By: Sydney Thompson
August 1st marks the end of the 2019 RBC EPIC Founders Program. Over the past 12-weeks,
each of the eleven program members have worked tirelessly to validate their businesses by
attending several workshops and events, receiving mentorship and coaching, and working full-time on their businesses at EPICentre. Each year, the RBC EPIC Founders Program concludes with
the final pitch day competition. This event requires each startup to showcase a demo of their
minimum viable product (MVP), as well as, give a 10-minute presentation to a panel of judges.
The final pitch day is a chance for the start-ups to win additional money to help further the
development of their businesses. There were two prizes to be won during yesterday’s
competition; $3,500 cash to the top Founder(s), courtesy of RBC Foundation, and $1,000 cash
to the runner-up, courtesy of our EPIC Mentors, Maureen Lucas and David Kirby. The day is broken down into two parts: first, the Founders must demo their MVP to the judges and
showcase their product or service through a brief interaction. Following the demo, each
Founder must give their final pitch to a panel of judges.
Each Founder was judged on their demonstration of their MVP, progress in the Founders
program, market research, future projections, business model, feasibility, and quality of their
pitch. Our judging panel consisted of three business professionals from the community: Sandra
Vasquez, Royal Bank of Canada, Frank Abbruzzese, Alphakor, and Andreas Waller, St. Clair
Eight EPIC Founders competed for the top prizes (please see the full list of Founder Program
members here). The RBC EPIC Founders top prize was awarded to Jesse Thompson, Founder of
HaggleFree – a web application to help connect people looking to buy cars with sellers for a
“haggle free” experience. Our second-place winner was awarded to Mohammad El-Nassar,
Founder of Lokally – an all-in-one online booking system to help small businesses.
We’d like to congratulate all of our 2019 RBC EPIC Founders on a successful term. And thank you
to the Royal Bank of Canada for their continued support of this program.