The five start-ups were graduates of the ScaleUP Tech Accelerator program launched by WEtech Alliance, which is the first and only accelerator program dedicated to scaling tech companies in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.
The four-month accelerator program provides one-on-one mentoring, cohort sessions, and access to provincial, national and global networks of programs and mentors valued at $15,000.
At the end of the program the start-ups compete for the big prize and more importantly for the attention of the investors.
“What makes ScaleUP so unique is the focus on top shelf start-up companies that have the potential to grow very quickly,” says Yvonne Pilon, the President and CEO of WEtech Alliance. “Helping companies scale and go global is the priority of this program and of WEtech Alliance”.
The initiative is the product of a partnership with Libro Credit Union, which provided a $25,000 sponsorship.
“Libro and WEtech share a similar philosophy of coaching for success,” says Lori Atkinson, Libro’s regional manager for Essex-Kent. “Ensuring these creative thinkers gain the knowledge and experience to succeed, through mentoring, is equally important to providing a financial boost. We are very excited about the ScaleUP program!”
In addition, WEtech Alliance has partnered with the Windsor-Essex Capital Angel Network (WECAN) and its investors to host the pitch competition.
“Windsor Essex Capital Angel Network investors are pleased to partner with WEtech, Libro and others to provide an opportunity for regional start-up companies to develop and present their best business pitch and to help communicate the investment opportunity their team and company represent,” says Colin McKillop, Executive Director of WECAN.
The winner of the top prize was MobiStream Solutions Inc.
“ScaleUP played a significant role in maturing our sales and marketing strategies, completing our business model.” says MobiStream Co-Founder Nick Scozzaro. “It equipped us with the tools, expertise and guidance to fill in the gaps, accelerate our success and position us for long term sustainable growth.”
Marcus Julien was one of those pitching. He is the founder of Forty2 Interactive, which is a digital infotainment hub utilizing TV screens in medical offices that provides patients in the waiting room with customizable information such as news, weather, local advertising, community programming and wait times.
Doctors and dentists are lining up to have his screens installed in their offices.
WEtech Alliance staff were impressed with Julien’s pitch at the Digital Innovation Challenge during last year’s Tech Week YQG and invited him to sign up as a client. It wasn’t long before they were encouraging him to apply to ScaleUP.
“ScaleUP helps you set the right milestones and provides support, but it also keeps you honest about meeting those goals,” says Julien. “The coaching has been invaluable.”
Applications are now open for the 2nd cohort which runs August to November.
“The application process is competitive because the program is demanding,” says Adam Castle, Director of Venture Services at WEtech Alliance. “But the reward is seeing an investor-ready company emerge that is attacking markets, generating revenue and hiring.”
The inaugural ScaleUP cohort included the following companies:
MobiStream– Enterprise Software designed to streamline employee communications and provide HR back end applications like time-sheets, vacation approvals, group insurance, and learning portals.
MPVwifi– a Chatham-Kent start-up that uses farming elevators as a means to locate radio technology to provide Wi-Fi services to under-served rural communities.
Forty2 Interactive – a digital infotainment hub utilizing TV screens in medical offices that provides patients in the waiting room with customizable information such as news, weather, local advertising, community programming and wait times.
Reminder Liner – Product to help kids remember what they need to keep in their backpacks. The device connects to lunch bag and school agenda and notifies child and parent if they are leaving without something by playing a short song, and by using lights as visual cues.
DeliverBae – Item delivery service that goes way beyond UberEats, partners with local businesses and delivers anything to anyone and anytime. Has huge implications for rural populations of all ages, flat rate charges, already has 100 drivers signed up locally, with 500 more applications waiting to be activated and verified.
Learn more at wetech-alliance.com/scaleup.