Oren Langburt and Joel Bratin
KARAVN - www.karavn.com
Business Profile: Karavn is a travel planning platform that connects users to the tools, information and products they need to seamlessly plan a group trip. Features include invites, chats, polls, discovery, itineraries, budget planning, expense tracking, vendor profiles and more.
Their story: Karavn started after Oren was responsible for planning multiple bachelor parties for his group of friends. After weeks of back and forth, an excessively long and confusing email thread and an excel spreadsheet that looked like he was running a small business; he set out to build something that would simplify the process.
PME Quote: PME was a great first step in validating our business and business model. The resources they provided was instrumental in achieving market buy in and getting us to that next step.
Protip for entrepreneurs: Find people who believe in the dream and go for it.
Les Affûtés - www.les-affutes.ca
Business Profile: Les Affûtés is a place for those who want to make things, but do not necessarily know how to do it. We provide workshops where people can learn, design or create anything from a table to a dress. We also provide tools to help people repair appliances or cellphones.
Their story: The idea comes from three different sources:
PME Quote: PME’s support allows les Affûtés to start progress its development, by being able to communicate and to sell materials and tools onsite. The mentoring PME provides is invaluable in such a project where we need to reach many different people.
Protip for entrepreneurs: Do not think that passion is enough. You have to grind and persevere day after day before anything happens!
Mako - https://www.makofintech.com/
Business Profile: Mako makes it easy for companies to raise money by issuing and managing shares and bonds. As a fully-digital transfer agency solution, we make backoffice work and compliance easy, helping bring companies and their investors closer together.
Their story: Raphael is a second-time PME Funded entrepreneur, having previously started CoPower, which provides green investments for socially-responsible Canadians. At CoPower, Raphael saw the need for a modern technology platform for finance, leading him to launch Mako.
PME Quote: Just applying to the PME Fund is so valuable because of the amazing feedback and validation. Being selected a second time is even better!
Protip for entrepreneurs: Write a business plan.
Slush - www.slushb.com
Business Profile: SLUSH designs and manufactures handbags in Montreal. Fun, colourful designs being at the forefront of SLUSH, we try not to compromise on function or quality. All of the handbags are handmade with so much love in our Montreal studio.
Their story: SLUSH was founded in 2015 by Sarah Barchichat. With an obsession for vintage, Sarah was determined to work in fashion in some sort of capacity. Finding the current fashion world a little too pretentious, a little too exclusive, and a little too dismissive, she decided to start her own line where her vintage inspirations can live on in the best way possible.
PME Quote: The PME fund has allowed me to have the cashflow to hire a communications manager and to carry out operations as the business grows. So grateful to have the board believe in me!
Protip for entrepreneurs: Be resourceful!
Joe Flanders, Andrew Rose, Carl Lemieux
Presence Meditation - www.presencemeditation.ca
Business Profile: Presence is Montreal’s first drop-in meditation studio. We offer guided and silent meditation classes seven days a week for people who want to learn how to meditate, or just a space and some guidance to maintain an existing practice.
Their story: A longtime meditator, Andrew was working in tech and found himself wishing he had a space to go to better support his practice. With two young kids at home he found it challenging to make the time and space to meditate. He approached his old friend Joe Flanders who had successfully built a psychology clinic that relies heavily on meditation and mindfulness techniques as a form of therapy and a means to improve mental wellbeing. Joe jumped at the opportunity to collaborate on the aligned vision, and Presence was born.
PME Quote: PME’s support came at a crucial time for us, allowing us to gain momentum around the brand. We are now more confident to overcome growth challenges and scale the business.
Aaron and Ryan Hutman
Portions - www.portions.ca
Business Profile: Portions manufactures and distributes healthy, delicious fresh foods sold through their innovative network of vending machines. Our goal is to create greater access to these foods so people can lead both healthier and happier lives.
Their story: Long time foodie Aaron Hutman has been dedicated to providing delicious foods to hungry customers. Ryan Hutman, a personal trainer, recognized the need for nutritious meals for his fitness- minded clients. Together they are turning the vending industry upside down through their new development Portions: healthy eating uncompromised by taste, accessibility and value.
PME Quote: Through PME’s support we have been able to acquire new machines allowing our company to expand to new locations and create key partnerships. PME mentors have offered ongoing support from creating key marketing strategies to acquiring strategic location sites for expansion.
Dan Aronson, Matt Aronson, Alex Aronson & Liz Ostroff
MKRLAB - www.mkrlab.ca
Business Profile: MKRLAB is a makerspace and tool library located in the heart of NDG. We are a membership-based neighbourhood workshop, whose mission is to build a community of makers and doers. We encourage members of all ages to discover and explore their creative passions using raw materials, tools, technology, repurposed items, and imagination. We are a hub for innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial endeavours. We provide facilitation, learning resources, and an educational space for our members to work and access tools. Here, members have access to: equipment for 3D printing, printmaking, electronics, culinary sciences, and more. Central to our ethos is the workshops and programming we offer for adults, kids and families.
Their story: MKRLAB was inspired by our CEO, Dan Aronson, and his experience as a prototyper, designer and tinkerer. Our family has always had a passion for the DIY. This naturally led to Dan’s involvement with the emerging Maker Movement, which began in the mid 2000s in New York City. When an ideal location in NDG became available, our family rallied behind the concept of a membership-based community workshop, and combined our talents and professional experience to turn this dream into a reality while fulfilling a need in our community.
PME Quote: Applying for funding from the PME Fund was our first big stress-test. Pitching our start-up forced us to articulate and communicate our vision in a way that would achieve market buy-in. The PME Fund provided us the seed capital needed to develop our brand concept and start buying equipment.