Young Waterloo tech visionaries talk about their billion-dollar ideas

Young Waterloo tech visionaries talk about their billion-dollar ideas

Entrepreneurs from Communitech, Waterloo’s biggest incubator, give their elevator pitches

Shiva Bhardwaj, 25

“I grew up working in my father’s auto shop. After university, I spent some time in the Valley, but I always wanted to come back to cars. Last year, I founded Pitstop, a platform that predicts vehicle failures before they happen. It uses machine-learning techniques and real-time sensor data. It’s basically the future of the connected vehicle. Seven dealerships in Toronto, Waterloo and Michigan already use the platform.”

Sarah Landstreet, 32

“I founded Georgette Packaging in 2014. It’s a website that connects businesses with packaging manufacturers. Café owners who want branded cups can go onto the website and play with all the printing and quantity options, instead of finding factories on their own. We mostly focus on boxes, bags and cups, and we’re adding a service where you can design your own artwork and have it printed on the products.”

Andrew Matlock, 29

“My company, Industry Corp., began in 2008 as a games studio. We were approached to produce a touch-screen gaming system, which now sits tabletop in fast food restaurants. Then we built a universal platform to design and control interactive panels, called Spark. Now 90 per cent of our business is Spark-related—we make bedside terminals in hospitals for menus and entertainment.”

Adrian Wong, 22

“I helped create SparkGig, which is like Airbnb for performers. I’ve been playing violin since Grade 1. I was having a hard time finding gigs and knew a group of people who had the same problem. Using our app, actors, dancers and musicians can offer their services to people hosting wine and cheeses or cocktail parties. We make money from a small transaction fee from the host and the performer.”

Amad Abdullah, 29

“I thought of the idea for my workout app, Oneset, when I was working as a policy advisor for the Ministry of Education. I was becoming bored with my workouts, so I created Oneset. It’s like Vine for fitness: a network of exercise enthusiasts who share photos and videos, and discuss topics related to working out. We’ve been at Communitech for a year and a half, and have 100,000 users right now.”

Daniel MacKenzie, 23

“HealthIM is a mental health assessment platform for law enforcement. Police officers often encounter people with mental health issues and don’t have the training to properly deal with those situations. This platform offers an assessment form that officers can fill out at the scene. The information is then sent to the hospital or community service programs. Right now the Niagara, Brantford and London police use it.”

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