Announcing the 2018 IDEABOOST Accelerator Cohort 7

By Margaret DeRosia ● April 03, 2018 10:25

Five people standing in a row, facing front; a sunny outdoor background next to a glass building.

Welcome, IDEABOOST Cohort 7! From left to right: Lesley Klassen (The Campfire Union), Alexa Roeper (Penta Medical), Erin Millar (Discourse Media), Paul Greenberg (Creatubbles), Sid Bhargava and Paul Whelan (Paddle HR).
Photo Credit: Brian de Rivera Simon.

Five stellar startups – The Campfire Union, Creatubbles, Discourse Media, Paddle HR and Penta Medical – arrived at the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) on March 23, as CFC Media Lab’s IDEABOOST Accelerator got underway. These five companies are “Cohort 7” because 2018 marks the seventh time the Accelerator bootcamp has run since launching in 2012.

Based in Toronto and tailored to select digital media-focused startups, the four-month Accelerator offers a bespoke curriculum powered by a team of experienced staff, mentors, executives and investors. After 10 finalists pitched to a jury of IDEABOOST faculty and mentors, these five were selected and invited to join.

The Accelerator operates as one part of CFC Media Lab’s wider IDEABOOST program, designed for companies building the next generation of technology-based media, sports, leisure and entertainment products and brands. Since 2012, 33 media and entertainment technology startups have been accelerated, raising more than $800K in investment on average per company. The full program has supported 84 startups through a variety of programs and services, including the community affiliates program, Network Connect; the Accelerator; and a post-Accelerator alumni program for companies entering the marketplace.

Previous successful cohorts have included companies like ASAP Science, Brinx Inc. (MasterpieceVR), Deep Inc. (Liquid Cinema), Filmtyme, ivvi, Little Robot Friends, Repable, Social Asset Management (SAM).

Meet IDEABOOST Cohort 7

The Campfire Union develops virtual reality media platforms for immersive video and user-generated VR content. People gather around the campfire to share stories, make music and embrace life. The campfire is a platform of expression they represent in their products.

Their product Flipside offers the fastest way to create animated shows. With nothing more than an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, people can produce their own animated shows in real time, whether recorded or streamed live. As a real-time animation software company, Flipside empowers creators to make animations quickly and with as much agency as possible. It replaces the traditional studio with a virtual one, allowing creators to perform all aspects of production to make compelling content at a fraction of the cost.


Lesley Klassen, CEO, Co-founder: LinkedIn
John Luxford, CTO, Co-founder: LinkedIn
Rachael Hosein, CCO, Co-founder: LinkedIn


Twitter: @campfireunion
Instagram: campfireunion
LinkedIn: The Campfire Union


  • Third Place in Innovate Manitoba's Lift'Off Venture Challenge (2016) 
  • The first VR board game, their game Lost Cities was also an Oculus featured game at Mobile World Congress and GDC 2016), and the first third-party game for the Oculus social platform
  • Their Yana Virtual Relaxation was the 63rd app in the very first VR app store, was chosen as a Cardboard Favorite by Google, and was included in WEARVR Top 10 for four weeks
  • Won "Best Technology Pitch" at Innovate Manitoba Pitch Day (2013)

Creatubbles believes that global interconnectedness does not necessarily mean gravitating to the lowest common denominator. Instead, they leverage technology to create a kinder, more humane and more aesthetic world, one in which a plurality of possibilities can be understood and explored, and where nuance is valued.

These core ingredients create a safe global community of creators of all ages. With users in more than 50 countries, Creatubbles lets people share their experiences and creations safely, whether at home, school, events or other activities. They seek to connect the dots between natural human creativity, technology and business to inspire and bring out the best in us, including our youngest and most vulnerable. The company’s API allows any third-party app, platform, site or solution to save creative output directly to Creatubbles, positioning it as the logical aggregation point for children's authoring tools.


Paul Greenberg, CEO, Co-founder
Peter Van Der Weeen, COO, Co-founder: LinkedIn
Francesco Romano, Head of Product Strategy, Co-founder


Twitter: @creatubbles
LinkedIn: Creatubbles


  • Winner of AASL 2016 Best Websites for Teaching & Learning Award
Official creativity sharing partner for Benesse, one of Japan’s largest educational publishing companies
  • Feature-length article in leading Japanese tech publisher, ASCII
; Profile article on Yahoo! Japan Kids
 (Both from Japanese-language press)
  • Japan TV evening news feature of international creativity collaboration event between Japanese and Indian students (In Japanese, contains English subtitles)

Discourse Media is an independent, for-profit media company. They provide high-quality, consequential journalism about complex issues, not only revealing problems, but also pointing possible paths forward, helping audiences move from dismay to possibility, passivity to action.

Their primary product consists of journalism packages based on in-depth original research, data journalism, and deep engagement with impacted communities. In a radical departure from traditional media, they produce journalism with their audience, resulting in relevant, nuanced content that responds to specific needs, and succeeds in engaging segments of the Canadian public that other media outlets have failed to reach or have outright ignored. Here, the story, rather than the production cycle, determines the format. Whether the story is told best with a custom data app, narrative podcast, long-form multimedia article or live event, that’s what they produce.


Erin Millar, Founder, CEO: LinkedIn
Caitlin Havlak, Chief Operating Officer: LinkedIn
Rachel Nixon, Executive Editor: LinkedIn


Twitter: @thediscourse


  • Erin Millar named one of the top seven women-led ventures in Canada at the SheEO Summit, Toronto (March 2018)
  • The 2017 Edward Murrow Award for Best Investigative Reporting (international small digital news category) from the Radio Television Digital News Association
  • The 2017 Silver Award for the Best Digital Editorial Package from the Digital Publishing Award, and The 2017 Silver Award for the Best Investigative Reporting from the National Magazine Awards (with Maclean’s)

  • The 2016 CJF Innovation Award from the Canadian Journalism Foundation

Paddle HR makes understanding career paths in your organization effortless. They use big data to uncover how people move, and help large organizations match existing talent to new internal career paths.

People voluntarily leave their jobs most often because of a perceived lack of opportunities, especially when many organizations are so complex that their employees cannot see the next viable job. By recommending great career options, Paddle HR helps organizations keep top talent and employees build rewarding, diverse careers. Its matching algorithm, powered by 330 million peoples’ career histories, trains its machine-learning models to predict subsequent career moves. The product leverages this intelligence, not only to offer high-level analytics to human resources leaders about internal mobility, but also to provide employees exciting internal career choices.


Pat Whelan, CEO & Co-Founder: LinkedIn
Sid Bhargava, CTO & Co-Founder: LinkedIn


Twitter: @paddlecareers
LinkedIn: Paddle HR


Penta Medical offers a modern approach to physical rehabilitation. They develop precision tools for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal conditions.

Their first product, Helios, allows patients to use a clinically proven treatment at home, every day. The software control system gives patients the same level of oversight as a physiotherapist, and intelligently selects the ideal treatment plan for their injuries. It's intended to be simple and easy to use — the opposite of traditional treatment tools.


Alexa Roeper, CEO, Co-founder: LinkedIn
Daniel Choi, CTO & Co-founder: LinkedIn


LinkedIn: Penta Medical
Twitter: @penta_medical


  • "At Age 22 and 23, These Sisters Have Both Founded Their Own Startups,” The Globe and Mail
  • "Women Taking Action: 10 Top Female Founded Tech Startups,” Forbes

  • "Penta Medical Takes Home $35,000 from Velocity Fund Finals,” Betakit
  • "Alexa Roeper on how Penta Medical plans to help heal injuries faster,” Canadian Business
  • The 
2017 Canadian Hardware Cup, 1st Place; 
2017 OCE Medical Sciences Proof of Principle Grant $70,000; 2017 Queens Entrepreneurship Competition, $50,000 

Stay tuned for more CFC Media Lab updates on IDEABOOST Cohort 7 in the coming months!