Co.Launch 8 Finale: We’re back in person, bigger, and better than ever
Co.Launch is the launchpad that thrusts startups into the forefront of the Saskatchewan tech ecosystem. At the end of the program, we throw a celebratory pitch competition for the top startups—the Co.Launch Finale. Finales are always exciting events, and our fall Finale was no exception. In fact, Cohort 8 was groundbreaking for a few key reasons.
First, after far too long, the Cohort 8 Finale was held in person again! The best and brightest in Sask Tech gathered together again at Praireland Park to catch up, share a few drinks, and of course, hear from our fantastic founders. It just felt right!
Speaking of our founders, with 60 applicants and 10 startups accepted into the program, Cohort 8 was our largest Co.Launch group yet! We were blown away by the grit and determination of our successful applicants.
If the record-breaking numbers aren’t enough, our Cohort 8 Finalists also had $20,000 on the line!
Read on to see how the event went!
Co.Launch is Saskatchewan’s premier accelerator program for promising tech startups. The 12 week program is designed to help tech founders understand the fundamentals of building a startup. From working through customer validation to develop sales & marketing strategies and finally gearing up to fundraise, the program is designed to take startups from idea/MVP stage to preparing for revenue generation.
At the end of the program, the top founders in the program are selected to take part in the Co.Launch Finale. Each finalist delivers a 5 minute pitch about their product to a panel of judges, followed by a five minute question period. At the end of it all, we award $20,000 to the top startup(s) pitching.
The Cohort 8 Finale
We’re already spoken to the quality of applicants in Cohort 8, so it should come as no surprise that we had 4 phenomenal founder finalists go head-to-head to win $20,000.
Samer BuHamdan of Ambitioner AI Solutions is familiar with the product pipelines - in fact, his pitch focuses on what happens down the drain. Amb.ai uses AI solutions to improve industrial processes and, with their flagship product Sewer Inspector, can use AI to detect damaged parts in sewer pipes.
Tech founders often make the news through fun but not entirely useful products, such as Flappy Bird or Dogecoin. However, Karen Chovan, founder of Enviro Integration Strategies, is a founder that tackles a real issue:reducing risks associated with mining tailings failures. Enviro Integration helps mining executives make safer decisions with software designed to comply with global management standards and provide clear performance disclosures.
Consistent growth is a necessary attribute that all successful startups need, and Ben Copeland, founder of Soil Sense, knows a thing or two about better growing practices. Knowing that good soil means sustainable ag production, Soil Sense works to make soil sampling simpler and more cost-effective for farmers through NIR Spectrometry and Machine Learning.
Barry Vopnu of GroceryXpress was our last founder to pitch, and he can speak to the value of a good delivery. GroceryXpress empowers independent grocers with eCommerce tools, equipping grocers with an inventory management system and on-demand delivery services. Ultimately, GroceryXpress allows small grocers to compete with larger grocery chains.
Once the pitches were delivered, our founders fought through some challenging yet fair questions. Finally, it was time for our all star panel of judges to deliberate.
This year, our judges included Patrick Lor (Managing Partner of Panache Venture Capital), Monique Simair (Founder & CEO of Maven Water & Environment), and Co.Launch Cohort 7 winner Landon Garrison (Clevr Founder & CEO).
Though the judges were impressed with quality and passion from each founder’s pitch, Soil Sense took home the grand prize of $15,000 and Amb.ai walked away as runner-up with $5,000!
Each of our 4 founders displayed their hard work and dedication with their pitches, and Co.Labs was happy to invite each founder to further their startup journey in the Co.Link program!
It takes a village to put on our Co.Launch Finales, and we could not have done it without support of our friends over at PrairiesCan, Innovation Saskatchewan, The University of Saskatchewan, Innovation Place and Mckercher Law. Thank you for continuing to invest time and energy into Sask Tech’s future.
Applications for the Co.Launch Cohort 9 open January. 4th, 2021. For more information, or to apply, head on over to https://www.co-labs.ca/co-launch.