Artem Abramov and his co-founder first came up with the idea for their company in early February.
© Mark Brownlee
The founders of MicroMetrics make their pitch at the Startup Garage Wednesday at the University of Ottawa.
About half a year later, they already have a summer’s worth of mentorship from Ottawa business professionals to go along with $20,000 in funding to help their firm.
MicroMetrics, which markets technology designed to make it easier for stores to gather feedback from customers through devices such as mobile tablets, is coming to the end of a three-month program designed to help young companies blossom into experienced adults.
Startup Garage’s pitch competition, held Wednesday, was one of the final events for the most recent edition of the program.
MicroMetrics and seven other companies took to the stage at the University of Ottawa to sell their technology to a panel of judges and a crowd of just under 100 people.
These sorts of experiences make the program invaluable, said Martin Kratky-Katz, the co-founder of MicroMetrics.
“Not only does it provide you with capital and resources – which obviously you need to start a business – but on top of that it provides you with knowledge you need to properly manage the early stages of your company,” he said, minutes after making his pitch at Tuesday’s event.
The two founders of the company – both of whom are recent university students – stood on stage for about five minutes to explain their company before taking questions from the judges.
Their product is designed to ease the difficulty many businesses face in trying to get feedback from customers. It allows them to get a customer to fill out a survey while they wait in line, on an iPad for example, in order to get a discount.
Business owners can then analyze the metrics to make better decisions.
Mr. Kratky-Katz pointed to one of their seven customers as an example. Popeye’s Supplements used the product to determine that it was spending a lot of money on radio ads despite the fact that very few customers found out about the business that way, he said.
Mr. Abramov credited the exposure to Ottawa companies and groups such as Gowlings, the Capital Angel Network and LaBarge Weinstein as being essential to the company’s development.
Having office space at and mentorship from the City of Ottawa’s economic development arm, Invest Ottawa, helped too, he said.
”What we try to do is get the companies started on the right foot so they know where to look for future funding and have the tools in their toolbox that will help them through,” said Catherine Geci, the lead organizer for the Startup Garage program.
MicroMetrics was one of 29 companies that applied to be in this year’s program, according to Ms. Geci, who is also a partnerships officer at the technology transfer and business enterprise office at the University of Ottawa.
The company ended up winning the awards for best pitch delivery and people’s choice. It finished second in the category of best business opportunity, which Celverum Research won.
But Mr. Abramov said that recognition was less important to his company than the experience he got from the three-month program.”When it comes to startups, having that additional resource in terms of capital and in terms of assistance and mentorship is extremely important,” he said.
The other companies that took part in this year’s Startup Garage are: Art & Science Journal, Celverum Research, Cervelle Guitars, Computing for Construction, Kintelligent Systems, Tasty Moments and White River Innovations.