The challenge started with 27 entrants being invited to present their pitches at an open forum. 10 companies were then selected by an expert panel of judges to move on to the next round of the challenge, where they will receive nine weeks of intense training, coaching, and mentorship to improve their investor presentations.
The 10 finalists are:
- Awesome Numbers
- Hustream Technologies
- Digniti Home Hospital
- Ducharme Service Management
- Simple Engine Media
- Rapid Water Testing
- Netlist Physics
- ElectroMotion Energy
- The Interviewr
The judges for the first round of the challenge were Jim Mutter, Whiteboard Law LLP; Ken Gamble, NRC-IRAP; Luby Pow, Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust; Mark Payne, BCIC; and Jeff Keen, Accelerate Okanagan.
In November, the 10 finalists will be narrowed down further to the final 5 companies, which will each have the opportunity to present before members of the investment community in Vancouver and Kelowna. In total, 43 applications were received for the Jump:Start Challenge—15 of which represented new startups be encouraged to participate in one of Accelerate Okanagan’s entrepreneurial support programs, funded by the Government of British Columbia through BCIC.
”The Jump:Start Challenge presents a great opportunity for start-ups to really get their companies off the ground,” said Mark Payne, Acting CEO of BCIC. “The tools, resources and mentorship the ten finalists will receive from Accelerate Okanagan over the next two months of the competition will prove to be invaluable to the entrepreneurs and the long term success of their companies.”
Prizes for the top three companies will include free enrolment for one year in Accelerate Okanagan’s Venture Acceleration Program, which helps high potential technology companies accelerate their growth and maximize their opportunity. The overall winner will also receive one year’s free office space at Accelerate Okanagan’s Kelowna or Penticton innovation centres.
“The Jump:Start Challenge forms a key part of Accelerate Okanagan’s overall offering for entrepreneurs and technology companies looking to start, accelerate and grow,” said Jason Neale, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. “We were thrilled by the number of applications received and the standard of the presentations, which demonstrates the high level of creativity and innovation that exists in the Okanagan technology community. The Jump:Start Challenge is designed to not only identify the hottest technology startups, entrepreneurs and growth companies across the Okanagan with the vision, technology and management to make a big impact on the world, but will provide entrants with intensive training, coaching and mentorship and assist them access sources of funding."