I signed on as Communitech HYPERDRIVE Managing Director for the start of Cohort 2, and with three cohorts under our belt I feel like we have a pretty clear idea of what it takes to select and accelerate early-stage tech companies.
It might not be perfect, but the way we have iterated and adjusted the program has, in my opinion, improved the program with each cohort.
I’ve seen big improvements in the following areas:
Company selection – one consistent pair of eyes throughout, many different viewpoints at each stage
Accountability and focus – It’s hard not to progress when you look at your situation every week, especially when the focus is on revenue or scale-oriented validation
All tech companies need help in sales and marketing – once...
Communitech HYPERDRIVE Cohort 4 startups celebrated graduating from the accelerator program last Thursday at Centre Stage. The sold-out event at the Tannery Event Centre provided a different take on the traditional “demo day” that accompanies an accelerator grad.
The event, much like its name suggests, focused on the companies spotlighted on stage in the middle of the room, surrounded by a diverse audience of co-workers, community members and potential investors.
“We get to have a little bit more fun this way,” said Shrad Rao, CEO of Wagepoint, a Cohort 4 company. With traditional demo days, “people get bored by the seventh one, but this way we get to move around a little bit,” Rao said, joking that he felt a little like a rapper. “I might drop the microphone for a bit of a dramatic...
Samuel Legge joins the HD team as our newest Program Manager
Sam was most recently a Startup Services Manager at Communitech. During that time, Sam worked with more than 100 startups advising on fundraising, business development and product strategy. Sam has experience working on two startups -- most recently, Shield Diagnostics.
As a University of Waterloo graduate in nanotechnology engineering, he has a varied background in research and development that includes two years’ experience at institutions such as the University of Utah’s Nanotechnology Institute.
We’re excited to see what the future holds and are happy to have Sam on board.
Cohort 4 has been an interesting ride. Five companies, each with different goals and serving different markets, are halfway through the six-month HYPERDRIVE program and have faced astonishingly similar challenges.
One thing all the companies have in common is the need to create a sustainable, scalable business. From where we sit now, all five have validated that they solve a customer need to varying degrees.
bitHound signed up 60 pilot users at JS Conf and now has a pipeline of 200-plus developers in the queue.
Wagepoint has launched in the U.S. and is seeing strong market interest and good media pickup.
Weston Expressions (now Linkett) had a strong showing out of the gate with large agency client promotions, hitting its revenue goal of...
As we know, with all things startup, forward thinking and change is inevitable.
It is that same startup nature that sparked a new concept for the Communitech HYPERDIVE accelerator program. This fall, HYPERDRIVE is hosting two events, Centre Stage and Series 401 to meet the needs of our companies in lieu of the traditional Demo Day.
“We realized we don’t get all the investors here in Kitchener-Waterloo, and if you were here as an investor you’d know the company long before demo day,” said HYPERDRIVE’s managing director, Doug Cooper.
Instead of the ending the six-month residence in the program with the traditional accelerator demo day, HYPERDRIVE is putting a twist on the cohort’s graduation with Centre Stage on September 18, 2014. The community event will highlight the progress they’...
Wagepoint is Canada’s only online payroll startup, recently surpassing 500 customers and launching in the U.S. this week. From left to right: Wagepoint CEO Shrad Rao, Zoup! Waterloo and Zoup! Kitchener owner/operator Daryl Hunter, Wagepoint CMO Leena Thampan and Wagepoint COO Ryan Dineen. (Communitech photo: Samantha Clark)
BY SAMANTHA CLARK
Money. It’s what makes the world go ‘round.
For Wagepoint, Canada’s only online payroll startup, it’s about more than that. They’re aiming to be the best payroll service provider in all of North America.
Today, the small company from Communitech HYPERDRIVE’s fourth cohort is well on its way.
They’re celebrating two major milestones since their debut in 2013, including surpassing 500 customers and officially launching in the U.S. this week.
PumpUp co-founders Garrett Gottlieb (left) and Phil Jacobson (Photo courtesy of Phil Jacobson)
PumpUp has landed $2.4 million in seed financing to help the popular fitness app scale to meet demand from its ever-growing online community.
The company, which is a Communitech HYPERDRIVE and University of Waterloo Velocity graduate, announced today that General Catalyst Partners in Silicon Valley is the lead investor of the round.
“The $2.4 million really gives us the resources we need to expand our team, so that we can advance our product and scale our user acquisition, and really bring our company to the next major stage,” Phil Jacobson, co-founder and President of PumpUp, told Communitech.
Aside from propelling the company forward, Jacobson looks at the round as a strategic move that...
Brett Madill and Chris Recalis, co-founders of video-stiching social app - Clipter. (Communitech photo: Trish Crompton)
It’s the middle of winter, and with the wind-chill factor approaching -35 C, you’ve decided to escape on a Caribbean cruise.
That’s 10 days away with three of your friends, seven days on a floating hotel, docking at five island ports of call, three inland excursions, eight on-ship photo ops and six separate cameras to capture it all.
Turning all those moments into an album that does justice to everyone’s experience is a huge task with photos, let alone video. But what if you could stitch everyone's clips together to make a seamless memento that all can enjoy?
Grade school friends Brett Madill and Chris Recalis decided to create an app to do just that - called ...