East Coast Startups – The Real Deal

Posted in: Startups, Storytelling

On: November 20, 2013

Last night, six startups in the Propel ICT Launch36 program made their pitches to investors and business leaders in Saint John during the Innov8 Awards. After the intensive 12-week Launch36 program, each pitch was strong.

It was a powerful display of entrepreneurial ability. More importantly, it was proof that the startup culture emerging in the East Coast is the real deal. The Launch36 companies are more than clever ideas, ambition and a PowerPoint deck. These companies are real, with many already having a growing customer base and revenue stream. Together, their revenue is at the $2 million mark.

The Launch36 startups spanned from hardcore tech geekery, like Eigen and TopLog, that spring from a world where entrepreneurs and advanced academics are increasingly intersecting, to smart B2C plays like FoodTender.com and GetGifted, to niche service providers like ModestTree and Elandas.

Each of these companies is based in the East Coast, but their real markets are elsewhere. That’s important. Our regional market is far too small. Our ambitions must be grander.

The growing pool of East Coast startups now has an ecosystem to support it. East Valley Venture’s Gerry Pond, the region’s startup godfather, has set an ambitious goal for the East Coast: create a billion dollar startup. He puts his money where his mouth is, investing money and, more importantly, time mentoring entrepreneurs.

Lots of other people are following Gerry Pond’s lead. Government agencies like NBIF are making a big difference. So too are the many private sector supporters of Propel ICT. That kind of meaningful collaboration is why our startup community is flourishing.

It’s not an overnight process. This year is Propel’s tenth anniversary. But the trending is positive and, with the entrepreneurs and the ideas we saw last night, the future looks bright.

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