January 18, 2017 – Toronto, ON – BetShare, a group of Toronto entrepreneurs, won Horse Racing 3.0: Changing the Game (HR3). HR3 is a customer centric, open innovation program that challenged Canadian start-ups and entrepreneurs to co-develop disruptive technology with Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) to help transform the horse racing industry.
BetShare developed a next generation handicapping platform that allows customers to follow experienced players through video streaming, explanation and supporting betting statistics (e.g. strike rate, return on investment, hot streak, etc.). Meanwhile, the seasoned bettors earn money through ad revenue and commission on successful bets they’ve facilitated.
Leveraging this open-source approach to wagering and handicapping, WEG would benefit by creating more winners and a potential influx of new users.
Team members, Pedro Pessoa, Salah Rawdat, Andrew Chui, Esteban Cardenas and Nehal Rao, received $12,000 in cash, and a six-month enrollment in Ryerson’s iBoost incubation zone in collaboration with WEG where they can further develop their prototype. The potential of this concept provides an opportunity for BetShare to enter into a pilot agreement with WEG to help bring their solution to market. The team also won the kick off “Design Jam” to launch HR3 last September.
“This was a tough decision,” said Sean Pinsonneault, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Wagering, WEG. “All the teams presented smart concepts. Ultimately, BetShare best solved our challenge to engage new fans and generate additional revenue streams. Their approach to simplify betting by using the pros to help novices and others get more confident in their wagering by winning more is a huge opportunity for us to engage a younger demographic. We see a lot of potential here.”
Second and third place teams HRX and Horseplay were awarded $8,000 and $1,000 respectively, and also received a six-month enrollment in iBoost and a chance to enter into a pilot agreement with WEG.
HRX developed a platform that makes becoming a horse owner within reach of the average fan by connecting horse sellers with interested buyers through fractional ownership with a highly simplified process. Horseplay is an application that allows users to place bets on past races and compete in a virtual horse racing community for credits, recognition and rewards, allowing passive engagement that trains customers for real betting on live horse races.
“The innovative product solutions developed by the winning teams truly push the boundaries of technology in our industry and present great opportunities to transform horse racing for future generations,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of WEG. “We are excited to see how these solutions will enable Woodbine to reach and engage younger demographics and look forward to working with these passionate entrepreneurs.”
A joint initiative between WEG, Ryerson University’s Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation and iBoost, HR3 was launched last September. Teams were given three months to develop a prototype of their business solution, including support through workshops and one-on-one sessions with the WEG Innovation Team, industry professionals and business mentors to set and achieve milestones to help teams commercialize their technology. More information about the winners is available at www.hr3.ca.
About Woodbine Entertainment Group
With roots dating back to 1881, Woodbine Entertainment Group is the largest horse racing operator in Canada, showcasing world-renowned horse racing at Woodbine Racetrack (Toronto), home of the iconic Queen’s Plate, and Mohawk Racetrack (Milton), host of the storied Pepsi North America Cup. WEG is the leading member of the Standardbred Alliance and the single operator of Teletheatres and Account Wagering, available through www.HPIbet.com, in Ontario. Woodbine Entertainment is designated as a Caring Company with Imagine Canada, and gives back through WEGcares Community Investment Program.
About Office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation at Ryerson University
Ryerson University’s Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation supports scholarly, research and creative (SRC) activity and innovation across Ryerson. With over 200 local, national and global academic, community and industry partners, our faculty work to drive economic growth and improve the lives of Canadians in areas including digital media and technology, energy and sustainability, and technological and industrial innovation, to name a few. In the last five years, the university has experienced dramatic growth in research and innovation, with a 65 per cent increase in funding. With innovation at the core of its research mandate, Ryerson houses over 125 centres, institutes and innovation zones including the DMZ, the top-rated university-based business incubator in North America.
Established in 2015 by the Faculty of Engineering & Architectural Science at Ryerson University, iBoost is a customer centric technology startup incubator at Ryerson University that focuses on capacity building at the entrepreneurial, venture investor and policy levels of the innovation ecosystem. iBoost provides a collaborative environment dedicated to educating and supporting entrepreneurs throughout their journey from incubation to acceleration and beyond.