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article imageRover comes out on top at culmination of the INFINITI Lab program

By Jack Derricourt     Jul 20, 2017 in Business
Eight Toronto startups pitched at the culmination of INFINITI's Lab accelerator program. After a rigorous four-week program, the innovators were ready to show why their products represent the best in IoT and smart city technology.
For startup companies very early on in their development, INFINTI’s Lab program offers an incredible opportunity. Most companies involved in the Toronto accelerator were less than a year old, and the tools being offered through Lab allow them to better position themselves for future success.
The eight startups picked by INFINITI were paired with a mentor in Toronto and one from the company's larger accelerator program in Hong Kong. The experts worked with the Toronto companies to further develop each startup’s business strategy, grow their network and increase the impact of their outreach to partners and customers.
“We’re condensing months, if not years, of networking, mentorship and coaching into a very intensive period,” said Dane Fisher, INFINITI’s General Manager of Business Transformation and Brand. “It’s hard work for them, but I think it will really give them an unfair advantage for taking their business to the next level.”
Multiplicity, OMERS and the City of Toronto also worked to get the startups in touch with investors and venture capitalists. Early exposure to these sorts of partners is crucial to startups looking to grow.
Each startup got the chance to articulate their fresh idea, the technology behind it, their team, the potential market and what they were looking for from investors and VCs. The products being pitched had a wide range of applications. Ubiqweus Inc. is developing small, versatile IoT devices primarily for monitoring the elderly. While Pull Technologies is releasing an app to allow users to conveniently exchange contact information, directed towards community building on college and university campuses.
RoadLaunch was one of the eight startups pitching for a spot in INFINITI s Hong Kong accelerator pro...
RoadLaunch was one of the eight startups pitching for a spot in INFINITI's Hong Kong accelerator program.
The big winner of the evening was parking app Rover. The company has created the largest peer-to-peer parking network in North America and could apply the technology to their vehicles in the very near future.
Toronto’s startups obviously impressed, as runner up NXCAR, a product that uses IoT technology to add value to used vehicles, was also selected to compete for another spot in the intensive global program in Hong Kong.
Rover founder Grant Brigden said that the key thing the company took away from the Lab process was the ability to speak to a higher level. “We underestimated ourselves,” said Brigden, noting that INFINITI’s experts helped them gain traction, expand their product and learn to better advertise the work being done.
Rover will move on to work on the next stage of the Lab program in Hong Kong to further develop their company and network with potential partners and investors.
Prior to the main event, Mayor John Tory spoke to the pressing need for cities like Toronto to embrace IoT and smart city technology in order to meet the needs of citizens and keep up with global trends.
During Lab s panel discussion  Mayor John Tory and INFINITI s Dane Fisher spoke of the need for citi...
During Lab's panel discussion, Mayor John Tory and INFINITI's Dane Fisher spoke of the need for cities to embrace startup culture.
© Jack Derricourt
“We want to become the home to disruptors,” said Tory. “You can’t turn back the hands of time.”
The Mayor said that while Toronto has begun to make a buzz on the global stage — enough to warrant a program like INFINITI Lab choosing the city as its first North American location — the key is to keep the city well-positioned.
Tory spoke about how the city is adopting an entrepreneurial attitude when it comes to issues like traffic lights in order to better grow the culture surrounding IoT and smart city development. INFINITI’s Fisher agreed that if governments support the innovations made by startups, and private or corporate groups back it as well, cities can drive change forward.
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