Mitacs Accelerate intern helps launch publishing app

Saskatoon-based Indie Ink start-up sees research as key resource for launch

Together with Ralph and Chris’ guidance, Suzanne put together an application for a Mitacs Accelerate grant which would afford Indie Ink access to a top-level graduate student for her tech idea. Suzanne wanted to develop a platform for a truly interactive and multi-dimensional experience for adult non-fiction book in her catalog: The New Rock Star Philosophy: A Guerilla Blueprint for Digitally Conscious Artists.

With additional funding assistance from the Government of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), Suzanne took on Flavio Ishii from the University of Saskatchewan for a four-month internship to develop the platform. The app includes images and video, geo-tagged locations of related art from a local Saskatoon artist, note-taking and feedback functions for the book’s readers to collaborate and communicate with the authors and each other. The app takes the book into a multisensory experience for the user.

“Research and development is expensive for a start-up to get into, but creative innovation is what’s meant to distinguish Indie Ink as a micro-publisher here in Canada. Partnering with Flavio through this project helped us to explore new territory as a start-up publisher and determine our next steps with this technology,” said Suzanne.

Indie Ink hopes to use the app, which is available on the App Store, as a “living laboratory” to learn about creating, marketing and selling interactive book content.  For example, a future update will include a feature that geo-tags the original art around Saskatoon so users can take a New Rockstar street art tour. The launch of the product at the 2014 Mobile-Social (MoSo) Conference has received unprecedented attention for the company, which hopes to attract greater financial investment as a result.

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan for their support of the Accelerate research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Accelerate program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, and Research Manitoba.

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