Toronto-based accelerator Incubes has just announced its fourth cohort, bringing in seven startups that will be spending the next three months working in hyperdrive to fine-tune their products and business models.
ARB Labs, Fashion Forward, AppGeek, Lightning Platform, Modreal, Alertly and Qoints have all landed spots in Incubes’ summer cohort. With the startups having settled in and working at Incubes for the past two weeks, about 20 mentors have passed through the accelerator doors, and representatives from a U.S. venture capital fund have already come knocking, says Ben Zlotnick, founder and CEO at Incubes.
Each startup has also received $15,000 in initial funding from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), with Incubes taking a 7.5 per cent equity stake in each company. This is also the first cohort to take advantage of Incubes’ new partnership with T4G Inc., an IT solutions firm. They’ll get access to resources like Web hosting and business intelligence.
Zlotnick says in choosing the startups for this cohort, he was eyeing businesses that are more likely to generate revenue. This time around, Incubes received more than 400 applications, he says.
“Our core for this group was that we had a very heavy focus on the teams themselves. Not necessarily everything about the product, but a lot of it was about the founders,” Zlotnick says.
“Forget about being bright and educated, and even if they have some experience, but if they have that passion to create something that’s going to make a massive difference in the sectors they’re focused on, then those are the type of founders and obviously, the companies, that we brought on board for this summer cohort.”
He added that he expects each day to be an intense one, with startups meeting with two to four mentors everyday and trying to hit targets for deliverables each week. Each month, a startup might concentrate on a different aspect of running a business – during one month, they might meet with mentors who will help them tweak their products. The month after that, their mentors might give them a game plan on bolstering their relationships with investors.
Among the startups, ARB Labs has built software that recognizes human gestures. It has also created algorithms predicting the next gesture a human will perform, aiming this product at video game designers, security providers, and healthcare professionals.
Like ARB Labs, AppGeek also uses algorithms. But this startup is aimed at consumers who are looking to find new apps based on their preferences, or to be notified when their old apps need to be updated or replaced.
Alertly hopes to disrupt the home security industry by providing homeowners with a personal alarm system for their houses, offices and cars. Giving them the ability to monitor their valuables with a simple device, the startup also allows them to check in on their security from mobile devices or the web.
For those who work in marketing, Qoints helps boost customer loyalty by helping brands deploy promotions and coupons. Consumers may also like Qoints as the startup will allow them to look for the brands they like and follow them to learn about new deals.
Fashion Forward and Modreal both focus on fashion and e-commerce, with Fashion Forward allowing buyers to shop online and then connect with local sellers in real life. Modreal centres on the idea of taking “selfies,” as many fashion bloggers take shots of themselves and then upload them onto social networks. The startup then helps fashion brands track these photos, allowing them to see who’s wearing their clothing and provide more customer interaction.
On the development side, Lightning Platform aims to provide a framework for developers looking to build their own games and social applications. In the future, it hopes to be a platform for non-technical people to make changes to the games and apps through a visual interface, without requiring them to know how to code.
Lightning Platform also recently won a spot in Ideaboost, an accelerator focusing on digital media and working out of the CFC Media Lab. It will be balancing its time between the two accelerators, Zlotnick says.
Incubes’ fourth demo day will take place in September.