Western Engineering students receive startup seed money for mobile app

Western Engineering | August 30, 2012
By Phil Sach

Three of Western’s engineering students have been recognized by a startup company incubator for their company, Coachd Inc., a mobile app that uses professional athletes to coach users through their workouts.

Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE initiative, a $30-million startup incubator that grants both capital and entrepreneurial expertise to rising tech companies, will provide the team of Colton Hathaway, Ryan Wilson and Aleem Haji with funding and professional support.

“The HYPERDRIVE program has already proved invaluable to the future success of our company and our product,” said Wilson. “Not only has Coachd Inc. been able to more aggressively expand as a result of Communitech’s financial contribution, but our team has also been provided with unmatched mentorship opportunities and connections that will no doubt add to our individual achievements.”

Communitech, a non-profit organization based in Waterloo, began HYPERDRIVE to provide support to up-and-coming technology companies, such as Coachd Inc., in the form of market validation, customer development and overall direction. The program is led by two renowned entrepreneurs, Steven Woods and Ted Hastings, and is supported by over 120 executives and mentors volunteering their time to help these companies achieve “Serie A” VC funding.

The Western Engineering students have enjoyed a number of individual successes leading up to their involvement with Coachd Inc.  

Hathaway was selected by Apple as one of the top 50 student developers in the world and, as a result, was invited to attend the company’s 2011 World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Wilson, a fourth-year software engineering student, has been developing mobile apps since February 2011, including a successful grade calculator that was featured in Blackberry developer RIM’s “Back to School” newsletter. Haji, also a software engineering student, recently presented an academic paper regarding biometrics and the mental health community at the International Conference for Upcoming Engineers at Ryerson University.  

The students began their partnership on another startup company called NOTLOC.d Media Inc., through which they completed contract work for a variety of companies in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. After being introduction by one of their professors to Ronen Benin, a Richard Ivey School of Business graduate, development began on their new venture, Coachd Inc., and the alpha version of their upcoming mobile app. It was the first version of their customizable workout application that permitted the trio entry into the HYPERDRIVE initiative.

With both the financial and professional help of Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE program, Coachd Inc. plans to further develop their business plan, hire staff and ultimately have their product reach the top of the App Store charts.


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.: Allison Stevenson
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