Canadian Startup Your Extra Life Celebrates Launch After Inking Deal with Festival d'été

Posted by Joseph Czikk

Quebec City’s Your Extra Life is celebrating its launch with a handshake. The social iPhone app has inked a deal with Le Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ), the massive summer music festival in Quebec’s capital city.

Your Extra Life facilitates real life challenges for users issued by their friends, posting and sharing a picture of their triumph as proof.

Cofounder Samuel Chenard said that over 500,000 festivalgoers will have the opportunity to use the interactive app during the eleven-day festival that features the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Black Keys, and Bruno Mars.

“The main goal is to improve people's experience at the event,” Chenard told Techvibes. “With FEQ, we’ve developed a tree of 11 challenges for people to complete at the event to preserve the best moments or improve the boring moments like waiting in line.”

Challenges might be “take a picture of the most dedicated fan," or "take a picture of a thousand smartphones in the air". Rewards include VIP passes and regular passes for the entire 2014 festival next summer and more.

Since launching Sunday, cofounders Chenard, Philip Barclay, Samuel Dion Girardeau and Gheorghita Catalin Bordianu have watched their app climb into the top 15 social networking apps in the Canadian App Store. Nearly 10,000 people created accounts over the past two days.

The app’s user interface is nice and the experience clean, while the company’s landing page is filled with thoughtful content. On the home page the company has formed their blog content along a continuous stream of challenges they faced early on, each representing one post. Video content also details the beginnings of the company, when the four moved into a house in rural Quebec eight months ago.

The angel-funded company was founded one year ago after the four young entrepreneurs in Quebec City quit their jobs. The idea started out as a mini-community of friends eager to complete challenges and share their feats online. “How can we share that experience with more and more people and create a movement out of that?” thought Chenard at the time.

Albert Dang-Vu, a cofounder at Mirego and FounderFuel mentor, focuses on helping startups plan and execute mobile strategy. He heard about Your Extra Life through a mutual colleague and took a strong interest.

The guys had a conceptual vision focused around gamification when they met Dang-Vu, but lacked technical expertise. The mentor eventually landed them their engineer, invested seed funding through Mirego and continues to assist in product and structure.

Dang-Vu believed in the team and loved the idea from the start: “Most of the time when we get involved we know we can give some good benefit, knowledge and expertise and I think there was a fit both culturally and in terms of the missing piece for them,” he said.

The startup’s target user, the smartphone-wielding 15-30 year-old, has potential to facilitate the viral growth that Your Extra Life is hoping for. Generating revenue remains a question mark though.

According to Dang-Vu these were the same types of concerns that Twitter and Instagram faced in their early years. He believes there are many options for monetization down the road, and starting with an event like FEQ certainly won’t hurt those chances.

“First, I think it’s a big matter of execution and getting a massive amount of users,” said Dang-Vu. “The second one is to be like a media essentially, if they can become a central place where people come to view content while contributing. There are so many ideas we can go to.”

Dang-Vu said the team is going for the “home run,” and that another large part will be user retention. The team of four, meanwhile, will head to Silicon Valley later this summer to court US venture capitalists.

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Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joey Czikk is a freelance writer based in Montreal, where he did his graduate studies in journalism at Concordia University. His work has appeared in OpenFile Montreal, Fundica.com's blog and the Westmount Examiner. He also has a passion for radio, having hosted a music show on CFRU 93.3 FM while completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. A sports nut, Joey often goes... more



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