Media Release: The Accelerator Centre Relaunches Startup Visa Program

Waterloo (Ontario), CANADA, July 17, 2017

The Accelerator Centre (AC) is pleased to announce the relaunch of its Startup Visa Program. As an approved business incubator for Canada’s premier international entrepreneur recruitment program, the AC has become one of a select group of certified technology incubators who can endorse foreign entrepreneurs and help them establish their businesses in Canada.

Canada’s Startup Visa Program, which is the first of its kind worldwide, was originally launched in 2014 and was relaunched in April of 2017 with the government’s renewed focus on attracting international talent through the Global Skills Strategy and building Canada’s reputation as a leader in technology and innovation. The program provides permanent residency to innovative startup entrepreneurs who want to build companies in Canada that can create new jobs, spur economic growth and compete on a global scale.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship knows no geographic boundaries,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre.  “The Accelerator Centre is recognized worldwide for its programming and mentorship. As a certified member of Canada’s Startup Visa Program, we can leverage our world class programming to help more entrepreneurs develop businesses that inspire global leadership.”

Entrepreneurs that are accepted into the Startup Visa Program through the AC will locate their businesses within one of the accelerator’s four locations in the Toronto Waterloo Corridor and will participate in the AC’s world renowned Accelerator Program to ensure they have the best chance at sustaining global success.

Applications for the Accelerator Centre Startup Visa Program open July 17, 2017.

Learn more about Start-up Visa Program, visit our website.

About the Accelerator Centre

The Accelerator Centre® (AC) is dedicated to building and commercializing technology start-ups. The AC provides an essential combination of mentorship, educational programming, professional office space, networking, and access to funding, with a goal of building successful companies. Over a two year period, we help entrepreneurs move from startup to scale, accelerate their time to market, and attract customers, investment, and revenue.

Since 2006, the Accelerator Centre has developed and nurtured over 200 early-stage technology start-ups, creating 2100+ new jobs, and generating more than $550 million in revenue. The 55 companies have graduated from the Accelerator Program represent some of the biggest named in the Canadian technology ecosystem.

For further information, please contact:
Tabatha Laverty
Community Manager
Accelerator Centre
tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

 

Tech and The Arts at 44 Gaukel

When we opened our Hardware and Advanced Manufacturing Lab almost a year ago, we wanted to build a place where the Arts, technology, and broader community could come together and support each other. Expanding our operations into the Kitchener downtown core allowed us to have a deeper impact in the Waterloo Region beyond supporting tech startups and companies. Being located in the core of downtown comes with unique opportunities to work with organizations that strive to improve the everyday well-being of youth and underprivileged groups and we’ve welcomed the opportunity to expand our impact on the community through the programs in the building.

One of the core mandates when opening the facility was to create an Arts and Tech collision space. Partnering with ArtsBuild Ontario meant that the floor would be inhabited not only by hardware and IoT startups, but also arts organizations and freelancers. ArtsBuild Ontario also facilitates a rehearsal space, which has seen more than 700 booked hours since we opened our doors officially in the September of 2016.

Along with the internal Arts & Culture community within the building, we’ve also connected with the larger Arts community in the Waterloo Region. We partnered with ArtShine/Arts4All, a local organization that provides Arts programs to groups that might not normally be able to afford them, to create a brand-new gallery space in the building. The O Gallery @ 44, opened on May 25th, 2017 with more than 150 pieces of art from students, refugees, and freelance artists. The gallery opening was an incredible success and brought hundreds of people through the space to showcase the work being done here by both the arts and technology communities.


In addition to the partnerships we’ve formed with the arts community, the Accelerator Centre has also developed a strong connection with the charity organizations House of Friendship and Junior Achievers. The House of Friendship held their February team meeting in the Lounge at Gaukel and then had a full tour of the space where they were able to learn more about both the technologies being developed here and the arts community. Some of the AC companies even have begun discussions with the House of Friendship to help volunteer at some of their summer camps and events. Junior Achievers will be holding their summer camps at the facility in July and August and working with resident company InkSmith.

Expanding our operations into the Kitchener downtown core has allowed us to have a deeper impact in the Waterloo Region beyond supporting tech startups and companies. At 44 Gaukel, we’ve taken the opportunity to better support hardware, IoT and advanced manufacturing startups, and used it to connect with the Arts, as well as work with local charities and NGOs. If you’re interested in learning more about the organizations we mentioned or to donate to their causes, please check out their websites:

ArtShine/Arts4All

House of Friendship

Junior Achievers

As well, if you’d like to know more about how to rent the rehearsal or classroom space, check out Space Finder Waterloo Region or contact Eilidh Fisher at eilidh@artsbuildontario.com.

Bringing Startups Together: Collaboration at the Hardware Innovation Lab

When we opened our Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab in Kitchener, our vision was to create a space where hardware companies could learn and grow their businesses, together. Some great companies have move in and the space is now becoming a place where hardware and IoT companies can use their different expertise to collaborate and help each other.

A great example these unique collaboration opportunities is Kineris Inc. When Kineris, a medtech company and AC JumpStart recipient, began work on the first prototype of their knee wearable in February, it became a project for the whole floor. The plan was to 3D print the prototype but one component was a flexible band that would allow easy motion of the knee, but they had never 3D printed with flexible material. After attempting to make it themselves without success, Kineris recruited help from our partners MyShop and later, fellow AC client, InkSmith, to get the settings just right on the 3D printer to make the band. All three companies worked together on this piece and now Kineris’ prototype looks fantastic and is ready to be shown to clients and investors.

Some of these collisions are by design. Having met AC mentor Don Thompson at Innovation Guelph, AceAge, a pharmaceutical IoT company, decided to join the Accelerator Program and moved into Gaukel at the start of 2017. The first people they were introduced to was fellow AC company and Gaukel resident, InkSmith, a 3D printer company that provides a STEAM 3D printing platform for schools K-12.

Don knew that InkSmith would be the right people to help AceAge get their first batch of devices. InkSmith was contracted to make the devices and saved AceAge more than $20,000 in production costs. “Without the services of InkSmith, we simply would not have been able to perform at clinical study at the University of Toronto” said CEO Spencer Waugh.

The best collisions at Gaukel happen purely by accident. Since mid-January, Friday Happy Hours have become a staple event. At 4pm, the whole floor takes a break to celebrate another successful and productive week. It gives everyone a chance to unwind after working insane hours and brings all the companies together to get to know each other and talk shop. Often held in Alert Labs’ office, you’ll find George from Alert Labs sharing contacts that other companies may find useful, Ashank from XYZ Interactive giving technical advice, and Josh from MyShop explaining cool ways to build things (along with donning his latest shirt creation).
One night in March, after a particularly busy Happy Hour, the founders of AceAge and O2 Canada met for nearly three hours late on a Friday, discussing brand new markets for their respective products.

If you want to learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing and Hardware Innovation Lab and maybe even join us for a Happy Hour, please contact David Hussey at dhussey@acceleratorcentre.com.

Accelerator Centre Celebrates the Breaking Ground on a New Building and in Clean Technologies

Today, with our partners from the Cora Group, the City of Waterloo, Sustainable Waterloo Region, University of Waterloo and Laurier, we proudly celebrated the groundbreaking on a new, innovative building within the R+T Park.

Evolv1, a 100,000 square foot facility located at 420 West Graham Way, is the first multi-tenanted building of its kind in Canada. With a focus on sustainability and the clean technologies, the building will be built with LEED Platinum principles and will operate with the goal of being net positive. Being net positive means the building generates more than enough energy to maintain heating, cooling, and power needs. The excess energy is then put back into the system through the provincial grid or used for other, on-site purposes like such as electric vehicle power stations (of which the building will have 14).

 

Continuing to foster innovation in the Waterloo tech community is central to the vision and mission of the Accelerator Centre. As a partner in the development of the Evolv1 space, we are proud to be leading the development and operation of a 15,000 square foot innovation space within the facility. 5,000 square feet in that innovation space will be home to Accelerator Centre client companies focused on Clean Tech and Smart Cities technology.

“Breaking ground on this building is a major milestone in the development of this vision. We are so grateful for the dedication of the Cora Group and all the partners that are bringing this idea to reality, says Sustainable Waterloo Region Executive Director, Tova Dadvidson says. “One part of the full vision for the building is the creation of an innovation space on the ground floor. This is a space that helps to foster the development of the clean economy that is already growing in Waterloo Region. The building, partnered with the activities and partners in the space, are together truly a local game changer.”

”The space will also be the centre of Canada’s premier clean tech cluster,” explains the AC’s Director of Client Experience and Special Projects, Emily Jackson. “It is intended to restore the Canadian clean economy to a position of global leadership. By providing all the necessary expertise, a collaborative environment, and specialized resources, the Innovation space will support the development of innovations in clean tech.”

Alongside anchor tenant, EY Canada, Accelerator Centre graduate Text Now will take a significant footprint within the building. CEO, Derek Ting, recognizes the unique opportunity to position his company within the innovative facility.

“Evolv1’s proximity to the University of Waterloo puts us right next to one of the most robust talent pipelines in the world,” he says. “We’re constantly looking for ways to attract and retain the very best talent and with our mission, our unique culture and now our plan to reside in one of the coolest work spaces in Waterloo, all of the pieces are coming together.”

With today’s ground breaking ceremony, construction has officially begun and the building first tenants are set to move in sometime in 2018.

The Future of Corporate Innovation: with PwC Canada CEO, Bill McFarland and Paul Salvini

What does industry need in order to innovate in a corporate setting? How can the startup community leverage the opportunities within industry and tackle those big problems?

We recently had the pleasure of hosting PwC Canada’s CEO, Bill McFarland, for an informal discussion with Accelerator Centre CEO, Paul Salvini, to address those questions head-on.

We all know that the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is at the forefront of Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship, but the region’s commitment to corporate innovation is one of the things that sets us apart from other innovation clusters.

“Waterloo has been quite successful with corporate innovation. The University of Waterloo is a significant source of that success,” says Salvini. “Through their co-op placement programs, 5,400 businesses have been connected with the incredible talent within the university.”

And industry is anxious for access to the talent coming out of the University of Waterloo. According to the recent PwC CEO Survey, 80% of CEOs are thinking about how innovation or disruption will impact their businesses. “We should all be thinking about innovation and about creating a diverse economy that is strong—for our children and for our grandchildren,” adds McFarland.

Often innovation is expected, easy to anticipate and plan for, but increasingly disruption has been the accidental result of improving the customer experience. “With the unprecedented level of disruption in today’s world, innovation has become a necessity and businesses are increasingly investing in R&D and innovation centres to proactively evolve​ and create rich environments to facilitate new thinking​. ​Disruptive innovations are not always planned​ and are more likely to flourish in organizations where challenging the status quo is accepted and encouraged​,” says McFarland. “That’s right,” adds Salvini. “For example, Apple didn’t set out to make a great phone. They set out to improve their media player by adding a phone. It was all about adding value to their customers.”

While there is opportunity for innovation in every industry, entrepreneurs often struggle to get access to meaningful problems and corporations struggle to get ahead of the curve when it comes to disruptive technologies.

Some of the most exciting advances—in areas like AI, quantum computing, cybersecurity, and nanotechnology—have the potential to disrupt multiple industries and provide significant opportunity for entrepreneurs.

“There is incredible research and great ideas coming out of universities, but entrepreneurs need access to big problems to make big impact and they need help commercializing those ideas,” says Salvini.

Corporations face several roadblocks to successful innovation, most commonly:

  • Culture: A management team that resists change or is risk-averse
  • Budget: No resources to work on exploring new technologies or opportunities
  • Talent: Corporations often seem less attractive to top talent than startups
  • Structure: Too many layers that slow down or impede progress

That is where the Accelerator Centre (AC) steps in.

Through our programming and strong connections with industry leaders like PwC, the AC is able to help industry innovate. Whether through offering corporations the ability to market test new ideas and form a spin-off company like Miovision’s “Teal” or through connecting corporate leaders with talent that can help them better anticipate—or even get ahead of—change, the AC is able to help corporate organizations foster a culture of innovation and embrace change.

As the AC continues to support entrepreneurs and leaders like PwC to embrace and lead a culture of innovation, we will continue to lead the way in innovating industry.

The Accelerator Centre Announces the Next Cohort of Startups in their Accelerator Program

May 9, 2017

We are pleased to announce the companies that will comprise the 3rd cohort of our redesigned Accelerator Program.

These 8 companies will enter Phase One of our world renowned incubation program. Startups in the program are selected through a competitive application process and represent the best-of-the-best in technology and entrepreneurship in the region and around the world.

The companies joining the 3rd cohort are:

Company Name Description Founders
Cassle Inc. Real Estate Technology Sunny Khangura
eDropBy Solution Inc. Package Transportation Platform Jeff (Tai) Zhao
Equi-App Equestrian Learning Platform Alex Reinfels
Foober Student Meal Delivery Service Brad McGill
Monarch Clothing Medical Garment System Pat Quinn
Overture Donor Forum Ltd Not-for-Profit Donor Engagement Platform Herb and Joanne Shoveller
Unnamed Internet Security Company Derek Wong and Kathryn Vandenberg
Unnamed  Service Provider Referral Platform for Homeowners Jake Gibson
Unnamed Ecommerce Mohammad Ghanbari

“We are pleased to announce the third cohort of startups into our Accelerator Program. We see great promise in this group and are happy to be supporting such a wide variety of technologies and industries. We are excited to see them build and scale successful, global businesses.”  – Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre.

Phase One is the first of four phases within our recently restructured two-year incubation program. The program offers customized, milestone-based programming alongside our proven mentorship model. At the end of the Phase Four, our clients graduate with confidence, knowing all areas of their business are ready for long-term success.

For more information on our clients, our programming, or to learn how to apply for the next cohort visit www.acceleratorcentre.com.

Media Contact:

Tabatha Laverty
Community Manager
tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

Conrad launches part-time weekend MBET program

Originally published by the University of Waterloo

The Conrad Centre has launched a part-time version of its Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program, designed for individuals who want to develop the skills to lead change and launch new ideas while balancing full-time work. Course material will be delivered in weekend sessions over three years, with the first cohort starting classes in September 2017.

The MBET program is a graduate business degree for entrepreneurs which combines interdisciplinary courses with practical experiences in venture creation and commercialization. The new part-time program’s weekend format offers greater flexibility for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills with the mentorship of acclaimed faculty and industry leaders, while applying this learning to their workplace or venture in real-time.

Attend an upcoming webinar to learn more about MBET part-time and full-time options!

Part-time MBET at a glance

Course delivery

Three years in duration. Course content delivered in weekend sessions (Friday evening and all day Saturday) held roughly every three weeks, with a total of 12 weekend sessions per year.

Curriculum

Nine courses and a Corporate Commercialization Practicum. The practicum will begin in the second year.

All nine courses and the practicum are integrated throughout the program rather than divided by conventional terms. The program is designed so that course material is delivered at the time when it is most relevant to the experiential components of the course, a reflection of the MBET philosophy of learning for the sake of achieving goals rather than for the sake of solving problems that may occur in the future.

The content of the part-time and full-time versions of the program is the same.

Location

Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre

University of Waterloo

Admissions

Applications for the part-time cohort are currently being accepted. Please visit our Admissions Requirements page for detailed admissions requirements.

Tuition

For Canadian citizens and permanent residents, part-time tuition for the 2016/2017 academic year was approximately $11,508 CAD per year. The approximate total tuition for the three year program is $34,524.

For international students, part-time tuition for the 2016/2017 academic year was approximately $14,250 CAD per year. The approximate total tuition for the three year program is $42,750.

*The tuition rates listed on this page are subject to change and meant as a guide only.  For exact amounts, and incidental fees, visit the university’s Student Financial Services page regularly.

NEWS RELEASE – Accelerator Centre Announces Strategic Partnership with EY Canada

Media Release

Accelerator Centre Announces Strategic Partnership with EY Canada

 

March 10, 2017

The Accelerator Centre (AC) is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with global professional services firm, EY.

The partnership demonstrates the two organizations’ collective commitment to supporting the Toronto Waterloo corridor startup ecosystem and to facilitating economic growth in the region.

As the exclusive professional services partner for our Graduate Program, EY’s partnership allows our graduates to leverage EY’s broad expertise and international network to further accelerate their growth at a local and global scale.

The partnership also facilitates a series of learning events that provide current AC clients with access to advice from best-in-class professional service leaders across industries and sets them up for long-term success.

“I am excited to welcome EY as an Accelerator Centre Innovation Partner – they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will greatly benefit our clients and graduates as they grow and scale their businesses,” says Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre.

About the Accelerator Center

  • The AC is a world-class startup incubator dedicated to building and scaling sustainable, globally competitive companies and to commercializing talent and advanced research technologies emerging from academic institutions.
  • The AC offers milestone-based programming alongside a proven mentorship model to help our clients grow their business
  • With 55 program graduates, AC companies represent some of the most successful startups in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, translating to more than 1,500 new jobs, over $500 million in revenue and a collective $2 billion in valuations.

For more information, please visit acceleratorcentre.com and follow us on Twitter @AC_Waterloo

About EY

About EY’s Growth Markets Network

EY’s worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high- growth companies. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many of the world’s most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early-stage venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed.

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

For more information contact  

Tabatha Laverty

Accelerator Centre 519-497-7784

tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com

 

Sasha Anopina EY

416-943-2637

sasha.anopina@ca.ey.com

 

Successful Scale Up

Why fast-growing AC grads are leading Canada’s new technology generation

From lean thinking, to product market fit, to simply great timing, there are any number of reasons young companies graduate from startup to scale up.  However, for many of the Canadian technology companies now showing up on the Profit 500 and Deloitte Technology Fast 50 lists, there is one common denominator — the Accelerator Centre (AC).

AC graduates Magnet Forensics, Top Hat, TextNow and Sortable all showed up on the 2016 Profit 500 list this year, with Magnet Forensics and Top Hat appearing in the top 20 companies listed. Both companies exhibiting 5,000+% growth rates.  On the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, list, Accelerator Centre graduates Sortable, Axonify, Clearpath Robotics, Top Hat, and Magnet Forensics all took positions in the top 20.

So what is it about the AC that fuels long-term business growth and success?

Paul 02[acsite]“Companies that come through the Accelerator Centre’s programming are truly built to scale. We ensure that from even in the very beginning, the idea phase, companies are building a strong foundation for long term business success,” says Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “Even in our intake process, we are looking for companies that have an impact in areas that matter for the world. Through our close relationship with the university system and my dual role with the University of Waterloo, we have our finger on the pulse of the research occurring today, in areas such as the Internet of Things and the Smart City revolution, and can foresee how that research will translate into the companies and jobs of the future. So we can nurture our client companies to become leaders in those spaces”

Salvini goes on to say, that the Accelerator Centre’s selection process is tuned to identify those companies who exhibit the capacity to scale in size and in global presence. “If that is the case, and the company has a good alignment with the research capacity of one of our local universities, we know that company has the capability to grown and won’t be starved on the talent side,” says Salvini.

The Accelerator Centre’s programming, unlike many other incubators, delivers its high quality programming through a core team of mentors, each business executives – each with decades of experience in building and growing global companies, over time. The average company spends on average two years in the program.

Salvini notes that one cannot speak of the Accelerator Centre and its graduates’ success without acknowledging the surrounding technology ecosystem in Waterloo Region, supported by academic institutions such as University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. “Our success is absolutely set up by the great success of our academic partners,” he says. “Companies setting up a business and growing a business in Waterloo Region know they have access to world class research and talent.”

Clearpath Robotics, which graduated from the Accelerator Centre in 2011, has experienced exceptional growth over the last six years, transforming from a four person startup at the AC into a profitable, 200 person organization with a research division (Clearpath Robotics) as well as an industrial division (OTTO Motors).  In October 2016, Clearpath announced a $30M US in funding to expand its OTTO Motors division.

“TMatt Randellhe Accelerator Centre allowed us to transform our project into a viable business. We were able to break even within 18 months of inception, in good part due to the mentorship and financial support we received from AC,” says Matt Rendall, Clearpath Robotics CEO. “Entrepreneurship has its own set of challenges and the AC was able to alleviate many of the simple overhead growing pains so we could focus on growing the business. (ie: not having to worry about toilet paper or paying the bill for hydro or electrical was a blessing in disguise!).

We learned what worked and what didn’t work at the AC – it was a safe space to experiment with our technology and our business processes to identify and leverage best practices for Clearpath. A tree can’t grow unless it has strong roots and is part of a supportive ecosystem. The AC provided us with a foundation to transform our passion into a thriving business.”

 

Axonify graduated from the Accelerator Centre in 2014. Since departing the program, the company, which provides a gamification solution for corporate learning, has experienced significant growth, closing out 2015 with >$10M in recurring annual revenue and a customer roster that includes Bloomingdales, Ceridian, Toys R Us Canada and The Pep Boys. In November 2016, Axonify announced $27M US in funding to further expand its business operations.

“The Accelerator Centre is a different kind of environment than the typical early stage tech incubator, and in a good way,” says Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify.

carol-leaman-headshot.jpg“There’s something a little more serious about the way in which the programs and mentoring make you feel — like the organization is working in concrete ways to help your company succeed. Consistent mentorship and meaningful programming plus the ability to reinforce sound principles over a stay of up to two years (versus a typical incubator experience of 3 – 6 months) give each company a better shot at making it.

I know Axonify took advantage of everything the Accelerator Centre had on offer and thoroughly enjoyed getting its start in that environment.”

The Accelerator Centre Announces 2nd Cohort of Startups into Their Newly Redesigned Incubation Program

Media Release

We are pleased to announce the companies that will comprise the second cohort of Phase One clients in our newly redesigned Accelerator Program.

The companies in our world-renowned incubation program are selected through a very competitive process and represent the best-of-the-best in technology and entrepreneurship in the region and around the world.

Companies joining the second cohort of Phase One are:

  • Travel wholesale – Quest Travel
  • Search engine optimizationTraffic is Currency
  • Nano Technology – NanoCNET
  • Lidar systems developmentSingle Quantum Systems
  • Veterinary technologyHealthy Pets
  • Mobile payment softwareFinserve
  • Health and safety software – Site Safety Solutions
  • Hockey technology – TheHockeyPro
  • Waste management/Public service technology – Eagle Vision Systems
  • Live global mapping program – Live Anywhere
  • Video game technology56 Studios

“I am always impressed by the wide variety of innovative and impactful ideas that these entrepreneurs bring to the table. I am pleased to welcome cohort two into the Accelerator Program and I am excited to see them build and scale successful, global businesses.”  – Paul Salvini, CEO, Accelerator Centre.

Phase One is the first of four phases within our recently restructured two-year incubation program. The program offers customized, milestone-based programming alongside the proven mentorship model we are best known for. At the end of the Phase Four, our clients graduate with confidence, knowing all areas of their business are ready for long-term success.

For more information on the companies in cohort two, our programming, or to learn how to apply for the next cohort contact:

Tabatha Laverty

Community Manager

tlaverty@acceleratorcentre.com
Show
Hide