Hundreds of people leaned forward in their chairs in awe as 6 amazing companies pitched their hearts out at our 3rd annual SAAS NORTH PitchFest.
Benji, MarketMuse, Metavrse, Homewise, Medstack, and Shapeshift 3D competed for the chance to win $130,000 in cash and in-kind prizes sponsored by Amazon Web Services, Simple Story and Stratford Intellectual Properties.
Theses prizes include:
- $10,000 cash prize provided by Amazon Web Services
- Up to $100,000 in cloud credits provided by Amazon Web Services
- Full-service virtual IP manager (VIPM™) valued at $10,000 provided by Stratford Intellectual Properties
- Custom explainer video package valued at $10,000 provided by Simple Story
These incredible companies had the opportunity to present to our esteemed panel of expert judges including: Eleonore Jarry-Ferron, Investor from Brightspark Ventures, Patrick Lor, Managing Director at Panache Ventures and Snita Balsara, VC at MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.
As the evening approached the audience virtually gathered in anticipation.
“Here’s the format,” said Patrick White, Managing Director for L-SPARK and the official PitchFest host. “Each company is going to have 3 minutes to pitch. They can do whatever they want, juggle, dance, or ideally tell us about their company solution and the problem they’re solving. Then our judges will have 1 minute to provide any kind of feedback, thoughts, or comments. At the end of each day, the judges are to pick one winner and then have them compete in the final for a head-to-head battle.”
The first pitch of that evening came from Mohammed Asaduallah, Founder and CEO of Benji.
Fun fact: Momhammed actually won the 2019 PitchFest!
Benji is a company focused on helping Canadian freelancers keep more of their money by finding tax write-offs automatically.
“Tax season is a painful experience for most independent contractors,” he explained. “With all of this frustration all of these contractors end up leaving money on the table. We’ve surveyed over 220 independent contractors and learned that 70 per cent don’t know which of their expenses are tax deductible. Almost two-thirds are unclear on how to file their taxes as a freelancer. Clearly there’s a gap in the market and we’re here to help.”
Asaduallah explained that Benji allows users to create their tax profile, connect their bank account and get results in seconds.
“On average, our users find $9,387.53 in tax savings per year.” he said. “Benji enables independent contractors to build a better relationship with money by taking the guess-work out of tax write-offs, it costs less than a bookkeeper, and offers more insight than a spreadsheet.”
According to Asaduallah and his team, as more and more companies shift to independent contractors Benji will contribute to the growth of the market.
After an incredible presentation by Asaduallah, next up was Aki Balogh, Co-Founder and CEO at MarketMuse.
MarketMuse uses AI to accelerate content planning, creation and optimization.
“Essentially the way the system works is we have this thing called a knowledge graph system for any given topic that you’re looking to write about,” he explained. “We go to the web and download tens of thousands of articles on that topic, distill it down to its essence and give you an outline that shows you exactly how to write to cover that topic comprehensively.”
Balogh said that customers who used MarketMuse had seen 2X to 6X more traffic within the first 6 months of using it.
Jonathan Borduas, Founder and CEO at Shapeshift 3D, was the last to present that evening.
Shapeshift 3D is a software company that automates, accelerates the 3D customization process for high performing sports, medical, and protective equipment.
“Shapeshift 3D is the end of pain, discomfort and injuries all caused by the lack of proper fit.” he explained.
According to Borduas, lack of proper fit has led to 3 million football concussions, $600 million of orthotics wasted and $30 billion dollars of personal protective equipment.
“Products and services are adjusted to fit our tastes and preferences, then why not for physical bodies?” he asked. “Imagine a future where you can buy a helmet and click on the custom button, take a 3D scan with your phone and receive your custom fitted helmet in the mail as quickly as you would with a standard size.”
At the end of the day the judges came to a decision based on 3 factors that were presented during the pitch:
- Why do customers care?
- Do investors care?
- What makes you the group to really execute on it?
After careful consideration, it was concluded that MarketMuse took the crown for round 1.
Now it was time to find their competitor.
PitchFest Round 2 took place the following afternoon.
The first competitor of that afternoon was Jesse Abrams, Co-Founder and CEO of Homewise.
Built for the modern consumer, Homewise takes the guesswork out of the mortgage process with a simple online application that uses human language, helpful content and access to their tech-powered professionals.
“Buying a home is the most exciting time in someone’s life, but getting a mortgage sucks,” he said. “It’s inconvenient, inefficient, confusing and it’s really biased. Homewise is simplifying and tailoring the mortgage process with automation and predictive technology to save clients time, confusion and money.”
Abrams explained that Homewise’s goal is to move from the classic model – that he and his team feel is disjointed to the consumer – and become the platform solution that lives in the middle.
“Homewise is not just focused on mortgages, but other home buying solutions such as insurance, real estate and moving solutions.” he stated.
Balaji Gopalan, Co-Founder and CEO of MedStack, pulled up his slides and prepared to show off his revolutionary product.
MedStack specifically addresses, through a series of secure cloud tools, the biggest challenges faced by healthcare app developers: data integration and privacy compliance.
“Imagine if it was very easy to go through the healthcare system, if it was a commonplace for those patients suffering from chronic conditions to maintain and manage their conditions at home,” he stated. “Imagine it was an everyday experience for you to talk to someone in the healthcare system virtually, online, whenever you need to. Imagine the power of AI applied to finding cures to common diseases.”
Gopalan explained that by building an operating system for digital health, they are covering all areas of healthcare using SaaS.
The final pitch of the day was from Alan Smithson, CEO of Metavrse.
MetaVRse is a universal 3D/XR creation tool and editor for marketing, commerce, training and education.
“It’s all web-based and allows you to create complex 3D scenes,” he said.
Smithson’s presentation was unlike a regular powerpoint slide show, instead he had done it completely within his software.
Smithson had created a pyramid shape and with the click of a button changed the colour.
“It’s reflecting real time off of the environment,” he explained as he added reflections onto a pyramid shape. “What that allows you to do is create complex scenarios very simply with drag and drop.”
At the end of the day the judges had to make the difficult decision on which competitor would join MarketMuse in the finals.
After much deliberation, it was decided that MedStack would compete in the epic finale.
PitchFest 2020 Winner
In the monumental finale, MedStack and MarketMuse had one minute to pitch, giving the audience the opportunity to vote to help us decide this year’s PitchFest winner!
We are happy to announce that MedStack has won this year’s PitchFest and is taking home $130,000 in cash + in-kind prizes thanks to Amazon Web Services (AWS), SimpleStory, and Stratford Intellectual Property.
We wanted to thank the audience and all of the amazing participants who pitched their hearts out at this year’s event.
If you enjoyed SAAS NORTH, join us at our next event dedicated to tech M&A! Click here: https://techexit.io/