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Recap from Launch Academy HQ's builders meetup showcasing Vancouver’s best new products

Discover the what, why, and what’s next from some of the startups that demoed: Perceptional, SpeedSense, CodeMaker AI, and DataFeel

Last week, the Vancouver Tech Journal team had the chance to attend Launch Academy HQ — the tech incubator and accelerator — latest meetup showcasing demos of some of the best new products coming out of Vancouver hosted at Microsoft.

In between and after the buzzing conversations, we connected with four founders who presented to recap what their product is, what problem it’s solving, why it’s so important, and what people can expect next from their team and product.

Photo: Amer Abu-Khajil

What: Perceptional is an AI-powered chatbot that can conduct user interviews. 

It's designed to gather valuable qualitative feedback from users at scale —providing more in-depth insights than an online survey, much faster than one-on-one interviews. 

As responses come in, Perceptional synthesizes that data into key findings, summaries, themes, sentiment, and more.

Why: To make confident decisions, product teams often rely on having conversations with their customers. Perceptional was built to solve the challenge of collecting deep qualitative insights at scale. 

We found that teams were either relying on shallow, yet scalable, online surveys or time-consuming, yet in-depth, user interviews. 

This is a problem I faced firsthand in my previous roles as a product manager and startup founder — which I then validated with others in the industry.

What’s next: We just launched in March. 

Our immediate focus is to continue onboarding our early users and improving user experience based on early feedback. 

Beyond that, we are obsessed with making Perceptional more valuable and more enjoyable for product teams and respondents. 

Product teams should expect more dimensions to the results analysis which combine qualitative and quantitative data — diving deeper into themes, problems, and opportunities — as well as more ways to integrate Perceptional into their existing workflow. 

Respondents can look forward to new interaction options with Perceptional, including audio interviews and image feedback.

Photo: Shawn O'Neill

What: A faster website results in better UX, higher revenues, lower costs, and lower carbon emissions. 

Sensai helps developers and ops teams pinpoint the exact changes to make to their website to maximize site speed. It helps them make sense of the endless to-dos with intelligent ranking based on their actual users.

Sensai integrates data from real user traffic, Google’s perception of the site, and thousands of synthetic audits to help product teams surface the top issues affecting site speed.

Why: As users browse the web, Chrome is sending anonymous data back to Google’s servers about how long pages take to load, how much lag there was when someone clicked a button, etc. Google uses this data to influence search ranking, and in turn how much traffic a website gets.

Without a clear picture of the current state, and where they want to get, brands can’t prioritize a site speed project. 

There are dozens of tools to measure the speed of a webpage. These tools spit out hundreds of metrics. Large brands have hundreds of thousands of pages — resulting in millions of data points. 

This haystack of data makes it impossible to know where to begin, how big the problem is, and how to build a defensible business case. Impossible to prioritize.

Sensai sifts the needles from the haystack so that businesses can tackle site speed with efficiency. It merges data from a variety of sources, and guides product, marketing, and development teams to build a faster web by focussing on the fixes with the highest reach and impact across their domain. 

Sensai shows teams where to act, why that’s the most important opportunity, and specifically what to do about it. 

What’s next: In the coming months our strategic focus is on go-to-market with Sensai as a stand-alone platform, bringing the impact of bespoke consultancy to thousands of businesses at a fraction of the price of an in-house team or agency. 

Our product roadmap is guided by our customers. Some of our top initiatives include:

  • Real-time user monitoring to calculate the correlation between milliseconds and dollars for each website. It’s a lot easier to justify tech expenditures when there is a clear ROI attached. “100ms faster” may not sound like much, but for large brands that could map to millions in incremental revenue. 

  • Calculating the CO2 emissions of our customers’ websites. The internet produces more carbon emission than the airline industry. Every byte sent around the world has an energy, and therefore carbon cost. Progressive brands have asked us to help measure and reduce the emissions from their digital properties.

  • Supporting our agency partners to oversee and improve the site speed of their portfolio of companies, from one central tool. Many brands don’t have an in-house dev team, and rely on external dev shops. We are supporting these agencies to run a faster web. 

Photo: Jakub Narloch

What: CodeMaker AI offers tools and automation for software developers for writing, testing, and documenting source code. 

We aim to integrate our product with the entire software development life cycle including the integrated development environment (IDE), issue tracker, continuous delivery, and integration. 

A unique feature of our product is autonomous source code processing in which our product can generate code or documentation fully autonomously.

Why: Our mission is to improve software developer productivity. 

According to research, software developers who use AI-powered coding tools can complete their tasks 55% faster. We challenge ourselves to deliver products that will act as a force multiplier and offer even greater productivity improvement.

What’s next: Today, a common problem of AI coding tools is their unreliability and subpar quality of the generated results. 

We’re overcoming this problem for existing codebases and offer our customers significant improvements in the correctness and quality of the generated code. 

We’re launching a custom fine-tuning pipeline that will enable our customers to use custom models that are tailored to their codebase.

Leigh Sembaluk, co-founder of DataFeel

Photo: Leigh Sembaluk

What: DataFeel provides customizable multi-energy haptic technology, tools, and IP to unlock the next generation of haptic products.

Haptic vibration technology has become used in everything from cell phones to playstation controllers to wearable devices. While form factors have changed, haptics have typically just added vibration while telling us to look at a screen. 

Our patented technologies and development kit allows users to overlay various energies right out of the box from thermal energy — heat and cold — vibration, and light so that a new generation of haptic products can be created simply, easily, and without restriction. 

Enhance the feel of music, feel fire and ice shoot from your arms in video games, create therapeutic wearables to heal sports injuries, or help shift nervous system states with rhythmic arrays of our haptic nodes placed anywhere on the body.

Why: When we started discussing the idea of what possibilities come with overlaying different technologies in the same piece of hardware and stringing them together, experts in gaming, music, medical, sports and beyond came to us with great ideas. 

We couldn’t pick one to start so we decided that we should enable these technologies to come to life by building the hardware and software infrastructure needed for anyone to get started and bring them to market. 

The body reacts differently to different types of stimulus and the right combination in the right form factor can enhance unlimited products and even lives. 

An example of vibration enhancing one's life is Music: Not Impossible by Not Impossible Labs. The project created vibrating haptic vests to allow people with hearing impairments to ‘listen’ to music through isolation of frequencies and outputting them to the wearer.

With technology such as ours, almost anyone would be able to make a project like this. Our DevKit comes with many key building blocks making it easier, simpler, and much cheaper while enhancing it with thermal and light energies for a multi-sensory experience.

We believe the world is ready to usher in a new wave of immersive technologies and we are looking forward to providing the platform for the creativity of innovators to build upon.

What’s next: In the next few months, we will be releasing our multi-energy haptic development kit. 

It will include all the software and firmware needed to get started, a wireless controller, four multi-energy nodes which can rapidly heat and cool, vibrate with over 100 preset or custom patterns, and utilize six full spectrum LEDs. 

These can be worn and attached in multiple ways with 3D printable additional attachments and can have anywhere from 1-16 nodes in an array suitable for a simple or full-body experience. If you’d like to know more, feel free to reach out at [email protected].

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