A Check-in with Last Year’s Hi5 Pitch Competition Winners: Where They’re at Now

By October 30, 2023November 10th, 2023Haltech Client Spotlight, Hi5 Pitch Competition

Stratosphere.io CEO Braden Dennis and Haltech CEO Shann McGrail at Hi5 2022

From the spark of innovation to the flame of success, Hi5 Pitch Competition winners are illuminating our region.

Last year’s Hi5 Pitch Competition was a testament to the incredible talent in our region, and we’re delighted to share the inspiring success stories of the winners. Braden Dennis, Co-founder and CEO of Stratosphere.io, claimed the first-place prize, while Tina Safaei, CEO of Pahk Solutions, secured the People’s Choice award. We caught up with these remarkable entrepreneurs to learn about their journey since their victory on November 24, 2022.

Stratosphere.io: Soaring to New Heights

Since their triumph at the Hi5 Pitch Competition, Stratosphere.io has been on an impressive trajectory. We asked Braden about the company’s evolution and growth.

Q: How has your company has evolved and grown since your Hi5 Pitch Competition victory.

A: After Hi5, we went on to raise an impressive $1.75 million in funding, which fueled our growth. Our annual recurring revenue has now reached seven figures, a significant milestone in our journey.

Q: Any specific achievements, support, or opportunities you’ve gained from your association with Haltech?

A: Our association with Haltech has been invaluable. The network connections and press coverage provided by Haltech have been instrumental in expanding our reach and visibility in the tech ecosystem.

Q: We’d love to hear about the personal journey you’ve embarked on as an entrepreneur. Any lessons learned, challenges overcome, or insights gained during this time.

A: Being a founder is about earning insights. These insights come from interacting with customers, solving their problems effectively, and constantly iterating. It’s about asking the right questions and being agile in adapting to the market’s needs.

Pahk Solutions: Driving Change and Winning Awards

Pahk Solutions, led by Tina Safaei, has also seen remarkable success and recognition since their Hi5 Pitch Competition win.

Q: How has your company has evolved and grown since your Hi5 Pitch Competition victory.

A: The funding support from Haltech allowed us to accelerate product development, particularly in IT security and data privacy, key requirements for our enterprise clients. In July, we submitted a provisional patent that protects our system and method of individual carbon emission monitoring, enhancing our competitive edge in automatic carbon footprint measurement.

Awards and Recognition:

Pahk Solutions has not only grown but also gained significant recognition. They were honoured with the Women4Climate Award of the City of Toronto and C40 Cities, underscoring the alignment of their offering with municipalities’ demands for community engagement in sustainability. This accolade has broadened their reach and created new sales opportunities.

Lessons learned, challenges overcome, and insights gained:

Tina Safaei reflects on her entrepreneurial journey, emphasizing that growth lies in embracing the discomfort of the unknown and new experiences. She believes that innovation and entrepreneurship thrive beyond the boundaries of familiarity and is prepared to keep embracing each year as a first year.

Looking Forward

The success stories of Stratosphere.io and Pahk Solutions stand as a testament to the innovation and entrepreneurship that thrives in our community. We’re proud to have played a part in their journeys, and we look forward to supporting many more aspiring entrepreneurs on their path to success. As we celebrate these achievements, we’re reminded that the joy of life truly comes from our encounters with new experiences and the determination to overcome challenges.

Interested in learning more about the latest buzz in Halton’s tech startup ecosystem? Our next Hi5 Pitch Competition happens Nov 30th, 2023. Get your tickets here.
Shane Ropp

Author Shane Ropp

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