A Futurpreneur Canada 20th Anniversary Feature

This year, Futurpreneur Canada celebrates their 20th Anniversary. To celebrate our anniversary and the recent opening of the 2016 Spin Master Innovation Fund applications, we wanted to take a look at our past Spin Master Innovation Fund recipients and see where they are now.

For the past six years, Futurpreneur Canada and Spin Master Corp. have been searching across the country for entrepreneurs who are look to disrupt the industry and change the game with their products, and businesses. The Spin Master Innovation Fund provides financing, mentoring and exclusive skill-building opportunities to 10 innovative entrepreneurs each year, and since its inception the program has helped 42 businesses get off the ground.

We wanted to take a look back at some of the amazing businesses the Spin Master Innovation Fund has helped throughout the years and see how they’re doing now.

21 Toys

Twenty One Toys

Founded in 2012 by Ilana Ben-Ari
Twenty One Toys designs and manufactures toys that teach empathy, failure, creative communication, collaboration and other core skills necessary for the 21st century learners.

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund, how has your business grown? 

Since we won, our first toy, the Empathy Toy is in over 1,000 schools, 100 offices, across 43 countries.

Are there any milestones or specific accomplishments you’d like to share since being a Spin Master Innovation Fund recipient?

We now offer training for colleges & universities on toy curriculums (our Empathy Toy is in 3 MBA programs), and with organizations like Deloitte and FedEx on incorporating empathy and play into their work. Our training and workshops have led us to training trips to Copenhagen, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Geneva, Washington, and Hong Kong.  Plus our Empathy Toy was featured in TIME magazine as “shaping future classrooms” in 2014.

Where is your business today and where do you hope to be down the road?

We are creating the world’s first global community of toy educators. 2016 is about connecting the thousands of teachers and employees with Empathy Toys—both online and in person—to share the insights and impacts of how play has changed their work. Over the next decade we’ll be releasing a new category of toys including our upcoming Failure Toy (set to release fall 2016) that will change the way we learn, and the way we do business—innovation through empathy and failure.

Beeye

Beeye

Founded in 2014 by Adrien Sicard, Antoine Lemaitre, Julie Delisle & Yury Doroshenko
Beeye provides software that helps companies identify their most profitable activities, optimize their resources and reach their goals through strategic planning, project management and performance analytics, all in one place.

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund, how has your business grown? 

When we won the Spin Master Innovation Fund, we didn’t yet have revenues or employees. But we did have innovative software which would quickly demonstrate its value to our clients.  Since, the software has been implemented with different types of organizations (SMB, large companies and government organizations). We are now a team of about ten working on Beeye, and we have recently signed our first international contract.

Are there any milestones or specific accomplishments you’d like to share since being a Spin Master Innovation Fund recipient?

– Launching sales
– Hiring our first employees
– Partnering with an international firm
– Getting our first international client

Where is your business today and where do you hope to be down the road?

Our vision is for Beeye to become the standard tool for organizational management. Each trade has its go-to: designers have Photoshop, salespeople have Salesforce, and project managers have MS Project.  But what is available for managers with teams working on wide ranging activities and projects? Beeye. We want Beeye to be recognized as THE tool for managers and as something large service businesses and government organizations can’t do without.

We’re looking to have the best available product on the market, and to partner with consultancy firms to support us with change management and improving business processes. We therefore see ourselves building strong partnerships in that respect so we can keep improving on creating the best possible product.

BiogeniQ Lo Res

BiogeniQ

Founded in 2013 by Étienne Crevier, Michel Cameron, Matthew Starek & Olivier Caron-Lizotte
BiogeniQ offers a genetic test using your DNA that can allow you to optimize your nutrition and medication, allowing you to take control of your health.

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund, how has your business grown? 

BiogeniQ has gone through a significant number of changes over the previous year. We have added staff to help accelerate product development and to help accelerate market deployment. By adding a dedicated salesperson and a marketing coordinator we were able to significantly increase our number of distribution points. As a result, we have also significantly increased our sales compared to last year.

Are there any milestones or specific accomplishments you’d like to share since being a Spin Master Innovation Fund recipient?

We have put in place a distribution agreement with the largest medical laboratory in Quebec: Biron Health Group.

BiogeniQ will soon be collaborating with Rx Vigilance, which is a database of pharmacological information that is used by almost all healthcare professionals in Québec. BiogeniQ’s database of drug-gene interactions will be available through Rx Vigilance.

Where is your business today and where do you hope to be down the road?

We are currently a start-up that offers two types of genetic tests. Our distribution partners are largely based in Quebec; that said, we have begun to develop relationships with potential partners in the rest of Canada and overseas (to a much lesser extent).

In the short-term we are working on updates to our genetic tests so that we can analyze more genes that are involved in nutrient and medication metabolism. We are also working on expanding our network of distribution points in Quebec and Ontario.

In the medium and long term we envision offering a wider variety of genetic tests and further expanding our geographic presence through distribution agreements with medical laboratories, medical clinics and pharmacies. Our vision is to not only offer genetic tests, but to be able to digitally integrate the results of all of our tests directly into existing digital tools.

Char Technologies

CHAR Technologies Ltd.

Founded in 2011 by Andrew White
CHAR Technologies is commercializing SulfaCHAR™  to solve a global problem caused by toxic and corrosive hydrogen sulfide in the biogas industry (a renewable resource).

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund, how has your business grown? 

Since we’ve received funding from the Spin Master Innovation Fund, CHAR Technologies has gone from a business plan built on solid lab-scale research, to having validated pilot tests of the technology at various customer sites (including a farm based biogas plant and multiple landfills, which make-up our primary market of renewable natural gas).

Are there any milestones or specific accomplishments you’d like to share since being a Spin Master Innovation Fund recipient?

CHAR Technologies is currently engaged in a SD Natural Gas fund project (funded by both Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Canadian Gas Association).  Additionally, CHAR merged with a Capital Pool Corporation (CPC) and is now carrying on as CHAR Technologies Ltd., and is publicly traded on the TSX Venture under the ticker “YES.”  Cleantech Capital brought a phenomenally talented board, funding, and public market opportunity to CHAR, so that CHAR can aggressively pursue our growth strategy.

Where is your business today and where do you hope to be down the road?

CHAR has secured our first contract, to clean gas at a biogas plant owned and operated by the University of Guelph in Ridgetown, Ontario (near Chatam). Our SD Natural Gas fund project will allow us to have a 1-tonne per day SulfaCHAR production unit operating by the end of our fiscal 2016 (Sep 30), which will allow us to execute on our strong sales pipeline. In five years, CHAR will have expanded to serve customers with SulfaCHAR in Canada, the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.

Biosolutions

Immune Biosolutions Inc.

Founded in 2012 by Frédéric Leduc, Simon Gaudreau and Jean-François Larrivée
Immune Biosolutions is an innovative, environmentally and socially aware biotech that is focused on creating the best chicken antibodies as research and diagnostic tools, nutraceuticals and antibody-based rugs that will work to resolve health issues worldwide.

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund, how has your business grown? 

When we applied, we were a team of three or four focusing on research products and now we have a team of 13 people working to create a new generation of therapeutic antibodies. Same core technology platform, but now with many more integrated technologies that opened up new markets and potential impact of health issues.

Are there any milestones or specific accomplishments you’d like to share since being a Spin Master Innovation Fund recipient?

Any biotech start-up starts with one big idea and fine-tunes it to adjust with the market and rising opportunities. In our case, we had a (very) long-term plan and surprisingly we managed to achieve it faster. So it is hard to pinpoint a specific accomplishment or milestone. I would say (1) surviving three years was a great accomplishment, (2) our last funding round and the evolution of our Antibody platform into its last version leading to the generation of therapeutic antibodies against cancer, chronic pain and infections (C. difficile).

Where is your business today and where do you hope to be down the road?

We hope that we sign one major partnership in the next year, put on the market our edible antibody technology within three years (C.difficile protection), and that one of our therapeutic antibody candidates saves lives in the next seven years.

Leadweb

Leadweb

Founded in 2012 by Louis Cleroux and Philippe Therien
Leadweb specializes in solving digital challenges to help bring your ideas to market through web and mobile technologies.

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund, how has your business grown? 

We started from being almost bankrupt with no revenue to almost 1M in revenue with exponential growth.

Are there any milestones or specific accomplishments you’d like to share since being a Spin Master Innovation Fund recipient?

Reaching $1M in total sales was the ultimate milestone. This milestone enabled us to receive additional financing and gave us opportunities to grow even faster.

Where is your business today and where do you hope to be down the road?

The first two years were hard and we had slower growth (30%) compared to now (150%). We don’t expect to grow at that rate for the next ten years and we manage our expectations with our growth projections. We are planning another pivot by the end of the year that could explode our business to $10M/Year in sales. We aim for home runs and are not shy to kill a very profitable business when we can seize an opportunity to grow faster. Every employee at our firm can pitch ideas and start their own projects. We aim to be a public company in the NASDAQ with 200+ employees within the next 10 years.

Domo

Domo Enterprises Ltd.

Founded in 2007 by Tammy MacDonald and Anne Forkutza
Domo loves tea and everything it represents from its story and origins to what it can do for us. Domo’s goal is to reinvent tea by fusing its traditional qualities with fresh ideas and flavours.

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund, how has your business grown? 

Since receiving the Spin Master Innovation Fund we have seen 300% growth in sales, plus have our own warehouse and manufacturing plan, plus our own delivery truck!

Are there any milestones or specific accomplishments you’d like to share since being a Spin Master Innovation Fund recipient?

On top of the above, we have landed London Drugs and Overwaitest Food Group as clients and have landed dedicated distribution on Vancouver Island.

Where is your business today and where do you hope to be down the road?

We hope to continue to grow in the grocery industry and focus on growth in the food service industry (we are currently in over 50 cafes). We also will be expanding our offering from just stone-ground tea latte mixes to iced tea and other food service offerings.

Applications for the 2016 cohort of the Spin Master Innovation Fund are NOW OPEN until June 9th, 2016. Apply here!

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada

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