University of Ottawa’s MakerLaunch startup program gets a $1.5 million boost


The University of Ottawa’s faculty of engineering has received a $1.5 million CAD investment for its startup program MakerLaunch.

MakerLaunch also unveiled the program’s first cohort of companies that will benefit from the funding. The $1.5 million is being provided by eight of the programs founding partners, including University of Ottawa alumni and one corporate partner, local intellectual property law firm Brion Raffoul.

The funding was provided by eight founding partners, including University of Ottawa alumni.

MakerLaunch looks to provide University of Ottawa students and recent alumni entrepreneurs with the support to fast track commercialization of technologies and launch new tech startups. The program is designed to propel startups to success by surrounding them with the team, facilities, and tools needed to launch and scale.

The startups that are part of the faculty’s first cohort are Noibu, which offers software services for ecommerce websites, travel buddy matching service Wandure, and Gamestrat, which allows sports coaches and teams to see sideline instant replays.

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Noibu, founded March 2017, initially began by creating 3D virtual tours for high-end brick-and-mortar retail stores. It then moved into creating a service that can detect bugs and critical errors for e-commerce websites. In 2018, the company won the Capital Angel Network’s pitch award, a $10,000 investment from the organization’s angel investors.

Wandure’s app allows travellers to book unique activities created by locals, or to find travel buddies for their next trip. The company was founded in July 2017, and has won Startup Ottawa, Startup Garage, and the University of Ottawa’s Launching Entrepreneurs.

GameStrat concentrates on real-time sports analytics with its instant replay software. The company originally began with football analytics, but now offers its service for basketball and volleyball. The company says its solution allows sports teams to record the action, share that video across multiple devices, and replay footage in seconds.

MakerLaunch’s nine-month program offers entrepreneurs a seed grant of $50,000 earned over milestones, as well as access to a pool of talent, mentors and coaches. The program also offers business support, design and prototyping facilities, and connections with investors and industry partners.

The list of founders behind the $1.5 million investment includes:

  • Jean-Michel Lemieux, CTO at Shopify
  • Agil Agil, a serial entrepreneur and business investor
  • Yves Tremblay, entrepreneur and investor
  • Richard L’Abbé, entrepreneur and investor
  • Rahul Singh, executive mobility director at Ford
  • Sunny Madra, vice president at Ford X Incubator
  • Simon Nehme, entrepreneur and angel investor

Image courtesy MakerLaunch

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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