Edmonton’s first Launch Party is set to rock your socks off on Wednesday evening (on ShareEdmonton). There won’t be any formal presentations or panels, but the event will be a great opportunity to network with some of Edmonton’s best and brightest entrepreneurs and developers. It’s also a chance to celebrate the creative and interesting things happening here!
Ten local “startups” will be featured, as announced here. Here’s what you need to know about these companies and the people behind them:
TWO WORDS: Game Distribution
WHAT: A digital distribution service for games (think Steam).
KEY PEOPLE: Trent Oster, formerly of BioWare.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: This is the startup I know the least about! There are some amazing folks in the game industry here in Edmonton, and Trent is one of them. Video games continue to move further into the mainstream, and onto dozens of mobile devices. There’s lots of opportunity.
TWO WORDS: Youth Advertising
WHAT: A social media advertising network targeting Canadian youth.
KEY PEOPLE: Kevin Swan of Nexopia, Boriz Wertz of W Media Ventures (AbeBooks, Nexopia, Techvibes, others), and others.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: The team’s experience with Nexopia (a social network focused on youth) is what gave birth to Connect13. They are web savvy, they know how to reach young people, and they’re using social media to create an innovative new advertising platform. Large, growing market that is currently being underserved.
TWO WORDS: Social Brainstorming
WHAT: Online brainstorming service that lets you share with others in real-time.
KEY PEOPLE: Reg Cheramy, serial entrepreneur (ZigTag, Book That Bet, One Clap, others).
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton4, Start Me Up at ICE 2009
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: We brainstorm all the time, but typically we’re limited to sticky notes and whiteboards. Edistorm brings brainstorming to the web, so that you can brainstorm with people all around the world, in real-time. Lots of opportunity for decentralized teams, events, etc.
FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter
- Empire Avenue
TWO WORDS: Monetizing Influence
WHAT: Measures influence online for monetization via advertising.
KEY PEOPLE: Duleepa Wijayawardhana formerly of BioWare and Sun/MySQL, Tom Ohle, experienced marketer, Brad Grier, social media guru and blogger for Future Shop, and others.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: People love rankings, and Empire Ave offers a fun way to see how you compare to others online. It’s also an interesting approach to online advertising, a welcome innovation in a world dominated by AdWords.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: Empire Avenue Launch Party
FOLLOW: Blog, Facebook, Twitter
TWO WORDS: Photographer Blogs
WHAT: Blogging platform built specifically for photographers.
KEY PEOPLE: Kyle Fox, designer and web developer, formerly of Lift Interactive, currently at Yardstick Software, Jon Smelquist, designer and web developer.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: The proliferation of digital cameras means there are more photographers than ever, making it harder for the pros to stand out from the crowd. WordPress is great for text, but not so great for photos – that’s the void that FotoJournal fills.
FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter
- Mailout Interactive
TWO WORDS: Email Services
WHAT: Professionally designed email newsletters and management.
KEY PEOPLE: Gregg Oldring, founder, Jon Larson, business development, and others.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Already eight years old, Mailout Interactive is well-established in Edmonton and elsewhere. Dozens of organizations use Industry Mailout, including the City of Edmonton, Original Fare, Homeward Trust, and others. They have a proven, powerful email platform, and email isn’t going anywhere.
FOLLOW: Facebook, Twitter
TWO WORDS: Information Synchronization
WHAT: Information synchronization service, wirelessly to any device.
KEY PEOPLE: Sam Huang, co-founder of Gennux Microsystems, and others.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton4
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Email, contacts, calendars, task lists, files – we have more than ever, and we want to access them from any device, no matter where we are. That’s the heady challenge that PureInbox is tackling, with support for Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, the iPhone, and more.
- Seek Your Own Proof
TWO WORDS: Smart Entertainment
WHAT: Online community for kids to investigate history and science.
KEY PEOPLE: Ken Bautista, one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40, Norman Mendoza of Redengine, and others.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton9
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: They won TEC VenturePrize, accepted financing from Foundation Equity, and recently signed a deal with Discovery Kids. An all-star team off to an incredible start – keep an eye on this one!
TWO WORDS: Winter Content
WHAT: Highlights winter destinations in Alberta & British Columbia.
KEY PEOPLE: Jim Barr, former journalist, and others.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Fresh off the Winter Olympics, winter tourism in Western Canada is booming. SnowSeekers takes the traditional destination guide to the next level, with in-depth information, mobile apps, and regularly updated content.
FOLLOW: Blog, Facebook
- Yardstick Software
TWO WORDS: Web Testing
WHAT: Web-based training and testing software and services.
KEY PEOPLE: Chris LaBossiere, co-founder, Don Riep, co-founder, Greg Kureluk, business development, and others.
PREVIOUSLY SEEN AT: DemoCampEdmonton8
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Experienced team, active in the community, highly decorated, with a large, loyal customer base, and a culture tuned to change and fast growth. Yardstick surrounds itself with great people, and is well-positioned for additional success. A gem among Edmonton tech companies.
It should be a great evening. The festivities get underway at 6:30pm at the Matrix Hotel. If you don’t already have tickets, you can buy them here for just $10 (some will be available at the door for $15). Follow StartupEdmonton for updates. See you there!