On July 9th, ten students and two advisors from the Conrad Centre will board the Startup Train's first class train cars with other startup enthusiasts to travel from Toronto to Montreal for the 2014 International Startup Festival.
The Startup Train is an excellent opportunity for the Centre to send students to a meaningful event that enables them to meet, network, and work with like-minded entrepreneurs along the journey.
This is the third year that the Startup Train will depart Toronto full of entrepreneurs, investors, and advisors making the most of the travel time from Ontario to Quebec for the International Startup Festival.
On the train Conrad students will be able to focus on their ventures in a supportive environment that understands the startup space. Students will brainstorm with mentors, seek validation, meet and network with other entrepreneurs, and possibly discover new ideas along the way.
Conrad Centre staff members Karin Schmidlin (pictured left), Manager of the Virtual Incubation Program (VIP), and Amanda Watkins (pictured right), Manager of Marketing and Recruitment, will be on the Startup Train as advisors.
The International Startup Festival is part conference, part festival, and part pitch contest. Since 2011, over 2000 founders, investors, and analysts have converged in Montreal each year to learn, network, and be inspired. The four day event offers a mix of speakers, breakout sessions, and demo tents.
At the festival, Conrad students will be able to widen their networks, soak in knowledge and expertise from the speakers, come up with new ideas or validate current ones, work on their startups, and have fun!
On July 10th, twelve startups will participate in the festival's pitch competition. Among the finalists is MAJiK Systems, a machine monitoring software company co-founded by four Waterloo Engineering students. Co-founders Michael Tatham and Kamal Aman developed the company in Conrad's Enterprise Co-op (E Co-op) program and won a Norman Esch Enterprise Co-op Award in Fall 2013.
Read on to learn about the Conrad students who will be on the Startup Train and their ventures.
Chase Denomme – POET
POET (Point of Experience Technology) is an interactive customer engagement platform that delivers decision-influencing product details to help retailers increase sales, gain insights and improve the in-store experience.
In May, Chase won an Enterprise Co-op E-Launch Award for his pitch for POET.
Bjorn Dawson – Grobo Inc.
Grobo is a personalized app-controlled in-home gardening system that lets anyone grow a successful garden at any time of the year, regardless of their experience level. Furthermore, the garden's modular design allows users to easily and economically expand their garden as their needs change.
In May, Bjorn won a Norman Esch Enterprise Co-op Award for his pitch for Grobo.
Humberto Gutierrez – Pearl
Mark Kryshtalskyj – Rockstar Café
Rockstar Café is like Facebook or Pinterest brought to life! A hub meets café where students can openly interact with one another, discover their passions, and express themselves.
Mark was recently featured in Imprint as a social entrepreneur.
Hannah Furlong – Everbloom Smart Design
Everbloom Smart Design is dedicated to improving beauty, efficiency and sustainability through superior design and planning. Hannah's current project will create healthier ecosystems in urban outdoor spaces and implement garden designs through hands-on educational workshops.
Pablo Eder – Lani
Zhang-Yao (James) Cheng – Ball Labs
In the classic tennis training scenario, a coach feeds balls to the students and over the course of practice up to 20% of court time is spent on picking up the balls. Ball Labs is working on a standalone autonomous robot that can pick up tennis balls to reduce the unnecessary time lost during practice.
Tawny Tram – ClosetShare
ClosetShare will give students the opportunity to share a piece of their closet with other students by consigning their clothes and accessories.
Spencer Gardner – nOuro
nOuro is the first product in a series of wearable devices aimed at expanding the small piece of reality that we can perceive using our limited, naturally inherited senses.
Through a non-invasive bionic interface, nOuro takes a novel approach to brain-wave biofeedback by allowing users to have a direct perceptual experience of their own brain activity.
Applications of nOuro include entertainment, neuroscience research, and potentially clinical psychology.
Gautam Khanna – Telly
Telly is a platform for Internet TV media with a geographic and demographic focus in the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region.
Telly is looking at replacing Linear TV with the onset of Internet TV in regions where internet penetration is highest.