Startup 2017 Highlights

  • Ignite
  • 2018-01-01



As we look back on 2017, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight our vibrant startup community in my articles for December and January.  It has been an impressive year seeing more than 85 new startups move through through Planet Hatch’s partnered incubation and acceleration programs, and benefit from the 75+ programs/events, which run through our entrepreneurial hub.  Between Planet Hatch and Ignite Fredericton alone - we helped 34 businesses get started this year! 

For the benefit of all the readers I would like to first explain the term ‘startup’, as some perceive this to be business jargon related only to the IT industry.  A startup can be in ANY sector or industry!

‘Startup 101’:  According to Wikipedia, a startup is defined as “an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing a viable business model around an innovative product, service, process or a platform.”   Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines startup as a “fledgling business enterprise”.

Let me break this down into hopefully a more meaningful understanding for our readers…

Many startups are nurtured and fostered through business incubation and acceleration programs.  Isn’t it amazing that Fredericton has such a strong, supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem through the Startup Fredericton to help our startups find their way?!  Currently, there are over 20 entrepreneurial organizations, which have come together as part of the taskforce, and who helped us achieve Fredericton’s ‘2016 Startup Capital of Canada’ recognition by Startup Canada!  

Incubation encompasses the ideation and validation phases of the business lifecycle.

Startup in its essence is an entrepreneurial-minded person pursuing a business idea. We call this ideation.  The various aspects of ideation include the development of a business plan and competitiveness analysis to determine if there’s a market opportunity or is there market saturation? An idea usually falls into either a product or service category.  

The next stage of the business cycle is called validation. This is when the idea is actually tested to determine if it’s a viable commercial opportunity.  The ultimate question is will a customer buy this product or service, and is it solving a problem or producing a benefit, which people will pay for?  This is when the tires hit the pavement, and a startup actually takes off after their planning and research; or pivots to a new idea; or fails.  If successful, the entrepreneur is now focused on attracting investors and scaling up - securing paid customers and hiring staff as need be.

The next phase of business is when a startup moves into early growth by ‘accelerating’ -  expanding their customer base and operations, and/or exporting.  Those who increase their revenues by at least 20% annually for four years or more, starting from a revenue base of at least $1 million are considered high growth companies coined ‘gazelles’.  

Startup pertains only to the ideation, validation and early growth stages of the business life cycle.

Currently, Planet Hatch has eight partnered incubation and acceleration programs running through the centre.  In January, we will be welcoming two new family additions! Stay tuned for some incredible highlights in our January column when we release the 2017 Planet Hatch startup roster!  

This article is part two of of last month’s column featuring Fredericton’s vibrant startup community.  Through Planet Hatch’s partnered incubation and acceleration programs running from our entrepreneurial hub - there were 85 new startups last year, and six new exporters! Here’s the run-down - drum roll please...

Ignite Fredericton/Planet Hatch helped 34 new startups during 2017 - seeding 16 companies through the Impact loan, which we administer on behalf of the Government of Canada.  Our signature offering has enabled companies to get their start through this repayable, low interest program, such as:

  • Jeff Alpaugh Custom - ‘The Dangerous Shirt’ guy who also secured investment through Canada’s Dragon’s Den this year.
  • SomaDetect - connects dairy farmers with milk-quality indicators enabling farmers to identify problems early, and maximize profits.
  • Hartt Boot and Shoe Company - a modern revival of Canada’s famous 1898 quality boot & shoe brand, which became an international success story.

We have also helped another 18 startups through our confidential, 1-on-1 business counselling services - many of whom participated in Planet Hatch programs such as: IDEA Lab, Office Hours, Mentor Mashup, to name a few.  In January, Planet Hatch will be adding two new family additions:  Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur program and a new sales accelerator through the DMZ!

Incubators - Incubation encompasses the ideation and validation phases of the business lifecycle.  

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce runs an incubator program for immigrant entrepreneurs called the Hive, which has served as a national best practice model. This program has nurtured entrepreneurial newcomers, and assisted them in starting businesses in sectors like professional services, food, oil & gas, graphic design and more. The Hive takes clients out of the isolated silos of trying to learn the Canadian business systems and culture, and immerses them into the area’s startup community.

The Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) is helping aboriginal entrepreneurs gain the support and resources needed to launch their business ideas. This year, companies have included:

  • Chief Fuels - supplies fuels, lubricants and biofuels
  • Chief Defence Contractors -  undertakes ship decommissioning
  • Down to Earth - provides video production services, including drone-based video
  • Atlantic Hydrogreens - provides fresh produce using hydroponics
  • Atlantic Velocity Air - performs HVAC services

Plus JEDI’s Business Incubator cohort launched 12 new Indigenous-owned startups, 6 from Fredericton, in December:

  • Mommy’s Pizza - gourmet pizza
  • Justin Credible Results - boxing and fitness for mental health
  • Lunney Development - web development and social media
  • Wolastoq Boat Tours - tourism tours
  • Kespek Farms - pesticide free produce
  • Saucy’s Food Truck - mobile, pre-pay food service

ArtsLinkNB runs a program for ambitious artists and creative entrepreneurs who are ready to bring their work to the market, and start a business. This year, companies have included:

  • Jared Peters - contemporary artist
  • Glen Shaver Graphics - computer graphic services
  • Department of Intimates - luxury lingerie line
  • Katie Wilcox - multimedia artist
  • Dawn Steeves - visual artist
  • Jean Rooney - multimedia artist

To spark innovative, new ideas among our youth, Dr. Natalia Stakhanova-NB Innovation Foundation Cybersecurity Research Chair, has created the CyberLaunch Academy.  From Planet Hatch, she’s teaching school-aged children about coding and cybersecurity to steer them towards future careers and high demand job opportunities.  

UNB’s Faculty of Business Administration has partnered with Planet Hatch through a memorandum of understanding to enable student experiential learning with its International Business and Entrepreneurship Centre (IBEC).  IBEC is teaming with young, entrepreneurial-minded university students with business ventures of their own, and who are lending their intellectual capital through programs like Export Igniter.

Accelerators - When a business successfully moves from ideation and validation - they transition into early growth by ‘accelerating’ -  expanding their customer base and operations, and/or exporting.  

The Pond-Deshpande Centre runs its social impact enterprise accelerator, B4Change from our entrepreneurial hub - helping the following 13 companies during 2017:

  • Insight - changes our culture's perspective of health through education
  • Covia - collaborative/co-creative processes that bring innovative approaches to facilitation, meetings, forums and other events
  • Sharitube - provides a means to access underutilized "things"
  • eChart - creates connected care through an innovative digital patient charting system  
  • NaviCare - bilingual navigation centre for children <19 years with complex health issues  
  • The Go Do Project - helps business amplify their story by leveraging the power of data
  • The Everyday Weekend - Yoga  
  • It’s OK to be AWESOME - education program for NB middle school students to improve self-worth and empowered thinking  
  • Person Centred Universe - empowers aging communities through education/mentoring
  • Sussex Beard Oil - designs, markets and sells grooming products for men
  • GradsFinder - app to help millennials find jobs
  • Triple Effect & DigiLearn - technology coaching for seniors
  • Momentum Canada - sales design strategy consulting

During 2017, PropelICT, an accelerator targeting high growth IT companies, graduated 19 companies:

  • Conceptualiz - provides doctors with automated medical 3D printing software
  • ENKIDU -  Emotional and Diversity Intelligence™ tool for organizations
  • Food Profit Group - A dashboard that helps restaurants calculate true cost of manufacturing
  • Mirmir Networks - delivers highly complex network security solutions  
  • SnapAP - enables a paperless organization with accounts payable automation software
  • Swell Advantage - realtime docking and mooring for boaters
  • ADDText - 24/7 text-based learning strategies with peer coaches
  • BidSquid - online marketplace for rural agricultural products for buyers/sellers  
  • Click2Order - saves restaurants money with their own branded online ordering system
  • GradsFinder - connects students and recent grads with employers
  • Hit the Road App - infrastructure management platform for companies/government
  • Side.Door - connects artists/hosts/audiences to create in-home concert venues
  • Cradle Technology Design - bio technology consulting services
  • Proofific - workflow automation platform for designers
  • Newpy - online gift wrapping application
  • Night Puck Technology Inc. – digital sport player development tool
  • Parental Marketplace - online marketplace for parents
  • Passiv – a digital dashboard helps manage investment account
  • Unicare Home Health Care Inc. - home care services

    Watching clients move through the growth phase, Ignite Fredericton recognized a gap with respect to export training. As such, this past year, we launched the only export acceleration program of its kind in Atlantic Canada called Export Igniter to help export-ready companies access global markets.  Through this new program, nine additional jobs were created during 2017 by the following six companies:

    • Red Rover Craft Cider - produces craft cider products
    • Marr’s Sweet Syrup - produces natural raw honey products
    • Ginger Design - marketing and design services
    • Unforgotten Metal Art - custom made jewellery and metal art
    • SimpTek Technologies - energy efficiency platform for commercial properties owners and utilities
    • Mayday Printing - branded products and printing services

    These are only startups coming out of the Planet Hatch and our partnered programs. There are other organizations like The Ville and UNB’s TME, which are producing new companies too.  Many of these companies are benefiting from the tremendous support of OpportunitiesNB’s programs and services too - available through our one-stop-entrepreneurial shop here at Knowledge Park.  It’s pretty incredible for a small city, but testament of Fredericton’s status as the ‘2016 Startup Capital of Canada’!

    Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS
    Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
    Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch