Tomorrow evening is Edmonton’s fourth Launch Party, an event which “celebrates and showcases the hottest startups in town.” These are companies that have recently launched and which are ready to pursue the next level of growth.
Launch Party isn’t your typical networking event or trade show. It’s a party designed to celebrate and showcase the rockstar entrepreneurs in our community. Drinks, DJs, and great company all await you at Launch Party!
Launch Party is for everyone in the community – students, media, investors, entrepreneurs, designers, consumers – if you’re interested in starting, growing and supporting local startups, then Launch Party is the place to be!
There’s an impressive list of Launch Party alumni in Edmonton, including Mover, Yardstick, Poppy Barley, and Jobber. Now we get an opportunity to see another ten grow and hopefully succeed!
Here are the presenting companies for Launch Party 4:
FOUNDED: April 2013
TWO WORDS: Linguistics Training
WHAT: “People have difficulty speaking new languages because their mouths have been trained to move in a different way. AccentFree is a personal linguistics engine to help retrain how people speak. Our products level the playing field for ESL speakers, giving them equal career and social opportunities, and turn smartphones into personal linguistic tutors.”
KEY PEOPLE: Michael Brougham
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: I’m personally unfamiliar with AccentFree, though it’s clear that founder Michael has a passion for the beauty of the human voice. ESL itself is a large industry here in Alberta, and with a large and growing influx of newcomers, there’s a lot of demand for services and solutions to support them.
FOUNDED: May 2011
TWO WORDS: Game Platform
WHAT: “Cinder.io is an independent focused, games development platform that connects dedicated producers with passionate players. The diverse system allows audiences to enjoy products online and contribute to the evolution games through feedback, collaboration and funding. This provides the producer with a richer and more flexible environment in which to validate, fund and promote their products with the most relevant audience.”
KEY PEOPLE: Pieter Parker, Sean Kopen
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCamp Edmonton 14 (Pieter, with Bit Shift Games)
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Despite both Sony & Microsoft launching new consoles this month, the gaming industry remains in flux. We’re gaming more, but in different ways, and the likelihood that aspiring game developers can make something is ever-increasing. Cinder will be entering an already competitive market, but there’s lots of potential.
TWO WORDS: Weigh-Station Bypass
WHAT: “Drivewyze Inc., provider of the leading electronic weigh station bypass service, Drivewyze PreClear, enables commercial vehicle operators to maximize cost savings by reducing weigh station pull-ins and increases road safety by enabling law enforcement agencies to focus on non-compliant commercial vehicles. Drivewyze partners with industry leaders including Electronic Logging Device manufacturers, trucking associations and government stakeholders to deliver the next generation of weigh station bypass solutions.”
KEY PEOPLE: Doug Johnson, Brian Heath, Jason Ding
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: AlwaysOn Global 250 Winner
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Can we still call Drivewyze a startup? A subsidiary of Intelligent Imaging Systems, Drivewyze already has more than 230 sites and numerous partnerships. In August 2013, the company raised $7.5 million in funding from Emergence Capital Partners and iNovia Capital. The company has hit upon a cost-effective solution in a big, big market.
FOUNDED: January 2012
TWO WORDS: Financial Forecasts
WHAT: “Dryrun is a software as a service (SaaS) product built for small businesses to forecast their cash flow, compare their options and understand their business. Improving on the familiar spreadsheet, it’s fast, easy, clear and collaborative.”
KEY PEOPLE: Blaine Bertsch
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCamp Edmonton 23
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Dryrun is gearing up to launch later this year, and already it’s a highly functional, attractive service. Blaine’s background in design has served him well in the creation of what could be a fairly boring tool. I think the key to success will be integrations, with services like FreshBooks.
FOUNDED: June 2011
TWO WORDS: Local Labels
WHAT: “Localize makes it easy for grocery stores to launch and maintain highly credible local food campaigns. Our shelf-labelling service identifies local and regional products right on the store shelf, and provides customers with an easy way to find more information about where each product has come from when they scan the QR code that is found on each label. We have launched the Localize service into over 50 grocery stores in Alberta, partnered with over 300 food producers, and have profiled over 3500 food products. We are currently growing the program into BC and Saskatchewan.”
KEY PEOPLE: Meghan Dear
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Semi-Finalist in VenturePrize, Social Enterprise World Forum
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Fresh off a $20,000 win in the Good Deals Venture Pitch Competition, Localize has some momentum at the moment. With a growing network of grocery stores and a really impressive number of producers, Localize is well-positioned to capitalize on the incredible interest in local food in Alberta and beyond.
TWO WORDS: 3D Printing
WHAT: “pinshape is a 3D printing community marketplace for 3D printable models. Users can explore models from the world’s leading 3D designers to learn, share, download, and order physical 3D prints through pinshape’s professional 3D print service. Designers can upload their work and share it for free or sell it for profit. With a fluid pinboard interface, life-like 3D rendering, and individually tailored content, pinshape is organizing the world’s 3D designs, and changing how we explore 3D creativity.”
KEY PEOPLE: Nick Schwinghamer
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCamp Edmonton 23, TEC Edmonton/Fundica Funding Roadshow
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: I’m positive that one day we’ll all have 3D printers in our homes, just as inkjets are so ubiquitous today. Part community and part app store, pinshape is the kind of service that will bridge the gap between experts and designers and those of us that just want access to this amazing technology.
FOUNDED: March 2013
TWO WORDS: Asset Management
WHAT: “SAM is an online social asset management platform for news and media professionals. We’re building the most powerful search tools to empower journalists to intentionally find meaningful content from social networks and constructing an asset management platform to make it easy to work with these social assets throughout the media lifecycle (newsgathering to broadcast and publish). To put it another way, SAM is a CMS for Tweets, Instagrams, Youtube Videos and any other social content that is essential to News Coverage, Content Production and Journalism.”
KEY PEOPLE: James Neufeld
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCamp Edmonton 22, News Xchange Startup Alley
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Social media is here to stay, with tweets, photos, and other posts already integral to the news gathering and sharing process. They’re not very integrated though, and that’s the problem SAM is looking to solve. There’s a lot of interest in new approaches to media, and SAM could have an angle that not many have considered yet.
FOUNDED: November 2010
TWO WORDS: Augmented Reality
WHAT: “Scope Technologies develops user-guided Augmented Reality Solution with focus in Industrial markets including mining, oil and gas, military, aerospace, and manufacturing. Our solution is primarily developed for the purpose of training and maintenance. Essentially, our solution is an extension of any manual or document, and creates a “see-it, do-it” process. Our process involves a full understanding of the challenges of the client, whether it entails and unskilled labor force, trying to minimize mistakes in maintaining equipment, or saving time. We ensure that our solution is practical for the customer, which could significantly impact the hardware that the solution is deployed on – including tablets, glasses, or a combination.”
KEY PEOPLE: David Nedohin, Scott Montgomerie, Graham Melley, Reg Cheramy
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCamp Edmonton 21
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: There’s a ton of interest right now in wearable computing as well as augmented reality (and some predict that gadgets in the category could save companies $1 billion within 3-5 years) . Their demo back in April focused on using augmented reality for training, an already large and growing market with a lot of potential, especially here in industrial Alberta. They’ve got a talented team and an important supporter is Epson who makes the Moverio glasses they use.
FOUNDED: September 2011
TWO WORDS: Sports Analytics
WHAT: “SportingCharts is enhancing the way people view and understand sports. We are dedicated to improving the analytics of sports by providing tools, resources and visuals, to better arm teams, fantasy players and bettors in their decision making and produce more informed fans.”
KEY PEOPLE: Cory Wagner, Chad Langager
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Make Something Edmonton
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: People love their sports. Chad and Cory were previously with Investopedia, so they know a thing or two about data analysis! I regularly see people linking to the charts at SportingCharts.com, which is why it’s so interesting to me – there’s a lot of people interested in the data but they don’t necessarily know what to do with it. Their new ChartBuilder tool is a look at things to come. In addition to data and analytical tools, SportingCharts has expanded into opinion articles with more than 20 contributors.
FOUNDED: July 2011
TWO WORDS: Elevator Advertising
WHAT: “Visio Media tenders digital elevator advertising space in commercial and residential properties by installing Android based tablets. Visio tablets are equipped with state of the art technology that provides exact impressions and accurate demographics like age, gender and duration of stare. As well as NFC (Near Field Communication) technology that allows the audience to simply tap their smartphones on the elevator tablets to engage with advertisements.”
KEY PEOPLE: Fouad El-Masri, Nicolette Leonardis, Sami Al Askari
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Alberta Venture
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: They’ve installed screens in elevators in more than a dozen locations since February, and have even provided screens to Southgate Mall and Mill Woods Town Centre. They’ve signed up dozens of advertisers, and just recently launched support for NFC to enable some interesting new scenarios. We’ve had the screens in my condo building since the summer, and I can definitely see the potential.
The event gets underway at 6:45pm at Startup Edmonton. Unfortunately the event is already sold out, but keep an eye on social media for details about all the companies!
You can see my previous Launch Party previews here: #1, #2 Recap, #3.