Simard is the CEO of the Fredericton startup creating a great deal of buzz in the entrepreneur and investor community. Its software allows consumers to ``zap’’ a product label in a store with their smartphones, and immediately receive information on the product such as technical specifications, warranty information, etc. The retailer can use the database of scans to build up a demographic profile of the clientele interested in a certain product, and even customize promotions to suit certain groups of customers.
Like Dartmouth-based Unique Solutions (which scans consumers’ bodies to help them find perfectly fitting clothes), Zaptap offers its service free to consumers and monetizes its technology by having retailers subscribe to its service. (Unique, which just received $30 million in funding from Toronto-based Northwater Capital's Intellectual Property Fund, is of course further along in its development that Zaptap.)
Zaptap was the only Atlantic Canadian startup invited to mke an appearance at Grow 2011, the premier conference for startups, angels and VCs on the Canadian west coast. The company was one of 60 young Canadian companies to enter the contest by sending in two-minute pitches online.
Simard was able to have a booth at the opening evening function, which allowed him to tell potential investors and customers about his product. Four companies that were more advanced than Zaptap were chosen as the finalists for the pitching event, but he does not regret attending the conference at all.
``The contacts I made in the first night will be invaluable to Zaptap,’’ he said in an interview. ``It’s not necessarily anything that turned into an agreement right now, but it’s all about building relationships.’’
Now in its second year, Zaptap has three confirmed retail customers and expects to be cashflow positive early next year.
The company has so far raised $225,000 for the New Brunswick Innovation Fund and three private investors. The company is now looking for a new round of financing, probably worth about $500,000 to $1 million, with which it plans to hire an additional software developer and spend the rest on business development.