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After Four Great Years, SoapBox Says Goodbye to the DMZ

SoapBox co-founders Graham, Warren and Brennan pose with parting gifts (a vintage crate with their SoapBox logo, and a signed card) during their farewell party.

SoapBox co-founders Graham, Warren and Brennan pose with parting gifts during their farewell party.

SoapBox was one of the original startups at the DMZ when it opened in 2010. After four years of hard work, passion, determination and success, the company is moving into their own office space — another huge accomplishment.

The DMZ bid SoapBox a bittersweet farewell last week with a goodbye party. In messages to the team, DMZ executive director Valerie Fox spoke of the inspiration the team has provided to the rest of the DMZ, while Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy likened the relationship to that of proud parent and successful child. SoapBox co-founder Brennan McEachran said that their departure wasn’t the finale of anything, just the “end of their foreword.”

Take a look back at some of SoapBox’s highlights from their time at the Zone.

An photo of SoapBox founder Brennan from the early days of the DMZ.

The SoapBox journey all started when then-Ryerson business management student Brennan got the chance to sit down and discuss his university experience and frustrations with president Levy. The meeting sparked a radical idea; there should be a platform for every student to have the same opportunity that Brennan got, to voice their ideas and to be heard by decision makers. He decided to bring this idea to life.

Warren, Brennan and Graham.

Along with co-founders Warren Tanner and Graham McCarthy, the company (then called HitSend) developed SoapBox as a platform for people to engage in an effective online social discussion that would lead to positive change. Anyone could propose ideas and users could vote on them by clicking thumbs up or down. Key decision makers would see these ideas, evaluate them and execute them.

Brennan pitches to Indigo CEO Heather Reisman, in front of Ryerson president Sheldon Levy and DMZ Research and Innovation Director Dr. Hossein Rahnama.

Brennan pitches to Indigo CEO Heather Reisman, in front of Ryerson president Sheldon Levy and DMZ Research and Innovation Director Dr. Hossein Rahnama.

In 2011, SoapBox caught the attention of Indigo Canada. Indigoideas. a platform for book lovers and customers to interact and share ideas, was born. In 2012, the company also partnered with Vitamin Water and The Walrus magazine.

Warren stands with Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau as they look at Justin's SoapBox platform on a TV screen.

Warren stands with Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau as they look at Justin’s SoapBox platform.

During their years at the DMZ, the SoapBox team pitched to and spoke with such important figures as Margaret Atwood, Dalton McGuinty and Justin Trudeau, who uses the platform to collect the ideas and opinions of the public.

The SoapBox team poses for a Christmas photo with sweaters and a fireplace.

Momentum continued for the company and they signed with clients including Cisco, Accenture, and RBC. In late 2013, the company closed their seed round of financing with some great partners including MaRS IAF, Ontario Centres of Excellence, and Ryerson Futures. Earlier this year, the company changed their name from HitSend to SoapBox Innovations Inc.

The DMZ is sad to see this amazing team of innovators go, but excited to see what the future holds for them. Good luck, SoapBox!

The SoapBox team poses with a folded, oversized paper airplane.