Vancouver-based The Next Big Thing showcased the 12 new entrepreneur-led ventures that made it into the program’s third cohort on Wednesday at an event at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, with about 200 people in attendance. The eight-month accelerator program, founded by Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes and serial entrepreneur Meredith Powell, provides young entrepreneurs with mentorship, networking opportunities, and practical learning to help their companies gain traction.
“From social media platforms to fashion products, the level of creativity and ingenuity in this year’s cohort is remarkable,” said Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber, managing director of TNBT. The chosen startups are focusing on everything from smart cutlery that can detect allergens to smart tech for precise garden cultivation, and much more.
The selected ventures and founders included:
- AVA – Chase Ando and Valerie Song
- Dau Academy – Kavita Dau
- Coastline Market – Robert Kirstiuk and Joseph Lee
- Culitech – Madeleine Liu and Angela Wang
- Mohini – Sonia Sidhu
- ElleBox – Jessica Bilmer, Taran Ghatora and Bunny Ghatora
- Internuncio – Kevin Ho, Bijan Mawji and Nolan Tait
- Juniper – Joel Wegner and Ryan Wong
- Kanekta – Priyanka Vasudev, Fran Aquila and Sheen Sagalongos
- Spocket – Saba Mohebpour
- The Good Stuff – Tonner Jackson, Graeme Taylor and Michael Steele
- Tiiip – Bryan Chiang
Holmes talked up the importance of instilling entrepreneurial ambition into people at a younger age while reflecting on his own experience.
Long before gaining traction at Hootsuite, Holmes started his first business of running a paintball field at the age of 16, before moving on to a pizza restaurant. A pivot into the tech sector came to an abrupt end when the dotcom firm that hired him folded. Undeterred, he went on to form an agency. “From the time people first start showing off their mutant skills of being an entrepreneur, it may take 20 years,” Holmes said. “That’s why we should make it happen faster.”
Pointing to examples of growing companies from the program’s first two cohorts, Holmes explained that some of them might have the potential to grow to the size of Hootsuite, creating jobs and giving back to their community.
Feature photo credit: Britney Gill Photography