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, 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. 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.

Stratford AC and UW Stratford partner for inaugural Game Design Camp

GDCStratfordStudents, game designers, developers, educators and industry leaders will join forces this weekend at the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus to compete in developing a novel one-button video game.

The inaugural Game Design Camp will provide an immersive hands-on experience in game design and commercialization. Racing against the clock, teams will be challenged to develop, design and test a one-button game for future development.

A panel of experts will judge the final designs and the top five teams will be awarded team prizes valued more than $2,600. The winning team will receive support and services from the Stratford Accelerator Centre to further develop their game.

Professor Jane Tingley will lead the camp alongside a team of UX, UI, interactive designers and successful entrepreneurs, including David Debono of Boom Gaming, a graduate of the Accelerator Centre program. These experts will provide mentorship and support throughout the event.

“The Game Design Camp will provide participants with the opportunity to explore an idea for a one button game and develop its commercial potential and marketability.” said Professor Tingley. ‘We are excited to partner with the Stratford Accelerator Centre and Games Institute to bring this event to the Strafford Campus.”

The Stratford Accelerator Centre partnered with the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus and Games Institute for the camp which received funding in partnership with the Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research.

“This camp is an amazing opportunity for the participants to collaboratively create something unique, have access to a variety of industry experts, and learn new skills.” said Becka Borody, Manager, Operations, at the Stratford Accelerator Centre. “We are excited to be a part of this event and look forward to helping the winning team further develop their idea through the Stratford Accelerator Centre.”

More information about the Game Design Camp can be found online.

Stratford Accelerator Centre to join University of Waterloo Stratford Campus

WATERLOO, Ont.  — An innovative collaboration will provide University of Waterloo students and entrepreneurs the opportunity to work together when Stratford’s Accelerator Centre relocates to the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus this spring.

“This initiative of the Stratford Accelerator Centre and the University of Waterloo creates a unique opportunity—a community based on the networking and collaboration so critical to entrepreneurial success, with the added benefit of being housed within the highly innovative culture that exists on our campus,” said Ginny Dybenko, executive director of the Stratford Campus. “We’re creating and supporting an environment that will help startups reach their goals through interaction with our students, and our students will benefit through direct access to these entrepreneurs.”

With its unique Master of Digital Experience Innovation (MDEI) and Global Business and Digital Arts (GBDA) programs, the campus supports business, technology and arts students who have projects that are ideal for commercialization. The move will give the campus direct access to The Accelerator Program®, an award-winning incubation program for technology startups, with its entrepreneur in residence, mentors and programming support to provide a ready pathway to transform research into commercial reality.

“We are incredibly excited by the potential of blending our startups, experienced team and in-house mentors with Stratford’s students in an on-campus setting,” said Tim Ellis, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “The interactions and exchange of ideas that will come from this initiative will strengthen the bond on both sides, providing students with another important avenue for applying their learning, and offering startups access to cutting-edge, digital arts expertise, and a pipeline of strong, up-and-coming talent.”

The startups from the Stratford Accelerator Centre are expected to move to the campus at the end of March.

About the Stratford Accelerator Centre

The Stratford Accelerator Centre is a ground-breaking facility dedicated to developing and commercializing technology start-ups. Through The Accelerator Program®, early-stage companies benefit from in-depth business coaching and seamless support services including access to office facilities, coaching and mentoring, education, connections to capital, networking, R&D support and outreach, talent recruitment, technology transfer assistance, and commercialization expertise, enabling technology start-ups to move to market faster, create jobs and stimulate economic activity.

To learn more about the full Accelerator Centre offerings visit

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit

Media Contacts

Joanie Gerber
Director of Operations
Stratford Accelerator Centre

Pamela Smyth
University of Waterloo

For great local coverage read The Beacon Herald’s article announcing our move.



Accelerator Centre Graduate Energent to provide software for 10 Ontario universities

On January 15, 2014, McMaster University, on behalf of 10 leading Ontario universities, announced the selection of Energent’s energy management information system to be commissioned for all 10 institutions – McMaster, Carleton, Ottawa, Waterloo, Trent, Queens, Lakehead, Brock, Laurentian and Windsor.

Energent’s best in class modeling and analytics solution will enable these universities to reach their individual and collective energy management goals, by tracking their individual energy performance as well as benchmarking and comparing their usage across the full portfolio of the 10 campuses. The insight provided by the software, and the technical expertise of Energent’s Energy Analysts, will provide each university with the information necessary to reduce their energy spend. Energy Managers and Facility Managers will now be able to share best practices between their respective universities more easily.

With the Energent system these universities will be able to quickly comply with Ontario’s mandatory 397/11 reporting requirements, introduced in July 2013, which require that all public buildings report their energy usage and carbon emissions, as well as their energy management plan to reduce those on an annual basis. Energent’s automated data collection and reporting system will eliminate the costly manual effort that was previously required for complying with the regulation, freeing up valuable time for more strategic initiatives.

There is also a plan to engage the campus community in reducing energy consumption and adopt energy conservation initiatives through the use of an interactive marketing campaign. The highly intuitive dashboard of the Energent system will provide a “kiosk” capability to broaden awareness of the importance of reducing energy and carbon emissions.

The UEDBS program has a very fast-track timeline as well as a demanding set of functional and operational requirements. The initial inquiry for pre-qualification was issued to a wide array of suppliers, and resulted in a short list of 5 to respond to a formal RFP. “We evaluated several energy management information systems and benchmarking software suppliers for our University Utility Energy Database and Benchmarking System (UEDBS). We found Energent to best satisfy our technical requirements within the project timeframe and budget” stated Shahid Naeem, Energy Management and Sustainability Engineer at McMaster University, and project lead for the UEDBS program.

Energent is very pleased to have been selected for such a prestigious project with these prominent Ontario institutions.” says Chris Reid, President and CEO at Energent. “Our selection by the UEDBS team validates our belief that the Energent suite of software and services is recognized across North America as the best in class in energy management information systems. We look forward to delivering a world-class system for analyzing and benchmarking their energy use.”

About Energent:

Energent is a leading provider of energy management technologies in North America for industrial, institutional, and commercial customers. Based out of Waterloo, Ontario, Energent provides its state-of-the-art technology via software-as-a-service (SaaS), ensuring cost effective deployments and valuable ongoing services. Energent has leading companies as customers across all sectors and regions in Canada and the US. For more information, please visit


J. Christopher Reid

President and CEO

T: 519-725-0906 ext. 2011 | C: 289-221-1675

115 King Street South, Suite 208

Waterloo, Ontario


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Enabling The Intelligent Use Of Energy

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Accelerator Centre Client TitanFile Inc. announces collaborative communications system for corporate legal departments


SAN FRANCISCO, CA and WATERLOO, ON – Putting the user firmly in control with hassle-free, hacker-proof security combined with powerful information sharing functionality, Hitachi Solutions America, Ltd. and TitanFile Inc. are announcing a collaborative communications system built for today’s corporate legal departments. Secure client communications are essential to successful law firm operations and the new joint effort allows confidential file sharing anytime, anywhere with the user maintaining control of the encryption key to further safeguard confidentiality.

“One way law firms can mitigate their risks and stand out from their competitors is to offer a higher level of security for their clients’ sensitive documents and an information sharing system that allows staff to provide better, faster and more convenient client service,” said Yuji Nakagawa, vice president, Security Solution Department of Hitachi Solutions America.

With the integrated solution, users will be able to directly control who can access and view files while conveniently sharing documents with clients, legal teams and company management. Sensitive files will automatically remain in an encrypted state as they are distributed across platforms or shared on mobile devices.

Read full article here.

Accelerator Centre Graduate Clearpath Robotics to provide robots for lifesaving humanitarian research

(Kitchener, ON, Canada – January 23, 2013)  The University of Coimbra’s Institute of Systems and Robotics is working diligently to automate the extremely dangerous and manual job of clearing minefields for humanitarian demining efforts. Canadian robotics makers, Clearpath Robotics, sponsored the project by providing the mobile robotic base.

“Minesweeping is an extremely dangerous and time-intensive process,” said Lino Marques, Senior Lecturer at the University of Coimbra, and academic liaison for the project. “Robots do not get tired; they can be extremely thorough performing their jobs, and their cost is infinitely smaller than that of a human life. For these reasons, robots are a perfect solution for the minesweeping problem.”

The group at University of Coimbra set out to accomplish three key tasks with their mobile robot: Perceive terrain characteristics, navigate across the terrain, and utilize the vehicle to detect and localize landmines. The first round of field tests in 2013 was interrupted due to issues with their custom robotic arm. Once adjustments are in place, a second round of field tests will take place (expected mid-2014).

“We are very proud to be supporters of Dr. Marques’ humanitarian research into demining robotics.” said Matt Rendall, CEO at Clearpath Robotics. “Clearpath Robotics was originally founded with a focus to clear landmines using a swarm of small mobile robots – that’s how we got our name – so it’s very exciting for us to work with the University of Coimbra to advance this incredibly noble research.”

The mobile robotic base was outfitted with navigation and localization sensors, ground penetration radar, and a custom robotic arm with an attached metal detector. The entirety of the robot is designed with open source software using the Robot Operating System (ROS).

The group received the mobile base, known as Husky Unmanned Ground Vehicle, as part of the 2012 Partnerbot Grant Program, inaugurated to support advancement in robotics research. Within the Partnerbot program, the group was also named winners of the Special Award for Humanitarian Contribution.

About Clearpath Robotics

Clearpath Robotics, a global leader in unmanned vehicle robotics for research and development, is dedicated to automating the world’s dullest, dirtiest, and deadliest jobs. The Company serves robotics leaders in over 30 countries worldwide in academic, corporate, industrial, and military environments. Recognizing the value of future innovation, Clearpath Robotics established Partnerbot, a grant program to support university robotics research teams, internationally. Clearpath Robotics provides robust robotic vehicles and autonomous solutions that are engineered for performance, designed for customization, and built for open source. Visit Clearpath Robotics at, follow us on Twitter @clearpathrobots or like us on Facebook.


Meghan Hennessey

Marketing Communications


Stratford Accelerator Centre Client BuildCircle Inc: Does balance exist for an entrepreneur?

The Art of Compromise

By: Angela Pause

“Balance [for an entrepreneur] doesn’t exist,” says Dan Heitbohmer. ”It’s like taking oil and water and shaking them up, trying to keep them mixed. Impossible.”

Heitbohmer, 38, has learned the hard way that the elusive “balance” the media and healthcare professionals encourage is for a different type of person than the entrepreneur. It might work for the nine-to-fiver, but as the president of BuildCircle Inc, a cloud-based software that manages the complex series of communications that accompany any construction project, Heitbohmer says the only option available to him is simple compromise.

It was a tough lesson to learn, he says. Heitbohmer “crashed and burned” in December 2012, after a six-month stint of working 19-hour days at his company, while also helping his wife, Melissa, with their newborn and five-year-old twins. Ignoring his failing health, he was eventually diagnosed with pneumonia and spent two weeks in bed – all the while stressing about work, and feeling guilty about not being a fully engaged father and husband.

Read the full article here.