Vancouver Startups That Can Make a Difference

Posted by Rolando Fuentes

GrowLab held an amazing event Tuesday, November 29 that combined top entrepreneurs and driven investors.  It was clear that although the 5 startups hadn’t started pitching their ideas, the event was well underway.  The atmosphere was electric, and it was buzzing with so many great ideas.

GrowLab is a startup accelerator that was recently started in Vancouver as there wasn’t any at the time.  With applicants reaching upwards of 300, they had the tough task of selecting 5 startup teams that will be with GrowLab for the coming months.

Hearing the entrepreneurs talk about their ideas it was clear GrowLab made no mistake in their selections.  The ideas and products they are and will continue to develop address current needs that affect many out there and I found myself connecting with all of them.

Who are these startups? How will they be making your life easier?

Placeling is trying to take LBS apps to another level.  By integrating what makes social networking sites so great into an LBS app they have created a more personal way to discover the world around you.  Although the service it provides isn’t new, the way to provide it is.  This is why Placeling can help you navigate around your city:

  • You can follow people opposed to sending friend requests
  • It’s much easier to hear the opinions of your friends or persons of interest
  • It is based on what your circle thinks of places not where they are now
  • You can bookmark your favorite places and add reviews, photo’s or anything to it
  • Places have an HTML attached to them so you can share it on any Social site you wish

Other LBS services I find frustrating at times for the exact reasons they outlined. Place reviews get lost in the lists and it isn’t easy to find the opinions you really care about.  By making the service into an experience in which you are discovering the city with your friends or through the eyes of people you admire, they have found a more enjoyable way to discover the gems of a city.

Ecquire has an amazing idea that will help any individual that works with CRM’s and other productivity tools.  The premise of the idea is that inputting data into these systems “blows”.  Ecquire is a program that will follow you on social websites, emails, and any other communication medium and will automatically record what you are doing.  With no clicks at all they will take this data and input it into the productivity tools you are using.

The idea is simple enough but it is groundbreaking.  By streamlining the process of inputting data into these systems it will make you twice as efficient as you were before.  There is no more need to record your actions into these systems so you can spend the vast majority of your time on creating relationships and making profits.

Although the idea is built around automating data input, it is really liberating your time to work as ease.  If they can integrate this product seamlessly into a great amount of systems they will turn into the air traffic controller of your information.  It simply makes sense.

Online learning is a huge space and the benefits it can potentially provide over regular learning is significant.  However, the reason I shy away from taking classes online is because I like working with people.  Online learning these days is very content driven.

Matygo is looking to put people back into online learning by acting as the bridge between those that wish to teach a class and those that want to learn about a subject.  Incorporating modern technology like video chat and messaging, they provide a personal experience when learning only rivalled by actually being with people.

Their current focus is on technical courses, but of course in the future they plan on expanding their offered courses.  I love the direction Matygo is taking and as their currently isn’t a true online leader, I think they could make a great contribution to the online learning community.

SunnyTrail allows you to find your most influential customers and reach out to them.  How they do this is by mining the social graphs of each online customer and finding which ones should be noticed.  It is based around emails and what they are tagged to but this idea is really helpful in connecting with the right people.

Through my seminars and events I’ve gone to in recent months, Social Listening and finding key influencers are key lessons being preached.  How to do this isn’t always the easiest and by having a tool that does this for you is really outstanding.  I think they have created a simple tool that can have great effects on the success of a company.

Imagine finding out the director of marketing at a big company is trying out your product and not knowing it compared to knowing it and making a key connection.  It’s an ingenious idea but very effective.

Loupe can be thought of as photo sharing on steroids.  It is a creative program that allows you to take all of your photos and turn them into a collage of photos.  This collage can be interactive with timelines, comments, and overall provides a great viewing experience.

Photo sharing today is quite limited as they described.  It will generally consist of taking a photo and putting it online or framing it.  You will usually only be able to view one photo at a time and overall it isn’t very visually appealing.  Loupe allows you to turn your photos and make them into any shape you wish.  You can share the whole collage or make them each individual photos that you can filter through.

Describing it in words really won’t do it any justice, so I would advice to check them out to better get a feel of how well the product has been executed.  The most interesting thing I have found is that it makes creating a collage of photos a collaborative experience.  A whole group of people can add photos and after a few clicks it comes together.

1 trillion photos will be taken in 2012, that leaves a lot of material to play with for Loupe.

GrowLab was nothing short of a success and I’m looking forward to see what they will hold for us in the future.  This being their first Demo Day, it makes it that much more impressive.  I’m glad to see a commitment to bringing opportunity to today’s entrepreneur.  Furthermore, 3 of the companies listed are from abroad and have now decided to relocate their startup in Vancouver.  Bringing talent from abroad, nurturing local talent, creating such an electric event, there isn’t anything else that could have gone right for GrowLab.

Company:
Loupe
Website:
http://www.getloupe.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Loupe is a digital media software company that solves the problem of “what do you do with your hundreds and thousands of photos?” Loupe produces software that takes your photos and automatically creates photo collages in different shapes, such as a heart, word, or logo. There have been over five million downloads of the Loupe desktop software program from 200 countries worldwide and it has been profitable since... more

Company:
GrowLab Ventures Inc.
Website:
http://www.growlab.ca
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

GrowLab supports the World's best entrepreneurs through seed funding, office space, mentorship & programming in Vancouver & San Francisco. more

Company:
Placeling
Website:
http://www.placeling.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Our mobile app and website makes it effortless to share the places you love and endlessly explore the world based on the experiences of others. more

Company:
Matygo
Website:
http://www.matygo.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

It's true that Matygo is a fresh take on a Learning Management System. It's also true that unlike any LMS, Matygo is a global network of people and resources, spanning campuses and connecting learners. Sign up for our Beta now and glimpse at the future of education technology. more

Company:
Ecquire
Website:
http://www.ecquire.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Closing sales and prospecting is fun. Organizing & tracking your efforts along with remembering when to follow-up, and entering data into a CRM is not fun… And it takes time away from selling. Ecquire is your virtual assistant that does this work for you so you can be more efficient and spend more quality time on Youtube. more

Company:
Sunnytrail
Website:
http://www.thesunnytrail.com
Location:
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sunnytrail enables you to discover your most influential customers and turn them into passionate advocates. more


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Rolando Fuentes

Rolando Fuentes

I’m a student, not just of school but of life and of each of my personal interests. After a year-long internship in Ottawa working for Research in Motion, I have grown passionate about the technology sector and learning about its current state and future direction. Now back in Vancouver, I am fascinated by social media and marketing, which have become the focus of my studies. Working with... more



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