It takes a village to raise a startup.
Or at least a community, with coaches and advisors who have proven experience, with incubation space in which to work and grow, with services to design and prototype a product, with business support, and with access to investors and industry partners.
And talent, let’s not forget that. Global dominance, after all, doesn’t come without a strong team behind you.
This is the vision behind the MakerLaunch program, at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering. MakerLaunch provides uOttawa students and recent alumni entrepreneurs with the support necessary to fast-track technology commercialization and launch new tech startups.
MakerLaunch commenced with its first nine-month structured program in May 2019, which also included up to $50,000 in seed financing for each participating startup. The second cohort is set to start in January.
Could this be the right program for you? Consider the experiences of MakerLaunch’s first three participants.
GameStrat gives coaches and players the ability to review video immediately on the sidelines during a game or practice using a mobile device, and to share this across multiple devices. Its platform is currently targeting football, basketball and volleyball.
Through MakerLaunch, GameStrat has increased revenues by 115 per cent since May and aggressively grown its team from 90 to 145.
“MakerLaunch and the University of Ottawa have huge business networks in the community and to be able to tap into that for high-quality mentorship is amazing,” said Tunch Akkaya, GameStrat’s co-founder and CEO. “The MakerLaunch program has also been a game changer for us because of the funding it provided. As an early-stage startup, you’re always stuck looking for efficient ways of funding your business and MakerLaunch is one of the best options we’ve found.”
Wandure is a social travel app – a “personalized hostel on your smartphone” for travellers to mingle, chat, travel, and explore with a conscious and local lens. For tourist venues and attractions, it provides a booking platform through which to promote their most exclusive and special travel activities.
During its time with MakerLaunch, Wandure increased its user base by 53 per cent (to 26,000), monthly activity bookings by 38 per cent, and its monthly revenue rate (MRR) by 26 per cent.
“The MakerLaunch program and its mentors and founders provided us with some much-needed support, direction, experience and knowledge,” said Co-Founder and CEO Ismail Benmbarek. “This definitely made things much more pleasant for us, as well as helped expedite some of our decision-making. The interaction with the program founders and other startups in the program was a great motivating force for our team.”
Noibu helps e-commerce retailers retain customers and increase sales by detecting and addressing critical errors that can disrupt the shopping experience.
Noibu entered MakerLaunch having just made a pivot in its business/market focus. Through the program, Noibu has acquired 10+ business-to-business recurring customers, thousands of dollars in MRR, and achieved month-over-month growth of as much as 208 per cent.
“MakerLaunch has been a great stepping-stone for growing our company,” said Co-Founder Robert Boukine. “The funders and mentors act as great advisors and ask the right questions to help your business move forward. The funding is very helpful and allowed us to hire another team member. We're very grateful for what MakerLaunch has done for our company and hope to see many other startups go through the program.”
Is it your time for MakerLaunch?
MakerLaunch is for startups that have passed the ideation stage and created some sort of market traction. To learn more, please visit makerlaunch-uOttawa.ca.