Where are they now: From Launch Party to Creative Destruction Lab Rockies
Startup Calgary Launch Party is Calgary’s largest celebration of tech and entrepreneurship. Since 2011, Launch Party has showcased more than 70 early stage technology-focused Calgary companies. Wondering where these companies are now? Startup Calgary is proud to say that more than 75 per cent of these companies are still active and growing. Launch Party successes like SkipTheDishes and Kudos show that building and growing a startup is a marathon, not a sprint. As for fast-tracked success stories, GNS3 was acquired by SolarWinds in October 2015 - just two years after showcasing at Launch Party.
Calgary’s startup community continues to up its game with accelerator programs like Creative Destruction Lab Rockies (CDL-Rockies) that launched in September of 2017 at the Haskayne School of Business. With the motto Build Something Massive, CDL-Rockies helps entrepreneurs commercialize and scale science and technology ventures through milestone-based mentorship and access to financing opportunities.
Sixteen companies from the first cohort of CDL-Rockies presented at Tech Demo Day in May, including four companies that showcased at a Launch Party within the past three years. These companies are now making major leaps which have been amplified by the support of community programs.
We connected with the founders of each company to see what they are up to now.
Vivametrica - Launch Party 2014 Alum
Richard Hu is the Founder and CEO of Vivametrica, a B2B cloud-based health analytics platform that provides predictive personalized and group health risk and status measurement tools to insurers, corporate wellness companies and healthcare providers.
“Launch Party helped us confirm that we were on the right track, but was actually premature for us by about four years. It took us a long time to define our product market fit, identify our customers and get our technology ready to sell, proving how important it is to put in time on customer validation upfront.”
In early 2016, Vivametrica decided to concentrate on the insurance market. Later that year, they were selected as one of the first Insurtech Startups at the Plug and Play Accelerator in Sunnyvale, California. Two years later, they were chosen to present at the 2018 Digital Insurance Agenda conference in Amsterdam as one of the Top 50 Insurtech Companies in the world. They also participated in local programs including AccelerateAB and the Venture Mentoring Service of Alberta (VMSA).
Vivametrica applied to participate in CDL-Rockies because they saw it as a huge opportunity to build relationships and receive guidance from mentors and potential investors.
“The mentors in CDL-Rockies are a part of CDLs across the country. This leads to cross fertilization of information and knowledge, lending us credibility and helping us stay top of mind for mentors and investors across Canada.”
TikTiks - Launch Party 2015 Alum
Andrew Browne is Cofounder and CEO of TikTiks, which started as a fan-to-fan secondary ticket marketplace for sports fans which grew to over 15,000 users. Over the past nine months, TikTiks has been creating a blockchain-enabled marketplace that will disintermediate the market between content creators and their fans by eliminating scalpers and necessary middle-men.
“There are awesome things that come with starting a company, but that’s just the beginning. Once you have early traction and a good idea that has been validated, the second part of the journey is a long one and you need to persevere from there.”
Andrew is an active member in the startup community and a Business Development Advisor at Startup Calgary and the Calgary Innovation Coalition. TikTiks was also listed as one of the Top 10 Canadian Undiscovered Startups by Equidam and participated in the first cohort of ATB’s accelerator ATB X.
“It is great to have the community cheering you on, but you also need hard feedback and discipline to stay focused. CDL-Rockies changed the trajectory of our business by putting us in a room full of smart, high net-worth individuals who could increase the value of our company simply by coming on board.”
Interface Fluidics - Launch Party 2016 Alum
Stuart Kinnear is Co-founder and CEO of Interface Fluidics. They model reservoir behavior within a laboratory using nanotechnology to create a “Reservoir-On-A-Chip”, reducing the need for costly lab testing. In April 2017, Interface Fluidics won the Startup Pitch Competition at AccelerateAB. Shortly after, Tom de Haas, COO of Interface Fluidics, represented Canada at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit in Berlin.
“Attending Launch Party was all about communication for us. Learning how to communicate our value proposition concisely, learning how to communicate with customers and learning how to communicate better with investors.”
At Launch Party 2015, Stuart connected with Alice Reimer, Associate Director at CDL-Rockies and Board Member at Calgary Economic Development, who has encouraged him to tap into local startup programs including Launch Party and CDL-Rockies.
“The calibre of people giving you advice at CDL-Rockies is incredible. These people have seen it and lived it - and have made a large impact on their industry.”
INGU Solutions - Launch Party 2017 Alum
John van Pol is the Cofounder and CEO of INGU Solutions. INGU’s Pipers™ technology provides a cost-effective solution to the Oil & Gas industry using miniaturized inline sensors to locate leaks, geometric defects and deposits that can impact pipeline performance and integrity. INGU is the most recent Launch Party showcase company, as well as a new Calgary resident.
After spending significant time in Calgary in early 2017 to meet with Oil & Gas operators and potential investors, INGU decided they needed to be close to industry and moved from Kitchener to Calgary.
“We started INGU in Kitchener-Waterloo to be close to the tech community but realized that we needed to be close to our clients to accelerate and grow the company. In Calgary, you have the potential to meet prospective clients during your coffee break.”
John says that moving to Calgary led to an extreme acceleration in growth. In addition to Launch Party and CDL-Rockies, INGU started out in the District Ventures IBM Innovation Space, all within their first year in Calgary.
“Launch Party was one of our most engaging events. Our team was continuously talking to people, many of whom specifically came to the event to talk to us. Launch Party led to valuable new connections with people who truly believe in what we are doing.”
Want to be a part of the next cohort of Creative Destruction Lab Rockies? Apply before August 12, 2018.
Think your early-stage startup should be showcased at Launch Party 2018 this November? Become a Community Member to be first to know when applications open.
Active Launch Party Companies 2011-2017