SkyWatch, a Waterloo-based company that aims to make satellite data accessible world-wide, and Ada Support, a Toronto startup which makes a chatbot creation platform designed to help its clients provide better customer service, split a $100,000 prize at Communitech’s Rev Demo Day, held Thursday at the Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto.
“Every company was just so deserving,” said SkyWatch CEO and founder James Slifierz, after making his pitch for the Rev prize along with seven other members of the current Rev cohort.
“There were some amazing companies,” Slifierz said. “I think all of them are going to be successful. You saw a lot of experienced founders up there – a lot of people with a lot of experience in their industry. [There’s] an exciting future for all of them.”
Communitech Rev is a six-month sales accelerator focused on growth-stage companies, and provides executive coaching and tailored programming designed to help companies establish firmer footprints.
Dan Code-McNeil, Head of Sales at Ada Support, said Rev has helped his company focus on return-on-investment for his customers – and he said the money will help him scale his sales team.
“Before we went into Rev, we didn’t really pitch our product [with an] ROI focus,” said Code-McNeil. “[Rev] immediately drew that to our attention at our first meeting.”
Prize money was provided by the Rev program’s prime sponsor, Deloitte. Other Rev sponsors include Google Developers, TD, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada.
Other Rev companies that made their case before the four judges included: Brisk Synergies, headquartered in Waterloo, which helps transportation engineers and planners understand road safety problems and identify solutions through video analytics; Lending Loop, located in Toronto, which enables peer-to-peer lending for small business; Toronto-based Humi HR, which provides companies with cloud-based HR and benefits services; Kitchener-based Voltera, the maker of a desktop printer that can produce prototype circuit boards; Needls, based in Toronto, which helps companies navigate their social media buys; and Plasticity Labs, based in Kitchener at the Tannery, which helps companies measure and improve their workplace culture.
Each made a strong case for prize money.
“Top notch,” said Communitech Vice-President Greg Barratt. “I watched eight great presentations, presentations that were succinct and covered the points, and I was also very impressed with the way the judges’ questions were answered, which suggests that the underlying understanding of the business and the strategy and what it’s going to take [to succeed] was clean and strong.”