As a busy college professor, entrepreneur and part-time employee of the National Hockey League, Chris Elliott knows the importance of time management.
So it’s no surprise he sees a bright future for a new Ottawa startup he helped shepherd through Algonquin College’s Office of Applied Research and Innovation.
Boardspace, the brainchild of local businesswoman Pat Crosscombe, is an online app designed to help boards of directors use their time more efficiently. Among its functions, it stores minutes of meetings in an easy-to-find format, keeps track of tasks assigned to the board’s members and sends out automated reminders about deadlines and schedules.
Originally developed for condo boards, the software has benefits for a wide range of companies, said Mr. Elliott, a computer science instructor who oversaw the project along with professors Patti Church and Emily Johnstone.
“This sort of App lets everybody get organized,” he said. “We think we’re organized in general life, but we’re really not.”
Mr. Elliott, who is also vice-president of IT startup Fivesense Technologies and works at the Canadian Tire Centre as an arena technical co-ordinator for the NHL, quickly realized firsthand just how valuable the software can be.
“It’s kind of funny,” he said. “We use Boardspace for Boardspace meetings. We do find that it actually works quite well.”
Nearly 20 Algonquin students and professors from several departments have worked on Boardspace since Ms. Crosscombe approached the school with the idea about 16 months ago.
Several groups at the college are now using the technology, with beta testing to begin this summer. Mr. Elliott said the product is set to be officially launched on Oct. 1, adding several companies have already expressed interest in the product.
“If you have a board of directors or a board of governors, this will work for you,” he said.
Boardspace got another boost last Friday, when the company won the best standalone project award at the Office of Applied Research and Innovation’s spring Applied Research Day. Along with a $500 cash prize, the award brings validation that the company is on the right track, Mr. Elliott said.
“Now we’re winning awards, so obviously the idea is there,” he said. “It’s just a matter of actually making this go live and have paying customers. We know that there’s a lot of potential. We’ll have to see how it goes.”
Ms. Crosscombe, a federal government employee, is now seeking investors for her company. She's dedicated to the project and has since hired a full-time software developer.
“This is why so many of us are behind her because she jumped so hard into being an entrepreneur,” Mr. Elliott said.
Local data analytics and survey company MicroMetrics took second place in the standalone project category for its customer insight platform.
The winner of the best in-class project was Prof. Sandra Brancatelli’s team for its automated apoxy application and curing system.