NEXT, Up Global’s Google-Backed Pre-Accelerator Program, has wrapped in Toronto.
Organized locally by The Working Group and MaRS, NEXT helps startups in communities around the world prepare for accelerators and investment. The top 12 startups from NEXT Spring 2014 will be flown to New York to pitch to the world’s top accelerator programs, including Y Combinator and Techstars.
Sampler, the startup that plans to dominate the world of social sampling online, was selected as the winner of the Toronto NEXT preaccelerator program. Sampler builds SaaS technology that helps brands & online retailers distribute product samples & gift cards online using the power of peer recommendation. Their MVP, a social sampling app created around Facebook, has already attracted 15 paid clients and generated 100k in revenue in just seven months.
Second place was awarded to ArtLocal, a platform which connects galleries with art lovers and buyers and uses Apple’s iBeacon technology to provide analytics to gallery owners.
ArtLocal, led by Sean Green, has already forged partnerships with key galleries in Toronto and New York including the Guggenheim, and the AGO. They will also be the official app partner of both the Luminato and NXNE festivals for 2014.
In third place was GrowWell. Founded by Kiran Shahbaz and Irfan Pirbhai, GrowWell is a simple feedback tool that helps health & wellness clinics measure & track patient satisfaction.