We were surprised and delighted to find an impressive collection of companies with innovative world-class consumer electronics and apps in the province of Alberta, Canada. This Cool Companies chapter is a sample of 26 of these technology innovators. We have sorted them into 4 categories: video games, music technology, media & more, and the very new technology called augmented reality.
VIDEO GAMES: BioWare (p.91) is Alberta’s largest video game company with critically-acclaimed, award-winning role-playing videogame titles that include the recent Mass Effect and Dragon Age games. The huge success of BioWare put Canada’s province of Alberta on the map in the video game world. Alberta is now home to many more video game companies in both Calgary and Edmonton. One of these is Overhaul Games (p.26, 90, 91) which has remade and improved BioWare’s first award-winning video game Balder’s Gate. Alberta also has a healthy group of companies using video game technology for consumer training (p.23, 24), corporate training (p.42-44) and industrial training (p.65, 66, 71).
MUSIC TECHOLOGY: We have profiled 7 companies based in Alberta with innovative music technology products whose customers include well-known international music artists. For example, when Grammy Award winning Skrillex, or non-stop touring artist Excision, hit the stage (pictured above) their entire sound system has been custom designed, manufactured and installed by PK Sound (p.17).
MEDIA & MORE: One example of consumer electronics and apps in Alberta is the wearable keyboard called the Peregrine Glove (p.23, pictured right), which enables computer commands by hand motions.
AUGMENTED REALITY: The most famous example of augmented reality so far is the heads-up display sunglasses worn by the Terminator, which gives the user a virtual layer of digital information over their physical, real world environment. A more recent example are the augmented reality glasses introduced to the world by Google in 2012. We found 4 companies in Alberta who are leading the world with their augmented reality technology. One of these is POSH View (p.19) which has several interactive multi-touch screens and is pioneering a computer interface like in the movie Minority Report.
Listen to music with your friends, no matter where they are
budtobud is a FREE app that lets you see what your friends are playing, listen to their music and chat with them, all in real-time as if you were in the same room. You can also rate each other’s music, save or buy your favorite songs, review listening histories and share your experience on Facebook and Twitter. Introduced in April 2012 for Mac personal computers, budtobud is expanding to all platforms and all music service providers.
Company: bubtobud Inc., www.budtobud.com, 10 employees, founded 2009, Early Growth Stage, 90% exports worldwide, app available worldwide, investor/revenue funded, Suite 112, 1215 – 13th Street SE, Calgary, Alberta T2G 3J4, 403.605.5984
Product: App for real-time music listening with friends
Growth Strategies: Seeks platform and music service partners around the world
Contact: Patrick Rousseau, Chief Visionary Officer & Co-Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403.605.5984 Patrick was a Co-Founder of the Successful Exit Blackline GPS (p.91).
Innovative portable stereo speakers
The first striking feature about these first Dillinger speakers is that you can see inside them and see how they work because their casing is clear. Like many high end portable speakers, Dillinger speakers are enabled with the SKAA hifi audio standard (Eleven Engineering p.16), which means you can control the audio that plays on the speakers directly and wireless from your iPod—there is no dock. Dillinger speakers are sold as a pair, with a left and right speaker, as true stereo should be, but is rarely done anymore. So, the sound you experience is true stereo. The speakers can play for 10+ hours at regular listening volume, which is longer than an iPod will last. Then, you plug them into the wall to recharge them. This first pair of Dillinger speakers retails for $1,995.
Company: Dillinger Labs, a division of Freq Industries Inc., www.dillingerlabs.com, www.freqindustries.com, 2 employees, founded 2009, Early Revenue Stage, first product launched late 2012, exports started late 2012, new product releases 2013, investor/revenue funded, PO Box 76132, 468 Southgate Shopping Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, T6H 4MO, 780.953.6473
Product: Portable wireless high fidelity true stereo speakers
Growth Strategies: Seek retailers and distributors around the world
Contact:Samantha Sobota, CEO & Founder, email@example.com, 780.953.6473
Creators of the SKAA global wireless hifi audio standard for portable sources
Wouldn’t it be nice to hear music from your iPod on your home speakers without the need of a dock? Using a new technology called SKAA developed by Eleven Engineering, you are free to play music, movies and games wirelessly from your Apple device, laptop or Android phone with up to 4 speakers. It’s fast enough to accurately sync the audio to movies and video games. SKAA technology is the new wireless audio standard for speakers, like Bluetooth is for mobile devices, except SKAA is just plug and play. It does not require setup, pairing, hotspots or software. SKAA is currently used by high quality audio system manufacturers around the world including Nuforce, Monitor Audio and Audiofly. SKAA works with Apple products, computers and laptops. Android transmitters available 2013.
Company: Eleven Engineering Inc., www.elevenengineering.com,
21 employees, founded 1992, Market Leader, 99% exports worldwide, new products for 2013, revenue funded, Suite 900, 10150 – 100 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0P6, 780.425.6511
Product: Industry-redefining wireless audio standards
Growth Strategies: Seek to work with manufacturers or brands of speakers, headphones and car stereos
Contact:John Sobota, CEO & Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780.425.6511 x222
Leader in wireless media sharing across all your electronics
Even though they look like memory sticks, HSTi’s products are do not store digital content (music, videos, digital pictures, files). Instead, without having to transfer a file, HSTi’s products facilitate the direct wireless transfer of your digital content between your devices such as a computer (PC or Mac), smartphone, TV, stereo,
Blu-ray DVD player, gaming console, digital picture frame or portable tablet. Just plug and play, it does this transfer securely through your WiFi network.
Company: Home Server Technologies Inc. (HSTi), www.hsti.com, 15 employees, founded 2009, Early Growth Stage, 80% exports around the world, new products for 2013, revenue/investor funded, #218, 3016 – 19th Street NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 6Y9, 403.710.2222
Product: Innovative streaming media products
Growth Strategies: Seek partnerships with retailers and to develop custom solutions for industrial applications
Contact: Harry Diamantopoulos, Managing Director & Co-Founder, email@example.com, 403.710.2222
Music connectivity technologies that make it easy to wire, network and control music gear
iConnectivity allows musicians to connect a mobile device, like an iPad, and computers to all their musical gear—equipment (MIDI based), audio components, audio monitors, even lighting equipment (DMX based). Making these connections is as quick and easy as plug and play, and the result is an integrated music system controllable from one common interface on mobile devices or computers. In addition to more control over their gear, environment and music-making ability, musicians can greatly decrease the amount of wiring required for stage rig set-ups using iConnectivity’s products. iConnectMIDI, the company’s first product, is priced at $179 USD.
Company: iConnectivity Inc., www.iconnectivity.com, 8 employees, founded 2010, Early Revenue Startup, 95% exports worldwide, range of innovative products expanding, investor/revenue/grant funded, #21, 1725 – 30 Avenue NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 7P6, 403.457.1122
Product: Unlimited possibilities to create, record, learn and perform music
Growth Strategies: Seek more music gear retailers and distributors worldwide
Contact:Michael Loh, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403.457.1122
A rockstar in innovative concert sound systems
There is innovation and art involved in creating high quality speakers. This is especially true for speakers that need to meet the demands of large concert performances. The sound must be clear, full-bodied and the bass both smooth and skull-crushing. Grammy Award winning Skrillex, and other contemporary music artists Excision and Dub FX believe speakers produced by PK Sound deliver, and they use PK Sound speakers when they tour. PK Sound designs and manufactures its speakers in-house in Calgary. These speakers are made to hang in a line, known as a line array speaker format. PK Sound is currently working on a new innovation to improve this array technique that will improve the sound technician’s ability to adjust the system physically and audibly, in order to produce even better sound. In addition to producing speakers, PK will also work with artists to create a custom multimedia show including creative stage design, lighting and video.
Company: PK Sound Inc., www.pksound.ca, 12 employees, founded 2005, High Growth Stage, 75% exports worldwide, retail product line available 2013, revenue/bootstrap/grant funded, office in San Francisco, Headquarters: 511 – 36 Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta T2G 1W5, 403.452.6004
Product & Services: Innovative concert-quality sound systems and full concert products
Growth Strategies: Seek to work with more concert venues, production houses & touring artists worldwide
Contact:Jeremy Bridge, President & Co-Founder, email@example.com, 403.452.6004
A rockstar in innovativeInnovation leader in improving the quality of voice and music audio in cell phones
To minimize wireless bandwidth, cell phone companies remove tiny pieces of sound in our speech and music when we talk and listen on a cell phone. QSound Lab helps cell phone manufacturers overcome this low quality compressed sound. With its complex algorithm-based software, QSound digitally fills in the missing pieces voice and audio pieces to produce increased richness in the sound from our cell phones. QSound’s technology can also play ringtones, produce a virtual base to music, and make it easier for us to hear in noisy environments with noise reduction technology. The company is also an innovation leader in 3D audio which is placing the source of the music in different points around the listener.
Company: QSound Labs, Inc., www.qsound.com, 30 employees, founded 1986, High Growth Stage, 100% exports worldwide, revenue funded, #102, 2816 – 11th Street NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 7S7, 403.291.2492
Product: Turn low quality voice and music sound in cell phones into higher quality
Growth Strategies: Seek new market opportunities
Contact: David Gallagher, President, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403.291.2492
Pioneer of heads-up display for athletic performance enhancement
Bike training for an Ironman race, co-Founder, Ian Andes, looked down to check his wrist-mounted monitor and hit a pothole that threw him. To solve this problem, he worked with Kip Fyfe, Co-Founder of sports electronics leader Dynastream Innovations (Exit p.92) to produce Sportiiiis (pronounced “sport ize”), which is an audio enabled heads-up technology to help athletics like cyclists, runners and speed skaters keep their hands free and eyes focused ahead. Sportiiiis is a small monitoring device that clips to any pair of glasses. It provides full verbal updates and displays data from ANT+ sensors (on heart rate, pace, cadence or power) using a line of tiny LED lights placed in the athlete’s peripheral vision. For the first time, athletes can get critical performance data without taking their eyes off the road and the competition. In addition to enabling a safer environment, it also helps athletes increase their focus by bringing information to them when they want it, rather than having to remember to look away and get updates from their watch or cycle computer.
Company: 4iiii Innovations Inc., www.4iiii.com, 16 employees, founded 2010, Early Revenue Stage, 90% exports worldwide, product sold online, investor/revenue/grant funded, 228 River Avenue, Cochrane, Alberta T4C 2C1, 403.800.3095, 1.800.218.3095
Product: Heads-up display coaching display, high-connectivity heart monitor
Growth Strategies: Seek investors, equipment manufacturers and co-development partners
Contact:Victoria Brilz, CMO & Co-Founder, email@example.com, 403.800.3095. Victoria was part of the Successful Exit Dynastream/ANT+ Wireless (p.92).
Pioneer in next generation interactive multi-touch technology
POSH is a Canadian manufacturer of interactive, multi-touch technology that can connect with multiple users at the same time and can communicate with smartphones and tablets. For example, in the Calgary BMW Gallery owned by Dilawri Automotive Group, POSH screens allow customers to digitally search new and previously enjoyed vehicles, request sales assistance, digitally build their own vehicles, and move the information onto their smartphone or tablet. In addition to interactive platforms that can support up to 120 users at one time, POSH also makes mirrors with active customizable apps such as twitter feeds, weather and traffic reports, and email access. Like the computer interface in the movie Minority Report, POSH is also developing an “in-the-air” touch screen computer interface to further the development of augmented reality.
Company: POSH View Inc., www.poshview.com, 50 employees, founded 2011, Early Revenue Stage, exporting since late 2012, revenue/investor funded, offices in Vancouver and Toronto, Headquarters: 1812 – 4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2S 1W1403.680.3914, 1.800.775.1170
Products: Interactive, multi-touch technology
Growth Strategies: Seek more clients, partners, distributors and investors
Contact: Kenneth Bond, CEO & Co-Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403.680.3914
World leader creating the magic behind augmented reality devices
The heads-up display sunglasses worn by the Terminator is the most famous example of augmented reality, giving you a virtual layer of digital information over your physical, real world environment. Looking outside for example, your device might tell you the temperature, your location, directions and names of who you see. Preciseley Microtechnology is a pioneer in the design and manufacturing of the tiny mirror component that projects the virtual data onto the retinal of your eye so you can see it. Ultra fast and very accurate, Preciseley’s microcomponent is also used by cell phone manufacturers to project a bigger image of the display onto a surface, so you could see and interact with a virtual keyboard or make a presentation from your cell phone directly onto a wall.
Company: Preciseley Microtechnology Corp. (also p.31),
www.preciseley.com, 5 employees, founded 2006, Early Revenue Stage,
40% exports worldwide, revenue/bootstrap funded, 11421 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2M9, 780.492.4475
Product: Key component for augmented reality devices
Growth Strategies: Seek more equipment designers in gaming, health, laser marking, optical coherence tomography (OCT, p.31) and maskless lithography
Contact: Dr. Tiansheng (Tian) Zhou, President & Founder, email@example.com, 780.902.4137
Canadian leader in augmented reality program development implementation
Sharing the same name as the planet Vulcan of the Star Trek series, the town of Vulcan in Alberta has turned this coincidence into a tourist attraction. A new feature in the town highlights people associated with the Star Trek series. Scope Technologies is a pioneer in augmented reality design, a relatively new technology that Vulcan has adopted that allows a tourist to see digital content come alive on their iPod or android device between them and the point of interest in Vulcan. This augmented reality experience could include an animated mini movie, photos, or other information about the Star Trek star character that the actor played that helps put the point of interest into context. As another example, Scope Technologies is helping machine operators of industrial equipment make repairs in the field by guiding them through the process of fixing it in augmented reality space.
Company: Scope Technologies Inc., www.scopeapp.com, 5 employees, founded 2011, Early Revenue Stage, 75% exports in North America and Europe, revenue funded, 2nd Floor, 9932 – 81 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 1W6, 780.616.6853
Product: Customized augmented reality software
Growth Strategies: Seek more clients around the world.
Contact: David Nedohin, CEO & Co-Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780.616.6853
World leader of fast, low power, low cost software-based GPS for consumer electronics
Baseband Technologies’ breakthrough GPS capabilities is revolutionizing how we can apply GPS technology to consumer electronics. The company’s products include a software-based GPS receiver that can capture a position within 0.002 second and advanced satellite orbit prediction algorithms. Both of these technologies can significantly lower the time to finding a GPS position and therefore reduce battery consumption. Since these technologies are mainly software based, it is very low cost. Baseband’s technology now enables digital cameras to tag photos with geographical data of where the photo was taken. It also enables automated Machine to Machine (M2M) communication such as remote monitoring of machines, children and pets through the use of smart devices. Baseband’s technology also expand the possibilities of GPS applications beyond cameras and M2M to include widespread use in cell phones and many other new applications where standard GPS receivers could not previously be used.
Company: Baseband Technologies Inc., www.basebandtech.com, 6 employees, founded 2010, Early Growth Stage, 100% exports to US, EU and Asia, revenue/investor funded, Suite #120, 3553 – 31 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta T2L 2K7, 403.668.0699
Product: Embedded GPS technologies for consumer electronics
Growth Strategies: Seek more opportunities for technology licensing, new product development, and investors
Contact:Francis Yuen, CEO & Founder, email@example.com, 403.668.0699
What is your social media influence?
Empire Avenue can help you place a number to that as well as help you expand, engage and evaluate your social networks. Empire Avenue is a game where people and businesses have a share price in a virtual social stock market based on their online activity, influence and reach across social media networks such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Empire Avenue. As you play the game, you meet new people and gain insight to their social media activity across the web and an understanding of how to influence it. Empire Avenue can also be used to drive traffic and engagement to your online content and social profiles, and to gain relevant new fans, followers and subscribers. Empire Avenue’s newest service, GamrRank, is the ultimate rank in games. By combining how gamers play, what they say about games, and community based respect, GamrRank shows video gamers how they rank in the world of gaming and can be rewarded for it. GamrRank allows advertisers to reach the 18 to 34 year gaming demographic through rewards, research and advertising.
Company: Empire Avenue Inc., www.empireavenue.com, 7 employees, founded 2009, Early Revenue Stage, 90% exports primarily to US, investor/revenue funded, Suite 339, 14032 – 23rd Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6R 3L6, 780.665.2936
Products: Social media influence game
Growth Strategies: Seek partnerships with businesses who wish to reach digital influencers and engagers, and investors
Contact:Duleepa (Dups) Wijayawardhana, CEO & Co-Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780.665.2936. The founders and employees are from the Successful Exit BioWare (p.91).
Powerful easy-to-use software for machine to machine (M2M) communication
Don’t let the hobby focus of the website fool you. EZ-Robot has created a software that allows a machine with a micro controller to communicate with another machine (M2M) wirelessly using Bluetooth. For example, if your coffee maker has a micro controller, you could control it with your smartphone. EZ-Robot enables hundreds of machines to be controlled from one computer or smartphone, or hundreds of computers to be controlled by one controller. In addition to this power, EZ-Robot’s graphical interface with drop-down menus makes it very fast and simple to set up the M2M communications. As an example, the company has witnessed robot hobbyist using EZ-Robot complete projects in an afternoon that experts take months to program using competing software. To make setup even faster, EZ-Robot is developing more plug and play products.
Company: EZ-Robot Inc., www.ez-robot.com, 2 employees, founded 2011, Early Revenue Stage, new products coming out continuously, 90% exports worldwide, revenue/bootstrap funded, 4528 Stanley Road SE, Calgary, Alberta, T2S 2P9, 403.828.8217
Product: Powerful and low cost chip to program robots or M2M
Growth Strategies: Seek resellers and partners to embed technology in their products
Contact: Alan Campbell, Business Relations, email@example.com, 403.828.8217
World leader in second screen social TV apps
Neilson Research has found that most people don’t just watch TV anymore. At the same time, they are using a second screen device such as a smartphone or laptop to communicate with their friends about the show or are looking up additional real-time online content about what they are watching. Mobovivo has become a world leader in creating second screen real-time social video apps and content that complement and extend TV shows to create more value for viewers. By providing a framework for the social interaction, fan engagement and gamification, Mobovivo is also giving broadcaster more control in guiding this interaction, demonstrating to advertisers and content makers that real customer engagement is taking place, and figuring out ways to have it generate additional revenue for broadcasters and advertisers.
Company: Mobovivo Inc., www.mobovivo.com, 16 employees, founded 2009, Early Revenue Stage, 20% exports to US, UK and Brazil, investor/revenue/grant funded, Suite 1400, 700 – 2nd Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 4V5, 403.668.7039
Product: Second screen social video apps
Growth Strategies: Seek more clients in sports, reality, and news programming
Contact: Trevor Doerksen, CEO & Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 403.608.1923
Canada’s leading home automation technology manufacturer
NavNet designs and manufactures the hardware and software for turnkey home automation systems that can let a person control their home with the touch of a button on their smartphone, even when they are not at home and on the other side of the world. NavNet’s system can control lights, security, thermostat, as well as music, movies, window shades and motorized gates. It can also monitor flood sensors, check if the garage door is closed, and allow control of a home’s CO2 emissions. The NavNet system allows all these devices to be available from a smartphone through one intuitive graphically rich software interface. Its hardware is open architecture hardware that is totally customizable.
Company: NavNet Inc., www.navnetinc.com, 25 employees, founded 2009, High Growth Stage, 15% exports primarily to US, revenue/investor/grants funded, #12, 12204 – 40th Street SE, Calgary, Alberta T2K 4K6, 1.888.628.6380
Product: Plug and play home automation devices
Growth Strategies: Seek more distributors and investors
Contact: Nav Dhunay, President & Founder, email@example.com, 1.888.628.6380
Revolutionary wearable keyboard
The Peregrine Glove gives you an edge. Instead of having to look down to hit keyboard keys, you can transform your hand into a keyboard where commands are fast and accurately triggered with different hand motions. You can customize it to 30 unique shortcut commands you chose. For gamers, it has been shown to increase their player reaction time by nearly 20%. It is more suitable for real-time strategy and massive-multiplayer online games than first-person shooter games. The $150 device is plug and play capable of replacing a standard keyboard. A motion-sensing wireless glove sync via Bluetooth to a number of mobile platforms is available mid 2013.
Company: Iron Will Innovations Canada Inc., www.theperegrine.com, (employee size not available), founded 2005, Early Growth Stage, products sold worldwide, right hand product available 2013, investor/revenue funded, wireless models available 2013, Unit 102, 3901 – 51 Avenue, Lloydminster, Alberta T9V 2Z2, 780.875.2135
Product: Touch and motion sensitive user interface
Growth Strategies: Seek strategic partnerships in gaming, computer graphics/design, 3D modeling software, wearable computers, headsup active display, augmented reality, and stroke rehab
Contact:Brent Baier, CTO & Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780.875.2135
Top education app for learning to read and spell English words
To teach reading words, traditional phonics breaks down words into spelling patterns such as sh and th, and a student sees these letters and has to remember the sounds that they make so they can sound out larger words. However, when Lisa Welburn began teaching phonics to her son, she found a big disconnect. Phonics makes the assumption that the student plans to decode the text (convert the text to sounds) in order to read it. However, spelling requires the reverse process. When a student spells a word, he or she begins with a sound and attempts to encode it to create text. To solve the problem, Lisa invented a reverse phonics approach where the focus is on hearing a sound first and then teaching a student the letter pattern(s) that could make that sound. Using reverse phonics, her son quickly found that he already knew a lot about words and had a more positive experience. Pyxwise products helps students learn to spell with letter by letter audio feedback, have won many awards including 2nd place in the 2011 Best App Ever Awards, and are available on the Apple store for $4.99 with a 50% discount for schools.
Company: Pyxwise Software Inc., www.pyxwise.com, 2 employees, founded 2011, Early Revenue Stage, 85% exports primarily in the US, revenue/bootstrapped funded, 1676 Tompkins Wynd, Edmonton, Alberta T6R 2Y4, 587.987.7286
Product: Apps for improving spelling and reading skills
Growth Strategies: Seek new market opportunities and resellers
Contact: Dr. Lisa Welburn and Craig Welburn, Co-Founders, email@example.com, 587.987.7286. Previously Craig worked at the Successful Exit BioWare (p.91).
Helping students understand good financial choices
Money gives you options, but your decisions either give you freedom or make you a slave to debt. Transformana’s first app is designed for high school and university students to learn about the decisions related to living away from home such as budgeting for living expenses, taking on student loans and making down payments on cars. Transformana is working with financial and education institutions to customize the app for their customer base. Combining a video game interface with analytics, Transformana’s platform technology helps people better understand complex problems and enhance critical thinking for better decision making, productivity and creativity. Transformana is working on several new products, including one for corporate productivity.
Company: Transformana Inc., www.transformana.com, 9 employees, founded 2012, Early Revenue Stage, bootstrap funded, new product release 2013, pre-orders and customization started 2012, corporate productivity product available Fall 2013, Unit 87, 4940 – 87 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5W3, 780.432.5779
Product: Video game interfaced apps for improving understanding, productivity and decisions
Growth Strategies: Seek more partnerships with financial and educational institutions, technology partners for corporate productivity
Contact: Debra Greig, Co-Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780.432.5779
Mobile electronic wallet innovation leader is putting an end to traditional wallets
Many new credit cards now have a chip with a pin code password. What’s next? It’s a secure electronic wallet, a device that enables your smartphone to act as your credit card so you can leave your wallet at home. Already being used in many countries, Wireless Dynamics has pioneered the mobile payment and electronic wallet. Wireless Dynamics’ iCarte is an electronic wallet that enables your smartphone to quickly and securely make transactions using a store’s point of sale system. It can also carry multiple credit cards, makes managing receipts easy and paperless through electronic tracking and frees you from ever having to physically carry another loyalty club card again. Interestingly, Wireless Dynamics’ iCarte can also be used as a smartkey for secure access to doors, and to read electronic tags.
Company: Wireless Dynamics Inc., www.wdi.ca, 12 employees, founded 2003, Early Growth Stage, 90% exports to US, Asia, EU and Australia, revenue/investor funded, #220, 1925 – 18th Avenue NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 7T8, 403.250.1818
Products: Electronic wallet for smartphone
Growth Strategies: Seek partners including distributor, card issuers, technology partners and developers
Contact: Ambrose Tam, CEO & Founder, email@example.com, 403.250.1818. Ambose was a Co-Founder and former President of Calgary’s NovatelWireless (p.94). See the chapter on Successful Exits.
Fun games that entertain
Have you ever seen a butt crack and wish you could just drop something into it? That’s the naughty pleasure fulfilled by Fluik’s entertainment gamePlumber Crack. Fluik Entertainment has fun putting you in the role of a social deviant with its mobile games for Apple and Android smart phones and tablets. Fluik’s most famous game so far isOffice Jerk (photo), with more than 25 million downloads. Allowing players to throw office supplies (and more) at a virtual jerk in the office, Office Jerk climbed to the #1 Top Free App spot in iTunes in more than 50 countries in July of 2011. Fluik’s games have a freemium business model: you can download them for free and then buy upgrades and game enhancers within the game. WithOffice Jerk, the players could download the game with a few free objects to throw, and then buy more items to get more hilarious reactions from the jerk. In 2012, Fluik released Streaker: an endless runner game that starts the player jumping out of a second-story window, hitting the ground and running to avoid obstacles while being chased by a big tough guy.
Company: Fluik Entertainment Inc., www.fluik.com, 25 employees, founded 2009, High Growth Stage, revenue funded, 90% exports worldwide, Suite 300, 10256 – 112 Street, Edmonton Alberta T5K 1M4, 780.481.3323
Products: Funny mobile app games
Growth Strategies: Seek investors and partnerships
Contact:Victor Rubba, President & Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780.481.3323
Successful video game developer launched 3 new freemium games for mobile and Facebook
Sally’s Salon, Sally’s Spa and Sally’s Studio (Gym) are part of Games Cafe’s flagship video game franchise. In Sally’s Spa, players help Sally perform spa services, customize equipment and hire employees in a virtual spa where a variety of personalities that includes blushing brides, demanding fashionistas and calm couples feel relaxed and refreshed. Played equally by men and women, it has been a bestselling #1 app worldwide in the Action/Strategy category in the Apple store. In Fall 2012, Games Cafe launched 3 new franchises. These are freemium games where players can play for free and extra content is monetized. Since players can play together with their friends, these new games extend Games Cafe further into social gaming.
Company: Games Cafe Inc., www.gamescafe.com, 25 employees, founded 2006, High Growth Stage, 95% exports worldwide, revenue funded, #102, 885 – 42nd Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta T2G 1Y8, 403.258.3367
Products: Mobile social casual games
Growth Strategies: Seek more highly skilled individuals to join its development team for future products and platforms
Contact: Steve Shatford, President, CEO & Founder, visit
www.gamescafe.com for email contact request, 403.258.3367 x30
Innovation leader in massively multiplayer online role-playing games
Neojac makes freemium massively multiplayer online (MMO) videogames. Smoo Online is its successful kids franchise where kids compete with each other in classic mini games that have a modern twist like Capture the Flag or arcade games. Your Smoo (pictured) is your character. Neojac also has a role playing game titled Islands Of War with combat skill features found in other popular fantasy multiplayer role playing games (MMORPGs), but with the innovative capability of allowing players to play the game at their own pace and completely immerse themselves into the storyline by creating near real time quests that add onto the story and can be played by other players as well. These unique game features are powered by Neojac’s innovative MMO game technology platform, Atavism Online, that can be licensed by other video game developers for a wide variety of MMOs that support thousands of players on the same server.
Company: Neojac Entertainment Inc., www.smooonline.com / www.islandsofwar.com, 6 employees, founded 2007, Early Growth Stage, 70% exports worldwide, revenue/investor funded, Suite 5, 4404 – 12 Street NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 6K9, 403.277.2752
Products: Massively multiplayer online videogames and developer software
Growth Strategies: Seek collaborators, marketing partners and investors
Contact: Jacques Rossouw, CEO & Founder, email@example.com, 403.277.2752
Players love Overhaul’s remake and improvements to the legendary Baldur’s Gate videogame
Overhaul’s newest game is a role-playing adventure called Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. The original Balder’s Gate was BioWare’s (p.91) first massively successful game that entertained millions of fans around the world and won multiple Game of the Yearawards. Baldur’s Gate defined the standard for Dungeons & Dragon computer role playing games (RPG), which is a game in which players assume roles of the characters in a story and play through an epic adventure. Instead of racing to move from one conversation or encounter to the next, Baldur’s Gate is a huge experience where the player must unravel a series of mysteries on their adventure. The enhanced edition of Balder’s Gate contains an improved version of the original game plus 400 improvements that include new characters, places and story lines. Overhaul founder, Trent Oster, was the 3D Art Director at BioWare when the game was originally developed and released in 1998, and after directed BioWare’s Best RPG of the Year Neverwinter Nights. Overhaul Games also runs the PC game distribution store Beamdog (www.beamdog.com).
Company: Overhaul Games Inc., www.overhaulgames.com, 15 employees, founded 2009, Early Revenue Stage, 95% exports worldwide, revenue funded/bootstrapped, #200, 10143 – 82 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 1Z5, 780.760.1625
Products: Role playing videogames, digital distribution service
Growth Strategies: Seek more players, international partners and investors
Contact:Trent Oster, President & Co-Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780.760.1625. Trent was part of the Successful Exit BioWare (p.91). See more art p.90-91.
Innovation leader in iPhone and iPad consumer and enterprise mobile apps
Robots & Pencils’ remake of Spy vs Spy the wordless black and white MAD Magazine comic strip and successful 1980s videogame, was the #1 downloaded game on the iTunes App Store for both iPhone and iPad in 11 countries. In addition to making its own games, Robots & Pencils establishes partnerships to create games and apps that compliment TV and media. Examples of this include the TV science fiction series, Primeval, involving dinosaurs and time travel. Robots & Pencils also makes enterprise apps for corporations around the world such as the airline WestJet. For WestJet, Robots & Pencils developed an iPad game with the reward of a travel voucher that was played at WestJet booths at festivals around Canada.
Company: Robots & Pencils Inc., www.robotsandpencils.com, 80 employees in Canada and US, founded 2008, High Growth Stage, 20% exports to US and EU, revenue funded, Suite 1100, 940 – 6th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 3T1, 403.453.0053
Products & Services: iPhone and iPad applications for business and media
Growth Strategies: Seek more clients
Contact: Michael Sikorsky, CEO & Founder, email@example.com, 1.888.740.0967. Michael was co-Founder of the Successful ExitServidium (p.99).
Successful developer of innovative video games for casual entertainment
Defend Your Castle was XGen Studios’ first console release. Reaching the #1 spot on Nintendo’s WiiWare service, it garnered the praise “five bucks worth of awesome” from Wired Magazine. With a castle made of construction paper and enemies made of crayon and buttons who attempt to knock it down, the player uses their Wii Remote to pick up the enemies and fling them away or drop them from a height great enough to finish the job. XGen is also known for their award winning game Motherload, in which the player is a miner on Mars who mines and sells minerals in a quest to acquire untold wealth as they encounter hidden dangers and surprises along the way. Leveraging its large fanbase of over 50 million plays of Motherload, XGen has extended this franchise with Super Motherload, an updated and expanded game with new features and content available on multiple platforms, including PC, Mac and console.
Company: XGen Studios Inc., www.xgenstudios.com, 10 employees, founded 2003, Early Growth Stage, 85% exports worldwide, Super Motherload game available early 2013, revenue funded, #385, 11215 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0L5, 1.888.808.9436
Products: Innovative and fun casual entertainment games
Growth Strategies: Seek new markets and channel distributors
Contact: Skye Boyes, President & Founder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1.888.808.9436 x101