On October 10 (tomorrow), the Burroughes Building and the C100, a non-profit organization devoted to helping build Canada’s next billion dollar tech company, will host AccelerateTO. Now in its third year, AccelerateTO brings more than 60 of Toronto’s most promising entrepreneurs and pairs them with some of Canada’s technology business elite for an evening of pitching, roundtable discussions, and relationship building. In the past, the event has helped cast the spotlight on some of Toronto’s most promising local startups and their products. This year will continue to build on the success of previous years, and you’re going to want to look out for our coverage of the whole thing later this week. In the meantime, here’s a preview of some of the companies attending the event that we think will be quick stars.
With a name charmingly reminiscent of tech site Engadget, Engagio promises to solve the digital overload created by the sites we use to lead our digital lives. The startup’s product is brilliant in its simplicity and execution: Engagio offers a unified inbox for all of its user’s social networks, blogs, community sites, content sites, and Q&A sites. So, for example, I can tie my WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, and Disqus accounts all to my Engagio account, and then use the company’s unified inbox to monitor and respond to whatever conversations I’m engaged in currently. Best of all, my Gmail account is returned to its original function: for reading and answering important emails. Now, if the company could only think of a way to make the countless PR emails I get more manageable…
Uken Games is likely one of the more successful and established startups set to participate in AccelerateTO. The company creates multi-platform games for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Facebook. In terms of concept, the closest analogy to Uken is San Francisco based Zynga, a company that in 2011 generated $1.16 billon in revenue, both companies create play-for-free games that generate revenue through a series of in-game micro-transactions. For instance, in Uken’s game “Mighty Monsters,” a Pokémon-like game, players capture and train cute furry creatures to battle with against other players. Should they choose, players can invest real money to improve their creatures, and thus their chances at winning, creating a game that many would describe as “pay-to-win.” And while it might not seem like it, there’s a large audience for this type of game.
ShopLocket promises to make “selling anything online as easy as embedding a Youtube video.” Unlike other ecommerce platforms, however, ShopLocket doesn’t create another digital storefront for users to sell their goods through. Instead, users create customized widgets that they can embed into their Facebook profile or Twitter stream. In addition, the company does not charge any up-front fees, and they provide several other helpful services like personalized analytics.
Igor Bonifacic is a writer working for the Toronto Standard. You can follow him on twitter at @igorbonifacic.