Edmonton company a finalist in start-up showcase
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.
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.”