Next Thursday evening, Edmonton’s third Launch Party will take place at Startup Edmonton. It’s an opportunity to mix and mingle with some of the city’s most interesting entrepreneurs, creators, and developers. The focus is on ten startups that have risen up over the last year or so and are now ready for the next stage. There are no formal presentations or panels, but there will be drinks, demos, and DJs! You can see my recap of Launch Party 2 here.
Here’s what you need to know about each startup.
TWO WORDS: Condo Communication
WHAT: “GeniePad is a communication portal for condominiums, condo boards, homeowners associations, and property management companies. With GeniePad you can simply and easily deliver news, share documents, buy and sell goods within your building’s community, provide your residents with a tool to communicate with the condo board, homeowners association, property management and other residents electronically, making it quick and efficient.”
KEY PEOPLE: Rafal Dyrda of Flame360 Inc., also co-founded PartsBazaar.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Demoed at DemoCamp Edmonton 15.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: I’m a big fan of the product (my condo building uses it). GeniePad solves problems that all large residential buildings have, and it does so with an attractive, easy-to-use, cost-effective web app. With 130 properties already using the product (which they found largely through word-of-mouth), GeniePad is off to a great start.
TWO WORDS: Shopping Analytics
WHAT: “Granify is an Edmonton-based company backed by several of the strongest venture capital firms in Canada and the US. We’re at the intersection of artificial intelligence and e-commerce, providing a SaaS solution that enables online retailers to maximize their sales by using cutting edge big data and machine learning technologies. We’re a small but growing team of eager entrepreneurial individuals that enjoy working in a fun, creative, and agile environment.”
KEY PEOPLE: Jeff Lawrence, founder of Bloro Games and Precision Targeting; Lihang Ying, architect at the City of Edmonton working on 311 and Open Data; and Shawn Wan, formerly of Tynt.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Member of Extreme Startups’ first cohort earlier this year.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Granify has already received a significant amount of investment from some very seasoned investors, so that’s a good sign. Big data is an increasingly growing area of interest for many people, and Granify seems well-positioned to make a play in the e-commerce segment of that space.
TWO WORDS: Business Management
WHAT: “Jobber is a cloud based mobile-capable business management system for field service companies. Landscapers, painters, cleaning companies, contractors and many other service professionals are getting organized, saving time and earning more using Jobber to power their administrative back end, and to close the information loop with their employees in the field.”
KEY PEOPLE: Sam Pillar and Forrest Zeisler.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Demoed at DemoCamp Edmonton 15.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: I ran a painting franchise one summer and I could definitely have used Jobber back then! With a rich set of features, competitive pricing, and a giant market of small service companies, it’s no surprise that Jobber has attracted Boris Wertz and Point Nine Capital as investors.
TWO WORDS: Social Login
WHAT: “LoginRadius is Software as a Service (SaaS) that provides social infrastructure to help businesses grow through the power of social media, improving the ease and efficiency of online identity management. Using LoginRadius, website owners can allow their users to log in with existing accounts on Live, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and over 20 more providers. Social Login eliminates the annoying registration process that all online users have come to dread and not only attracts more traffic to a website but also boosts its user base.”
KEY PEOPLE: Rakesh Soni, who did his MSc in Engineering at the University of Alberta.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Demoed at DemoCamp Edmonton 19.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: LoginRadius has partnerships with Mozilla, Microsoft’s BizSpark, DynDNS, and X-Card, and already has 22,000 customers according to Business in Edmonton magazine. Social plugins are all the rage, and LoginRadius makes it easy to add them to your website with the added bonus of gathering data for social analytics.
TWO WORDS: Instagram Profiles
WHAT: “Monogram is a web service that helps users create simple online profiles. We create custom plugins that use API’s from popular tools and social networks to give users a deep amount of customization with little effort. We currently only offer profiles for Instagram – but we plan to roll out new profiles in the new year.”
KEY PEOPLE: Brandon Webber, Tim Fletcher, and Adrian Gyuricska, all from Lift Interactive.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Demoed at DemoCamp Edmonton 19.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: During the demo back in September, Brandon and Tim emphasized that supporting services beyond Instagram was important. Well three days ago Instagram launched their own web profiles. Monogram plans to support SoundCloud, Vimeo, and Etsy among other services. While there’s definitely a market for beautifully designed, premium profiles, it is a busy space with about.me and many others. They’ll have to focus on quality and service.
TWO WORDS: Cloud Storage
WHAT: “These days most consumers are using, or starting to use, cloud storage. This means that files are now in Dropbox, or Google, or somewhere other than their computers. Mover uncomplicates the process for software developers to work with cloud storage. Using Mover, any app, product, or service can easily interact with cloud storage providers like Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft SkyDrive. Mover provides a great application programming interface (API) for software developers. The process of authorizing, downloading, and uploading files from any cloud storage provider is identical using Mover, whereas the old way of doing things was a long and arduous process.”
KEY PEOPLE: Eric Warnke, co-founder of Mesh Canada, former Nexopia employee; Mark Fossen, co-founder of Mesh Canada, former ThinkTel employee; and Ben Zittlau, creator of Alertzy and co-founder of Firenest.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Demoed at DemoCamp Edmonton 18 as Backup Box.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Dropbox is the poster child of cloud storage, but it is just one of many options. SkyDrive (my favorite), Box, Amazon S3, Windows Azure, and Google Drive are just a few of the other big players. Moving data from one to another is going to become increasingly important, and Mover helps make it easy. Their slogan of “one API for the cloud” is a lofty but potentially lucrative promise.
TWO WORDS: Event Planning
WHAT: “PlanHero makes planning social group trips easy and stress free. We take the chaos out of planning group trips while making sure everyone pays the planner on time. PlanHero makes communicating efficient, allow you to poll your friends to help decide what, when and where to go and help everyone book their trip like a pro. Planners set up basic trip information and any questions they want the group to decide on in no time, meaning less time arguing and reading email chains and more time getting the trip of a lifetime happening.”
KEY PEOPLE: Dave Chmiel; Kyle Huberman, CEO of Pixel Designs; and Richard Aberefa.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Demoed at DemoCamp Edmonton 18.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Even with an ever-growing list of online tools, coordinating group events (especially those that require payment) is still a pain. That’s the problem that PlanHero hopes to address, utilizing Facebook for easy social connectivity. They may need to focus on a specific niche to start (ski trips, for instance) but the service is slick and easy-to-use.
TWO WORDS: Custom Boots
WHAT: “Poppy Barley will revolutionize the way women buy footwear. Mass-manufactured footwear only considers one measurement – foot length and as a result over 60% of women struggle to find boots that fit. Motivated by the promise of fit and brilliance of bespoke, Poppy Barley makes it possible for women to design their ideal pair of boots and self-measure their feet, ankles and legs in 5 minutes. Poppy Barley makes the luxury of made to measure boots attainable for the first time by a business model delivered entirely online with no middlemen and layers of markups.”
KEY PEOPLE: Justine Barber and her sister Kendall Barber, editor & founder of City & Dale.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Featured in the Edmonton Journal on September 13.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Purchasing clothing or shoes online is always difficult because of the sizing issue. Will it fit? You never know. Add to that the fact that everyone’s fit is slightly different, and you have a solid use case for Poppy Barley (it also seems more likely to take off than something like Pedpad, which requires a hardware device to measure). The sisters have done their homework and they’ve already inked a number of key partnerships. Oh, and they definitely know fashion!
TWO WORDS: Gift Certificates
WHAT: “Sendioso is an online community where people share their favourite local shops and buy and send gift certificates immediately via email or mobile phone. Anyone can visit Sendioso.com, view their friends’ favourite places, buy a gift certificate from any Sendioso merchant, and then send it to anyone, at any time. We want our audience to have fun gifting, sharing and visiting Sendioso stores — maybe for the first time.”
KEY PEOPLE: Jeremy Payne and Lisa Hryniw.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: I’ll admit I don’t know much about Sendioso, but the idea of getting gift cards for places I actually like is appealing. The services seems to have an interesting discovery angle too.
TWO WORDS: Paperless Homework
WHAT: “Showbie unlocks the creative potential of classroom iPads with easy document sharing right from everyone’s favorite apps. Showbie makes workflow easily manageable, effective and secure. The best way to go paperless. Students, parents and teachers are thrilled with the simple but effective way of sharing assignment, projects and homework.”
KEY PEOPLE: Colin Bramm, President of Bramm Technologies and long-time entrepreneur in the education technology space. Demoed SelfChecker at DemoCamp Edmonton 9 in November 2009.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Launched on June 12, 2012 at Launch Education & Kids in Mountain View, CA.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Colin has been dabbling in the ed tech space for a while so has quite a bit of experience to draw from. The product has already been used by 400 schools around the world. Many districts are investing in iPads for schools, so the addressable market does seem to be growing.
Tickets for Launch Party 3 are $25 or $15 for students. You can get yours here.
Launch Party is just one of many exciting events celebrating entrepreneurship in Edmonton next week. Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 kicks off on Tuesday at Startup Edmonton, and there are events planned all week long.
See you there!