Start-Ups Snapshot

Our regular feature on new ventures launched by QSB alumni returns. We continue to receive submissions about the new ventures launched by both QSB grads and current students. Three are showcased in the following pages and, along with many other new venture stories, are also available online at qsb.ca/magazine/startups.
By: 
Shelley Pleiter
Issue: 

Perry Doody & Lasse Silegren, both EMBA’10
Partners, 2by2 Strategies Ltd.
2by2.ca

Our company, 2by2 Strategies, is the creator of CompTrak, an end-to-end compensation-management software that empowers companies of all sizes to develop, process, analyze and report on a suite of customized compensation plans specifically designed for their organization.

Our “aha moment”
We met in 2008 at the start of our Queen’s Executive MBA studies and were fortunate to have been part of the great EMBA Team Markham 2010. The focus on teamwork within the program made us both realize that a high-functioning team will always outperform a group of individuals. Although we may not have been aware of it at the time, we had our “aha moment” while working on an international consulting-project assignment in Hong Kong. That’s when we realized we could probably achieve something special working together!

What business problem does your company solve?
We support companies by enabling the administration of numerous fixed and variable compensation plans as part of a single solution. This includes the management of a variety of incentive award programs, ranging from short-term bonus and commission plans to more sophisticated mid-term and long-term incentive plans. Our core services include the design, development and implementation of compensation plans, program management, software development, communications material production, analytics and reporting. We have also participated in numerous strategic reviews and consulting engagements for a variety of companies across multiple industries.

We have a highly skilled team of compensation consultants, business analysts and software developers who work closely with our clients, which include Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets and Royal Bank of Canada Investor and Treasury Services.

Scope
16 employees, based in Aurora, Ont; annual revenues in excess of $2 million.

Tim Wootton, AMBA’13
CEO, Rover Parking
roverparking.com

My company, Rover Parking, is to parking what Airbnb is to rental lodgings. Rover provides parking that’s easy to find, inexpensive and cashless. People with a parking space to spare can share it on Rover and make a few extra dollars. People looking for a spot can use their mobile phone to locate and pay for one close by, at costs significantly lower than those charged by public and commercial lots.

What business problem does your company solve?
Rover is about more than just parking. It’s also about communities working together to drive change. Parking is a big part of every community, and by making it more user-friendly, affordable and tied to a good cause, everyone benefits.

If you have an unused parking space, why not let someone park there? It sits empty while people circle the block, frustrated in their search for a spot. Studies have shown that 30% of traffic congestion in urban areas is a direct result of people trying to find places to park, a task that averages more than 15 minutes. That creates unnecessary carbon emissions and wastes fuel. The Rover app changes that by allowing people to use their mobile phones to find, book and pay for parking in a fraction of the time.

At Rover, we believe in giving back to the communities that support us. Rover will contribute a portion of every parking transaction to various community charities. Every time a vehicle is parked using Rover, a cause in that community is moved forward a little further.

Scope
This Toronto-based start-up with five employees is set to launch locally in late June, 2015, and plans to expand globally in quick succession.

Jason Rioux, AMBA’05
Sea Container Cabin
seacontainercabin.com

My company, Sea Container Cabin, constructs homes by repurposing shipping containers to offer a housing solution that is unique, sustainable, cost-effective, and less dependent on the electricity grid.

What business problem does your company solve?
Recycled shipping containers offer many advantages as building blocks for construction, but they defy traditional methods and building codes, creating significant barriers to adoption by the market. I wanted to break down the barriers for this design and construction method in Ontario, and develop the specialty know-how to propel the industry forward.

Something we tried that didn’t work was using a ceramic coating in an attempt to insulate a steel shipping container for use as housing in Canada’s cold climate. There was a myth in the industry that one coat of this expensive ceramic-based paint would do the job. We went to great lengths to validate this insulation method for a cold climate like Canada’s. We visited a manufacturer in Texas, confirmed technical specifications with product engineers and subsequently conducted our own bench-scale tests, all of which confirmed that ceramic-coating insulation methods only work in extremely hot temperatures and not in Canada’s colder ambient conditions. Thankfully we completed this investigation before proceeding with our final designs and project construction.

The most fun I’ve had so far was when I introduced the concept, design and ultimate construction of our prototype to municipal building officials and local contractors. It was rewarding to see their initial curiosity turn to excitement at being part of something unique and sustainable. Building Project Octopod, a shipping-container cabin in Bobcaygeon, Ont., that functions off the grid using only solar power, has been an amazing process. The cabin’s large, central, octagonal great room is the hub from which seven recycled sea containers, each with a different function, radiate outwards. Seeing the project in the pages of Cottage Life magazine qsb.ca/seacontainercabin_article, was also pretty exciting.

Read more about the Octopod and take a tour with Jason.

 

Do you have a new venture you’d like to profile?

Visit qsb.ca/magazine/newventures to submit your story. It will appear online and be considered for inclusion in a future print edition of the magazine.