Vancouver’s entrepreneurial community came together last night for Launch Academy’s science fair-inspired Pitch Day. Twenty-one up and coming Vancouver startups competed and the top five pitched to a sold out crowd of 250. Investors, angels, VC’s, media, entrepreneurs and industry professionals were in attendance. Our friends over at Tangoo took first place while Picatic followed up in second – both of these companies revolve around making Vancouver more fun through events and making our social lives easier to plan. Who said anything about us being a “no fun city”?
After Pitch Day attendees voted for their top five favourite startups, the top five had the privilege to present their five minute demos to a panel of five highly respected judges: Rob Lewis (Managing Editor at TechVibes), Amy Rae (Principal at Vanedge Capital), Kim Kaplan (VP Product at Plenty of Fish), Andrew Jones (Principal at Garibald Capital Advisors) and Raseel Sehmi (Solution Partner Manager at HootSuite).
The winners won a choice of 30 minutes with Super Angel Mike Edwards (Executive Director at GrowLab; CEO at LX Ventures), after months of hard work an option of a night out for two to a Canucks game, or a free pass to Launch Academy’s upcoming Lean Entrepreneur Program ($3,500 value).
2. Pictatic (Second Place): Crowdfunding and traditional ticketing platform for the events space.
3. Foro (Third Place): A marketplace for students to buy, sell or exchange goods
4. Venue Spot (Finalist): an online marketplace where venues bid to host your event.
5. PlanetECG (Finalist): Gamified training for healthcare professionals.
Aside from the competition, another great highlight was Launch Academy’s Student Startup Challenge (SSC) that was launched four months ago. Out of 37 teams, five teams were selected as SSC finalists and out of the five SSC finalists, only two remained standing at Pitch Day: Cognilab and Helphub.
Cognilab has just been accepted to one of Canada’s premier accelerator programs, GrowLab. The Cognilab team is well on its way to creating the world’s first virtual laboratory for psychology research.
Launch Academy is a preaccelerator program that helps entrepreneurs execute on their startups through education, mentorship, lean metrics and networking opportunities. Launch Academy has established an environment where ideas are vetted, business models are tested and successes are celebrated.
Founded on the values of innovation, opportunities and accountability, Launch Academy addresses the lack of startup education and resources affecting Vancouver entrepreneurs. Launch Academy aims to build a vibrant startup ecosystem and a prosperous economy where new jobs are created and new markets are discovered.
In just over a year Launch Academy has grown from 12 desks in a shared office with GrowLab to a beautiful 12,000 sq. ft office in the heart of Gastown, dubbed The Center for Entrepreneurship in Vancouver. Launch Academy houses over 70 startups and 150 entrepreneurs. The Center for Entrepreneurship is also home to Vancouver’s largest accelerator GrowLab, Microsoft’s new Windows Apps Lab, Garibaldi Capital, Strutta, Perch, and more.
To date, Launch Academy has helped over 150 entrepreneurs build their teams, raise seed rounds, get accepted into accelerator programs, form new strategic partnerships, acquire new customers, hire their first employee and, most importantly, fail fast and pivot.