Excitement is building at Edmonton-based Testfire Labs as the company's flagship product will be front and centre at a high-profile start-up showcase in March 2019.

The product is Hendrix.ai, a virtual meeting assistant that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to boost the productivity of meetings. Hendrix.ai transcribes meeting summaries and action items, audits meeting history, and organizes it all in a searchable dashboard.

The showcase is SXSW Pitch, the marquee event of South by Southwest Conference & Festivals.  Leading start-ups from around the world showcase their innovations to a live audience, panel of expert judges, and venture capitalists. More than 800 companies applied to present at SXSW Pitch 2019; Testfire Labs is one of two Canadian companies among 50 finalists.

"The success rate for funding as a result of SXSW Pitch is an amazing 70 per cent over the last five years so this is a big deal for us," says Testfire CEO Dave Damer. "Funding for a pre-revenue company like ours is very difficult to get in Canada."

Damer says that support from Alberta Innovates has played a key role in helping Testfire develop Hendrix.ai to the point where it is currently in trials with a number of international enterprise companies.

Update (March 14)

Testfire Labs struck a partnership with Live Tiles, a NYC-based Global SAS company that is defining the intelligent workplace after meeting with them at SXSW. See Live Tiles announcement on their LinkedIn profile.

Funding reality check

For Dave Damer at Testfire Labs, the challenge of securing private funding for his tech start-up is very real. "We have two Silicon Valley competitors, each of them has funding that ranges from US$12-20 million. Altogether, I've been able to raise about $1.3 million. We have an order of magnitude, at least, less funding than our international competitors. Access to capital in Canada, while it's better than it was, is still a huge challenge. That's why support from organizations like Alberta Innovates makes a difference."