media release

SFU’s RADIUS Ventures launches first cohort

December 13, 2013
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Contact:
Donovan Woollard, RADIUS Ventures, 604.720.4223, dwoollard@radiussfu.com
Ross MacDonald-Allan, SFU Beedie, 778.782.9492, rossm@sfu.ca
Dixon Tam, SFU media relations, 778.782.8742, dixont@sfu.ca
Stephanie Chow, SFU media relations, 778.782.9543, scchow@sfu.ca

RADIUS Ventures, a new social innovation lab and venture incubator based at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, has launched its first venture cohort.

Focused specifically on “radical ventures” with a strong mandate to create social and environmental well-being, RADIUS has received seed funding from Vancity Credit Union.

Radical Ventures’ first cohort will focus on the local food distribution and sustainable transportation sectors, and include corporations, cooperatives, and a revenue-generating non-profit.

Some are pre-revenue and others are in a rapid growth stage. All offer a product or service that directly promotes ecological health, societal well-being, and economic value.

The five ventures include:

·      Localize: a local product rating and signage system for grocery store shelves

·      go2gethera carpooling system that makes it easy, safe, and convenient for commuters to share trips

·      City Farms Co-op: a collection of small farmers in the Lower Mainland using IT solutions and goods distribution to access mainstream markets

·      Shift Delivery: it is revolutionizing urban delivery with specialized human- and electric-powered tricycles

·      PEDAL: a growing non-profit providing low-cost bicycle repair and education services

RADIUS Ventures will work with the five ventures over the coming months to refine their offerings, optimize their operations and get them ready for growth and investment.

“Entrepreneurship can have a hugely positive impact on human and environmental well-being,” says Donovan Woollard, director of RADIUS Ventures.

“RADIUS Ventures demonstrates the leadership of the Beedie School and Vancity in cultivating a social venture ecosystem and actively supporting leading ventures within it.”

RADIUS Ventures provides a six-month accelerator program focused on getting impact ventures market ready, investor ready and growth ready.  

Through an immersion in design thinking, lean start-up methodology and hands-on mentorship and collaboration, RADIUS and its radical ventures will collaborate to achieve specific shared outcomes, including fundraising, new product launch and positioning for rapid growth.

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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BACKGROUND

About RADIUS

RADIUS Ventures is a social innovation lab and venture incubator focused on getting impact ventures investor ready, market ready and growth ready. 

Housed at the Beedie School of Business and partially funded by Vancity Credit Union, RADIUS applies business innovation and entrepreneurship to address challenging social and environmental problems.

In addition to RADIUS Ventures, the RADIUS initiative includes classroom-based curriculum and public events focused on building the broader ecosystem of social entrepreneurs and ventures.  

About the RADIUS Ventures Cohort

·      Localize offers a local product rating and signage system for grocery store shelves. With over 4,000 products assigned a Localize score—based upon the location of a product’s ownership, manufacture, and ingredient sourcing— Localize helps stores to drive consumers toward those local products that directly support the local economy.

“Our company has grown rapidly in Alberta, with over 50 grocery stores signing up in less than a year” says Meghan Dear, Localize founder and CEO. “As we expand into British Columbia and beyond, RADIUS Ventures gives us direct access to the B.C. market and capacity to grow our company strategically.”

·      go2gether is an SFU alumni-led venture working to unlock the value of carpooling for employers and institutions by making it easy, safe and convenient for commuters to share trips to and from work/school. go2gether is set to launch with its first beta customers in 2014.

“Our venture is an example of the great support that SFU provides to entrepreneurs,” says Alice Park, go2gether CEO and co-founder. “go2gether started as a class project, participated in the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator, was incubated at SFU's Venture Connection and is now working with RADIUS Ventures to raise funds and serve our first corporate clients.”

·      City Farms Co-op is a collection of small farmers in the Lower Mainland that are looking to share resources, cut costs and directly access a broader market through IT solutions and goods distribution. By working together, the co-op members hope to simultaneously improve the convenience of local produce, while increasing farmers’ income.

·      Launched in 2011 as a SFU/UBC/BCIT student project, Shift Delivery is revolutionizing urban delivery using its own specialized human- and electric-powered tricycles. These elegant machines make urban deliveries clean and quiet and have much potential to change our cities for the better.

·      Enterprising non-profit PEDAL has a 20-year history providing bike repair, education and empowerment to the Vancouver community. The society is presently positioned to significantly expand its low-cost bicycle repair enterprise and is working with RADIUS on a plan to ensure success.

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