Ottawa’s CrowdWave gets fans into the action

Last month Techvibes was invited by the Trade Commissioner Service to attend Venture NORTH 2011 in New York along with an impressive list of Canadian companies in life sciences, ICT and cleantech.

The goal of Venture NORTH is to accelerate growth through strategic exposure to opportunities for R&D financing and partnerships in the North East United States.

This is the third of a series of blog posts about the companies that presented in Venture NORTH’s ICT stream.


Thanks to Ottawa company CrowdWave, a break in the game you’re watching doesn’t mean a break in the action.

The company, which produces a proprietary system of cameras, software and servers, allows sporting venues to keep their guests engaged during timeouts and other breaks in play. Scoreboard videos encourage fans to interact by getting up and moving, because all it takes to get involved is waving your arms.

CrowdWave can produce content like competitive games that pit various sections against each other, or polls that can be voted on by fans waving their arms. The content can either be provided by the venue or team, or even by sponsors — a potential way to drive premium sponsorship dollars.

CrowdWave is the brainchild of Bent 360: Media Lab and its founder, advertising and entertainment veteran Mark Edwards. After founding Bent 360 in 2007, Edwards developed CrowdWave in 2009 to bring his experience with games, television cartoons and advertising to arena audiences.

Although the year is young, 2011 is already shaping up to be a big one for CrowdWave. In January, The New York Knicks and New York Rangers, tenants of Madison Square Gardens, began using the CrowdWave at their games; earlier in February, Philips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers became clients of CrowdWave as well. These teams join the Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards among the list of CrowdWave’s clientele. CrowdWave announced last month that the next step for the company is to expand to outdoor sports teams, such as those of the NFL and MLB.

Financing for CrowdWave last came in 2009. In July and August of that year, CrowdWave received two rounds of funding from NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). The first was “Innovation Funding,” to conduct focus group testing and live, in-event trials of the system. The second was “Market Funding,” to develop an appropriate marketing strategy and marketing materials.