The Montreal startup emerged as the winner of Fundica’s ninth city stop on the tour. Phazon will receive three-months of office space in San Francisco, round trip airfare to pitch to investors in the Valley, Cloud hosting package from CANARIE & SoftLayer, one year free Quickbooks online from Intuit, and other prizes.
— Fundica (@Fundica) May 13, 2016
— MTL NewTech (@mtlnewtech) May 13, 2016
Fundica CEO Mike Lee said Phazon won because founder Chris Houle “did a great job of putting it all together” in his pitch.
“They really fired on all cylinders, from the product to the team to the traction in the market, they hit everything,” Lee told MTLinTech. “He came on stage with great energy and the pitch was really good from beginning to end.”
Houle, a former professional football player in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, spent about four years in finance after football. Naturally he continued working out on a regular basis, but was frustrated with his choice of earbuds to use during fitness.
Napkin to Shelf’s Afif Ghannoum wrote that Houle may have had a breakthrough when he thought, “how is everything wireless, but earbuds aren’t?”
Soon, Houle’s invention became a reality. It also became a hit on Indiegogo, where it raised US $1.7 million.
Phazon’s completely wireless earbuds are “guaranteed not to fall” out of a person’s ear.
Friday’s event marked the third-last stop during Fundica’s 12-stop Roadshow from Halifax all the way to San Francisco. The 2016 Funding Roadshow was its fourth year.
Montreal previously hosted a stop in this year’s Roadshow on March 29. There, Montreal startup Gradeslam took home the grand prize.
The Roadshow event is divided between the “Roadtalks,” where inspirational speakers and well-known personalities in the local tech scene give give a variety of presentations that are useful for entrepreneurs, and the pitches. Twenty companies in each city compete in the pitch-off to a crowd of funders. After their pitch, the entrepreneurs receive candid feedback on their pitch and business model, the ability to follow-up with funders and discuss funding opportunities, and of course, the chance to win the grand prize.
In 2015, the Fundica team travelled 20,019 km in 25 days, across 11 cities. There were 144 piches, 1147 participants and 124 funders, along with 96 educational and inspirational RoadTalks.
“It’s all about connecting entrepreneurs with funders,” said Lee.
On Friday’s event, he said more funders than usual were in attendance.
“We had a lot of funders – it seemed like we had everyone from Montreal there. I think we had about 20, and we had some good pitches. There’s always the great ones and some that are just ‘okay.’ We’re trying more and more to whittle it down to the best of the best.”
The two dates that remain in this year’s roadshow will be Toronto, on Thursday, and Waterloo, which will take place between June 23 and 27.
For Lee, its all about great entrepreneurs representing their respective cities, especially for the winners who head to San Francisco for three months.