The third time was a charm for Evan Sitler and his business partner Drew MacNeil as they took home the Monster Pitch title Friday.
Having competed in the semifinal round of the competition in previous years, the duo had unfinished business when they stepped onto the Monster Pitch stage to present their company XpertVR to a sold-out crowd of 150 people at the Goodman School of Business.
“It’s a long time coming, and we’ve put a lot of work into this business over the last three years,” MacNeil said. “After progressing and hearing feedback from the judges, it was really exciting to finally win this competition.”
XpertVR uses virtual reality (VR) simulations to enhance current projects that are being done by market research firms, providing their clients with more detailed insights into consumer behaviour.
The judging panel included Bruce Croxon, co-host of 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.
“Being able to hear from industry experts and get proper feedback about how to move this business forward in a professional way was really great,” MacNeil said.
MacNeil and Sitler take home a $14,000 prize that is comprised of cash and in-kind support that includes legal, marketing and accounting services. XpertVR also took home the $500 Fan Favourite prize, which was awarded based on an audience vote.
“My overall impression was that they all did a fantastic job,” Croxon said. “And I’ve got six years of comparison to draw upon when I say that it’s the best year I’ve seen by far.”
Rosati echoed that sentiment.
“I just think the presentations were top notch,” she said. “Each year they have gotten better and better and this is the pinnacle.”
Sparaga, who’s company Spark Power Corp. is a long-time Monster Pitch sponsor, said he received support when he was getting started and wanted to provide similar assistance to entrepreneurs coming up in a school environment.
“It’s up to people like us who have gone through the grind and have made it, to try to sponsor those who have the drive and tenacity to try make something as an entrepreneur.”
The entrepreneurial pitch competition is hosted by the Brock Innovation Group in partnership with the Goodman School of Business, Goodman Group Venture Development (formerly BioLinc) and sponsored by Spark Power Corp.