After working with about a dozen start-ups in six years, businessman Emmanuel Cameron was ready to launch his own. The lack of networking caused by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed him to develop an app that could let someone introduce new acquaintances to already established business contacts, all through the internet… kind of like a virtual handshake. This platform, called e-intro, promises to be a very useful addition to networking tools. The Cilex team is already using it daily.
Emmanuel Cameron’s tendency to be meticulously organized might appear to be a headache waiting to happen, but it is actually what led him to identify this particular need in 2020’s context. An experienced entrepreneur, he has always been fascinated by the business world and the links established through partnerships and collaborations. Prior to working in the start-up ecosystem as a business development manager at Futurpreneur Canada, he studied at Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and McGill University. Mr. Cameron then worked as a consultant in commercialization. The spark came when he was nominated in the Connector category at the Startup Community Awards of Montreal.
“I didn’t win the award, but it did give me an idea: everybody has the potential to create connections in their own network, they just need the right method and tool to get there. The pandemic then sped up the whole design process. There was a need to meet. So, I decided to launch my project with Andre Holmak, a friend from Polytechnique who was also a new father like me. That was the start of e-intro,” explains Emmanuel.
The two of them began the development process in the summer of 2020 and launched the first version in December. They then spent the beginning of 2021 optimizing e-intro’s user experience with the help of four early adopters: Cilex, Continuums, MT Lab and DigiHub.
Why Cilex ?
At the start of development, the e-intro team chose Cilex – along with three other incubators in the Quebec ecosystem – as a beta-tester due to its expertise in innovation and its role in the world of entrepreneurship. Cilex was indeed able to help with the integration of artificial intelligence, which lets people send out e-introductions without leaving the “comfort” of their own mailbox. This became the new virtual assistant function.
“When Emmanuel showed us his project, we were immediately interested, not only because of the coaching we could give them, but also because we saw in it the answer to a challenge we were ourselves facing when trying to track our networking and overall client satisfaction,” says Chloé Martinetti, Director of Operations and Development at Cilex.
Cilex’s involvement also offered the e-intro team a chance to collect comments and suggestions from engineers and various other users.
“We were very lucky to obtain Cilex’s help. We have the same mindset regarding support programs for entrepreneurs. Plus, Cilex helped us get AI on board, connected us with numerous people, and showcases our work to its clientele. We will be collaborating with Cilex for three years to work on the platform and we will make sure it keeps on being a mutually beneficial relationship,” added Emmanuel Cameron.
The first official version of e-intro, currently only available in beta, will be launched around July and will include the virtual assistant function. Its goal will be to facilitate business introductions and create a networking platform that enables data collection.
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