Whitehorse tech startup gets 'big deal' business mentorship in Toronto

A Whitehorse startup company has been chosen as one of 10 companies to participate in Techstars Toronto Accelerator — a business mentorship program that also equips companies with $120,000.

Proof Data Technology is spending 3 months at Techstars Toronto Accelator program

Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai, left, talks with Proof Data Technology CEO Ben Sanders. Sanders is participating in Techstars Toronto Accelerator, a mentorship program for businesses. (CBC/Wayne Vallevand)

A Whitehorse startup company has been chosen as one of 10 companies to participate in Techstars Toronto Accelerator — a business mentorship program that also equips companies with $120,000.

Ben Sanders, co-founder of Proof Data Technology, said he and three colleagues are spending three months at the accelerator program.

Proof Data has created software to let governments go paperless and reduce red tape, said Sanders.

"I can remember working in the Yukon government struggling with the amount of paper that's involved to get things done," he said.

"There's some incredible people that work in government and we're just trying to help unlock them so that they can be stuck less on paper, to get more of the things done that really matter," Sanders said.

The Yukoners will pitch to potential investors and access business and technical expertise while they are at the accelerator, he said.

In the first month they'll meet about 100 mentors, Sanders said.

"I've met with ten of them already this morning — so speed dating with entrepreneurs is a big part of it," he said.

Techstars was created by successful entrepreneurs who want to support startup companies.The organization has operations around the world, including in Toronto.

"This is a big deal for the Yukon, both for our company because we're a Yukon company ... but also because it helps the Yukon ecosystem," said Sanders.

Hundreds of companies from around the world applied, and only a few get in, he added.

From left to right, Proof Data Technology co-founders, Sanders, Luke DeCoste, Wes George and senior software developer Andrew Kalek. (Proof Data Technology)

Sanders is also one of the founders of YuKonstruct in Whitehorse where much of the work developing their company was done. It's a place where artists and inventors can have access to tools, space and expertise.

Ranj Pillai, Yukon's economic development minister, said the work done at YuKonstruct and Proof Data Technology is a milestone for the territory.

"We're all so proud of their accomplishments," said Pillai. 

Pillai said the ongoing project to link Yukon's fibre optic line to the MacKenzie Valley fibre line in the Northwest Territories will add more reliability to internet services in Yukon.

He said that's important to startup companies like Proof Data.