$30 million accelerator reveals first 8 startups

A new startup accelerator program in the Waterloo region is out of the gates.

Communitech today announced the first round of budding companies it hopes will build themselves up into competitive players with $30 million in help from investors. Its Hyperdrive incubator program is designed to help Canadian startups compete better with their U.S. and international counterparts.

The companies will have an initial three-month window of opportunity to prove the worth of their business case before they get additional money. After successfully completing the trial period they’ll be eligible for a further 21 months of mentoring and other services. Communitech says the approach is designed to keep the startups’ eye on the mark from day one, validating themselves as businesses throughout the entire process.

Eight companies were announced for HYPERDRIVE’s first cohort:

–         Buildcircle: cloud-based software that helps construction contractors in the bidding process
–         Coachd: a mobile app that gives people access to coaching by professional athletes in their workouts
–         Killer Giveaways: a marketing platform for small businesses to offer special giveaways
–         SimplicityVMS: software for companies to manage temporary and contract employees
–         StampMee Inc.:  a mobile customer loyalty application that acts like a stamp card
–         Will Pwn 4 Food: a gaming platform in which users can earn real money and prizes
–         Crowd Riff: a social media platform for monetizing content related to a company’s brand 

The eighth is an unnamed company, founded by Brett Shellhammer and Eric Apps, whose name will be revealed later in the summer

Each company will get $55,000 upon entering the program, and those who get past the three-month sprint will be eligible for a $150,000 convertible note. After that, they can solicit funding of up to $500,000 from venture capitalists. They can also get as much as $100,000 in business services, including accounting and legal help.

Funding partners include Research In Motion, OMERS VenturesiNovia CapitalBDC Venture Capital, Rho Canada Ventures , Canrock Ventures, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and Ontario Centres of Excellence

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