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Waterloo’s PiinPoint heads to Y Combinator

Piinpoint founders Jim Robeson and Adam Saunders.

Piinpoint founders Jim Robeson and Adam Saunders.
Piinpoint founders Jim Robeson and Adam Saunders.
You know what they say about real estate. Location. Location. Location.

And today, PiinPoint, the online platform dedicated to helping businesses locate their ideal brick-and-mortar location, is in Mountain View, California, presenting at Y Combinator’s Demo Day. Their software has been described as “Google Analytics for physical locations”.

“We use big data and machine learning to help franchisors or retailers make faster and better decisions about where to locate,” says co-founder Jim Robeson.

Y Combinator twice a year accepts a cohort of companies to participate in a three-month Silicon Valley residency, culminating in Demo Day, at which the companies pitch to a room full of investors.

It’s a big step forward for PiinPoint, who only launched the pilot version of their software this week, the purpose of which is to “centralize demographic, municipal, real estate and traffic data that provide retailers with increased confidence in the decision-making process.”

Founded only in July 2013, the company has raised $250,000 from several investors, Y Combinator among them. In November, PiinPoint was one of four $25,000 winners at the University of Waterloo’s Velocity incubator, where co-founders Jim Robeson and Adam Saunders set up shop in January. Saunders is still enrolled in Waterloo’s Faculty of the Environment, while Robeson graduated from the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program.

PiinPoint is the seventh company to have graduated from the Velocity incubator and ended up at Y Combinator. “Y Combinator is widely accepted as the world’s leading technology accelerator and we are extremely proud that great startups like PiinPoint are building on their Velocity experience in Silicon Valley,” said Mike Kirkup, director of Velocity.

“There is a special connection between Waterloo and Silicon Valley. The fact that PiinPoint is the seventh in a line of Velocity companies to be accepted to Y Combinator shows that something really exciting is happening here.”

The experience of coming through Velocity helped Robeson, who had been working on the software by himself until meeting Saunders, prepare for the Y Combinator application, with a little help from Waterloo veterans such as Stephen Lake of Thalmic Labs.

In a Q&A with the Communitech website yesterday, Robeson was asked whether there was an intimidation factor to being Canadian and pitching on the big start-up incubator stage, to which he replied, “I go there with that badge of honour and wear it on the front of my shirt, because I am proud to be a part of Communitech, Velocity and Creative Destruction Lab.”

PiinPoint’s four-man team plans to be back in Kitchener-Waterloo in May.

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