November 26th, 2014 marked the graduation ceremony of GrindSpaceXL, an intensive 12 week start up incubator run in Kingston, ON at Innovation Park.
GrindSpaceXL is a program tailored to high-potential technology ventures helping participants succeed from prototype to product to revenue. This cohort, which began Fall 2014, featured seven up-and-coming companies that had access to one-on-one mentorship from world-class entrepreneurs, introductions to qualiﬁed investors, and office space at Innovation Park.GrindSpaceXL is a collaborative effort between Launch Lab and Queen’s University, in partnership with Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Centres of Excellence. Outlined below are companies that participated in the fall 2014 cohort and what they valued from their GrindSpaceXL experience:
Scent Trunk revolutionizes men’s cologne. Through advanced analytics, they ﬁnd the perfect scents for you and ship them to your door.
“I never imagined that this program would be as intimate a process as it has been, that people would care as much as they do. The mentors have been in contact with me at all hours of the day and night— authentic caring means a lot to me and it was unexpected.”
-‐William Yin, CEO Scent Trunk
Borehole Analytics provides a platform for downhole analytics in the mining, oil and gas, and utilities industry.
“We were impressed how the speakers were all very tailored to our companies and speciﬁc needs. They knew our problems before we did and addressed them accordingly”
-‐Oliver Blake, CEO Borehole Analytics
Opprox is a social network that connects businesses to consumers in proximity. They offer coupons, points and savings.
“The mentors through GrindSpace were really helpful in giving us great advice, speciﬁcally in launching our paid beta. They helped us go from product to revenue, so that is huge. I was working in a basement before GrindSpace— this has been a really welcoming community and I really like that aspect of GSXL. Everyone has been emotionally invested in us, not just time investment.”
-‐Ahsen Basit, Co-‐Founder, Opprox
Clubify is a platform where consumers can create an “exclusive club” where people can monetize their photos, videos, documents, events and time.
“We valued the experiences the various speakers imparted on us, helping us be sure not to repeat the same mistakes they made. It was also great to have office space available to use, especially since we commuted from Ottawa”
-‐Saqib Dareshani, CEO Clubify
Nourish Apps is a farming dashboard that aims to resolve back office needs of Canadian small and medium sized farms. The software simpliﬁes invoicing, managing inventory, and determining market prices.
“Running a business is a ﬂuid process, GrindSpace provided discipline—you’re accountable for your deadlines. Meeting with mentors kept us on track and innovative. As a result our company's business model did a complete 180.”
-‐Dev Thain, CEO Nourish Apps
Givway & Co. locally manufactures and sells backpacks. For every backpack sold, a functional backpack is given to someone in need.
“As a business you often become too familiar with how you are doing things. GrindSpace provided mentors that could identify when a process wasn’t going to work, and propel us to make correct decisions.”
-‐Chantal Tshimanga, Co-Founder, Givway & Co.
Fire X, has developed a ﬁre suppression agent and mechanical systems that dramatically reduce water consumption during ﬁreﬁghting operations.
“The GrindSpace program had a well thought out and implemented schedule—everything seemed to follow the natural path that Fire X was taking. It was seamless. GrindSpace was instrumental in helping with our sales. After the Customer Discovery interview session we actually closed our ﬁrst sale.”
-‐Quincy Emmons, Director of Operations, Fire X