Sean Wise was so impressed with the Launch Program pitches at the Propel ICT Demo Day on Tuesday that he wondered why he was there.
Appearing after the seed-stage companies delivered their presentations, the professor of entrepreneurship at Ryerson University and Dragon’s Den consultant showed up to deliver a short seminar on pitching. But the quality of the pitches made him ask whether he was needed.
“You don’t need my help,” he told the sold out house. “Whoever you guys have hired to do the coaching and mentoring, they kick ass. They really do.”
The Launch Program nurtures companies early in their development. In the latest cohort, 27 companies participated in sessions in Fredericton, Halifax and St. John’s and six were chosen to pitch at Demo Day.
Though the companies are young, the pitches were solid and colourful – half of one pitch was delivered in a song. Overall, the entrepreneurs highlighted the sales they’ve landed.
The companies are:
Bitness, Halifax -- Bitness uses beacons to track where, when and how long customers are in a retail outlet. CEO Alex Gillis, 17, said this allows the store owner to understand the store’s peak hours, allowing for better staffing decisions. He added that as of Oct. 1 Bitness will have 20 beacons with five clients, as well as a pilot with Dunkin Donuts Lebanon. It expects to have 200 clients in 2016.
BuyMyLemonade, Halifax -- BuyMyLemonade is an online program that teaches entrepreneurship to young people through fundraising. Now 44 million kids raise $4 billion annually by going door-to-door and BuyMyLemonade gives them a safe online environment in which to do this work. Junior Achievement of Nova Socita will launch with the product in October. The company has a mission to reach 200,000 students by end of 2018 and is looking for $400,000 in funding.
Ella, Saint John -- This mobile app helps women to sell their slightly used clothes. “Ladies, I’m here today to turn your closets into cash,” said founder Kelly Lawson, adding there’s $50 billion in slightly used fashion now sitting unused in American closets. The system uses proprietary algorithms to match users based on size, style, social connections and location. It also provides purchase suggestions. The company is now doing a beta test and its users are posting an image every nine minutes.
Liv9, Fredericton -- Founded by pharmacists, Liv9 supplies cloud-based patient engagement and management software to pharmacies. The software lets pharmacies engage with customers through social channels and provides them with automated marketing tools, real-time tracking and reporting of patient engagement activities. CEO Dan Pike said Liv9 is focusing with 10 stores in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for early adoption. The company is looking for $250,000 in funding.
MusicEdZone, St. John’s -- This music education company features a music school for three to 10 years olds called The Munchkin Music Factory. There is also a publishing division that develops teaching and learning curriculum materials for music educators. CEO Lisa Gillam, who sang part of her pitch, said 60,000 music teachers in U.S. need more assistance in organizing their work. The company is projecting $2.4 million in revenue in Year 3 and is seeking $100,000 in financing.
Vish Salon Tech, St. John’s – Vish Salon Tech designs software and hardware that help hair salons to strengthen customer relationships and maximize profitability. Salons depend on hair colouring to maintain profit but use manual methods to mix and catalogue colours. Vish’s first solution is a cloud-connected hair dye scale. By end of 2016, Vish hopes to have 800 customers and $600,000 in quarterly revenue. The seven-employee outfit aims to raise $250,000.
Disclaimer: Propel ICT is a client of Entrevestor.