Diverse Group of Startups Show Off at FounderFuel Demo Day

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FounderFuel’s spring demo day showed off a diverse of group of startups on Thursday.

The semiannual event puts the newest graduates of Montreal’s top startup accelerator on stage to pitch the audience at the historic (and beautiful) Rialto Theatre.

Most of the startups graduating the accelerator talked about how quickly their ideas turned into real business. Most are already seeing some traction and one has already closed a seed round worth $1.25 million.

That startup, Quebec City-based Xpertsea, has developed a system that leverages computer vision to count fish, at fish farms. Now, it’s in the process of expanding that technology into a full cloud-based platform for the aquaculture industry.

“As the world’s population grows, so does the world’s demand for seafood,” Valérie Robitaille, Xpertsea’s co-founder and CEO said during her pitch.

She says seafood worldwide is now around double that of beef.

“In every type of farming ever input and every output must be counted,” she says, “but counting chicken or counting cows is a lot easier that counting shrimp.”

The company has been working on its product for several years and has already has generated $500,000 in revenue. But now, with the upcoming shift to being an online platform company and the introduction of a new version of its counting technology, it’s not an exaggeration to say things have accelerated. Robitaille says Xpertsea has received over $350,000 worth of pre-orders in the past three months.

Xpertsea isn’t the only presenting startup that’s already getting traction on a seed investment round.

Spot describes itself as a content creation platform for enhanced video. It allows users to include content from other web apps directly inside videos.

During his pitch, Andrew Murray, the company’s founder and CEO said that’s a big change from the current annotations on sites like YouTube that just link out to other sites. Those annotations have a click rate of under two per cent.

Murray says Spot makes “it simple, quick and convent to follow-through” for viewers and have click rate of 33 per cent.

Right now, the company is raising $1.3 million. So far $550,000 has been committed.

Also pitching was Studyo, a “Slack for students.”

As schools go increasingly digital, scheduling has become increasingly complicated and the old-fashion paper planners still used in many schools just don’t cut it. The app also takes into account the specific requirements of school scheduling and allows teachers to push events to students.

An initial beta at nine private schools was successful, with all of them continuing to use the app after the beta.

Now, Studyo is being used by 1,500 teachers and 16,000 students at 55 schools. That’s generating $100,000 in recurring revenue a year.

Also getting a lot of early traction is Mosaic Manufacturing. The startup, which has developed a technology that allows any 3D printer to print with multiple materials and in multiple colours at the same time.

Called The Palette, it’s already raised over $170,000 on Kickstarter and the startup is also working to get its technology integrated directly into new 3D printers.

“Our team has accomplished something that our industry has been working on for years,” Chris Labelle, the company’s COO and co-founder said during his pitch.

For one of the startups pitching, the event itself was a chance to show off what its been working on.

Sharethebus is a marketplace for large groups travelling long distances to charter busses. Users can find existing trips to join or create their own. Right now the startup is focusing on taking people to music festivals.

Right now, it has partnerships with 15 festivals and it’s looking to increase that.

It also has deals with 100 bus companies and has generated $100,000 in revenue in the last four weeks alone.

Some of that came from the 100 people who used Sharethebus to come to the FounderFuel demo day from Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa and Quebec City as part of the Founders on a Bus event.

The startup which is raising $500,000 and says it’s a third of the way there, says it’s next step it to expand to sporting events and conferences.

Also pitching was CoRecruiters a platform that allows hiring managers to refer good candidates that they’ve rejected to colleagues at other firms who might want to hire them.

Hiring managers form private networks on the site and can post the positions they’re looking to fill.

The startup’s founder, Calin Cretu, a former hiring manager, says it means interviews won’t go to waste and that closing one door for applicant could another one.

 

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