By Marzena Czarnecka
In the beginning, there was a real estate developer with insomnia. “I hoped I’d get a project done in six months. It took a year. I hoped it would cost $250,000. It took half a million,” says Ben Bertrand, now 25. “Every night I tossed and turned about how slow it was going.” With numerous trades and workers, each step of construction depended on the one before it. If one crew was slower – or worse, absent – the project came to a standstill.
One night, I had a eureka moment. I had a better way.” That better way was the Geometric Construction System (GCS), a 20-foot-long machine to instantly construct walls, floors and roof panels – outfitted with wiring, plumbing and other systems. Insert materials in one end and the finished panels would pop out the other. The GCS had the potential to revolutionize construction, and Bertrand went looking for angel investors to help him build it.
Most declined. Then he met Mark Holtom, a serial entrepreneur, now 28, who brought in WebbCo International as a 5 per cent equity stake holder. They, in turn, connected the duo with the incubation program at novaNAIT’s Duncan McNeill Centre for Innovation and the designs for a prototype – on paper at least – were now in place, and Innovequity was born.
The Expert Panel
Our panel of experts weigh in on Innovequity’s business plan, red flags and next steps
Behind the Scenes
Don’t get into bed with wishy-washy investors! This and other hard lessons the Innovequity duo learned
From the Editors
Senior Editor, Craille Maguire Gillies, on hatching the concept for Project Start-Up
Our round-up of useful links for start-ups from around the web