Client Update: Tiko 3D Proves To Be A Game Changer

Tiko 3D, the creators of the most affordable, elegant, and easy to use 3D Printer officially launched their Kickstarter campaign last week. Within three hours, they reached their goal of $100,000. As of right now, the campaign is over $1 million and continues to climb! The company is bringing delta printing technology to the masses in a user-friendly, affordable desktop device called Tiko.


After being selected by Fallon StarterKit to create their crowdfunding campaign, Tiko was officially unveiled at SXSW. The tech community quickly caught on and were eager to get their hands on a Tiko with the early bird deals selling out within a few minutes.

“We’re thrilled with the support that we are getting and we look forward to really disrupting the 3D printing space,” says Matt Gajkowski, Founder and CEO of Tiko 3D. “Our goal is to make 3D printing accessible to anyone who wants to create. With over 5000 backers so far, we feel like we are doing just that.”

Tiko 3D became a Spark Centre client in March 2014. In the beginning stages, Spark worked with the company on legal and manufacturing strategies. In August 2014 they applied to Spark Centre’s Ignite Startup Competition. Tiko 3D were announced as the General Entrepreneur winners of the Ignite Competition and awarded $25,000 to use towards their business. Since that time, Tiko 3D has entered Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator Program which offers significant advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry.


“We are extremely delighted and proud of Tiko 3D for the phenomenal success of their Kickstarter campaign. It’s a great product and supporters won’t be disappointed,” said Dennis Croft, President and CEO of Spark Centre. “Hardworking and driven, with a fun demeanor, the Tiko team is achieving success in a very rapid time. Their story is a great example for all of our clients here at Spark.”

To purchase a Tiko or to learn more about the technology, visit their Kickstarter campaign here.




Client Update: iApotheca on Next Gen Den!


Spark Centre client, iApotheca recently appeared on an episode of CBC’s Next Gen Den, which is Dragons’ Den for an online world. Shorter and made for mobile, Next Gen Den is a launching pad for young entrepreneurs, pitching startups and early-stage businesses to the next generation of Dragons. We talked to Spencer Turbitt, CEO & Co-Founder of iApotheca Healthcare to talk about his experience pitching his pharmacy software solution to the Dragon’s.

Tell us about iApotheca.
iApotheca Healthcare is software for pharmacies and nursing homes. Right now it comes in three different sections of modules. The first is a Compliance Tool which helps reduce the risk pharmacies have in keeping and following all procedures and policies that the different regulatory boards in Canada put it place for them. It digitalizes these policies and procedures and it allows managers and owners of the pharmacies to see reports of who has and hasn’t confirmed that they have read new policies online. This tool also allows you to share the information across many pharmacy locations. The second is Incident Tracking which allows you to create different categories of incidents such as a delivery or dispensing. The module can track these incidents on a monthly basis or a yearly basis and reduce them over time. It has shown to reduce incidents by approximately 50% through a series of tests. The Incident Tracking module also digitalizes the process of narcotic drug destruction. The third module is iApotheca Workflow Module which monitors things like delivery orders and medication changes for med pouches and blister packs. We also offer an accounting suite for pharmacies which will eliminate the pharmacies having to use a separate interface.

Why did you start iApotheca?
We started iApotheca because we were working on different software solutions for businesses and quickly realized we couldn’t compete with the big guys like Salesforce and NetSuite. We decided to focus on a specific area that we knew. One of our partners and myself both have had family that was in pharmacy so we had a lot of information and background on it. Also, with all of the baby boomers continuing to retire over the next few years, the Government is putting more and more pressure on pharmacies by reducing drug costs which makes the pharmacies work hard for every dollar. They don’t necessarily have the money to fund big software programs like a larger chain would. We wanted to give independent pharmacies the ability to have the same or even better software available to them.

How did you get on Next Gen Den?   
We applied to be on Dragon’s Den a year ago for a different idea and concept that we had. After applying online, we were called to do an interview in front of producers. We pitched to a producer who loved our idea and said he would recommend us for the Dragon’s Den student special and was very confident that we had a great chance of appearing on the show. After that, we unfortunately didn’t hear back. Fast forward to this year and we received a call from the Next Gen Den producers who were going through some old material and thought we would be great for the show as the new dragons were making riskier deals with newer companies.  We told them that the original idea was a previous concept and that we are doing something new now that’s getting traction. After pitching the idea of iApotheca Healthcare, they thought it would be perfect for the show and invited us to film an episode.

Tell me about your experience appearing on Next Gen Den?
When we arrived, they had everyone gather in one room outside of the studio with the other companies who are pitching. Everyone is assigned a producer who is there to keep you informed of what’s going to happen, what to do and what to expect. About 15-20 minutes before your pitch, they take you to hair and make-up. Then from there they take you to film a clip of a few words about the company which ends up being a teaser before your pitch airs. When you walk in, you start speaking right away. A lot of people ask how many takes you have to do your pitch and you only do have one chance. If you make a fool of yourself or make your business look badly, they’re going to use that because its funny and its for television. We were in there for over 20 minutes but they of course edit it down to fit it into the episode. We pitched for about 3 minutes and then a demo of the software and then the dragons ask questions.

Did you get a deal?
You can watch the clip at the following link to see the outcome! (second half of clip)

What happens now? What’s the future for iApotheca?
There’s a due diligence process and we have to negotiate on some things with the Dragon’s. We aren’t sure what direction it’s going to go in the future but the great news is that we have a lot more traction for iApotheca now after appearing on the show. We’re about to go into a number of pharmacies and also have interest from large organizations with a large number of pharmacies who are interested in bringing iApotheca Healthcare on board so I’m looking forward to seeing where we are six months from now.

How do you think Spark Centre has helped you along the way?
The #1 way they have helped was their facilitation of the Ignite Durham competition. They taught us how to pitch and how to get up in front of an audience. We made it to the second round so we were able to do our three minute pitch in front of a larger audience of almost 200 people. One of the most important things was learning about the different areas of a pitch; the revenue, the monetization model, the features, problems, solution, everything was a huge help. Before Ignite, I didn’t have any experience pitching to potential investors and it was a huge help for appearing on Dragon’s Den and other investor pitches that we have done since. Learning that from the Spark Centre made it very easy and in a matter of a couple hours, I had a pitch ready for our appearance on the Den!

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs who want to appear on Next Gen Den or Dragon’s Den?
The #1 advice I would give is know your numbers! If they’re not simple enough for the Dragon’s to understand what your revenue will be or if things don’t add up, they won’t spend the time trying to make them add up. If you don’t lay everything out clearly, they’re not going to be interested. You have to make it make sense!

To learn more about iApotheca Healthcare, you can visit

Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator Program Announces Cohort One


Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre today announced the first cohort of start-ups accepted into their new Thrive Accelerator Program. Six ambitious companies will join Thrive’s four month accelerator program which offers significant advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry. The six companies will also be co-located at The Loft – Spark Centre’s collaborative ecosystem in Durham Region.

“We’re very excited to be working with six incredible startups that are positioned to make a huge impact in 2015.” says Braden Kemp, Director of Client Services at Spark Centre. “Thrive provides a focused environment for bringing rapidly scalable start-ups to market quickly. These entrepreneurs already have the ideas and the passion to succeed, we support them with the resources, advice and operational support required to get there faster.”

Introducing Thrive Cohort One:

Blancride: Blancride is a mobile application that modernizes carpooling. Incorporating GPS and smartphone technology, Blancride matches passengers and drivers to share a ride instantly.

IFTech: Innovators in wearable technology, IFTech is leading the next generation of immersive gaming. Their first product is ARAIG, a high-tech, multi-sensory gaming suit.

National ProStaff: The leading social network for anglers, brands, tournaments, and outfitters. Fishing brands are able to manage, recruit, and highlight all brand ambassadors in one place while consumers are able to make smarter buying decisions and interact with ProStaff.

Seriously Fun Games: Aims to provide access to the incredible power of educational games. The company creates engaging and fun game-based learning experiences to enable educators to deliver their message with impact.

Tiko 3D: Creators of the most affordable, elegant, and easy to use 3D Printer. Tiko 3D is bringing Delta printing technology to the masses in a user-friendly, affordable desktop device.

Zambah: A web and mobile platform dedicated to exposing and promoting independent musicians to wide variety of new fans. Independent artists can share and sell their music directly to listeners through a visually engaging, dynamic platform.

“Cohort One has already moved in to The Loft, and is working closely with Spark Centre Advisors, the Expert Network, and Corporate Partners to rapidly accelerate their path to market,” says Kemp. “We’re having too much fun helping these entrepreneurs build incredible technology right here in Durham.”

To learn more about the Thrive Accelerator Program and Cohort One, visit Tiko Is 2015′s Most Unusual 3D Printer—And It’s Cheap, Too

by Signe Brewster,

The desktop 3D printer space is getting crowded. In just a few years, we’ve gone from “Wow! A 3D printer!” to “How cheap is it?” and “How are you going to convince me to buy it?”

That’s why I was surprised to be, well, surprised by the Tiko, a Canadian 3D printer that will hit Kickstarter next week. The Tiko is a delta printer, which means its body is shaped like a triangle instead of a rectangle. It has a sleek, unibody design. And it will cost $179.

In case you haven’t been playing along at home, that’s peanuts in a market where lots of 3D printers will set you back $400 or more.

I saw the Tiko in action at the SXSW conference, where it was hard at work pumping out blue trinkets. CEO Matt Gajkowski said he designed the printer with mass production in mind, meaning every part can be made on standard equipment. That bodes well for crowdfunding backers, who often have to wait months for delayed 3D printer deliveries. The Tiko is slated to ship this fall.

(Click Here to read the full story)

Client Update: Kai Innovations Inc. named Startup of the Year

Durham Region based Kai Innovations Inc. has won the Air Miles’ Small Business Achievement Award for Start-up of the Year!

Established in 2013, KAI Innovations is a full service Electronic Medical Record (EMR) provider that provides smaller clinics an end to end solution to convert from paper to electronic charts. The service includes infrastructure design and delivery, including cabling of clinics, hardware sales, software sales, support and maintenance. The offering is unique to the market and is regarded as the goal standard of support in the industry.

The team at Kai Innovations is a perfect mix of technology experts and experienced medical industry workers which allows them to not only deliver a top quality product, but also to understand the medical reasons behind each request to maximize efficiency for the physician

Click Here to read more about Kai Innovations Inc being named the Start-up of the Year.

Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre Announces Partnership with Brock Youth Centre

Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Brock Youth Centre. This partnership will be focus on encouraging youth entrepreneurship in Durham Region. Both organizations will work together on cooperative workshops and entrepreneur sessions geared towards high school and post-secondary students. Spark Centre will also leverage Brock Youth Centre’s presence in North Durham for appointments, consultations and client activities.

“This partnership brings together two organizations who are focused on entrepreneurship as a potential career path.” said Dennis Croft, President and CEO of Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre.

“The Brock Youth Centre is excited to formalize our partnership with Spark Centre and work together to enhance youth entrepreneurship opportunities across Durham Region. Through collaboration and partnerships in the sector, our organization is now stronger and more impactful than we have ever been in the last 14 years and we look forward to many more.” added Jordan Starr, Chair – Board of Directors at Brock Youth Centre

Spark Centre and Brock Youth Centre will collaboratively participate in programs, and their strategic design, that enhances youth entrepreneurship in Durham Region.

About Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre: Spark Centre is one of seventeen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. For more information on Spark Centre, please visit

About Brock Youth Centre: The Brock Youth Centre is a charitable organization that provides opportunities for youth in the community to aspire, grow and achieve their goals in life. They currently run the BOOST youth entrepreneurship program that takes youth under 30 to assist with their start-up businesses and connect them with other organizations and mentors in the community to turn their passion into employment. For more information on Brock Youth Centre, please visit


Durham Region Launches New Digital Technology Portal


Spark Commercialization & Innovation Centre is pleased to have partnered with The Regional Municipality of Durham, Planning and Economic Development Department, to launch the Durham Innovation and Technology Portal. This integrated online resource is designed to promote Durham Region’s digital technology sector, with a focus on attracting international investors.

“With the digital technology sector evolving at a rapid pace, it’s imperative for Durham Region to remain innovative and provide leading-edge tools for potential investors,” said Kathy Weiss, Director of Economic Development and Tourism. “The portal is a valuable resource that will support local technology companies and also act as an investment attraction tool—encouraging economic growth throughout the region.”

“The technology industry is alive and flourishing in Durham, and I am excited we now have a dedicated site to share our story with residents and business in Durham, as well as globally!” said Dennis Croft, President & CEO, Spark Commercialization & Innovation Centre.

Spark Centre will continue to keep the portal up-to-date with information about upcoming events, job postings, research and development at post-secondary institutions, local support networks, investment opportunities, and the latest news related to technology and innovation in Durham Region.

It will also be used as part of Durham Region’s overall Foreign Investment Attraction Plan, which aims to respond to potential foreign and domestic investors and generate new leads. In fact, the portal project was made possible by a joint-funding initiative from the Region of Durham and Invest Canada-Community Initiatives (ICCI), which provides financial support to communities for their foreign direct investment programs and resources. This funding enables Durham Region to promote its diverse employment base and attract, retain and expand direct investments from foreign markets.

To access the Durham Innovation and Technology Portal, visit

Client Update: National ProStaff

by Dan Miguel, CEO 

nps banner (“NPS”) is a social media website that connects anglers with passionate fishing brand experts. Brands are able to manage, recruit, and highlight all of their brand ambassadors in one place, while consumers gain a great resource to learn about fishing spots, techniques, what to use, and make smarter buying decisions. Over the past 3 years NPS has grown to become the premier fishing website and App for anglers all across Canada and the US.

Since winning the Ignite competition late last year, we’ve been moving full steam ahead with our US expansion plan. The impact of that win has been very significant as our clients have never been so happy to work with us and the prize money we’ve spent is already generating a return on investment. To date we’ve invested half the prize money in US tradeshows, sponsoring Brent Ehrler the best bass fisherman in North America, and social media Ad campaigns.

Spark Centre recently gave us the grand tour of The Loft, where our company will be relocating with the Spark team. It’s going to be awesome to work in such a cool work environment and being around so many other like-minded entrepreneurs like Zambah, a group of really cool guys I’ve gotten to know over the past few months working on an amazing platform for the Indie Music scene.

It’s exciting times for NPS!

To learn more or to keep up to date on our progress check out or follow us on;

Facebook –
Twitter – @TeamNPS
Instagram – NationalProStaff

N100 Offers Startups the Chance to Compete for $100,000

N100 Offers Startups the Chance to Compete for $100,000 in Early-Stage Investment

The annual $100,000 N100 Startup Competition is entering its third year once again challenging entrepreneurs to compete for real equity.

“What distinguishes our startup competition from others is that the $100,000 is an investment, not a prize,” said Wendy Curtis, Executive Director of Northumberland CFDC, the organization running N100. “We gear the competition towards the pre-Angel stage when entrepreneurs are working to finalize a prototype or some other major milestone and are on the cusp of attracting significant investor interest.”

The winner of the inaugural year of N100 was Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (UCIC) makers of the Ubi (the ubiquitous computer) and the winner of N100 2014 was Linkitz with their wearable electronic toy that teaches children how to code. UCIC and Linkitz each secured additional investment (led by Maple Leaf Angels and SOSVentures respectively) and both appeared at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada this year.

“N100 was invaluable in helping us hone our business plan, our pitch, and ultimately get our product to market faster,” said Leor Grebler, CEO of UCIC.

“We are delighted to have won N100 2014,” added Lyssa Neel, CEO of Linkitz. “The advice and support we have received from the Northumberland CFDC and our advisor there, John Hayden, has been nothing short of amazing.”

Competitive down-selection for N100 unfolds though three rounds from March to July, 2015: The Pitch, Business Planning and Negotiation. Along the way, finalists get access to free entrepreneurial training and support including N100 Pitch School and board room simulations run by Spark Centre, Northumberland’s Regional Innovation Centre. N100 is also an attraction strategy designed to bring next generation entrepreneurial impact to Northumberland—located just over an hour East of Toronto.

The N100 application process is now automated on PitchBurner and a corporate sponsorship from MathWorks will provide N100 finalists with the benefit of a free one-year software license for MatLab and Simulink with full technical support.

The deadline for applications is March 8, 2015. N100 Pitch Night will be held at the Capitol Theatre on May 5, 2015 and the winner will be announced in July.

For more information and to apply, visit N100 online at

About N100: N100 is an annual startup competition held in Northumberland (one hour East of Toronto). From March to July, startups compete over three successive rounds for a $100,000 convertible note. For more go to

About Northumberland CFDC: Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation invests in entrepreneurship and innovation as a pathway to prosperity, job creation and economic development in Northumberland, Ontario, Canada. The organization receives core operational funding from FedDev Ontario through the Community Futures Program. For more information, please visit Northumberland CFDC online at

About Spark Centre: Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of seventeen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. For more information on Spark Centre, please visit

John Hayden, Manager – N100
Northumberland CFDC
905-372-8315 x224

2014 Ignite Journey Video



Spark Innovation Centre is very pleased to share the 2014 Ignite journey video.

Chris Oliver from CCO Productions has perfectly captured the competition as well as the remarkable talent in Durham Region. The Ignite Competition saw an incredible amount of engagement in the local entrepreneur community with over 70 applicants in the technology and innovation sector.

This video showcases how dedicated Spark Innovation Centre and our partners are to supporting the technology and innovative startup community in Durham Region.