SASKATOON: START-UP CENTRAL
It’s a technological boom in Saskatoon, with the second of two local businesses getting bought up by larger foreign conglomerates in less than a year. We all remember last December’s acquisition of Skip the Dishes – a delivery service that connects hungry consumers to their favourite restaurants. Their attractive business model caught the attention of European based Just Eat. Prior to the sale, Skip was available in 37 Canadian cities, as well as 6 in the U.S. The company sold for a cool $110 million, and is expected to earn approximately $23.5 million in revenues for 2017. For Skip, it’s just another day in Saskatoon. Which brings us to yesterday, when Saskatoon based game developer Noodlecake Studios Inc. sold a 70% stake to Chinese game developer ZPlay. The pricetag? $6.3 million. Known for their iOS game Super Stickman Golf, Noodlecake has more than 40 apps available on the App Store as of today. SIDEBAR: Naturally, I had to test a couple of games, and they do not disappoint. The first was Super Stickman Golf 2. It was a pleasing game, that counts on your ability to judge angles, distance and power. I played about 4 levels and then my true golf skills (terrible) began to emerge. The second, Happy Jump, has you trying to get your cute little jelly guy up as high as you can without falling. I don’t know why these games are so addictive – one minute you’re playing one game, and bam it’s 3 hours later. Be proud Saskatoon. These games were created in your own backyard. And it doesn’t end there: As an up and comer, Saskatoon is beginning to be recognized by tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, and there are a number of other Saskatoon-based start-ups to take note of that have expansion plans. Solido Design Automation designs software that is used in the manufacturing of computer chips that are used in an extensive variety of consumer electronics, such as cellphones, computers and TVs. As the Star Phoenix reported last summer, they are expected to double in size over the next few years as they continue to serve major clients such as Apple and IBM. Another Saskatoon start-up, 7Shifts and their restaurant scheduling technology, has partnered with established POS companies, which has allowed them to continue to grow and work towards cementing themselves in the market. So, if you’re a young entrepreneur working to establish yourself in the technological sector, Saskatoon might just be the place to do it. And if you’re a Saskatoon local who was unaware of the cool technology coming out of your city – keep watching. Saskatoon is officially on the map. What do you think about the boom of technology in Saskatoon? Let us know in the comments below!