Five New Companies Announced for Costarter
by Scott A. Sumner
The Costarter Accelerator Program introduced its third cohort of five innovative companies at the hub:north incubator space in Waverley Library.
The Costarter Accelerator Program is a three month intensive and mentorship-driven program in which the five companies receive a small investment of $15,000, office space, advisory assistance and access to funders. Over the three month period, each company will focus on moving their idea or early concept towards a viable and revenue generating business using a lean start up methodology.
The Costarter Program participant companies are:
Redox North – On the cutting edge of battery technology, Redox North is looking to create the next big thing in battery technology.
Kumbaya Kombucha – Following the emerging beverage trends in North America is Kumbaya Kombucha. Their locally grown kombucha tea is set to hit retailers by storm and give a new and exciting tea drinking experience.
Rent Panda – This company wants to revolutionize the living space rental industry by providing an eye-pleasing and user-friendly experience to those listing or looking to rent.
ASM Innovations – Wants to change the way people look at greenhouses. Their innovative greenhouse designs integrate cutting edge technology that stands to revolutionize how food is grown in the North.
NWO Solutions – This year’s winners of DisruptIT weekend are building an exciting customer service application that creates a better help desk experience for a telecom company’s customers, while reducing the telecom company’s costs.
The Costarter Accelerator Program is a collaboration between the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, the Thunder Bay CEDC and Entrepreneur Centre, Thunder Bay Ventures, and Thunder Bay Public Library.
Richard Togman, Rent Panda
“ Our company is really unique both in terms of the technology we use and the services we provide. For the rental market you are maybe using Kiijii or Facebook which aren’t built or designed for rental housing, basically just a blank sheet for you to use.”
“ At Rent Panda we have something that is designed for renters and landlords. We talked to hundreds of tenants and dozens of landlords and have a really to use interface, with up to 12 criteria you can choose
your properties by. The site has the latest technologies using cameras with professional photography and 360 video tours for an immersive experience for you by phone or laptop. It gives people an experience they couldn’t get before.”
Richard Togman recently finished PHD at the UBC and then his partner got a job in Thunder Bay so decided to join her.
“ When we came here I looked for a rental and it wasn’t easy so I came up with this idea to do it better and be something I would want to use.”
“ We can take categories like price, bedrooms, pet friendly and neighbourhood. You home really can determine your quality of life in some way so you need to find a good one.”
“ Co-starter has been a good experience helping us with our business plan, mentors, the real estate industry introductions and the influx of capital and marketing material.”
“Tenants use the service for free and landlords get professional photography. If you want a 360 video service that will cost more. We are communicating with tenants to determine how the landlord has been
to work with to build a review system.”
“ Right now we are dedicated to Thunder Bay but could expand to other cities as well. Many other cities could benefit from this service.”
Kyle Rodrigues, Chief Technology Officer and Bradley Momberg CEO at Redox North,
They are both Lakehead University graduating electrical engineering students who transferred from Southern Ontario after completing technology programs there. They are both 26 years old.
“ We were able to start a company here with access to the expensive tools we needed.”
Why become entrepreneurs?
“We both come from large company backgrounds and turned down job offers when we graduate. We had a school project to complete and decided to do something that will make a difference in society.”
“ Since then it is what wakes me up in the morning, it has been our passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else. It is the chance to build something that will be useful for society.”
“We make super capacitors for energy storage. It is cost effective for us to do it now by bringing on a new method of manufacturing. We want to apply it to specific markets like off grid applications or basically
where battery technology doesn’t work well say because it’s too cold or discharges constantly. We want these capacitors at every wind or solar plant so we can provide energy to the grid when the wind isn’t blowing or sun shining. It store like a battery but not electro chemically. Our technology is different process than a battery. You apply voltage to our super capacitors and now you have a charge.”