Barbara Jones, SU alumna, professor of practice in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and founder and CEO of StayBillety, has been accepted into the 2018 GrindSpaceXL Cohort, an entrepreneurship accelerator program supported by Queen’s University’s Innovation Park.
StayBillety is the international online accommodation service connecting like-minded guests and hosts. Guests traveling for concerts, commencements or competitions can use the platform to connect and book accommodations with enterprising hosts who share their common interests.
StayBillety first previewed at Ryerson University in Toronto in March 2016 before launching its beta product out of Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad. Jones has continued to work with the LaunchPad on product development and investment strategy, including its current seed round. The company is now based in Kingston, Ontario and Syracuse, NY.
In 2017, Syracuse University Athletics and StayBillety announced their partnership, helping SU friends, families and fans find affordable accommodation when traveling. The agreement made StayBillety the Official Online Accommodation Service of Syracuse University Athletics. The partnership serves the local Syracuse community and the broader, global community of SU fans, family and alumni. Read more about the SU Athletics partnership here: http://newhouse.syr.edu/news-events/news/syracuse-university-athletics-partners-online-accommodation-service-staybillety
Jones has produced and supported consumer-facing media products for over 30 years, both multi-lingual and multi-platform. She’s held executive positions at media companies in Canada and the US, including The Travel Channel, where she helped to launch travelchannel.com; and The Weather Channel/Weather.com where she headed the company’s International Online team. Her team launched the Spanish & Portuguese versions of weather.com and weather.com’s international content and data distribution business.
Barbara Jones and Matt Potolski ’18, Falk College, at a recent ‘Cuse Market in Bird Library
The GrindSpaceXL program at Queen’s Innovation Park – now working with its sixth cohort – is an intensive 12-week business acceleration program that helps high-potential startups to improve customer traction, grow sales, and prepare for investment. Unlike other acceleration programs at Queen’s University, GrindSpaceXL focuses on companies which already have a product developed.
“We are very pleased to be providing leadership and advice to the incredible caliber of ventures developing in the region and through on campus programs,” says Jim Banting, Assistant Vice-Principal, Partnerships and Innovation, at Queen’s. “We believe that the expertise and resources that we can provide to these entrepreneurs will help them grow their ventures and take them to the next level.”
During their time in the GrindSpaceXL program, participants will receive a wide variety of support from mentors, professional service providers and other cohort members in weekly discussions.
Once the program is complete, the ventures will still be able to benefit from the many resources available through Innovation Park at Queen’s University, including incubation space. GrindSpaceXL ventures have often gone on to achieve success in their industries. GrindSpaceXL alumni include FireRein, Mesh-Scheduling Inc. (previously Canarmony), Rillea Technologies, RockMass Technologies, and Mero Technologies.
The program officially began on September 10 and will run until early December, when ventures will again pitch their businesses after developing and refining their business models over the three-month period.
The 2018 GrindSpaceXL Cohort includes:
Aorte Fitness – A kinetic resistance apparatus that has applications including use by the fitness and defence industries.
AquaSwift – AquaSwift is a water analytics company primarily focused on providing rural households and water organizations an effective way to track and monitor their water via sensor technology.
BizSkills Academy – a virtual start-up accelerator which delivers training programs to early-stage entrepreneurs, connects them to experts and mentors, and helps them access seed funding.
FanSaves – digital platform that helps increase sponsorship sales and visibility for junior and professional sports teams while growing fan engagement 365 days a year.
JIC Design – sharing of student data across school boards, colleges and schools to improve dual credit and e-learning registration processes for educational institutions.
Meta Innovation Technologies – a multi-platform interactive educational software solution that overcomes the competency gap of new hires and provides on-demand knowledge for continuing professional development.
Phoenix Armour – a composite ballistic armour that is lightweight, breathable, cool, flexible, and able to fit virtually any body shape or form. It provides unprecedented protection from ballistics, shrapnel, fragments, and explosive blasts.
StayBillety – an online accommodation service connecting like-minded guests and hosts. StayBillety pairs a home sharing model with interests, events, and activities.
Tune n’ Tone – an exercise device that supports the building of core strength and can be used by people with limited mobility.
For more information about the GrindSpaceXL program, please visit www.grindspacexl.com