The NextMEDIA Accelerator

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RICK MACDONNELL

BANFF, Alta. — It’s a pretty inspiring experience to be in the room with some of this country’s most forward-thinking entrepreneurs. Held during the Banff World Media Festival, the NextMEDIA Accelerator brought together six of Canada’s most innovative startup companies to present their products to a room of eager investors and technology connoisseurs. Each was given six minutes to pitch their product to the room, after which the audience voted (via their phones) to crown the NextMEDIA Accelerator Winner. 

The term “Accelerator” could not be more apt. On the one hand, the format forces presenters to drill down to the crux of their ideas, to convey incredibly complex and complicated ideas (ones that have taken years to construct) in less time than it takes to eat a sandwich. But those who succeed could very well have their careers accelerated in a way they never even suspected.

Each product was unique, each was spectacular in its own way. For me, there were three that particularly stood out.

 

Broadcastr

Broadcastr is a social media platform for location-based stories. It enables the recording, indexing, listening, and sharing of audio content via smartphones, tablets, and computers. Just like our own memories, stories are irrevocably bound to specific places. Whether it’s a powerful story of 9/11 or a hilarious anecdote, Broadcastr seeks to amplify and share our voices. 

With Broadcastr, users can record their own audio content and tie it to GPS locations. So if you’re walking down Park Avenue in New York City, you can use Broadcastr to take a virtual walking tour. Want to know interesting oral histories of the area? Curious about celebrity spottings? Are you looking for personal restaurant reviews? 

Broadcastr is essentially a walking tour of the entire world, where each of us can be the guide.

To learn more about Broadcastr, click here.

 Pluggin.it

Presenter Trevor MacDonald (one of the two co-founders of Pluggin.it) walked up to the podium, and within the first fifteen seconds he won the NextMEDIA competition. It wasn’t because of a world-class pitch (which he delivered) or a revolutionary product (which he has), it was the buzz phrase to beat all buzz phrases: “Ultimately, Pluggin.it monetizes social media.”

It’s the holy grail of Web 2.0. Being able to successfully convert hundreds of millions of social interactions to real world dollars is the cheese every industry rat is chasing right now. 

With Pluggin.it, users are given a platform to sell goods and services online, not unlike Kijiji or Craigslist. What’s different about the Pluggin.it platform, though, is its rewards system. 

For example, let’s say that I want to sell a bike for $100. On other sites I am relying on people to search for and find my listing. With Pluggin.it I can offer a reward (whatever price I choose) for people who help me make a sale. So I might give a $10 reward to anyone who “plugs” my listing on Facebook or Twitter, which means they give a digital shout-out to all their friends about the listing (who, in turn, can pass the message on themselves). If one of these “chains” eventually leads to a purchase, the bike is sold, the reward is paid out, and everyone goes away happy.

To learn more about Pluggin.it, click here.

 

 

 

 

 OneSpout

50% of Canadians have used a group buying site (Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.). Two thirds of those have done so in the last six months. There are over 100 different group buying sites in Canada, and 500 more in the United States. How does a person keep track—and take advantage—of such a flooded market?

OneSpout looks to do that by aggregating deal content. Get all your deals from your favourite group buying sites in one convenient spot. OneSpout addresses your online clutter and personalizes—and tailors—your experience based on what you like, where you are, and what you buy.

To learn more about OneSpout, click here.