Three successful entrepreneurs took to the stage to see if they had what it took to grow angel wings—so to speak. Les Blackwell of MetricAid, Mike Campigotto of SafeSight, and Jeremy Bridge-Cook of Rna Diagnostics Inc., give a 15-minute pitch of their companies to potential investors with Northern Ontario Angels (NOA) for the North Bay PITCH 2017 event at the Grande last night.
"Angel investing plays an essential role in economic development, NOA chair Chris Winrow said. “With its partners, NOA is recognized by the National Angel Capital Organization as one of the top angel investment groups in Canada. Whether you are an active or potential Angel, an aspiring entrepreneur or simply interested in strengthening our business community.”
Each showcased young and innovative companies from the region, across mining and health sectors, the three companies delved into what made them worthy of investment from the local Angels.
Blackwell highlighted some of the massive progress MetricAid recently, especially the jump into the British market. Based in downtown North Bay, the business uses an algorithm to match predicted volumes of patients arriving in the emergency department with the performance of the department and individual physicians.
Second on the docket of pitches, was recently-created drone company, SafeSight, which specializes in scouting mines with drones, cultivating data, and saving both time and money for mining companies, who would normally need to send people to complete these missions.
Campigotto said they aren’t the first to delve into this market, but most drone technology is built for above-ground missions, while SafeSight is developing ways to scout below ground, where much of the technologies aren’t as sophisticated.
Lastly was Rna Diagnostics, founded in Sudbury in 2010, which is a cancer diagnostics company building a platform of prognostic biomarker tools to help improve the lives of patients undergoing chemotherapy.
However, after an impressive flight demonstration with two of their drones and a strong pitch regarding the evolution and needs of the mining sector, SafeSight managed to win the attention and funds of the NOA of PITCH 2017.
“We’re raising visibility and awareness of the opportunity that we’re creating for economic growth in North Bay and our company, the funds that we receive are essentially going to be used to expand our technology portfolio and software to create a best in class with the latest tech drone capabilities,” Campigotto said. “One of the mile markers for the industry right now is that it’s being aggressive with change especially into digital so ten years ago it would be typical that it would move slowly, but now a lot of the industry leaders have 5 year plans to full automation.”
Campigotto said events like PITCH as well as organizations like the NOA are critical to fuel the economic engine in the north.
“We have a lot of great talent and innovative ideas here in the community and often it’s difficult to find the venue and the voice to garner investment and find mentorship on the operational level,” he said. “Events like this are a key contact point and raise the innovation in the community.”
To date, the NOA says it has closed 194 deals with more than $77 million invested, creating more than 1,350 full- and 956 part-time positions.
After an advisory committee was assembled in 2003 to advise FedNor on issues regarding Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Northern Ontario and their access to capital funding, the NOA was created in 2005 to address key issues for SMEs by acting as a catalyst to establish angel investment groups and creating a gateway through which to facilitate connections between entrepreneurs and investors.