Meet the Ventures in the Kootenay Investment Challenge

Meet the Ventures in the Kootenay Investment Challenge


We are delighted to introduce the Kootenay region entrepreneurs participating in the Kootenay Investment Challenge, brought to the region by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology.

These companies will participate in two rounds of pitches with our cohort of Kootenay region investors. The goal? Earn a $50k+ investment to support their startup’s growth.

We look forward to our first Virtual Pitch Event on Thursday, October 13, 2022, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm PST. You can reserve your FREE virtual spot here.

Applications closed on September 22, 2022. We invited investors of all experience levels to apply, including people who have never invested in an early-stage company but are curious about angel investing.

Without further ado, here are the Kootenay Investment Challenge ventures!


Stephen Aryan - Pippin Point

Pippin Point
Stephen Aryan, Prototype Engineer

Fundamentally an AgriTech company, Pippin Point is currently transforming a mountainside into a destination winery as part of a framework to pilot methods and technologies that allow for a more sustainable and resilient carbon negative food production system.

All while helping to showcase some of the world class tourism and development potential the area centred around Kootenay Lake area has to offer.

Learn more about Pippin Point.


Sue-Rose Read, Oneberrie Innovations Corp.Oneberrie Innovations Corp.
Sue-Rose Read, Founder

Oneberrie is innovating ordinary essentials by manufacturing and distributing innovative and more functional bath textiles for children and families including our patent Hands Free towels.

Learn more about Oneberrie Innovations Corp.





Dayna Kanigan, OneCrewOneCrew
Dayna Kanigan, Founder

OneCrew is a 1:1 mobile health company focusing on providing base health and wellness services to you and your family. Focusing on sleep, nutrition and fitness to improve overall well-being, productivity, mood, decrease burnouts, and so much more.





Michael Sharpe, Oneirocom IncOneirocrom Inc.
Michael Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer

At Oneirocom, we are dedicated to the creation of immersive reality experiences powered by AI. Leveraging state of the art AI characters, content generation, and narrative management, we aim to transform the way people interact with their reality, and with each other. The age of AI is dawning, and it will change everything. We aim to move with the speed of the future, and leverage cutting edge technology to create experiences never before imagined. We aim to make magic.

Learn more about Oneirocom Inc.


Sami Majadala, CertifCraft Technologies IncCertiCraft Technologies Inc.
Sami Majadala, Chief Executive Officer

CertiCraft is a software compliance platform for licensed cannabis producers in Canada. It makes staying compliant with the Cannabis Regulations simple and straightforward, keeps cultivators and processors audit-ready, and greatly reduces record-keeping labour hours. Today, 20% of Canada’s small-scale licensed cannabis growers use CertiCraft, entirely through word-of-mouth. CertiCraft is currently raising capital to scale up and enter the mid-size market segment.

Learn more about CertiCraft Technologies Inc.


Nichola Lytle,
Nichola Lytle, Chief Executive Officer is a mobile-friendly recreation app that makes it easy for visitors and locals to instantly see all of the activities, amenities and events they love happening on a map – wherever they are, wherever they go. Our full scale marketing integration makes it easy for businesses and brands to target and engage with highly segmented customers, without the guesswork of social media or expense of SEO.

HappyWay also offers Tourism organizations, municipalities and organizations the ability to curate experiences, increase their stakeholders’ visibility and track visitor engagement.

Learn more about


Darren Peloso - VersaFile IncVersaFile Inc.
Darren Peloso, Co-Founder

VersaFile® is a Vancouver-based technology services and software company providing intelligent content and process automation solutions. This includes managed services, strategic consulting, implementations and commercial software. Our purpose is to generate outcomes that make a difference by making our solutions easy, highly functional and quick to value.

We drive new levels of efficiency by infusing our solutions through Intelligent Automation with cutting edge technologies like intelligent capture, RPA, AI, NLU, ML, Chat Bots, Process Orchestration, Integration and a whole bunch more.

Learn more about VersaFile Inc.

About the Kootenay Investment Challenge

 As the region’s largest technology-focused economic development association, the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology’s (KAST) primary mandate is to support local tech startups and entrepreneurs. At KAST, we provide this support by bringing in programs designed for our rural community’s needs. We have helped many successful tech entrepreneurs through an existing program of ours, the Venture Acceleration Program (VAP). The VAP program provides early-stage entrepreneurs access to one-on-one coaching with an experienced Executive in Residence. However, when these businesses reached the ‘Scale and Growth’ stage, the Kootenay region could not provide crucial support in capital and investor readiness. As a result, entrepreneurs would seek investor funding outside the area, competing against startups from larger centres with more resources. KAST’s newest program, the Kootenay Investment Challenge, has been designed to bridge the gap between early-stage startups and local investors.

 KAST brings the Kootenay Investment Challenge to the region through a partnership with Spring Activator, a global incubator and accelerator specializing in impact investing and investment readiness training. The Challenge is a place-based version of Spring’s impact investor program, which has trained over 160 investors, featured 170+ companies, and made over $970,000 in direct impact investments. The KIC brings together two intersecting cohorts, one comprised of investment-ready entrepreneurs and the other of investors seeking to have an impact on early-stage startups. Volition and Valhalla Private Capital have joined this partnership to support program delivery and provide valuable mentorship to participants. 

The Kootenay Investment Challenge will run for eleven weeks, primarily each Thursday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm PST, from September 29th through December 1st. With a final session on Tuesday, December 6th, from 3:30 – 6:30 pm PST. The sessions will include educational talks, pitch events, and an introduction to Valhalla Private Capital’s monthly forum. Participants will hear from industry-leading guest speakers, hold roundtable discussions, and work in teams on the due diligence process. 

Kootenay Investment Challenge participants will be allowed to attend these weekly sessions in person at the Nelson Innovation Centre or online utilizing the Zoom platform. The two pitch events will take place in the virtual venue Hopin and are open to the public to attend.

The Kootenay Investment Challenge will foster a connection between investment-ready Kootenay entrepreneurs and local investors wanting to support early-stage startups but who have not known how to. The two cohorts, one comprised of entrepreneurs and the other of investors, will start their learning path separately, coming together after completing the first pitch event on Thursday, October 13th. 

The businesses will go through the core of their training in September, where they will develop their pitch and start building their due diligence data room. These preparatory sessions will educate the tech startups on what an investor is looking for when evaluating startups. Each session covers a different aspect of the due diligence package that investors want to see. In addition to the data collection, the businesses will receive one-on-one pitch coaching to help them develop a compelling and concise pitch and presentation.

The investor cohort will include experienced angel investors and Kootenay locals who have never participated in an angel investment. Participants of this cohort will start their training at the end of September, where they will learn the fundamentals of angel investing, how to evaluate a business, and the process to follow when reviewing the due diligence information provided by the company.

The cohorts will meet at the first pitch event, where all participating tech startups will have 2 minutes to pitch their business, followed by an investor-led question and answer session. Upon completion of the pitches, the investor cohort will retire to review the proposals and choose the top companies to continue with the Challenge. The event will conclude with the announcement of the top qualifying startups. 

Following the October pitch event, the investor and entrepreneur cohorts will attend joint sessions through the five weeks of core training, taking them deep diving into the due diligence process. This combined training will offer a unique opportunity for participants to learn about the data collection and review process as both a business and a funder. A final grand finale pitch event will occur on Thursday, November 24th, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm PST.

Tech founders will again go head-to-head in a dragon’s den style pitch event where they will present their business idea to the investor cohort, followed by a question and answer period. At the end of the event, the investor cohort will select the company to win the Kootenay Investment Challenge and receive investment.

Join us for both pitch events as we cheer on our local investment-ready entrepreneurs.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *