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Meet one of the Co.launch winners

University of Saskatchewan student Nelson Wani won big at the Innovation Enterprise sponsored event in December 2018. We sat down with the winner to find out more about him and his startup Autumn.

Nelson is an entrepreneur at heart and can’t help but coming up with new ideas for startups, even in the middle of his busy studies at the College of Engineering Physics at the University of Saskatchewan. He had a least five different ideas connected to the name Autumn but, during the Co.Launch program, one stood out as the best: to create a data analytics and production scheduling software for small and medium manufacturers.  

Co.Launch is a program offered by Co.Labs in collaboration with Innovation Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan’s Innovation Enterprise (IE). The program is designed to fuel the growth of early-stage tech startups in Saskatchewan and take entrepreneurs from idea to market. The 3-month program had 30+ applications. 12 of those were selected to undergo extensive market validation, targeted seminars and mentorship sessions led by industry experts in Saskatoon. IE contributed $15,000 in prize money to the program, and has committed to the same support for this successful event for the next 3 years.

If we go back to the beginning of 2018, the winning idea wasn’t even on the radar for Nelson. But he always have had an entrepreneurial drive. Back in high school he build his own recording studio in his parents’ garage (to his father’s dismay). But to be more cost efficient Nelson turned his attention to software and the tech sector. He thought of different ideas and went out to several manufacturer (and potential customers) to get their feedback. The idea and solution was tweaked and improved along the process.  Nelson also had mentors with different expertise and background that could help him along the way. The final solution was decided within the last weeks of the Co.Launch program.  

Through the Co.Lauch program Nelson got in contact with other entrepreneurs that were at the same stage as he was. “I was surrounded by equally entrepreneurial minded people. I measured myself to them which I think makes you better. It inspires. It’s a motivating environment."

The Co.Launch finale was in the middle of Nelson’s university finals. He never expected to go all the way in the competition. But he had a great pitch and the judges were impressed. So a win and $5000 more in his pocket – what are the next steps?

Autumn is currently creating a pilot product. The first test users (“early adopters”) are already lined up. Two business partners are interested in joining this venture and two interns from the Computer Science school are already onboard. The plan is to generate revenue in 2-3 months and have a team in place within the year. The long-term plan is to keep growing and scaling the business for the next 4-5 years. Autumn founder, and U of S student, Nelson is excited about the future and so are we! We wish him the best for 2019!  

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