AirMatrix startup awarded $100,000
Alexandra McCalla of AirMatrix, based in Toronto, Ontario, was awarded $100,000 at the Communitech Fierce Founders Bootcamp Pitch Competition. McCalla took top place after pitching her startup that creates an airspace mapping system for autonomous drones in high-density urban areas, which can be used by a range of commercial businesses for delivery and other services.
Fierce Founders is a Communitech program backed by Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Deloitte, Google, the City of Kitchener and the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada that helps women tech entrepreneurs accelerate their companies. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs with the goal of making the Waterloo Region a worldwide innovation leader. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies, as the organization explains, from startups to scale-ups to large global players.
The two-part Fierce Founders bootcamp hosted female founders with early-stage startups at Communitech to develop business skills for their businesses. Over two weeks, 24 women took part in the Winter 2019 Fierce Founders Bootcamp in Kitchener, Ontario, where they learned about running a startup and business fundamentals including customer validation, HR and leadership, creating financials, building sales funnels and marketing. They were also coached on their pitch presentations.
Other founders who pitched during the event include:
Susan Chen, TasteGuru Artificial Intelligence Inc., Toronto, ON
Kristal Lewis, Senior Care Connect, Toronto, ON
Stephanie Florio, Swob Inc., Vaughn, ON
Rebecca Swabey, Maple Precision Inc., Kitchener, ON
Marianne Bell, Toxon Technologies Inc., Waterloo, ON
The pitches were judged by a panel of industry experts, including Jennifer Smith, senior VP, technology and operations at Cineplex Digital Media; Talia Abramowitz, COO, Artificial Intelligence Practice at Deloitte; Aaron Bast, Investment Director at MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund; Steven Woods, senior director of engineering at Google; and Michelle Cooper, managing director, growth and transition capital at BDC.
Gabrielle Masone of Coloursmith Labs Inc., Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Shawn Hewat of Wavy, Toronto, Ontario, were named runners-up and awarded spots in the Communitech Fierce Founders Accelerator.
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