Koho made it onto the Top 50 Digital Only Banks Ranking

The Financial IT magazine released a survey of digital banks in hope of identifying global pioneers of digital financial services. Their results were presented into a ranking of 50 banks. Our alumni Koho made it onto the top 50 digital only banks! 

Koho is a digital platform for day-to-day banking transactions that include direct deposits, bill payments and electronic money transfers. The Koho Visa Card is a pre-paid Visa card which you can use wherever Visa is accepted. The company is 3 years old and already making a strong name for itself. 

Read more. 

 

HRx Technology Featured on The BCIC Tech is Everywhere Channel

Tech is Everywhere is podcast hosted by Tarah Ferguson at BCIC. The podcast channel features the BC’s ever-growing tech sector by presenting episodes on tech entrepreneurs and non-traditional tech companies about how technology has helped innovate and grow their business. 

One of their latest episodes featured our alumni HRx Technology. HRx Technology is a startup that provides technology services to help reduce unconscious biases from hiring process, support diverse teams, and help recruit and retain the right talents. 

Listen to the podcast.

Koho Raises an $8 million Funding Round from Portag3 Ventures.

Our alumni company Koho hit a major milestone as they finished raising an $8 million funding round from Portage3 Ventures. 

Koho is a platform that provides users with insights into their spending habits, real-time purchase updates, and financial services like e-transfers, access to 8,000 fee-free ATMs, and making purchases with its Koho card.

The company is growing and making new additions to its board of directors, including Power Financial SVP and Portag3 Ventures executive chairman Paul Desmarais III; Portag3 president Adam Felesky; and Wealthsimple co-founder and CEO Michael Katchen.

Read more.

 

FansUnite announces their token offering at the World Blockchain Forum

Our alumni FansUnite recently returned from the World Blockchain Forum in London. FansUnite is revolutionizing the sports betting industry by harnessing the power of blockchain technology to provide cheaper, more secure, verifiable and transparent betting. At the forum, FansUnite took the opportunity to officially announced their token offering as they look to bring sports betting to the blockchain.

CEO Darius Eghdami: “Discussing the evolution of the FansUnite platform with FansUnite members throughout our European tour has been extremely satisfying. While we are proud of our Canadian roots and the growing technology scene in Vancouver, British Columbia, the wealth of knowledge and passion that our European community possesses has been exhilarating to experience.”

Read more.

myBestHelper Partners with Wave Accounting to Reduce Pressure on "Sandwiched" Families

Congratulations are in order to celebrate our alumni, myBestHelper, and their new partnership with Wave Accounting. 

myBestHelper is a tech company that helps people live life well. They invent tech that supports families who are increasingly disconnected, struggling to care for kids and elders which leads to stresses that reduce happiness and productivity and impact health. 

After listening to user feedback, myBestHelper found that most families struggle with doing payroll as it is both challenging and time-consuming. 

Their new partnership with Wave helps their users to simplify the process of paying their caregiver through automated payroll. 

Great work to Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill and the myBestHelper team for this new accomplishment!

For more details, check this out.

Congratulations to RunGo, TalentMarketPlace & Virtro for Advancing in the New Ventures BC Competition!

Three startups founded by our very own Launch Academy members and alumni have advanced to the next round of the New Ventures BC Competition!

RunGo placed in the Top 16 and will be advancing directly into Round 3. RunGo is a navigation app for runners the helps runners explore new routes through turn-by-turn voice directions. 

 

TalentMarketplace and Virtro will be pitching again in Round 2.5, going head to head with 27 other teams to try and secure one of the 9 remaining spots in Round 3. TalentMarketPlace is a curated talent pool of project professionals (project managers, coordinators, and business analysts) available for hire. Virtro is a rapid growth start-up focused on delivering rich content within the Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality space.

We're so proud of all they have accomplished and wish them good luck on the next rounds!

AMA with Hussein Hallak - Answering Your Most Pressing Startup Questions

Hussein Hallak, Launch Academy’s General Manager, hosted an intimate session where both beginning and seasoned entrepreneurs had the chance to ask their most urgent questions. The road to success as an entrepreneur is never easy or clear. Hussein joined Launch Academy driven by his unwavering commitment to help entrepreneurs break through the daily challenges with the right tools, mindset, strategies, and resources for success that can be applied immediately to create results.

It was a great night of thoughtful discussion, networking and learning. Thank you to everyone who joined us!

A Crash Course in Funding For Your Startup! [EVENT]

A couple days ago, we invited Erik Ashdown to Launch Academy to speak about non-dilutive startup funding.

Erik Ashdown is the director of business development at Boast Capital. Previous to Boast, Erik was the founder & CEO of indiloop a music technology company which raised $1M+ in capital, in addition, to take advantage of various funding programs including CMF, IRAP, SR&ED, and other sources of non-dilutive funding.

During the session, Erik shared with us different funding programs, including the eligibility requirements and the potential value. We ended off with a dynamic Q&A session.

Thank you Erik for providing the startup community with an informative and engaging presentation!

Henry Bee (Launch Academy Member) to be Presenting at Plug and Play EXPO

Henry Bee, CEO and Co-Founder of Cassia Research and Launch Academy member will be presenting at the Plug and Play EXPO on June 6th. The audience will include more than 200+ corporate executives from Credit Suisse, Bank of the West, Capital One, USAA, Intuit, Synchrony Financial, Deutsche Bank and US Bank as well as investors and more than 300 entrepreneurs. Check out this article co-written by Henry Bee discussing the future of FinTech. 

Congratulations to Henry for this fantastic opportunity!

PlentyOfFish's VP Revenue Optimization, Kimberly Kaplan Shares Strategies and Tactics to High Impact Revenue Optimization [LAUNCH TALK]

This month’s Launch Talk featured Kimberly Kaplan of PlentyOfFish. She spoke about revenue optimization, which is the strategic management of pricing, inventory, demand and distribution channels to maximize revenue growth over the long term.

As one of the earliest employees at PlentyOfFish, Kimberly possesses immense insight into the life cycle of a startup and what it takes to grow and emerge as a leader.

With 8 + years with the company, Kimberly’s responsibilities within PlentyOfFish have evolved over time, from business development and monetization to a focus on growth and product development. Kimberly has played a key role in propelling the business forward with over 100 million members which in turn lead to it's acquisition to Match Group for $575 million dollars.

During the 2-hour session, Kimberly shared insights on:

  • Pricing strategies
  • Managing multiple revenue streams—across departments
  • Eliminating ineffective spending and maximizing impact
  • Strategic planning
  • Customer relationship management

We were also joined by Emily Key who moderated the conversation. Emily is a Vancouver-based operations strategist currently running full-throttle as Director of Operations at Bench Accounting, which in just a few years has grown from a few founders to a team of 300.

Thank you to Kimberly and Emily for the informative and dynamic session as well as everyone who came out! For more event photos, check out this album on our Facebook Page.

Want to join us at our next Launch Talk? Check out this page for upcoming events.

Life After You Launch [LAUNCH TALK]

 

In celebration of Launch Academy’s 5 year anniversary, we brought back some of our original startups to talk about life after you launch! Building a startup is no easy feat, it’s rollercoaster ride that will take you through high highs and low lows. Passion gets you through the hard patches of being an entrepreneur, but what about the rest of the journey? We heard from Launch Academy alumni & successful entrepreneurs as they shared their experiences and candid stories. The lively discussion was moderated by our very own Sam Chan, Launch Academy's Program Manager. 

Our panel of experts shared insights on:

  • Raising money or self-funding your startup
  • Bootstrapping to profitability
  • Making their first million in revenue
  • Growing from 0 to 45 employees
  • Competing with 800lb gorillas
  • International growth and customer support
  • Raising millions of dollars in Silicon Valley and Vancouver
  • Their biggest failures
  • Transitioning from being an entrepreneur to a CEO
  • Managing stress and exhaustion

Our amazing panel included the following successful Launch Academy alumni:

Alexandra Greenhill - Co-Founder & CEO of myBestHelper, the innovative tech company that helps people live life well. The company has received 22 awards and recognitions in three years. Alexandra has been a mentor and a judge in many Hackathons and Startup Weekends.

Greg Smith - Co-Founder & CEO of Thinkific. Greg is a lawyer, instructor and lifelong student who has taught thousands of students online and helped others create their own online courses. As a founder of Thinkific, Greg's goal is to help create and deliver amazing eLearning experiences.

James Clift - Co-Founder & CEO of WorkStory, a company that builds technology that powers career success. Their flagship product is VisualCV, the leading online resume and portfolio creation website. VisualCV.com has helped over 1.5 million people in dozens of countries worldwide make a career move. 

Jayesh Parmar - Co-Founder & CEO of Picatic. Jayesh is a serial entrepreneur with over 19 years of event industry experience. He started his first company in 1998 and has been building companies ever since. Jayesh is listed as one of the world's top 10 Tech Entrepreneurs Disrupting The Event Industry and is the winner of SISO breakthrough event technology award. 

Matt Smith - Co-Founder of Later.com, a visual content marketing platform that makes you great at visual marketing. You can aggregate, curate, schedule and optimize visual marketing campaigns across all visual social media networks and it's used by over 400,000 people and some of the world's most well-known brands including Redbull, Forbes, MTV, WSJ and Armani.

Thank you to the 5 panelists for your amazing insights and everyone for joining us! Check out this album on our Facebook Page for more photos of the event.

Want to join us at our next Launch Talk? Check out this page for upcoming events.

Jerome Ng (Launch Academy Alumni) Joins 500 Startups Canada

Congratulations to Launch Academy Alumni, Jerome Ng, for joining 500 Startups Canada. He is the newest Venture Associate added to their team and we could not be more proud of all the work he has accomplished.

Jerome has also been a 500 Startups founder and mentor. His new focus will be managing the 500 Startups community in Vancouver as well as finding companies for 500 Startups to invest in.

Pitch & Chat with Joshua Lopour & Kyle Campbell (Retsly /Zillow)

This week at our Pitch & Chat, we had two guest mentors:

  • Joshua Lopour (Prev. GM at Zillow, Co-founder at Retsly acq. by Zillow, Co-founder at AppLabz)
  • Kyle Campbell (Core Team at FeathersJS, Advisor at Finn.ai, Prev. Co-founder / CTO at Retsly acq. by Zillow, Prev. GM at Zillow)

How does it work? We have 5 pitchers who come prepared with a customer or investor pitch. They have 3 minutes to present. The pitches will be timed and slides are optional. After each pitch, the audience provides 5 minutes of feedback critiquing the presentation style (body language, tone, volume, flow of presentation) or the business (product market fit, team, strategy).

Thanks to everyone who came out and Joshua and Kyle for sharing their expertise!

Want to join us at our next Pitch & Chat? Check out this page for upcoming events.

Leading and Succeeding through Hyper Growth [ LAUNCH TALK ]

For this month’s Launch Talk we were joined by some of Vancouver's notable leaders as they shared their successes and failure during hyper growth phases in their respective industries.

The dynamic group of panelists represented a wide-array of industries, including professional services, technology, eCommerce, and retail. Panelists included:

It was an evening of networking, candid storytelling, and deep examination of lessons learned. Thank you to our panelists and everyone who came out! Check out the event photos here

Want to join us at our next Launch Talk? Check out this page for upcoming events.

International Gaming Secrets - How to Gain & Retain Users [ LUNCH & LEARN ]

Spencer Liu, Founder and CEO of leading mobile gaming platform, KTplay joined us at our Lunch & Learn. Spencer comes with a 20-year track record in marketing, Internet product strategy and business development. He shared secrets and strategies to maximizing core metrics with a few simple steps.

To recap, we learned:

  • How to gain & retain users.
  • The simple mistakes gaming studios frequently make
  • Why the community management an essential part of the gaming industry
  • How to manage and retain players within the game
  • What the Vancouver gaming industry learn from international markets
  • How top mobile game developers in China are effectively maximizing retention and revenue by aggregating and influencing behaviour through better community management right inside the games.

Thank you Spencer for your insightful presentation and for everyone who came out!

Want to join us at our next Lunch & Learn? Check out this page for upcoming events.

Blockchain 101 with Gary Boddington [ LAUNCH TALK ]

Blockchain was the buzz word of 2016, constantly making a presence when browsing both tech and non-tech sites. So what is the fuss all about and what does it mean for the future of fin tech?

For this month’s Launch Talk, we were joined by Gary Boddington, Head of Global Business Development BTL Group Ltd, where he demystified blockchain technology.

Gary has been a co-founder in tech start-ups, and has successfully navigated the complex process of being acquired by a global entity. As a CEO with global responsibility, he built direct and indirect license revenue channels.

In this non-technical session, Gary provided a brief overview of blockchain technology, a cutting edge technology that promises to disrupt and transform business sectors way beyond just financial technology. The session also included an overview of practical examples of real solutions that have been built on the blockchain platform.

Thank you Gary for sharing your insights with us and to everyone who came out! Check out the event photos here.

Want to join us at our next Launch Talk? Check out this page for upcoming events.

How to Fund Your Startup & Attract Seattle Angel Investors [ Q&A SESSION ]

With companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Dropbox to name just a few, setting up shop in Seattle, it’s safe to say that the tech scene in Seattle is pretty established.

So how can Vancouver based startups tap into this scene and benefit from this flourishing ecosystem? In this hour long panel session we had the chance to connect with three Seattle-based angel investors and startup experts as they shared insights and expertise on the Seattle startup ecosystem and strategies on how you can stand out from the crowd in this emerging market.

Our panel was moderated by Hussein Hallak, General Manager at Launch Academy. Our wonderful panel included:

  • David Grampa: Entrepreneur and Investor
  • John Sechrest: Founder of Seattle Angel Conference, Startup Mentor, Lean Startup Seattle
  • Javier Soto: Investor at Alliance of Angels, Seattle Angel Fund, Seattle Angel Conf.

To recap, we learned:

  • The things that influences Seattle investors
  • Key factors investors look for in startups
  • What the Seattle Angel Conference (SAC) is and how one can benefit from being part of it
  • The kind of startups SAC looks for and how to get their attention
  • Tips and tricks for pitching to investors
  • Secrets to being successful in the Seattle startup ecosystem

Thank you David, John and Javier for joining us!

Want to join us at our next Q&A session? Check out this page for upcoming events.