While presenting his company at the Atlantic Venture Forum on Thursday, Phillip Curley announced that HotSpot Parking Inc. would launch later this month in Columbia, South Carolina, and in a new city once every six weeks after that.
The Fredericton company, which helps local merchants connect with their customers, obviously made an impression with the judges at the two-day conference as it was selected as the top growth-stage company at the event. PACTA, a Halifax startup developing a contract management system, was named the leading seed-stage company.
The AVF is a meeting place at which Atlantic Canadian startups can link up with potential investors. There were 12 seed-stage and nine more advanced growth-stage companies presenting to the delegates, but there was also an array of other startups in attendance.
Curley – who has been shortlisted for the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award – announced in April that it’s moving into the U.S. in partnership with Charlotte, N.C.-based mobile payments specialist Passport . The move increases HotSpot’s accessible market by 100 times.
On Thursday, Curley noted that the company, which is now doing business under the name HotSpot Merchant Solutions, is deploying a huge network of beacons in major cities across the continent. These beacons send signals to customers’ cell phones so retail outlets can sense when customers are nearby and communicate with them. The company now has about 30 percent market saturation in Atlantic Canada.
“What’s interesting is that about one in 100 of these beacons in the world are now in Atlantic Canada,” said Curley.
Formed by the husband-and-wife team of Charlotte and Isak Rydlund, PACTA has developed a platform that helps large companies manage their portfolio of contracts. Such companies can have hundreds or thousands of contracts, each of which can need adjustments for dates, pricing, milestones and the like.
PACTA has been named one of 25 information and communication technology companies to watch by the Branham Group. It graduated from the PropelICT Launch Program last year and is now in the more advanced Build program.
Several of the 21 companies that presented at the Forum revealed that they have been making progress attracting customers, partners and capital.
For example, Eyeread, a Halifax startup that helps to teach children to read by tracking the movement of their eyes, announced that it has received funding from members of Saint John-based East Valley Ventures.
Sona Nanotech, the Sydney company that can produce non-toxic gold nano rods for the medical industry, said it is close to signing a funding deal with Numus Financial of Halifax. Though business development officer Joe Menchefski declined to reveal the amount of capital, he said it would likely be enough to fund the company for three years.