Blog

VIVRE Interview

 

VIVRE is revolutionizing the way make-up brushes are cleaned.

  1. Tell us about yourself

    I don’t come from this tech background space. My background is in HR, sales, and business development. As for the venture, I am a makeup user and female, as you can see. I’ve been using makeup since I was about 15. I was inspired to create VIVRE, because I have sensitive skin and kept breaking out. I thought there must be a better way to clean our make-up brushes versus washing them individually with soap and water by hand. I researched online what I wanted, I came across a couple things - but I wasn't impressed. I really wanted it to be waterless because we’re in the 21st century and there has to be technological advancements, but I couldn't find it so I thought I’m just going to create what I want.

  2. How many people does your team consists of?

    Myself, and my CFO. I have a marketing advisor as well. We are looking for a CTO, somebody that has that engineering background, or at least could be the advisor in terms of the product design itself.

  3. When did you start?

    I started quite recently, the inspiration came to me around this time last year. I’ve heard positive feedback from others that have attended startup events in terms of meeting their partners or investors, and thought that it would be a good idea for our company as well.

  4. What you did prior to this venture

    I’m currently at my day job as a Customer Service Coordinator with a company that is an inner city condo developer. I'm doing that full time, as well as working on VIVRE full time in the evenings and weekends.

  5. What problem does your business solve?

    The current state of affairs for makeup brush cleaners is that you have to:

    a) Use water and wait for them to dry which takes a couple of days.

    b) The brushes are unsanitary which causes skin issues.

    c) People don’t want to do the manual labour of washing each brush by hand with soap and water.

    d) People don’t have time.

    Those are the four key issues that most people are dealing with right now.

  6. How do you solve this problem?

    VIVRE solves the problem by taking the entire cleansing cycle out of the consumers hands and into our sophisticated tech device. Our box is sleek, very minimal, waterless, and we use technology to sanitize the brushes as well as remove makeup debris in a faster cleansing cycle which allows users to have prompt use of their brushes again.

  7. When did you notice a gap in the market?

    Personally, when I was doing my research and when I look back at my history. Right around that time there were other indicators: there was research that came out talking about how disgusting our makeup brushes were, how nobody ever washes them and the amount of bacteria that is on them. Another article I read was about the Style Pro, which is one of Amazon’s top sellers. You still have to use water and stick them on manually, but at least the brush does the spinning for you, but you still have to do them all individually. VIVRE you can clean several brushes at a time.

  8. What is your company culture?

    Our goal is to be a certified B Corp., which is something that companies work towards that are green, sustainable, and socially responsible; all of which are extremely important to our culture. That is built into our DNA, so although our product is a high-end eco-luxe device, we’re working on a few priorities simultaneously. For example, all the water that one unit will save, we will partner with a charitable organization that will redistribute that water, either locally or internationally. We also want to do an educational class around holistic skin care. In my own experience, I’ve gone to dermatologists, estheticians and all different types of professionals, but I’ve never gotten the full picture from one specialist. It has been through my journey and process that I’ve realized there are a lot of other variables that no one really talks about. Service-Centricity is at the heart of VIVRE, and is applicable in all of our relationships with our customers, vendors and team members.

  9. What draws people to you?

    Our culture is for people who want to grow in both their professional and personal affairs. We don’t see anything as siloed, everything is interconnected. People who have integrity, people who like the beauty space and technology. I want to have one of those cultures that everyone wants to get into and be a part of, because our reputation with our customers and our employees is the same. We’re creating a phenomenal culture where people can really thrive. If you value and treat employees and customers like they are gold, because they are, then you don’t have to worry about anything else.

  10. Three words to describe the company with?

    Innovative, integrity, sustainability. When I say sustainability, it is not just on the green front, but also about the culture of the company. Innovative is the same thing, we have to keep growing and reiterating how we can improve and what is going to benefit everybody in the long-term. As for Integrity, we just have to keep being our authentic selves which translates into our products and the work we do.

  11. Why did you choose The Accelerator?

    I went to one of the previous Demo Days and that's how I learned about The Accelerator. I chose the program for a couple of reasons. I like that NOBAL Technologies is in the hardware tech space, as this is the same realm VIVRE exists in. The schedule was convenient as the Founder Dinners were every other week. It resonated with what I was looking for in terms of time commitment, learning, mentorship, guest speakers, and the fact that we get to bond with cohort members.

  12. What has your experience with the The Accelerator been like?

    I enjoyed the first evening we did where it was a casual atmosphere and a chance to connect with others that have gone through the program or were in my batch. The guest speakers have been of tremendous help as they’ve shared valuable insights and feedback. Getting to know the other members of my cohort and learning about their journey has been inspiring.

  13. What has been your biggest lesson you learned while in the program?

    It was from the Valhalla BaseCamp, and it’s what investors are looking for and what the pitch deck actually means to them. In general, learning about pitch decks, such as, what makes them successful, and what’s important to have in them for potential investors.

  14. What has been a major accomplishment for you this year?

    I'm getting closer to the official working prototype and have quotes from different design firms. As well as making some very strategic and important connections within the beauty industry in LA.

  15. What is next for you?

    The key focus is to get the working prototype as I have a strong feeling it’s what will leap frog us ahead. Also, applying for a patent for the prototype is the second thing.




 

BoxOfDocs Interview

 

BoxOfDocs helps organizations share information with their peers.


  1. Tell us about yourself

    BoxOfDocs is the first ever global document library built specifically to help organizations in any industry easily share non-proprietary information, with their peers. Unlike, Google Drive or Dropbox, which are platforms where you can save your work, BoxOfDocs is a curated library of industry specific content. We are bringing open source thinking to industries that have yet to embrace it.

    Derrick Koenig is the Founder, and Cristina Gomez is Vice President of Technology

  2. How many people does your team consists of?

    Our team consists of 9 employees. 4 full-time, 6 part-time staff.

  3. When did you start?

    We started in August of 2017 and incorporated in October of 2017. The initial version of BoxOfDocs was launched in October of 2018.

  4. What you did prior to this venture

    Derrick: I am a Professional Engineer who spent 20 years working in industry, mostly in management and executive roles. In 2011, I founded an engineering services company named Ridgeline Engineering that grew to 40+ staff before being acquired by an international firm in 2014.  I remained involved with that business until 2016. I took a run at on online grocery store business in 2016-2017 and in the end decided that it wasn’t for me. Then I turned my attention to BoxOfDocs in 2017 and haven’t looked back since.

    Christina: My background is in Information Systems and business. Prior to BoxOfDocs, I worked for a large national railway, a national retail company and an Alberta Environmental Oil & Gas company. I’ve held various roles including heading Business Intelligence teams, Data Architecture teams and Reporting teams.

  5. What problem does your business solve?

    The selected pilot market for BoxOfDocs is North American municipalities. BoxOfDocs allows municipalities to quickly and easily see best practices from other municipalities, saving an average municipality $20,000 per year in research effort. For North American municipalities, this equates to a $800,000,000 savings opportunity.

  6. How do you solve this problem?

    We provide our customers with an ‘easy to search’ comprehensive library of work done by other municipalities. Most importantly, we use technology to keep the library current at all times.

    We maintain an online curated industry-specific document library with an industry-specific search/filter engine that allows users to quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for in minutes, rather than days.

  7. When did you notice a gap in the market?

    The inspiration for BoxOfDocs comes from my 20+ years working as an engineer in the private sector, seeing how many times professionals are forced to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and solve problems that have already been solved previously by others. I always saw this as a very wasteful practice that stifles innovation. I suspected that there may be similar issues in the public sector and anticipated a stronger appetite for sharing than in the private sector. We embarked upon customer discovery with local governments / municipalities and discovered that there is indeed a problem in need of a solution.

    Customer discovery kicked off in February of 2018. An MVP was established in April of 2018 (which produced our first paying customers) followed by the first version of our product in October of 2018.

  8. What is your company culture?

    We place great emphasis on respect.  It is crucial that everyone feels appreciated and know they play an integral part in reaching our goal. We encourage new ideas, questions and even mistakes. In our view if we are not making mistakes we are not growing.

    Derrick learned in his last business that culture is the most important aspect of running a business and that culture is established based on values. Our documented values are:

    1. Accountability

    2. Work-Life Integration

    3. Teamwork

    4. Fairness

    5. Value-Focused

    6. Team Development

    7. Customer- Focused

  9. What draws people to you?

    2 key things: Firstly, customers are drawn to us because we are solving a big problem that others have attempted to solve in the past, but have failed. They believe that we can solve it because our approach is different. For instance, we are using technology (machine learning). We have the potential to truly disrupt the industry in a positive way through leading edge technology and our team spirit.
    Secondly, staff are drawn to us because of our company culture and the unique problem that we are solving. When a team member hits a milestone or solves a problem, no matter how small, we all celebrate.

  10. Three words to describe the company with?

    Focused. Innovative. Tenacious. A fourth would be collaborative.

  11. Why did you choose The Accelerator?

    We chose The Accelerator as it seemed to focus on getting companies ready for raising money from [those] other than friends & family. This is where we are at.

    We were encouraged by friends in the Calgary startup ecosystem to have a look at The Accelerator. They knew that we were getting ready for a seed round and thought that it may be a good fit.

  12. What has your experience with the The Accelerator been like?

    There are great connections established with other startups in Calgary and we love that we are learning how to pitch. Unexpected perks have been the bourbon and the Valhalla BaseCamp with Randy Thompson, as well as the access to investors and advisors. The program has connected us with Valhalla Angels; a great team of entrepreneurs and advisors we hope to connect with more. The program helped us get ready to pitch to investors. Also, it has helped us when pitching to customers.

  13. What has been your biggest lesson you learned while in the program?

    D: I sucked at pitching our amazing company and the opportunity we provide for investors.

  14. What has been a major accomplishment for you this year?

    We have recently been awarded a channel partnership with CAMA (Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators) – the leading network of professionals employed in senior management positions in Canadian municipalities. This partnership was just announced at the association’s annual general meeting and conference in Quebec City in May of 2019.

    Our revenue is currently modest at $650/month (up 50% last month) but expected to grow significantly as we bring on channel partners such as CAMA in 2019.

    We are also very excited about some recent team additions, especially those with ties to the municipal market. We were recently selected as one of nine companies in Alberta to be showcased by AccelerateAB this year at their conference. Last fall, we were selected as 1 of 13 companies that were showcased at the StartUp Calgary launch party.  We are known for gaining market traction fast and are seen as being positioned for strong growth in 2019.

  15. What is next for you?

    Goals and milestones to reach are 50 paying customers by September of 2019. Along with  $600,000 seed round completed by August 1st, and a positive cashflow position by the end of 2020. The next project is the implementation of Machine Learning in order to accelerate the addition of content on our platform; all to meet the expectations of customers now being driven to us from our new channel partners. New segment introduction of BoxOfDocs are school districts, medical practices, and perhaps even engineering firms; anywhere a competitive advantage is not given up when information is shared.




 

Goodlawyer Interview

 

Goodlawyer creates an online market place for legal services.


  1. Tell us about yourself

    Brett (second to left): Goodlawyer is an online marketplace for legal services. We make it easy for clients and lawyers to connect. I’m Brett, the CEO of Goodlawyer, lawyer by trade and entrepreneur at heart. I started the company with Steven Bodi my co-founder.

    Steven (on right): My name is Steve, I’m one of the co-founders. [Brett and I] worked together at a law firm called BLG, Canada’s largest law firm. I was a former corporate securities lawyer that worked with startups. One guy missing from the table is Paul Ritchie, who came on board in December with almost a decade of sales experience.

    Parker (on left) : My name is Parker, I am the lead software developer working on the project. I’ve been a software developer for over 5 years, working on startups and projects like this.

    Tom (second to right): I am the lead product designer for Goodlawyer, I am a mechanical engineer by trade. I was unsatisfied with it so I went back to school and I’m one year out from completing a graphic design degree.

  2. How many people does your team consists of?

    5 people.

  3. When did you start?

    B: When I was in law school I was really struck by the access to justice issues that were existing for your average person and at the same time, my fellow law students were concerned about how there were already too many lawyers and how the legal job market was too competitive. This dichotomy sparked the idea that would eventually become Goodlawyer.

    S: As part of that problem in Ontario, where I went to law school, there was a surplus of law school graduates who weren't able to obtain the traditional path of becoming a qualified lawyer. Yet there were people across the country that couldn't access basic legal services. This really illustrated the mismatch in the market that we set out to solve.

  4. What you did prior to this venture

    S: I was with Brett at BLG. I was in the securities and M&A corporate space. During my time at BLG, I worked with companies from business inception and  incorporation, to large M&A’s, public offerings, and venture capital deals in all industries.

    B: I practiced banking and commercial real estate at BLG. I also had the opportunity to work inside one of our financial services clients in Vancouver for nearly a year, which provided a tremendous amount of insight into how clients perceive the value of legal services.

    P: I worked at Matrix Energy Technologies for 3 years and decided to leave to pursue personal projects, where I worked at the climbing gym developing an app to help coaches and athletes connect.

    T: I did engineering work for a few years after graduating UofC with a Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. I worked in Fort Mac for 8 months doing materials management for a client upgrade followed by more engineering work in Calgary. Ultimately, I realized that engineering wasn’t something I want to do in the future so I went back to school for graphic design. The past few years I have just been focusing on school.

  5. What problem does your business solve?

    B: For clients, it provides convenient, affordable and transparent legal services. For lawyers, it provides a new source of business. By streamlining certain fundamentals of running a law business, such as finding clients and getting paid, we enable lawyers to provide more affordable legal fees for clients, while still benefiting from a completely new source of revenue.

    S: We are building a managed marketplace that helps lawyers generate new leads and strip down costs of operating their business.

  6. How do you solve this problem?

    B: We solve it with technology. You provide an online platform that allows the buyer and seller to connect easily and quickly. This dramatically reduces the overhead for services provided by Goodlawyer, as compared to the current service delivery model.

    S: Managed marketplaces are popping up all over the place: Amazon, Airbnb, Uber, etc. Consumers are using these to do everything now. Buying goods, to how they travel and so on. Managed marketplaces for professional services are coming.

  7. When did you notice a gap in the market?

    B: I noticed these inefficiencies relatively early in law school. Certainly when I started working in 2014. The idea for Goodlawyer first came to us in 2016.

  8. What is your company culture?

    T: Friendly. We’ve all known each other for years. We are all buddies. We really attack this together. We do a lot of team work on everything and try to be collaborative as much as possible

    S: User-centric. We focus more on providing the service for our customers.

    B: Culturally speaking, we’ve got a driven group of friends. One of our unfair advantages is definitely friendship and that's what is really driving this forwards.

  9. What draws people to you?

    S: We are learning what draws people to us. We are learning that we are solving their access problem in a convenient way.

    T: These guys are embodiments of what they do. They are super transparent with the team always. I feel super included and we are all a collaborative unit. We are all in it together and these guys are hard workers and good friends.

    B: We take our business very seriously. We are driven, focused, and relentless and this continues to attract great people to join our team. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better core group of individuals to embark on this ambitious mission with.

    S: Another thing that I’ve heard from one of our investors is about us being lawyers; we have a certain level of sophistication. From an investor or advisor perspective, they know that we have seen this from the outside.

  10. Four words to describe the company with?

    T: Approachable. People’s gut reactions about lawyers are not that positive. We are definitely trying to make legal service more approachable.
    B: Curious. Everyone on the team likes learning, which is another big asset that we have. We understand that this is a process! I’m hopeful that this attitude will drive a lot of our success.

    S: If we had to adapt, it would be because we are being customer-focused and user-centric.

    P: Friendly. I like that word.

  11. Why did you choose The Accelerator?

    S: We got connected to The Accelerator by our friend in the ecosystem from RBC. She referred us to it and thought it would be good with the stage we were at. I had an initial call with Thomas and really liked how he described The Accelerator. We were both concerned about an accelerator being super time consuming, but we liked The Accelerator’s approach.

    B: It was good to be doing something rather than nothing.

  12. What has your experience with the The Accelerator been like?

    B: The thing I would say I liked the most about it is the community of startups we are now getting to know. It is really nice to connect with people on a semi-regular basis who are experiencing the same challenges as us. I was also a big fan of BaseCamp with Randy Thompson of Valhalla; I really enjoyed that day.

    S: It has been very helpful with learning and coaching around pitching. A big focus of the program up until this point has been about pitching and I have found that really valuable. The mentorship and connections has been very valuable as well.

  13. What has been your biggest lesson you learned while in the program?

    S: I would say, how to pitch. There seems to be an art to it and learning that art has been the biggest lesson.

  14. What has been a major accomplishment for you this year?

    T: We are all full time now.

    B: We are starting to get traction. We're on-boarding our first lawyers and getting our first customers.

  15. What is next for you?

    S: Lots of customer discovery, market validation and continuing to on-board good lawyers. Gaining conventional wisdom from leading places like Harvard Business Review and even just talking to people who have done it. We also understand the importance of nailing down a specific segment. In other words, we are refining our market fit as we search for our “books”.


 

Green Mesa Interview

 

Green Mesa is bringing oil & gas into the modern digital era.


  1. Tell us about yourself

    Peter (right): My name is Peter Zhou, I’m a co-founder of Green Mesa and we are all about bringing the oil & gas into the new modern digital era. What we do is provide an intelligent monitoring service for rotating equipment in the field. Right now operators are often misinformed about how their equipment is running, what equipment they have, or if it is even running. We bridge that gap and do so in a cost effective way that creates new insights and new action.

  2. How many people does your team consists of?

    Ryan (left): There are two of us right now and we have advisors and mentors that are very helpful for us. The cumulative number right now is over 150 years of combined experience in oil & gas, carbon utilization and cleantech.

  3. When did you start?

    R: Peter and I met in the summer of last year and we came together in another clean tech company in Calgary. We shared an idea of looking at the carbon dioxide market back in August. We’ve been working on this application since October.

  4. What you did prior to this venture

    R: I was finishing up my masters in sustainable energy development at the U of C. The co-founder of Carbon Upcycling Technologies gave a talk to the school. I was really interested in that work, so I kept in frequent contact with him about what's going on and landed a job before I even graduated.

    P: I worked as a consultant with an education institution. I went to clients’ home’s and evaluated, identified, and helped fill the gaps in their kids’ education.

  5. What problem does your business solve?

    R: A lot of the rotating equipment or large equipment oil & gas companies have is in remote sites that someone has to drive or fly into, and they have no idea how it’s being operated. Companies can’t afford to have downtime in their operations, but will only know the state of things by conducting on site inspections. We bring visibility to that and solve some maintenance process issues, root cause analysis issues and identify some emissions profiles; which were previously unknown. All while removing the need for physical inspections on-site.

  6. How do you solve this problem?

    P: With low commodity prices and increasing regulations the last thing we wanted to do is introduce new sensors and installations. Profit margins are strained for these operators and so many of them have left town already just because of the way things are. Our solution is a cloud based analytics platform that helps oil & gas facility managers optimize their facility by using data, which requires less physical sensors to make more informed, sustainable decisions. We tie into the operations database and pool together a variety of machine specific data points like pressure and temperature to unlock new insights.

  7. When did you notice a gap in the market?

    R: While we were on the path to fixing the carbon dioxide market, we discovered that operators needed help on the operational side of things and not just on emissions and compliance. The more of these customer discovery conversations we had, the more we realized there was a bigger issue at hand. It was surprising to hear how neglected some of the equipment is and how much information is locked out of sight. It was through these conversations that we could find a solution and provide some positive results.

  8. What is your company culture?

    R: We always remain curious and on the lookout for potential solutions by asking questions and wanting to know more. Curiosity is the biggest piece of our culture.

    P: We are a pretty open organization. One thing I’ve always emphasized in my career is that you shouldn’t be a different person at home than at work. We want it to be an integrative cohesive space and to set interesting values that paint a lot about ourselves and the organization we want to build.

  9. What draws people to you?

    R: What I see is the self awareness piece. The fact that we are curious and we want to solve issues but we know we don't have all the answers. Being somewhat humble in that regard and knowing that we aren’t perfect. People like us because we are coachable. They don’t want to be associated with our group if their input is just going to hit a brick wall. We are very much open and willing to take feedback.

    P: Our vision and drive resonates with so many in the industry. Despite how hard it is, we want create transparency around the industry so that people and organizations can collaborate: sharing is caring. We build our vision statement around those thoughts and that’s what magnetizes people to us.

  10. Three words to describe the company with?

    R: Curious, collaborative, and self-aware.

    P: Fresh, fun, and collaborative.

  11. Why did you choose The Accelerator?

    R: It was interesting to see that you had a really strong group of advisors and mentors. We thought there must be an enormous amount of knowledge and depth within each network. Another big thing is watching your cohort develop at the same time. Being a part of that group and seeing them develop is pretty cool.

    P: Developing those horizontal connections is huge. We made a lot of good connections who have indirect contacts in the industry and that gives us an extra avenue to connect with people. The mentor network is fantastic!

  12. How did you find out about The Accelerator?

    P: I volunteer with Startup Calgary and have been looped in with the ecosystem. The Accelerator popped up on a Slack message and that's how I found up about it.

  13. What has your experience with the The Accelerator been like?

    R: It's been such a help already. We tried to do things on our own for the first few months and it was tough to step away and look at what you’re doing. Going through your pitches frequently is an important exercise to remain aware of, which has been incredibly helpful. From the pitch practicing we were able to secure some funding from an organization in the UK.

    P: The pitch practice is so valuable. Pitching is something that doesn't get easier. You find more and more holes with a different audience each time. The mentorship has helped a lot already. We get critical feedback from our mentors who have a breath of industry knowledge. They could evaluate the risks of our startup and critique it from multiple angles, which is so valuable to us. We now have to pin down the risks and take appropriate action on the drawing board.

    R: Even the Valhalla BaseCamp surprised me with how much information I took from that. That really excites me for the future workshops that are upcoming.

  14. What has been your biggest lesson you learned while in the program?

    P: People don’t know exactly what our product is, part of that comes down to the pitching and communication. A large part is due to our lack of industry experience and insight. 16 value propositions just means zero value.

  15. What has been a major accomplishment for you this year?

    P: To start the year going into The Accelerator and we built out a proof of concept in a month.

    R: The funding from the UK was a great piece of validation as well.

  16. What is next for you?

    R: One of us has to start working with partners in Scotland, [while the other] continues to hustle around Calgary to connect with as many groups as possible. We need to get those paying customers finally lined up.

    P: On the technology and engineering side, there's still a couple missing pieces that need to be patched up and hopefully we can do that before year end. We are building something that combines engineering and data science, so taking this idea and conducting further validation in Scotland and worldwide is huge for us!




 

TeamFund Interview

 

TeamFund uses e-commerce to sell items from popular and local food vendors.


  1. Tell us about yourself

    Dominique: My name is Dominique Fraser. I am the Founder and CEO of TeamFund.

    Crystal: I’m Crystal Milne, partner and COO for TeamFund.

    D: TeamFund is an e-commerce platform that helps groups raise funds with food. Our customers are minor sports teams and schools that are needing to raise funds for their cause. When they come to TeamFund, they can create a fundraiser and sell products from local vendors and earn a portion of the sales towards their goal. To date we’ve helped raise over $750,000 in Calgary.

  2. How many people does your team consists of?

    D: We have about four employees right now; three full-time and one part-time, along with more freelancers.

  3. When did you start?

    D: TeamFund was incorporated in 2013, then we launched in 2014. For three years, it was a one-woman operation and two years ago we started to commercialize and took on more people.

  4. What you did prior to this venture

    D: I’m originally from Montreal; I left after high school and spent about eight years traveling, where I lived out my passion for outdoor adventures, snowboarding, surfing, and scuba diving. Years later, I returned to Canada to settle down and have two kids. I supported my husband’s venture while working at Canada Post and then when the time was right, I made the leap to entrepreneurship and launched TeamFund.

    C: When I moved to Calgary, I worked in IT doing business processes, project management, and getting change management processes for a lot of oil and gas clients and CP rail. Then I had children, so I took 10 years off to support my husband and his career while I looked after the kids.

  5. What problem does your business solve?

    D: We make it easy for groups to reach their goal by offering great products that are easy to sell and earn them a competitive commission towards their goal. We handle all the accounting and reporting, leaving no room for error. Additionally,  the logistics ensures that groups can stay organized.

  6. How do you solve this problem?

    D: We make it easy for groups to get started fundraising. We manage all the sales transactions, reporting, and logistics.

  7. When did you notice a gap in the market?

    D: I noticed the gap when I was initially fundraising for my daughter’s soccer team about five or six years ago. I love selling and I could sell to anyone, but walking around with a paper order form in my hand trying to sell to co-workers, friends, and family was difficult and not efficient. I could always get the sale verbally, but collecting money off of them was absolutely painful. We never knew when products were coming in and I didn't have any answers to their questions: “is it gluten free?”, “does it have sugar?”, “what are the nutritionals?”. I thought that I would love to do this online where I could invite people to the web page and they can get all the info they need, understand formats, and know arrival dates so they can determine how much they need to buy.

    C: Even getting that money from funders is actually a huge pain point. For instance, you’ll do a chocolate fundraiser and you won’t actually get the money for a month or two after.  Even though you fundraised, you still have to use your own money until those fundraiser dollars are back; but, we’re able to give it to them within a week of the deliveries.

    D:  We shorten the cycle- that’s one of the biggest value propositions that we show in the cycle. Usually, fundraisers will typically take six to eight weeks, even 10 weeks. Now vendors can see the order volume that’s coming in and plan and prepare. This is an immense change because sometimes they need additional staff as well for these large volume orders. The vendor loves it cause they get paid and they are not chasing anyone for money.

  8. What is your company culture?

    C: The biggest thing is that we support women and we support women that require flexibility. So for me, I have a child who has extra needs, and I am able to do a great job parenting while holding an interesting job. I am also able to take my kids to appointments and it’s just a supportive culture. We work hard and have a lot of wins and a lot of successes, but importantly we also allow for people to continue to have a family life.

    D:  We all work well and we all work remotely. One of the ladies that works with us, she’s in Ontario. There is a two hour time difference between us and her, but we still communicate really well.

  9. What draws people to you?

    D: We have a proven track record and organizations come to us time and time again to repeat their successes. We are trusted by our peers and are industry experts, so we know what it takes to reach a goal.

  10. Three words to describe the company with?

    D: Trusted, proven, and local.

    C: Yeah, I agree. Local means a lot to many of these families. It’s local meat and healthy. We’re giving them something that they would want to buy, at a price point that they would pay regularly. That’s important, especially in this economy.

  11. Why did you choose The Accelerator?

    D: This accelerator allowed us to still run our business and gave us access to some key people that would really help. We are in the middle of a pivot right now, so we still need to run our operations- we’re full on running and busy. For us it was important to have a time balance. Also, it was a bonding experience and gave us access to tools that we never had access to in the past. We’re on a mission and we’re having fun, but we’re also leveraging this to the nook and cranny.

  12. How did you find out about it

    D: It was through the ecosystem. We were invited here when it first got launched and it just seemed to make sense at the time. There’s a lot of noise out there, but this accelerator made sense and it was the right time.

  13. What has your experience with the The Accelerator been like?

    C: It’s been great to learn from experienced mentors and advisors, while allowing us to stay focused on our journey and goal. We are able to learn and add to our skills so that we can be better prepared for the next stage of the company.

    D: We totally love the ecosystem here, it’s very supportive. It’s about giving back as much as it is about seeking help. It’s great to stay connected and learning from other companies as well. We are on a mission, so anything to get us closer is what we were searching for. We were able to find that here.

  14. What has been your biggest lesson you learned while in the program?

    D: To keep pushing forward and keep doing better. Ask yourself why you are doing this and don’t be afraid to have lofty goals.

  15. What has been a major accomplishment for you this year?

    D: Tons! We solidified the partnership which took a while to happen. We raised some money last year through grants.  We also released our technology, which was a barrier for us. We’re super proud of our developer, we did a bang up job.

    C: Our biggest accomplishment really is that we made our foundation so strong that tomorrow we could be in Toronto. We have a national partner now, we can handle the volume, and we can get into any market at any time. It was a big year!

  16. What is next for you?

    D: Before taking over the world? [laughs] We definitely want to be a household name for fundraising and be the go to platform for amateur sports teams and fundraisers. We’re going to be the food fundraising platform; which is a scalable, repeatable and systemized system. So rolling it out nation wide and heading into the US is what we need to do.