Sunday, November 6, 2016

Entrepreneurs are Cool. So is Launch Party and Startup Edmonton.

I am a public servant who has a secure job and I work best when I have a defined task. Despite that, or maybe because of that, I've always been obsessed with entrepreneurs and innovation. Once Startup Edmonton hit town, working alongside the Edmonton Economic Development Incorporation, tons of super fun entrepreneurial events have hit Etown. One of these is Launch Party, which takes place during Startup Week (which was Oct 19-23 this year). I was lucky that Chad and I managed to attend this event for the second year, and it was even bigger and better than last time. It was held high up in the Epcor Tower, with amazing views of City Hall and downtown Edmonton:

Launch Party describes itself as "a party designed to celebrate and showcase rockstar entrepreneurs in our community." All of the entrepreneurs launching their businesses get to have a space where they demo their products or ideas, and they also get a few minutes to present to the entire crowd and explain their business innovation. Launch Party alumni include: MoverGranifyYardstickLoginRadiusPoppy BarleyJobberMailout Interactive, and Showbie.

This year there were seven local companies that launched their products, and all of them fill a much-needed niche. For instance, I had already read about Taproot Edmonton, but it was cool to hear about it first-hand. It's a new way to do journalism, where paying members can actually suggest the stories they want to read about. The old model of journalism appears to be collapsing, especially when you consider the massive layoffs at the Journal and elsewhere this year. I think it's brilliant local entrepreneurs are trying to innovate in this realm. 

Some of the more fun and interactive businesses involved games and virtual reality experiences. RunGunJumpGun was a super simple but tricky game that I was able to pick up in only minutes. I could see myself playing this on my cell on the bus! 

vrCAVE was my fave new business though, as it was the first time I got to experience virtual reality!!! They created a Hospital of Horror for Halloween, and attendees were able to play a few minutes for free. It was so cool! Two people play at once and can interact with each other. I actually felt like I was in a different world, and I could move chairs and interact with objects. I can't wait to see what else they do with this technology!

Other great launches included TradePros, Run-WithIT, FilmReel by Fava, and Dealcloser. You can read about them all using the recap link from Launch Party

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