Milestone for Kelowna entrepreneur

Chris Danek was the $5,000 grand prize winner of the recent Venture Okanagan Investors' Forum

  • Mar. 6, 2016 1:00 p.m.

Kelowna entrepreneur Chris Danek is in the business of making digital money transfers easier, so he was glad to receive a $5,000 grand prize from title sponsor Grant Thornton at the recently held Venture Okanagan Investors’ Forum.

Danek is the CEO and founder of Monster Money, soon to be rebranded as Spot, a person-to-person digital money transfer system. The Venture Okanagan Investors Forum was held Feb. 18 at Okanagan College. It is the largest student-run event of its type in Western Canada.

“This is a great milestone for us,” said Danek. “We’re really excited to launch our product and make sending money cheaper and easier for people.”

Venture Okanagan project manager Lauren McKay, a fourth-year Okanagan College business administration student, said Danek’s product matches the way people use money today, and makes it even easier.

“Although we’re all familiar with digital payment methods, it’s expensive and time-consuming to send small amounts of money to friends using PayPal or email money transfers. Monster Money bridges the gap between different digital payment methods, making the whole process quick, easy, and inexpensive.”

Danek says his company’s products help people send money to any mobile number or email address using any type of funding account (including other e-wallets) and making the process simple.

“Select from a list of contacts you already have in your phone, and punch in the amount you’d like to send. Done. No hassles around account details and expensive fees, just a simple and clean product to fill a need everyone has,” he said.

Monster Money was one of five startups that presented to an audience of over 100 at the recent Investors’ Forum. Coming in second place was Andrew Greer, founder of Purppl – a business accelerator program for social enterprises.

Greer received a $250 runner-up prize from SoLo GI Energy Bars as well as a $100 gift certificate from Small Business BC, awarded to each of the five presenting entrepreneurs.

Also presenting were Mower Brewing, Limitless Potential Technologies, and 3D Currax Solutions.

The February event marked the 10th forum, which is now in its sixth year of operation under Enactus Okanagan College. The judges included representatives from Grant Thornton, City of Kelowna, and select angel investors.

Mark Ziebarth, Enactus faculty advisor and Okanagan College professor, said this event acts as a catalyst for local growth by facilitating connections between entrepreneurs and investors.

“This forum does something that seldom happens in our greater Okanagan community — it brings together local startups, motivated investors, business experts, and students in an interactive setting that encourages strategic opportunities for everyone involved,” Ziebarth said.

Enactus Okanagan College is a non-profit student run organization that develops and implements projects in our communities that improve the quality of life and standard across the region. Enactus projects focus on three important areas—entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and environmental sustainability. The organization is in its 10th year of operations with its team of students having provided more than 8,170 volunteer hours, directly impacting the lives of over 3,600 people in the Okanagan Valley.


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