iMerciv was named the winner of the $100,000 top prize at the Telus Pitch competition.
The pitch competition was launched with District Ventures founder Arlene Dickinson in September 2017, and asked entrepreneurs to share how the money would help them achieve key business goals.
The competition ended up receiving entries from 3,000 small businesses across Canada.
“We’re living at a time that has so much opportunity. It’s never been easier to take a product to market, it’s never been easier to market yourself. It’s never been easier to manufacture and do it effectively and easily across the globe,” said Dickinson. “So all these things, coupled with the fact that you’re coming from a country that has such amazing resources, and so many things we can leverage in terms of being competitive globally. This is the beginning of Canada’s time. It’s going to be a heck of the next couple of decades.”
The three semi-finalists included iMerciv, a wearable that detects obstacles that may lie directly in one’s path for blind and semi-blind people; JamStack, a guitar amp that attaches to smartphones; and Flashfood, which allows grocery stores to sell surplus food at discounted prices.
Judging was harder than we thought. Many minds were changed by these great pitches. Will the audience agree? @TELUSBusiness #teluspitch pic.twitter.com/04vmyZOHfb
— Sunil Sharma (@sunil_extreme) November 14, 2017
“Each of our clients told a compelling story with clear business goals, and we considered how the funds would be spent and the impact winning would have both on their business and their community. And finally, their live pitch was very important,” said Suzanne Trusdale, VP of Small Business Solutions at TELUS Business Solutions.
In the end, iMerciv took the top prize, while JamStack and Flashfood received $10,000 as runners-up.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what Bin and the IMerciv team can make happen with the $100k prize,” said Diana Goodwin, founder of AquaMobile and a past winner of the competition. “It had a big impact on AquaMobile and I’m sure it will do the same for IMerciv.”
The comptition also took an opportunity to support earlier-stage startups doing social good. MakerKids was named the winner of the competition’s impact $10,000 impact prize, as well as the option to donate $10,000 to a charity of their choice. MakerKids, which develops STEM program for kids, chose CAMH as their charity. The Most Promising Startup Award — which included a $5,000 of Samsung technology and $5,000 of mentoring and marketing services from Eighty-Eight — was given to HealthyPets.io, which connects pet owners to veterinarians through video chat.