of 16.9 percent. An IoT network will enable businesses and municipalities to take advantage of low power, low cost connectivity enabling new services such as on-premises-based asset tracking, lighting control (streets and buildings), water flow monitoring and metering, health monitoring, environmental monitoring, and soil moisture and nutrient monitoring.

Unlike IoT services provided by traditional Canadian carriers with networks built to address voice and data, eleven-x’s network is purpose-built for IoT, offering a lower cost and lower power option with up to 20 years battery life. This means the network is ideally suited to business, manufacturing, and municipal applications where low power consumption and cost are important factors.

“Initially, the eleven-x IoT network will serve Waterloo Region (Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge) but the company intends to roll out a national network providing coverage in all major Canadian cities over the next 12-18 months, says Dan Mathers, Chairman and co-founder. “The Canadian market is ripe for innovation with respect to the adoption of IoT for businesses and government. Our network, will enable businesses and municipalities to accelerate the applications and business processes that will allow them to offer new products and services and to operate more efficiently.”

eleven-x, a client of the Accelerator Centre since 2015 and a recipient of AC JumpStart funding, has itself exhibited explosive growth since moving into the technology incubator. Founded by experienced technology executive Dan Mathers and former Blackberry wireless experts Ryan Hickey and Fraser Gibbs, the company has grown to almost 20 people. eleven-x also announced today its membership in the LoRa Alliance™.  The LoRaWAN protocol, followed by over 400 companies worldwide in the LoRa Alliance, ensures interoperability between all emerging IoT services and applications to help scale adoption.

“The $30,000 in funding provided by AC JumpStart allowed us to hire a full-time staff member who proved invaluable in launching our IoT network,” says Ryan Hickey. “We have also taken full advantage of the incredible mentorship and services provided by the Accelerator Centre in crafting our go-to-market plans.”

ACJumpStart 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, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

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.”

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