Having booked sales of more than $1 million in less that a year, Fredericton-based virtual reality company Kognitiv Spark has now entered the Plug and Play accelerator in Silicon Valley.
Kognitiv Spark offers an augmented reality solution to help the military and industries with training or instructing remote workers using complex equipment. The company released its RemoteSpark product last August, and in just eight months the team has made sales in such markets as: aerospace and defence; manufacturing; engineering and construction; and oil and gas.
Its new updated product is expected to be out in a couple of weeks, and CEO Yan Simard said the sales process is fairly smooth because clients need a device that can instruct workers in remote locations.
“The market is already looking for a solution that offers what we do,” Simard said in an interview from Silicon Valley, where he is attending Plug and Play. “We don’t really have too much trouble explaining the product to people.”
Founded by Ryan Groom and Duncan McSporran, Kognitiv Spark lets the trainee or remote worker use an augmented reality headset as a training aid or instructional guide.
For example, if a soldier or worker in a remote location encounters a problem with heavy equipment and has to fix it himself, he can contact an expert back at home base. Donning the headset, he can still see the real equipment but he can also see a holographic image of the piece of gear floating beside it. The expert at home, also wearing a headset, can use the holographic image to show the remote staff member how to fix the equipment. He can draw arrows on the image to show the worker precisely what part he is talking about.
In selling the product, Kognitiv Spark has been working in partnership with Microsoft, whose HoloLens holographic visualization headset is the hardware. With the sales effort accelerating, the company is growing. It recently hired two more people, bringing its total staff to 11. Simard expects the staffing numbers to double in the next 12 months.
Kognitiv Spark recently closed a round of funding from angel investors and is hoping to raise a larger round in the near future. In the year ending March 2017 (the most recent data available), the company received $200,000 in funding from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.
The company’s time in the Plug and Play accelerator is helping its sales and funding efforts as Simard is getting to hobnob with potential funders and customers he wouldn’t normally meet. There are 156 companies in the current three-month Plug and Play cohort, which focuses on business development, and the organizers say they accepted only two per cent of the companies that applied.
Of course, Simard is meeting California-based companies, institutions and angels, but Plug and Play is big enough that it also attracts guests from places like Asia and Europe, some of whom could aid the company.
“I’m networking with prospective customers and investors who go through the place all the time,” said Simard. “It’s a non-stop show.”