Wordcamp Ottawa 2013

Ottawa is having their very first WordCamp. This is a great event on April 27th 2013. Check out their website for further details.


They are planning 3 tracks of presentations,

“Content Creators” with presentations that will help users that create content in WordPress sites.
“Site Creators” with content for those who are more experienced users, but not necessarily designers or developers.
“Code Creators” will include presentations for designers or developers about site set-up, theme design, plugin development, best practices for development, and more.

This is open to anyone interested in WordPress. You do have to register to ensure a spot.

By Natasha D'Souza

eBook for Technology Entrepreneurs

Recently a group of talented individuals in Ottawa launched an ebook on Technology Entrepreneurship. It’s relevant to any technology startup that wants to be successful in their domain. It covers various topics of interest from Business Models, minimal viable products to managing employees and more.


The editors are none other that Dr. Tony Bailetti (Technology Innovation Management, Carleton University) and Brian Hurley (President and CEO, Purple Forge Corp), with a forward by Denzil Doyle (Chairman, Doyletech Corporation.

It’s available on Amazon, check it out you won’t be disappointed.



By Natasha D'Souza

ThinkRF is looking for a software developer

Think RF is looking for the next rockstar software developer.

C/C++; Python, Qt application framework; Java, Linux, embedded systems architecture and statistical computing in numpy/scipy, and Matlab.

If you meet the above qualifications apply now to be part of a great team.



By Natasha D'Souza

DCentred : Showcase Event by prototypeD Urban Workshops

DCentred Showcase is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn how prototypeD Urban Workshops can help businesses launch new products, build better brands, develop social and print media campaigns, and increase revenues by using design as a tool to build a better business.

The day is organized in two sessions, morning and afternoon.  The morning session will be of the most relevance to entrepreneurs.  Presentations will be made by Janak Alford, founder of prototypeD, who will will discuss how mixing technological development (rapid prototyping, data mining, visualization, and mapping) with traditional design (conceptual, artistic, product, industrial, and architectural) can result in new opportunities for businesses to develop quickly with lower overhead, smaller teams, in a modern cloud-based operating environment.  Omar Hashem founder of Picondo Homes and a client of prototypeD will then highlight how working with prototypeD accelerated his path to market, and ultimately resulted in a $1.2M development project in urban Ottawa.

The afternoon session of the DCentred Showcase is open to the public and will feature several demonstrations of the technology that is being pioneered at prototypeD and a few talks on how this technology is helping to change urban planning, artistic development, and how digital technology and social media are colliding with artistic movements. While less focused toward business, the afternoon sessions will be valuable to any entrepreneur or SME to gain a new understanding of opportunities in the competitive marketplace.

The workshop is FREE and includes lunch and coffee breaks.  Entrepreneurs are invited to come for any portion of the day, or to stay for the entire workshop however you have to register to attend.

You can download the entire day’s event schedule here: http://prototyped.org/dcentred.pdf


By Natasha D'Souza

Lead To Win sessions starting Oct. 30th 2012

Are you (or someone you know) serious about establishing and growing a business?  Do you think you have the next killer idea/product/service but don’t know how to go about starting a successful, growth-oriented business?  Do you already have a business, but your growth has stagnated, and you need to figure out how to reinvigorate it?  If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then the Lead To Win (LTW) Bootcamp is for you.


The LTW Bootcamp will provide company founders with:

  • The knowledge necessary to establish and grow a successful business;
  • The confidence, encouragement and motivation to succeed;
  • The foundation to sell to first customers, raise funds and attract talent;
  • Access to a large and diverse business network;

All tech founders are welcome, as well as founders starting businesses in any sector.

The next session of Lead To Win is scheduled for October 29-30-31 and  November 27-28-29, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The 6 days of training are free, but you must apply!




By Natasha D'Souza

[Next Wednesday]: Meet AppSumo CEO & former Director of Marketing at Mint, Noah Kagan

Register Now! [Free Event]

Join us on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 7pm for a unique opportunity to meet and network with Chief Sumo Noah Kagan.

Noah is the Founder of AppSumo, former Director of Marketing at Mint Software (acquired by Intuit for $170M) and former product manager at Facebook. Noah has travelled all the way from Austin, Texas to check out the startup community in Ottawa.

We have reserved “Fox 2″, the large private room upstairs at the Fox & Feather on Elgin Street.

Register Now!

More about Noah (from Wikipedia):

In late 2005, Kagan joined Facebook as employee #30, where he served as product manager for eight months. During his time he is credited with pioneering the Facebook status update and it’s mobile application with Mark Slee. After Facebook, he then became Mint software employee #4 as the director of marketing in December 2006. At Mint, Kagan developed the initial marketing strategy for the launch of the website which now has over 7 million users.

After Mint, in June 2007, Kagan founded his first major company, KickFlip, a payment company for social games. Kickflip was the #1 Facebook app company of its time and would eventually become Gambit, which served over 40 million users, had $18 million in revenue, and was the #2 payments company for Facebook games.

In March of 2010 Kagan founded AppSumo, a daily deals website for digitally distributed goods. Today, the website has over 700,000 active subscribers and is particularly popular among the startup community.

By Aydin Mirzaee

Get (free) advice for your startup: Call Guido!

Last week we launched a new site at Mercury Grove to reflect the new direction of our startup – a startup collective in Ottawa, Canada where entrepreneurs can build awesome stuff alongside worldclass designers, developers, and investors.

One of the pillars of our new direction is to provide personalized, professional feedback for startups on their business – not as a paid service, but for free.  Why?  For two reasons:

  1. We’re trying to recruit the best startups in Ottawa to join us.
  2. Your success = Ottawa’s success

I meet a lot of startups every week – and I love it.  But between Startupplays.com, our other apps, a growing family, travel, and the mentorship I’m doing across Canada, I just can’t meet everyone.

Meet Guido.  I’ve been impressed with Guido since we first met for his startup analysis skills and experience in this space.  A little background about him:

Guido is a young and passionate entrepreneur who just arrived in Canada from Italy. In his home country he worked with EnLabs, the first business incubator in Rome. He was responsible for structuring and launching this new incubator and was instrumental in its early success. While at EnLabs, Guido worked with some of the largest venture capital firms in Europe. He was also focused on selection and providing guidance and mentorship to startups in the program. He helped to develop and nurture the startup culture in Rome, organizing events and conferences with international speakers like Carl Schramm, former president of the Kauffman Foundation.

Guido has a Masters Degree in Entrepreneurship from LUISS University in Rome where he wrote his thesis about business incubators and early stage companies.

Guido has already met with over a dozen companies in Ottawa and all have had very positive feedback on his advice and feedback.

So I urge you to book some time with him – he’ll buy coffee, and I guarantee it will be worth your time.

(photo cred to Design Sponge)

By Scott Annan

DemoCamp Ottawa is back!

I know, I know… it’s about time!!!  The next DemoCamp is set for March 28th at Mercury Grove.

You can signup to attend or present here.

Never been to a DemoCamp?  It’s the most fabulous event in Ottawa for meeting cool startups and entrepreneurs, and seeing some really awesome apps.  Anyone can grab the stage (actually it’s limited to 6 companies for time) and show you, their peers, their cool stuff with the hopes of getting feedback and tips on how to make it epic.  It’s kinda like the Dragon’s Den tv show without the dragons, the tv, and the pressure – oh, and its a lot of fun, there’s beer, and… ok, its not really like the Dragon’s Den at all – it’s more like a house party with some cool apps on a big screen.

Still… we’re hoping to shine a spotlight on new tech and we’ll have some people who have been asking us about where to invest all their money, so if you’re looking for some internet dough, let us know and we’ll make sure you get a chance to pitch.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

By Scott Annan

Ottawa’s Coral CEA invests in four Toronto based startups

Coral CEA, a not-for-profit open innovation network based here in Ottawa, has invested $120,000 in four companies located at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ). What is the DMZ? It’s a workplace and incubator designed for young entrepreneurs. It’s members have access to overhead and business services, which means students and alumni can fast track their product launches.

Companies involved in the investment include:

  • ARB Labs Inc. designed a software application that that allows any video display to create an immersive 3D effect – without the need for goggles or glasses
  • Greenguage Inc. developed a software tool for smartphone and Web that blends mobile technology with the green movement allowing monitoring of Corporate Social Responsibility efforts
  • HitSend Inc. offers an online platform to enable and enhance community-based change by tapping into the community’s collective voice
  • ViaFoura Inc. created a cloud-based plug and play user engagement and gaming platform for online content sites

 Check out what the DMZ is all about below:

By Carolynn Lacasse

IRAP’S VC Pitchfest and What It Means for Ottawa

Below is a guest post by friend and local entrepreneur Kyle McInnes, co-founder of Pretzil, who was a participant at the IRAP “PitchFest”.  The views are entirely his own and I exercised massive restraint by not changing some of his comments (but couldn’t resist the picture).

The IRAP pitchfest happened recently on Wednesday, February 8th at the new OCRI (now “Invest Ottawa”) building at 80 Aberdeen in Little Italy. I thought I’d summarise the event for those that couldn’t make it and provide a little insight into how I think the event could be improved.

When Scott first blogged on StartupOttawa about IRAP’s VC pitchfest, it obviously touched a nerve with IRAP and the Invest Ottawa crowd. During the whole application process and through the event, I probably heard it indirectly and directly referenced at least a few times. The post brings up some really valid criticisms of the pitchfest idea including the fact that there was zero transparency on the part of IRAP as to how they went about selecting companies to present. Scott’s criticism that IRAP’s mandate doesn’t include this kind of work is something I’d have to disagree with. IRAP’s explicit mandate is to “Help you grow stronger, grow faster, grow bigger through innovation and technology.” I would argue that IRAP bringing VCs to Ottawa is a clear way to fulfill its mandate.

Overall, the VC pitchfest was a fun event, but I take issue with the way it was managed. It was clear that IRAP is still figuring out how best to connect companies and investors, and as someone who went through the whole event, I can think of a few ways that it could have been run more effectively.

1. Selecting Companies – At the event, I spoke to one of the VCs in attendance to get his impression on the selection process. The VC told me that he hadn’t even been asked by IRAP or Invest Ottawa as to what kind of companies his fund was looking to invest in. Personally, I think it would have made far more sense for IRAP to ask the VCs what kind of companies they want to invest in, and then search Ottawa to connect those companies to the interested VCs.

2. Focus – The IRAP pitchfest had a wide variety of companies pitching. The pitchfest included companies pitching everything from intelligent video hardware to an online wedding registry service. It’s great to see the breadth of companies and talent here in Ottawa, but companies are more likely to get funded if you focus on an industry. IRAP needs to put hardware companies in front of investors who fund hardware companies and mobile companies in front of mobile-focused funds. This will surely increase the likelihood of someone getting funded.

3. Keep it private – The whole event was a little too public. Companies were expected to pitch to a group of investors in a room filled with other startups, IRAP representatives and Invest Ottawa employees. I’ve heard from numerous startups that have raised money that the most effective use of your time is to carefully handpick investors and meet with them to set milestones and expectations. Openly pitching to a group of investors that are possibly interested feels too much like a “spray and pray” versus “sniping” approach.

4. Feedback – IRAP was very eager to help the startups perfect their pitch. During the process, I had to do 2 mock presentations in front of a small IRAP committee as well as an IRAP rep came to my office before pitch day for a private consultation. It’s good to see IRAP so keen on helping but I would have liked to get feedback from real entrepreneurs rather than a panel of government employees. IRAP did a great job of bringing VCs into this pitchfest and it would have been helpful for them to bring in entrepreneurs with experience raising money to help the startups who were about to pitch.

The IRAP pitchfest addressed a clear issue that Ottawa has a hard time attracting VC funds to the city. IRAP proved that it can entice those investors to come to the city, but we need to make sure these investors are meeting talent they’re looking for. In the end, IRAP managed to bring almost a billion dollars to the city. IRAP should continue to work to bring this type of money to the city, but make better use of everyone’s time. For those looking to raise money, the following funds were present and worth researching:

Tandem Expansion Fund ($300M)
SummerHill Venture Partners ($200M)
Real Ventures ($25M)
Ontario Investment Accelerator Fund ($30M)
OMERS Ventures ($180M)
Extreme Venture Partners ($50)
BDC ($190M)

The next time Invest Ottawa and IRAP get involved in bringing companies and investors together, I’d like to see them connect investors and companies in a more structured, transparent and focused approach. The most important thing is that somebody gets funded, because it will send a message to other funds that Ottawa talent can’t be ignored. With enough investments, hopefully these funds will open Ottawa offices and create a strong investment community. That’s when we all win.

By Scott Annan