Four top tech start-ups in the region got the chance on Tuesday to pitch in front of a group of seasoned investors for a top prize of $10,000.
The start-ups are the second cohort to graduate from the ScaleUP Tech Accelerator program launched by WEtech Alliance and generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). ScaleUP 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 this second group of graduates from 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 (WECAN) investors are pleased to partner with WEtech, Libro and others to provide an opportunity for regional startup companies to develop and present their best company 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 Kegshoe.
“Scaleup had a tremendous impact on our ability to continue to grow.” said Artur Pawliszko, Director of Operations for Kegshoe. “Adam (Castle), Adam (Frye), and the rest of the WEtech members have been excellent advisors and mentors to our team. We also received a lot of support and resources from the EPICentre and the University of Windsor.”
Applications for the third cohort will open in summer 2019.
“The application process is competitive and the program is demanding” says Adam Castle, Director of Venture Services at WEtech Alliance. “But the reward is turning your company into an investor-ready venture that is growing globally, hiring new employees, and doubling or tripling their lines of revenue.”
The second graduating class of ScaleUP includes the following companies:
Kegshoe – Kegshoe has developed unique tracking software for breweries, distributors, and restaurateurs to track where specific kegs are located throughout the supply chain. Door to door tracking of this kind ensures beer mugs everywhere are never empty, and provides a novel solution to one of breweries biggest pain points. Kegshoe is also developing a special customer relationship management software for breweries to introduce high tech into one of the world’s oldest beverages.
Sarjan – Sarjan is an augmented reality program geared at aiding physiotherapists in assessing patient progress, as well as teaching patients the proper way to exercise and stretch in the proper ways. Sarjan uses AI and camera technology to track movements, track progress, and deliver custom rehabilitation programming based on real time feedback and data.
42 North Integrated Marketing – 42 North is the first of it’s kind in the Chatham-Kent area, a full top to bottom solution for marketing and creative production. From content and website creation, to full studio photography, audio, and videography, 42 is a company on the cutting edge of their field, and are fully enabled by the advanced tech they employ to deliver premium services. They even have an algorithm that helps to create content using keyword density to really take SEO to the next level.
Cedar Valley Selections – Cedar Valley Fattoush Dressing is the first of it’s kind in Canada to pop-up on grocery store shelves. The tech magic comes in the form of how Cedar Valley manages to keep up with the demand for their product, and throughout the cohort, will be installing solid tech systems of scale, ensuring that as they expand into new markets, the inevitable growing pains will be addressed head-on.