Inaugural Canadian Event Showcases ‘Best in SaaS’

On September 17 L-SPARK held its first-ever Canadian SaaS Showcase at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The event was an opportunity for L-SPARK’s first-ever cohorts to unveil the transformations they have undergone to a crowd made up of investors and Ottawa’s vast entrepreneurial and tech communities.

Aydin Mirzaee, co-founder of Fluidware (which was sold to SurveyMonkey in 2014) served as the evening’s MC. He stressed that Ottawa is ripe for entrepreneurial opportunities stating, “Now is the time if any to start a company.”

Before the companies took to the stage, L-SPARK’s Managing Director Leo Lax lauded each of the companies for the major strides they took during their time at L-SPARK (disclosure: I work for L-SPARK).

The showcase dispelled any notions that the enterprise software industry is homogenous or static. The eight startups in total (six in the Incubator and two in the Accelerator) each presented uniquely different products and demonstrated how they’re collectively creating disruption across several industries.

First up was Anthony Mar, founder of Cliniconex, a patient reminder and survey software that integrates with EMR solutions. Cliniconex serves a network of over 1,000 physicians, and in the Incubator, secured a number of partnerships with key EMR vendors. Mar points out that there is a huge potential in their patient experience survey feature, which can be used to collect important data for health care funders and providers.

CEO of Punchtime, Chris Desjardins, discussed the company’s time-tracking software application for businesses with remote employees. Desjardins recounted the reason why the company was founded. COO, Yves Eggleston, couldn’t find a comprehensive time-tracking solution to use in his contracting business. He approached Desjardins with the task of building a solution from scratch. They transitioned out of a beta phase in the Incubator, and are steadily gaining well-known contractors as customers.

InvataCloud hit a major milestone while in the program: they became the first company to join the Microsoft BizSpark Plus Program, enabling them to leverage $120,000 in Azure cloud credits. The company offers Adobe Connect-managed hosting as well as integration with popular Learning Management Systems (LMS). CTO Brad Craig noted strong numbers – $41k MRR – in addition to a strong client base of universities in both Canada and the US.

WebStage rolled out a cloud-based service that delivers personalized website content. Founder Chris Corman lamented that “websites show one version of content – like a billboard.” His tool allows marketers to keep web content fresh and seamlessly launch effective discount campaigns – without seeking help from a third party or a technical team.

ZINation facilitates the outbound merchandising of goods for e-commerce storefronts. Founder David Ker illustrated how difficult it is for online storefronts to merchandise a huge number of SKUs. The ZINation tool extracts data on an online store, such as Shopify, and turns it into a complete catalog, or a “zine”, instantly. While in the program they were able to launch their second platform integration on the e-Bay owned e-commerce site Magento.

Mydoma Studio is a customizable eDesign portal that streamlines the workflow of interior designers. Founder Sarah Daniele created the product based on her own experiences as a designer, as well as her peers in the industry. After formally commercializing their product in the Incubator, they are growing their client base to include designers who star on HGTV. 

Renewity RMA underwent a major rebrand while in the Accelerator. The tool automates returns management for a customer base of over 50 manufacturers including Instantel, Bridgewave and Panasonic Industrial Devices. VP of Business Development Jim Fagan says the product decreases turnaround times for repairs and calibrations by two-thirds, the most important metric when it comes to returns management.

Steve Cody, founder of The Better Software Company, announced that the company closed an over-subscribed funding round of over $750k while in the Accelerator program. The fully-integrated application enables independent operators to unify all aspects of their small business – invoicing, accounting and more.

Check out the inaugural L-SPARK cohort here.