Six local startups gathered at Memorial University’s Signal Hill campus last Tuesday to present their companies at the Genesis Centre’s annual Pitch and Pick competition. Only one came home a double winner; Recimply clinched both first place and the Community Choice Award, earning a combined $2,500.
Recimply is developing a software that aims to reduce certain types of paper waste generated by every day receipts.
During the pitch, company co-founder Tyler Pike said 89 percent of consumers prefer digital receipts to paper ones, despite the fact that most retailers still print non-recyclable thermal paper receipts that contain harmful chemicals.
“Our free, mobile application allows shoppers to store all their receipts in one location,” he explained. “They can then search and categorize their receipts as needed. Retailers who use our product will unlock powerful tools to connect with their customers with our digital Smart Receipts.”
“This allows retailers to incorporate things like warranty information, personalized promotions, and marketing materials directly into the receipts they send customers everyday.”
There will also be an analytic suite that allows companies to gain insights into customer behaviour, said Pike. Recimply’s target market is small- to medium-sized businesses, explaining that they are quick to adopt new technologies and are receptive to startups. In turn, these businesses will also help recruit their shoppers into Recimply’s platform.
Pike said he’s a part-time economic student at Memorial who is currently working full-time at HSBC.
“Right now we’re in the fairly early stage of developing our product. We’re still developing our mobile application. We plan on releasing later this year,” he told The Independent, so the prize money is going directly to developing the product.
First place was $2000, and the Community Choice Award brought in $500, for a combined $2,500.
“Later this year we want to release a beta of our mobile application, gather user feedback, use that to improve the product and hopefully next year do a full launch.”
He founded Recimply with his current boss, Manoj Khandavelli, and the company also has a chief technology officer.
He would like to make the company his primary career, “If it goes well, hopefully it can be a full-time career going forward.”
Pitch and Pick Pulls in a Crowd
The annual Pitch and Pick competition is the culmination of Genesis’ intensive eight-week Evolution program for select startups.
Hosted at Memorial University’s sleek Signal Hill campus, the event is also an opportunity for people to network. The room was pretty crowded on a Tuesday afternoon.
There was a small bar serving wine and beer, as well as coffee, tea, soda, and bottles of San Pellegrino, while a table donned treats from the Newfoundland Donut Company, and big pretzels served with cheese and caramel sauce.
The event was sponsored by Ray Agency, Springboard Atlantic, BDO Canada, TD Canada, Hickman Group, and Cox & Palmer. The competition’s judges were also drawn from members of these companies. There was Hickman Auto’s COO Kevin Peters, TD Canada’s account manager Sarah Nolan, Ray Agency’s digital lead Terry Hudson, and finally Meddai founder and CEO Karan Dhillon, who posed questions to each presenter.
The Pitch and Pick runner-up – who will receive $1000 – was Sport Data Platform, founded by Paul Smith, Meik Kenworthy, Cameron Crossley, and Rob DiDio.
During his presentation, Smith told the audience that they’re actually two companies – CurlTime and DDR.Live – and they’ll find a permanent name later.
He explained curling is a complicated sport; players have to think about rock movement, ice conditions, as well as the time remaining. Fans want to see the score, timing, and replays. Meanwhile, “sports networks, journalists and enthusiasts want a marketplace for real time and historical data, which they can make their predictions.”
Smith said they believe this slice of the market can bring in $1.8million in revenue and they’re also currently in negotiations with two curling associations he didn’t name. This will also go beyond curling and into other sports. They are aiming to have the platform used in the Olympics.
Sidra Anwar and Rushi Shah, founders of a company called Resolvers, are developing a platform that will bring local technicians and small businesses together to help connect them with services.
“Basically, our web application will be their web application but with the enhanced and advanced customer service features,” said Anwar. There are also currently two tech repair businesses who have partnered with Resolvers.
Anwar took home Bluedrop’s True Blue Award, given to female entrepreneurs in the Evolution cohort. She is a Ph.D. student in the computer science department, focusing on privacy and security on mobile devices.
Shirley Snow – who founded Customized Therapeutic Puzzles INC – presented her platform. It’s called Healing Puzzles and it opens communication between counselors and clients.
She said her target market is counselors in both governmental and non-governmental institutions.
Kent Barter, a Masters student in computer science at Memorial with an interest in artificial intelligence in medicine, pitched his medtech startup. AI Vision is a software platform that measures and represents retinal architecture that can be used to diagnose diseases in the retina.
“This is where you take the retina, measure it and try to see what’s going on in a medical sense. So to solve this problem, I diagnose retinal disease. I built an innovative software platform to do this in a more cost effective way,” Barter said during his pitch.
AI Vision can be used to diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis through the degeneration of the retina, he said.
His product is currently being used in four studies at Memorial, he added, involving vitamin treatment and genetic testing.
Meanwhile, Mohammadhossein Moghaddas Jafari is creating a platform called Rapipo to connect travellers who are able to carry or send packages, documents, letters, and the like for clients. It’s meant as a way to save on shipping costs.
He told the crowd that the idea for the business came about from his brother, who needed to ship a musical instrument from Iran to Canada in two days. The postal service was too slow, it couldn’t guarantee the package’s safety, and it wasn’t affordable.
He said there are already groups of people connected through social media platforms–like Facebook–who are making agreements to carry packages for each other. His method would streamline the process so all of these transactions happen in one place, through Rapipo.
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