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Venture Okanagan invests in keeping kids safe online
Okanagan College Media Release

A Kelowna entrepreneur with a stellar track record for helping keep kids safe online is positioningVO April 2013 himself to do it once more, this time with some additional support from Venture Okanagan.

Chris Priebe, who helped his brother make Club Penguin the safe and secure site that has since become an industry standard, now runs 2 Hat Security. At the Venture Okanagan Spring Investors Forum, held April 3 at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, Priebe pitched his new product – PottyMouth – and received the grand $5,000 cash prize.

"I am really thankful to be able to pitch to my home-town,” Priebe said. “When I talk about keeping kids safe online that is something we get here in Kelowna.”

Okanagan College Business Professor Steve Watson, who chairs Venture Okanagan, said Priebe’s chat tools concept is just what parents are looking for.

“Rather than focus strictly on good and bad words, the tools analyze how people combine words and whether – once read in context – the meaning is naughty or nice,” Watson said. “Essentially, what they’ve done is design a better tool to help stop everything from cyber-bullying to potential pedophiles.”

2 Hat Security was one of six businesses that made presentations at the sold-out forum. Coming in second place was Janice Taylor, founder of Just Be Friends – a web-based platform that connects families and builds community. Taylor received one year of free-business service from Shaw Business.

“The six businesses all had very good concepts and the level of presentations was excellent,” said Marek Buryska, Mission branch manager of Prospera Credit Union, who along with Grant Thornton LLP co-sponsored the forum.

“This event reinforces Kelowna’s growing reputation for fostering and driving new growth businesses that will be the future of our economy,” said Grant Thornton partner Kevin Santos.

Also presenting were Trajectory Design Automation, Bananatag, Keycafe, and Factors 9 Sports.

“The entrepreneurs all had phenomenal presentations and business ideas,” said Delainie Shaw from Shaw Business. “It must have been a tough decision for the judges to pick the first and second place winners.”

The spring 2013 event marked the sixth forum, which is now in its third year of operation under the umbrella of Enactus Okanagan College. The judges included representatives from Grant Thornton, Prospera Credit Union, and select angel investors.

“In three years we’ve had great success with this program,” Watson said. “We’ve had five or six entrepreneurs receive equity investment, and an even greater number of budding entrepreneurs in the community have acquired a mentor, which is equally valuable.”

Enactus Okanagan College is a non-profit student organization that operates on all four Okanagan College campuses: Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and Salmon Arm. Enactus Okanagan College students put in over 6,500 volunteer hours during the 2011-12 school year, impacting more than 10,000 individuals in the Okanagan. Through a mix of entrepreneurial and education-based projects Enactus Okanagan College continues to empower individuals throughout the Okanagan.