Communitech Rev awards $50,000 to protein testing solution Nicoya

Communitech Rev Centre Stage

Waterloo-based Nicoya Lifesciences wants to change the way scientists run protein tests, and on Friday night, the company had its idea validated to the tune of $50,000 at Communitech’s Rev Centre Stage pitch event.

Nicoya’s personal and portable SPR (Surface Plasmon Resonance) solution makes protein testing simple, quick and accessible – for less than one-tenth the cost of current solutions. Why will this matter? It means that testing for life-changing and life-saving drugs can be done more quickly and more economically.

Nicoya CEO Ryan Denomme said the company plans to use the $50K to grow their sales team, but first, “we will do something special for the team. They worked super hard throughout Rev and we’re really happy with what we’ve accomplished.”

Rev is an accelerator program focused on sales and marketing that spans six months. Unlike many other accelerators, Rev does not take any equity from the companies for inclusion in the program.

Six companies pitched during Rev Centre Stage ranging from construction process automation, to marketing and sales tool aggregation, to content delivery solutions for HD streaming, to a location planning and analysis tool.

Communitech Rev Centre Stage

In a nice twist on the ever-more-common pitch night theme, the judges were given $100,000 to split up as they saw fit. The judging panel included: Steve Blank, a world-renowned entrepreneur, author, teacher and an early thought leader in the “lean startup” revolution; Carol Leaman, President and CEO of Axonify and author; and Alec Saunders, Principal Technology Evangelist at Microsoft and a leader in building developer ecosystems.

Sam Legge, Communitech Rev Program Manager, said they wanted the judges to “bet on the ones they thought would be successful.”

The judges, especially Blank, did not go easy on any of the companies that pitched.

Along with $50K to Nicoya, the judges presented $25K to Bridgit, a deficiency management tool for construction sites, and an additional $25K to Piinpoint, which analyses and predicts the best locations for businesses – new or expanding.

The judges, especially Blank, did not go easy on any of the companies that pitched, with hard-hitting questions about the math the startups were presenting. Each pitch included a path to $25 million in revenue, which seemed forced in some of the presentations and may have pigeonholed the presenters a little bit.

“(The judges) got right to the point, trying to understand the details behind market sizes and revenue projections to really pull out the potential of each company. It can be tough trying to prepare for every possible question or metric or number they might ask for but you do your best,” said Denomme.

All of the pitches presented were well thought out and definitely focused on the traction and addressable market. Every company that pitched showed growth and customer acquisition, or a thriving beta program with additional revenue sources. The Rev Centre Stage event was able to showcase the growth and maturity that some Waterloo region startups are reaching.

Here are the other companies that pitched:

    SetScouter – an “Airbnb for” movie set scouting and booking using people’s homes
    Aterlo – a content distribution method that leverages off hours to store content for homeowners without stable high-speed internet access
    Blitzen – a hub for customer data and marketing tools

Rev is currently accepting applications for its next cohort. Legge noted that Rev is focused on sales process and marketing and companies need to be passed their product development stages and at a point to be focused on the sales cycle.

Images courtesy Communitech / Meghan Kreller.


Victoria Berry

Victoria has more than 15 years’ experience in the communications field and is passionate about audience definition, story-driven communications, collaboration and relationship building. Victoria currently creates content at Magnet Forensics. Victoria was a leader in the BlackBerry PR team for nine years, running the gamut from enterprise to partner to consumer PR. She spent almost 10 years in the trenches of tech and regional journalism as an editor at Computerworld Canada and as a writer and columnist for community papers in Toronto.

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