The end of summer marked the graduation of a dozen promising startups at this year’s Startup Garage Rally. Student founders displayed their wares and presented their companies to Ottawa’s entrepreneurial community.
Startup Garage is an initiative facilitated by the Ontario Centres of Excellence through the Campus Linked Accelerator program. Students or recent alumni of the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and Algonquin College are eligible to participate.
“We provide a pretty extensive program in terms of training,” says Nolan Beanlands, Startup Garage Coordinator and Technology Partnerships Associate at the University of Ottawa.
Student entrepreneurs who are accepted into the program expand on their business idea during a 90-day intensive curriculum. Founders practice their pitches and receive mentorship from a variety of serial entrepreneurs in the city. The program also enables them to define their value proposition,
validate their product and execute marketing strategies. They receive $8,000 and a further $12,000 if they attend the University of Ottawa.
“A large percentage of the cohort are students who have degrees in engineering, psychology or business.” Beanlands says.
As a result, the companies in the summer 2015 cohort are diverse. “We are pretty field agnostic in that sense. We try to open our minds to every type of company,” says Beanlands.
This year, non-tech companies CigBins and Oat & Mill were among five of the 12 startups chosen to pitch at the program’s finale. CigBins is the developer of an innovative cigarette butt disposal unit and system that is rapidly gaining traction in the city. Oat & Mill makes ice cream entirely out of oats which it sells in a few physical locations as well as online.
CigBins was awarded best pitch while Oat & Mill won best exhibit. A third and final award for ‘Best Business Opportunity’ went to NextBigThing Studios, who posit to have designed the first strategy game that combines mobile gaming and augmented reality.
eCelery is disrupting the fast food delivery scene in Ottawa. Its online platform enables users to order multicultural meals from home chefs that are delivered to their doorstep. eStaffMatch is an HR platform that helps event organizers hire workers in the hospitality industry without turning to third parties.
The seven companies to exhibit their product were:
- Deporte Conex, an online platform designed to connect student athletes with post-secondary athletics scholarships
- Enplex, maker of wearable technology that allows contact information to be transferred with a handshake
- GameStrat, a platform that provides football coaches with still-photos for in-game play analysis
- HubTrek, a navigation and communication platform designed for sprawling campuses and large buildings
- Predikat, a B2B tool designed to help companies anticipate and prevent customer churn
- RepairQuote, an application that allows consumers to shop around for car repair quotes
- Tyto Robotics, maker of a hybrid software and hardware solution that streamlines the process of building unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
Applications for the 2016 cohort open next month.