Advolve makes a media splash in Winnipeg’s startup scene

October 9th, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Advolve Media has been selected among 10 regional businesses across Canada in the TELUS and Globe and Mail Small Business Challenge.

This is another feather in Advolve Media’s cap after just yesterday being selected as Top 5 Canadian startup that will be competing at the ‘Olympics for Startups’ in Kansas City, and a week after competing at NACO’s National Angel Summit and narrowly missing the top 5.

“All the recognition and media is really exciting and is definitely valuable towards the growth of our business,” said Bryce North, Advolve’s CEO. “It’s a high level of validation that should open doors to more investors, and hopefully encourage them to open their wallets as well.”

North, who is currently heavily focused on expanding Advolve’s business across Canada, gives some of the credit for his startup stardom to his community supporters.

“It’s organizations like Innovate Manitoba and Futurpreneur that make these opportunities happen,” said North. “We would have been too focused on our business to be searching for opportunities like this, and these organizations not only let us know about the opportunities, they quite literally nudge us into applying and meeting deadlines.”

In this case, the nudging was done by Joelle Foster, regional director of Futurpreneur Canada, a not-for-profit organization focused on helping young entrepreneurs.

“I see the entrepreneurs that come through our programs as part of a family, and I’m very maternal in that sense,” said Foster.  “Bryce needed a few motherly reminders on this one, and as you know, mom is always right.”

A key theme from the last few weeks is the continued rise of Winnipeg’s startup scene, with Advolve Media, Permission Click and Exigence Technologies all being recognized at the national level in various ways.

“One or two years ago, if you asked someone outside of Manitoba whether Winnipeg had a startup community, you likely have been met with blank stares,” said Jan Lederman, president of Innovate Manitoba. “Winnipeg has really made a splash this year and this could just be the beginning.”

Success stories are often a key element to engaging those would-be entrepreneurs and potential startups who are sitting on the fence, are adverse to risk, or are just too busy.

“We proudly share these stories with the community,” said Lederman “I think we are already seeing the affects, with increasing numbers of young people eagerly pursuing entrepreneurship and getting involved.”

REMINDER: Innovate Manitoba’s next opportunity for entrepreneurs is Pitch’Day.  Anyone with a new business idea can enter to compete. Advolve won Best Technology Pitch at Pitch’Day 2012, and several other successful startups have included Pitch’Day as an important step in their journey.

-> Check out an article on this competition and all those recognized in The Globe and Mail.



Get In The Ring Canada Finalist

October 8th, 2014 Posted by Press No Comment yet

Winnipeg Free Press – ONLINE EDITION

Advolve qualifies as a finalist for Get in the Ring Canada

Advolve Media is the latest Winnipeg startup to help confirm that this city has become a hotbed of new company activity.

The makers of custom displays that offers brand advertising through their proprietary Mirage Mirrors has qualified as a finalist for Get in the Ring Canada.

It’s one of five Canadian startups that will head to Kansas City on Nov. 6, 2014 to compete for a chance to pitch at a global competition in the Netherlands with all expenses paid.

Futurpreneur Canada (formerly Canada Youth Business Foundation) is the Canadian sponsor of this program based out of the Netherlands.

Advolve’s partners Bryce North and Kris Luinenburg also recently competed against 15 other startups from across Canada for the title of Canada’s Most Promising Startup and narrowly missed making it to the top five.

That honour was taken by another Manitoba startup, Chris Johnson’s Permission Click, which won the overall competition.

Get in the Ring refers to itself as “the Olympics for Startups.” The event give startups a global podium from which to connect with investors and create a fan base.

Telus interviews Advolve as a Small Business Challenge winner

October 8th, 2014 Posted by Press No Comment yet


10 Regional Small Business Challenge Winners Revealed

by Community Manager ‎10-08-2014 10:03 AM(840 Views)

Interviews and stories by Amber Nasrulla


A new addition to the 2014 Small Business Challenge was the regional winner category. We wanted to recognize more of the amazing businesses that apply for the $100,000 grant. Each year it’s harder and harder for our judges to select just one winner, so we let them also select 10 more small businesses to recognize and award a technology prize pack. We’re so very proud to reveal this year’s 10 regional winners and introduce you to their diverse businesses. We look forward to reading all of the entries that 2015 will bring, and to see the new finalist, semi-finalists, and regional winners that will come out of the competition.

Advolve Media

Nothing makes Bryce North, founder of Winnipeg-based Advolve Media, happier than when he learns people have been sprinting out of the washroom yelling, “Oh my God, come inside, you have to see what I just saw. It’s fantastic!”

What they just saw is one of his interactive advertising mirrors, in the washroom of a restaurant or nightclubs. When you stand in front of it, the mirror transforms and you see digital ads. This modern-day “mirror on the wall” doesn’t tell you who is the fairest of them all, but it will display a cheerful beer commercial, or show you models in luxury suits, or talk about a new restaurant. The mirrors have been custom-made and tested at six venues in Winnipeg.

“People have been taking selfies in front of the mirror and posting them on social media,” says North.

His plan is to expand across Canada. The challenge is securing funding to improve the technology so the mirrors can ‘communicate’ with smartphones. And Advolve needs a larger design team. After just one year in business their revenue was $100,000. North says he’s trying to raise funds locally and will head to Silicon Valley in late October to talk to investors. “This is just beginning,” he says.

Regional Winner for the Small Business Challenge

October 8th, 2014 Posted by Press No Comment yet


Ten small businesses doing it right in Canada

Advolve competes for Canada’s Most Promising Startup

September 30th, 2014 Posted by Press No Comment yet

Advolve Media and Permission Click: Two of Canada’s Most Promising Startups!

Innovate Manitoba


STORY UPDATE!  Permission Click made the top 5 Most Promising Startups and will be pitching for the win tomorrow, Oct. 3, 2014. Stay tuned!

Manitoba-made technology startups, Advolve Media and Permission Click are in Quebec City to compete for the title of Canada’s Most Promising Startup. They were selected among only 15 startups from across Canada to pitch at the National Angel Summit.

“Win or lose, the competition provides these emerging startups with invaluable exposure to many of the country’s top angel investors,” said Jan Lederman, president, Innovate Manitoba. Only five of the 15 startups invited to attend will be shortlisted to pitch to over 200 investors, venture capitalists and industry leaders for the grand prize title.

permission clickPermission Click is a cloud-based application that enables schools to build digital permission slips, which are sent electronically to parents to be approved. Any associated fees can also be collected and returned to the school through their online process.





Advolve is a custom displays company that offers brand advertising through its proprietary Mirage Mirrors that are placed in high-traffic venues, such as restaurants, bars, sports stadiums and airports. They focus on customer engagement and analytics.

Innovate Manitoba submitted the Advolve and Permission Click nominations. Lederman said that while it’s always difficult to choose which startups to nominate, the timing is right for both considering where they are at in terms of innovation and growth.

“Advolve and Permission Click are excellent examples of the work we do to support entrepreneurs and startups. They have scalable business models with fast-growth potential,” said Lederman. “This competition is precisely the type of opportunity they need to help them raise the risk capital that can fully support this growth.”


The nomination was a welcome surprise for both company’s CEO’s.


“We’ve been completely focused on signing up new schools so this opportunity wouldn’t have even been on our radar if it weren’t for Innovate Manitoba,” said Chris Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Permission Click. “We’re just finishing up raising our first round of seed capital investment, but any additional funding we can acquire will help speed up our growth.”

Johnson indicates that Permission Click already has thousands of users and expects to make a major announcement of how the company is accelerating growth into new markets in the coming months. Other co-founders include Kevin Buckner, a chartered accountant, and Scott MacAulay, an entrepreneurship educator at Red River College.


Bryce North, CEO and co-founder of Advolve was also thrilled to receive the nomination. “We’re on the cusp of breaking out into larger markets as well as ramping up our operations and scalability. This opportunity to get in front of qualified investors comes at the right time.”

North views Winnipeg as Advolve’s test market but plans to keep headquarters here. He said, “This is such a great community for innovators and entrepreneurs.” He attributes much of this to the work of Innovate Manitoba. Advolve’s management team includes North and partners Kris Luinenburg, who is also a co-founder and COO, and Dave Noel, CTO.


Both companies are alumni of Innovate Manitoba’s startup programs including Pitch’Day,Launch’Pad – Startup Skills Bootcamp and Venture’Challenge.

Permission Click recently finished second at Innovate Manitoba’s Venture’Challenge, taking home over $20,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

Advolve Media came through Innovate Manitoba’s startup cycle in 2012-2013, winning Best Technology Pitch at Pitch’Day and finishing just outside the money at Venture’Challenge 2013. They also recently took top spot at the Winnipeg stop of Fundica’s Roadshow, which earned North an expense-paid trip to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley this month.

Both CEOs recommend Innovate Manitoba’s programs to other entrepreneurs and startups looking to rapidly grow their businesses.


When asked about their greatest milestones so far, North replies, “Everything that’s happened!” He adds that signing Winnipeg’s Investor’s Group Field as one of Advolve’s first vendors was definitely a high point. Many more are in the cue to support sales objectives.

Johnson shares, “For us the most memorable milestone was the day we started watching permission slips being signed for our first school. The next day we had a handful of emails from the school and parents saying how cool they thought it was!” The accomplishment of securing great first-round investors was also big. “We’ve been able to sign on invested advisors. These are people that are more than financial investors. They are passionate about what we’re doing and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves to help.”

The National Angel Summit is on now until October 3 with the pitch competition taking place on October 2. Watch for updates in our next eNews or check our Twitter feed @InnovateMB.

The Summit and Pitch Competition are hosted by the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) of which Innovate Manitoba is a member.

Visit our YouTube channel to watch the Advolve and Permission Click Pitch’Day videos.

For entrepreneurs looking to make their next step or established businesses looking to launch a new business idea, Innovate Manitoba’s next opportunity is Pitch’Day, which takes place on Nov. 12, 2014 – registration to compete is now open here.


Read Martin Cash’s article in the Winnipeg Free Press




Is Traditional Media Dying?

September 10th, 2014 Posted by Posts No Comment yet

We have all heard that traditional media is dead, on its final lifeline, and that the only way to reach consumers is through the digital, online, and new media marketing. But let’s face it; traditional media isn’t dead nor will it ever die.

So why do we perceive that it’s dying? Perhaps our knowledge and interests are adapting too quickly to the new technology of today’s world. As a consumer, we are susceptible to upwards of 5000 advertisements per day.  PER DAY!  Consequently, we have become much choosier in terms of where we direct our attention.  It’s no wonder our beloved newspaper, radio, TV and billboard ads have become plain and boring.  Perhaps traditional media has not in fact died, but it has just lost its edge. (more…)

4 Ways Sports Prepare You for Startups

September 2nd, 2014 Posted by Posts No Comment yet

As a young lad, well younger than I am now, sports were a huge part of my life. It provided me with valuable life skills, many of which I still practice today. Throughout my athletic career I played everything from rec league to high school sports and eventually earned a position on a post secondary team, which I still consider one of my greatest accomplishments. However, during that time I was never part of a traditionally “successful” team. I had never seen a group of people work so hard and still manage to accomplish so little. Despite our setbacks I couldn’t ask for a greater experience. It taught me responsibility, work ethic and team work. I also learned to find inspiration which wasn’t easy considering our track record. (more…)

Venues: The Mirage Mirror experience

August 29th, 2014 Posted by Posts No Comment yet

Traditional in-venue (out-of-home) advertising is usually not even noticed properly. Of course we all ‘’see’’ the flyer hanging in the bathroom or the digital screen in the corner of the room. But do we really see what’s on it? This is the key question after all, not just for me but also for the advertisers. They spend thousands of dollars on advertising in different locations, with hopes of being noticed. There is still a success rate connected to these traditional methods of advertising, but it is not as effective as it used to be.

However, there is a trend starting nowadays; more and more advertisers are switching to digital. (more…)

2014 Spirit of Winnipeg WINNERS

March 26th, 2014 Posted by Press No Comment yet

2014 Spirit of Winnipeg WINNERS

March 26, 2014

by Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

Congratulations to all Spirit of Winnipeg Award finalists! How are the winners selected? A call for companies to submit applications for their innovative practices is made in the fall. The 18 finalists (more…)

Winnipeg Free Press covers Advolve

March 19th, 2014 Posted by Press No Comment yet

Face Time

March 13, 2014
by MARTIN CASH | Winnipeg Free Press.

When one of the founders of Advolve saw a crude attempt to use a mirror surface to conceal a television monitor, he got the idea to turn that around — making a mirror that could display digital advertising. (more…)