InnoBahn winners show Montreal startups solving problems for big business

In April, The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal announced the launch of InnoBahn, a series of events encouraging startups to pitch to large enterprises how their innovative solutions could solve an enterprise’s business needs.

InnoBahn officially announced its winners. The competition had L’Oréal Canada, Ubisoft, and Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (GP3R) share their business problems with the startup community, who presented how their platform specifically addresses their needs.

GP3R, which has high volunteer turnover, was looking to retain the knowledge of its experienced volunteers that leave; Ubisoft wanted to improve the efficiency of its employees’ commute, as 25 percent of Ubisoft employees live on the outskirts of Montréal or far from a metro line; and L’Oréal Canada wanted to communicate more effectively with customers both online and in-store.

“With InnoBahn, we want to show large corporations just how many creative startups our business community has that are able to meet their needs in innovation,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “But beyond that, from this pool of startups, we want to support them in finding the one that will help them advance. This is what is innovative about the initiative, and it will create rewarding connections for startups, large companies, and investors.”

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Jitbase, which suggested an interactive interface that would allow volunteers to submit modifications to the tasks assigned to them, and Hyperbole espace créatif, which suggested using the Mata application to foster idea and knowledge sharing among volunteers via SMS, won the award from GP3R. Netlift, which recently raised $1.3 million for its multimodal car sharing platform, took the award from Ubisoft, while MyCustomizer, which offers an application for collecting client information in a database and establishing a link between the store and the website, took the award from L’Oréal Canada.

Moving forward, the startups are looking to continue to work with enterprises. When it came to pitching to Ubisoft, Netlift said that it took the time to conduct an in-debt local analysis that could capture data not available from government sources, and explained how its solution could work for employees in specific situations like late nights at work and unpredictable events at home.

“We actually were quite honest during the pitch, explaining that we were looking forward to ‘co-designing’ a feature that we had, but needed to be augmented with the help of Ubisoft employees and potential users,” said Marc-Antoine Ducas, CEO of Netlift. “Being a matter expert does not make us know it all, and having the opportunity to actually build a product along with a customer is a luxury. We’re very fortunate.”

The next edition of InnoBahn will be held on July 14 as part of Startupfest.