Could This Waterloo Startup Change Digital Advertising The Way Blackberry Originally Changed The Smartphone

Linkett, WestonExpressions, Canadian startup, startup interview

People in Waterloo come up with some amazing ideas. Although we often joke about RIM/Blackberry these days, back when they first came out they created an entirely new industry, one that still has renewing legacy customers. By putting customers’ messaging abilities, calendars, and digital lives in the palm of their hands and making it all sync wirelessly with the office, things were easy and efficient.

Although RIM has stopped innovating, Waterloo has not.

Enter WestonExpressions, a Waterloo-based startup behind a new wireless digital, interactive advertising platform called Linkett. Now I’m definitely not a fan of big buzz words, but Linkett is really all of those things. It may be what the world has been looking for in the form of new advertising.

Linkett allows you to let your phone interact with many different types of digital advertising platforms. It can be an ad on your computer screen, a bus stop sign or even at the mall. You can use Linkett to walk through an exhibit and download the music playing. Users can use Linkett to download an author’s book while at the bookstore. You can even use Linkett to get a mall directory by just swiping your phone in front of a display. Really, the possibilities for this new advertising platform are limitless.

“The attention span of the average consumer in today’s world is at an all-time low due to “media clutter.” People can’t remember things that were advertised to them on a TV or a billboard like they once could and therefore traditional digital signage ads are less efficient. We solve this problem by making all content interactive and easily accessible for consumers while providing key analytics to promoters. Online ads provide analytics to advertisers so they can boost ad effectiveness, so we want to provide the same type of data and service but in the real world,” the team told us in an interview.

To get an idea of this new level of interaction check out the video.

What is your startup called?


What does your company do?

WestonExpressions is a technology corporation providing hardware and software innovations for the out-of-home advertisement industry.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Douglas Lusted is the CEO and co-Founder of WestonExpressions. Douglas founded the company in 2012 after winning the University of Waterloo’s Innovation Showcase and Velocity Venture Fund in his second year of business studies; leading to the development of Linkett Technology.

Ashok Patel is the COO and co-Founder of WestonExpressions. Ashok is a computer scientist that graduated from the University of Waterloo and currently handles hardware engineering and operations. Ashok is a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded Softart MicroSystems which was acquired by BlackBerry, where he was team lead for the GSM/GPRS radio protocol stack implementation team.

Vlad Pisanov is the CTO and co-founder of WestonExpressions. Vlad finished Hon.B.Sc in Physics from the University of Toronto and obtained his Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. Vlad’s previous work experience includes outdoor advertisement agencies and developed the core backend system of Linkett.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Kitchener is very tech intensive, and has a common theme of new mobile technologies especially at the Communitech Hub and Velocity Garage which serves as our incubator. There are a lot of software companies, and great engineers from the University of Waterloo. There is a much more “west-coast” vibe around a lot of the companies compared to New York or Toronto for example. After BufferBox was acquired, Vidyard and Thalmic raised high series A rounds of funding, it really attracted some talent and investors in the area.

Why now?

Digital marketing is the fastest growing channel of marketing and the technology in mobile devices is rapidly innovating. There is a critical shift in how consumers shop, obtain information and are entertained and it is being reflected in how they engage with brands, and with digital screens. We think it is the perfect time to improve digital screen technology so it can keep up with consumers and their mobile devices.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

In our first week we have reached many milestones. We closed our first round of funding from VC Firms and angel investors and also reached over 50,000 hits on YouTube. We have two international protected Patent applications and sold units internationally in the United States, Canada, Peru, New Zealand and Ireland.

What are your next milestones?

Our next milestones to reach include continuing to drive sales in North America and penetrating the retail market. We will finish product development and ship Linketts to those who have pre-ordered as well as launch our next generation Linkett that offers payment not only through mobile devices, but also through loyalty and credit cards.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

Even Canadian startups are welcome at this huge startup conference “everywhere else” 


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