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Communitech's $30 million Startup Incubator Announces First Cohort of Eight Companies
Waterloo Region – July 10, 2012 – Communitech today announced the first cohort of companies participating in HYPERDRIVE, its $30 million startup incubator, which includes eight diverse, rising-star startups ready for prime time. HYPERDRIVE was introduced only 10 weeks ago and has already seen significant interest from funders and partners. The announcement will be highlighted at a HYPERDRIVE kick-off event today at The Communitech Hub.
“HYPERDRIVE is an excellent example of the kind of innovative ideas we have here in southern Ontario,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). “It is these types of creative partnerships that will position our regions start-up businesses for success, leading to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for our people and our communities.”
HYPERDRIVE is designed to accept up to 10 companies, up to three times per year, granting entry only to startups that satisfy criteria derived from a lean-startup model.
“Today's announcement is about collaborating to grow these great companies and demonstrate to the world why Ontario is such a smart place to invest. I'm excited to see the results of these efforts, which I know will be a model for others to follow," said Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Innovation.
“This is what all the excitement has been about – the applications have been evaluated, the prospects have been interviewed, and the companies have been selected; now it’s time to show the tech world HYPERDRIVE in action,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech.
The following seven companies make up the first group of HYPERDRIVE startups:
- Buildcircle (www.buildcircle.com) – provides contractors with cloud-based software services to privately create their most competitive bids in response to construction tenders.
- Coachd (coachd.com) – a mobile app that allows sports fans and amateur athletes to be coached through workouts by professional athletes. Through Coachd, professional athletes are able to grow and monetize their fan base, while simultaneously building their personal brand.
- Killer Giveaways (www.killergiveaways.com) - a cost-sharing platform that pools small businesses together so they can afford expensive giveaway prizes such as vacations, gadgets etc. at 1/10th of the prize cost. Small businesses can now incentivize their visitors just like the big businesses, and generate hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of social media exposure, traffic, fans and leads.
- SimplicityVMS (www.simplicityvms.com) - cloud based, SaaS platform that automates and centralizes the end-to-end process of hiring, engaging and administering contract and temporary workers. The system functions across all departments across the entire enterprise. SimplicityVMS' easy to configure platform reduces the time and cost to implement best of breed VMS technology.
- StampMee (www.stampmee.com) – revolutionizes the process of collecting loyalty points through a digital stamp that works on smartphones to simulate the buy-10-get-1-free stamp cards. Vendors are provided with real-time business intelligence data as well as on-demand advertising opportunities.
- Will Pwn 4 Food (willpwn4food.com) - is gaming for money. The company creates fast action 3D games that you can play directly in the web browser for actual cash and prizes. Gamers have the skills to pay the bills, but nowhere to go to put their money where their mouth is, and that's where Will Pwn 4 Food comes in.
- 8146861 Canada Corp - a new Waterloo-based start up with a veteran team which is currently working in stealth mode and looking forward to launching their initial Beta and company brand later this summer.
- Pink Metrics (www.crowdriff.com) – Pink Metrics' product, Crowd Riff, helps brands monetize real-time social media content by enabling them to identify, encourage and reward the people and content relevant to their audience. Think of Crowd Riff as the live front page for any event and delivered within your own branded experience.
Phase 1 of the program begins now and will introduce the startups to market validation, focus on customer development, and help them to flesh out the overall direction of their companies. Two established entrepreneurs, Steven Woods and Ted Hastings, are the program’s “Head Coaches” and are reinforced by eight Executives-in-Residence and more than 120 mentors who have volunteered their time to help coach these up-and-coming businesses with the overall goal of building “Series A” VC funded companies. Notable funders have also stepped in to lend the support and the capital required to ensure startups get off the ground.
"I wish there had been a HYPERDRIVE program when I started my business,” said Jim Estill, Partner in Canrock Ventures. “The value of the mentors, the program and the environment is a great way to launch a company."
“Today’s event marks the formal launch of HYPERDRIVE,” said Iain Klugman. “Our goal is to grow the tech startups announced today into the tech giants of tomorrow.”
Communitech is located in Waterloo Region, 110 kilometres (66 miles) west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Founded by a group of dedicated entrepreneurs in 1997, Communitech is the regional hub for the commercialization of innovative technologies supporting and building a Southwestern Ontario tech cluster of close to 1,000 companies that now generates more than $30B in revenue. A member of the Ontario Network of Excellence (www.oneinnovation.ca), which is funded by the Ontario government, Communitech supports tech companies at all stages of their growth and development – from startup companies, to rapidly growing SMEs, to large global players – to create greater numbers of successful global businesses for Ontario and for Canada.
About Communitech HYPERDRIVE
Communitech HYPERDRIVE (http://www.communitech.ca/hyperdrive/) is a startup incubator that provides enhanced mentorship and other life cycle services to early stage tech companies. The goal of the program is to maximize the ability of these companies to commercialize innovations and prepare the companies for investment opportunities. The program will also enable ‘soft landings’ for experience in foreign markets, and higher visibility for investment sources and business connections.
Shelley Grandy, Sr. PR Advisor, Communitech, 905-866-2656 or firstname.lastname@example.org