This is the third in a series of four stories featuring the finalists of Monster Pitch, the annual student business competition hosted by the Goodman School of Business student club Brock Innovation Group. This year’s competition will be held in the Goodman atrium Friday, March 1.
Student-run company XpertVR is carving out its niche in the $45-billion market research industry.
Founded by Goodman School of Business students Drew MacNeil and Evan Sitler, the company uses virtual reality (VR) simulations to enhance current projects that are being done by market research firms.
Moving into the VR realm for this work allows companies to get more detailed analytics faster and at a cheaper price point than using conventional research set-ups. With a number of competing VR firms located overseas, XpertVR is finding success being able to provide in-person service to the Ontario market.
“We are gaining traction based on how fast we can deliver projects on our timelines,” MacNeil said.
The team has built their VR expertise over the last three years, which allows them to help new clients bridge the knowledge gap between the technology and business.
Now in business for a year and a half, their company is starting to build an impressive portfolio. XpertVR’s client list includes RedBull, Niagara Falls Tourism, Hamilton Health Sciences and the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario.
MacNeil and Sitler met through the entrepreneurship programs at Goodman Group Venture Development (formerly BioLinc) and they credit the centre for helping them through their early stage growth.
Making the Monster Pitch finals carries a great deal of meaning for the team. MacNeil worked closely with the competition in his previous role as a BioLinc ambassador.
“After being the person to promote Monster Pitch for a year, and then losing out in the semifinals the year after that, finally being the one who gets to walk onto the stage and step into the spotlight means a lot,” MacNeil said.
This was Sitler’s third year pitching in the competition’s semifinal round, but will be his first trip to the finals.
“The entrepreneurs we’ve talked to most and looked up to are past finalists. To be on the same stage as them finally shows that our company is moving ahead,” Sitler said.
The sold-out event is hosted by Brock Innovation Group in partnership with the Goodman School of Business and Goodman Group Venture Development and is sponsored by Spark Power Corp.
This year’s judging panel includes: Bruce Croxon, co-host BNN’s The Disruptors and CEO of Round 13; Allie Hughes, CEO and Founder of marketing agency H&C Inc.; Deborah Rosati, Corporate Director and Founder and CEO, Women Get On Board; and Jason Sparaga, co-founder and co-CEO of Spark Power Corp. and founder of Spara Capital Partners.