Archive for 'democamp'

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

DemoCamp Ottawa 16 on June 29th!

Alright, its time for another DemoCamp after a too-long hiatus!

If you haven’t attended DemoCamp before and you’re a local entrepreneur or tech enthusiast than now’s your chance to meet your peers & fellow tech junkies.

If you have attended a DemoCamp before, then you know all about how much fun it is.

If you’re interested in pitching, go here and signup:

If you’re interested in seeing pitches, being social, and having a great time, signup here:

Looking forward to seeing everyone out for the event!!!

By Scott Annan

DemoCampOttawa on Februrary 2nd


It’s time for another DemoCamp – for Ottawa web startup entrepreneurs to show their peers their latest project and get some great feedback and support.

This month we’re going to try something different (why not?) and let you decide which projects you’d like to see on display.  In the past it has been a “first come, first present” based on signups and I had several companies contact me three days after we posted the event vying for the chance to present.  We considered some different ideas on how to be more “fair”, or at least another way of selecting startups, and I came to the conclusion that there’s no “right way” of selecting.

After a lot of thought, it was decided that DemoCamp isn’t actually about the presenters, or the products, or even the entrepreneurs (though its an awesome experience if you haven’t had the chance to present before!) – it’s about the community – all of us.  So why not get everyone involved in the selection process?

So… if you’re interested in presenting your project, I urge you to signup on the DemoCamp website.  Next week I’ll send out a poll and ask everyone who’s signed up (and StartupOttawa readers) to select which startups you’d like to see present.

If you’ve never attended a DemoCamp, I highly encourage you to come out and see the presentations and meet some awesome local entrepreneurs.  Check out the details below.

When: Wednesday, February 2nd, 6pm
Where: Mercury Grove HQ (738A Bank St, Suite 205)
Info (or to present): DemoCamp Website
Signup: Here

By Scott Annan

A whole lot of awesomeness at DemoCamp Ottawa

Last night marked the first Ottawa DemoCamp of the season and by all accounts, was a “smashing success”.  Below is a list of the presentations with my short description of each of the services.  If you live in Ottawa, have heard of Ottawa, or have ever used the internet (you’re reading this post right now) you should take 30 minutes to signup for every one of the apps below for three reasons:

  1. This is Innovation (capital I).  These are really great applications that are amazing from a design, usability, and application standpoint
  2. These apps could change the way you work and live and inspire you on whatever project you’re working on
  3. These are people in your community who are going to change the world, and they need your support and feedback.

Especially #3.  This is your obligation.  Their contribution is building awesome apps to change the world and getting up in front of 90 people to show and tell – warts and all.  My contribution is hosting the event and writing this post.  Yours is to try these apps out, try to apply them to your life, tell people you know, and provide some feedback to help these people achieve their goals.  And they’ll do the same for you when its your turn to take the stage.

OK, enough proselytizing, below are the awesome apps we saw last night:

Ellis Westwood kicked off the night with a presentation on crowdsourcing from Ascentum.  Ellis demo’d a crowdsourcing / community “voting” app that he built for the Canadian government to get feedback on their innovation strategy.  The app was clean, easy to use, and looked like something that would be really engaging for users – which is no small feat for a government / CLF website!

Pat Pichette of Mercury Grove presented next, which is a “client expectation management” service targeted at interactive agencies and software development companies.  Pat did a great job demonstrating how agencies and small dev shops can get a competitive advantage over the competition while improving overall communication and client relationships through the app.  Plus, there was some pretty awesome use of “AJAX” that really blew the crowd away!  This app was by far my (completely unbiased) favorite.

Ivan Paramanau followed Pat with a great app called TadaGraph which looked like an awesome way to create an online “co-working” experience for distributed teams.  It’s a great mix of twitter-like comments & responses that use hashtags to self-organize into project tasks, direct messages, group conversations, and location check-in.  Keep an eye out for TadaGraph – the uses for this kind of solution are widespread, and could have an impact in lots of different industries.  Ivan’s company, Itteco, has been working with local startups over the last few years, and I can personally attest to their awesome development skills.

During the break Allan Isfan talked about street lights, interactive quizzes before movies, and generated a lot of interest in a new event he’s planning to launch called IdeaCamp.  Keep an ear out for this event.

After the break Rich Loen from InGenius presented a yet to be named twitter application for the iPad that will change the way you use twitter (honestly).  It’s an “ingenius” (pun super-intended, but accurate) application that helps you track real-time stuff you care about (like tv shows, sports teams…) with learning algorithms that help you see in-context trending topics.  It really is a brilliant use of Twitter and I can hardly wait to get my hands on this app.  There were some complaints that it’s currently only available on the iPad, but mostly just whiny people who don’t have an ipad ;-) .  Awesome presentation!

Finally was a presentation by Jean-Francois Bibeau and Maxime Maltais on their awesome financial management app called wiserwallet.  It’s a great application that makes it easy to manage your budget with imports from all the major Canadian banks and more Ajax than you can shake a stick at.  It’s a very easy to use, simple (for the user, not so much in the implementation, I’m sure) app that could be really useful for managing your day-to-day budget, and planning for big ticket items.  It’s still early stage based on the founders’s ambition, but definitely good enough for you to signup and use.

By Scott Annan

It’s time for another DemoCamp

Seriously… isn’t it though?

It’s time to show off what the peeps in Ottawa have been working on!  We’re going to try something different this time and host it at the Mercury Grove / Network Hippo office which may include a lot more standing room, BUT will also include some (free) beer and (hopefully) a post-democamp meetup / party that will enable us all to connect better and figure out ways to work together.

Here are the details:

For more information, and to signup to pitch, check out the official DemoCamp website.

Seriously, you should really come out to this event to see some cool new tech in Ottawa, meet some awesome people, and have a few pints…

By Scott Annan

Demo Camp is Tomorrow (thrusday) Night

I just wanted to remind everyone that DemoCamp is happening tomorrow night at The Clock Tower on Bank street.  See you there….

By Scott Lake

DemoCamp 13 is on April 15th…

There is no better way to kick off the beginning of spring than by checking out some cool demos at DemoCamp Ottawa! 

On April 15th, we will be hosting DemoCamp 13 at the Clock Tower. 

If you’d like to attend the event, you can register here.

If you’d like to demo, you can sign up here.


So far the following people have put their names in the hat to demo.

  1. – Peter Childs 
  2. – Zaki Usman  
  3. – Shahzad Khan
  4. -  Jason Daley

This should be another great night of startups and beer drinking at the ClockTower.

Date:         April 15, 2010 – 6pm to 9pm
Location: ClockTower Brew Pub (Bank St. and 417, downstairs)
Format:    5 demos: 2 minute introduction, 8 minute demo, 5 minutes for Q&A and discussion

By Scott Lake

Guest Post: Confessions of a DemoCampOttawa first timer

A few weeks ago my co-conspirator in Betidings, Kenton White, suggested that we put ourselves forward to participate in a DemoCamp. My immediate feeling was trepidation, that turned to excitement as I understood more about the intent of DemoCamp. We were in a perfect stage to participate, as we had some basic functionality coded and tested around our idea and wanted to seek external validation to help us understand whether to continue our adventures, rejig, refine or abandon. Preparations continued apace in advance of the night. Close friends and supporters were enlisted to test out the site and my demo, each practice run helped me to become more relaxed and refine my answers. It’s an excellent chance to practice out loud answers to those business questions we think about all the time. My friends now know more than they ever wished about our value proposition, competitive landscape and business models. Thanks guys!

We arrived with plenty of time on the evening and started meeting other presenters and the organisers. Everyone did a fine job of helping to put me at ease. Public speaking is exhilarating to me, the pre-speaking jitters are more than offset by the high of getting up there and doing it. All of the presenters seemed relaxed and comfortable, I envied them. The first big task of the evening, at least from my perspective, was determining the order of the demos. First or third were my options. I figured that if I went first I would be able to relax and enjoy the other presentations (and a beer as well). So there I was, committed to that first slot. The room was humming, it was a full house, the countdown began.

Those of you who attended know how the demo went. I hadn’t practiced with a mic – that was a challenge to me as I usually gesticulate a lot when I talk. Trying to keep the mic in a useful location, operate the laptop and not trip-up was interesting. My next interesting moment was when I launched into my demo and lost my network connection. Arghhhh (and a selection of assorted expletives that I learned on a UK rugby pitch) went through my head. Ok, need to fix this quickly. Should we switch to our local host copy of the site or try to repair the network connection? Phew, network repaired, let’s keep moving along (rinse and repeat, damn network). Yup, not as smooth as I had hoped for, but at least I didn’t have to resort to the requested dance. Have you seen me dance?

By the end of the demo it was just questions left. Every speaker knows that this is the most exciting and scary moment of the talk. Will there be any questions? Will I be able to (a) understand and (b) answer them? Will our idea be lauded or flamed? It’s the moment of truth. It can also be the most entertaining part, interaction with the audience and a real chance to think on your feet. Here goes – yay, there are questions, even better I can answer them too. Each question is delivered slightly differently, some a little more directly than others, I am so focused on hearing the question and formulating my response that I don’t reflect much on the delivery style and would hardly be able to recognise anyone in a identification parade. Ohhh, that’s a pretty blunt question about our UI, no problem to answer, of course we’ll be working on it. Curses, that would’ve been a really good spot to solicit some help. Typical, only coming up with that thought after the fact, very Seinfeld-esque. Finally the demo and questioning have wrapped up. I’m wired, and happy to be done, time for that beer. My regret is not being quick witted enough to make a Big Bang Theory reference during my presentation. Happily for you all, not only did I refrain from dancing, I also didn’t crack any quantum mechanics jokes (ok, so I only have one and it’s pretty lame).

What did we gain from presenting at DemoCamp? A huge amount. We received feedback on the idea – it’s strengths and shortcomings. We have greater insight into our target audience, core focus and next steps. Many members of the community shared their thoughts and efforts in the event discovery and calendar space. In fact, post demo conversations were a most rewarding part of the evening. We know some potential collaborators and champions. We have validated that it is an interesting problem to work on; one that hasn’t been satisfactorily addressed yet. Most of all, we received enough support and encouragement to continue to pursue our adventure. Thank you.

So don’t be afraid, jump in and share your product idea with DemoCampOttawa. A deadline to present works wonders for your focus and progress. You’ll meet great people, receive plenty of feedback and, even if it is a little intimidating to get out there, just do it. Seriously, what is the worst that could happen? You may be surprised by how much you get out of it.

               -Treena Grevatt

By Scott Lake

One thing that sucked about the last DemoCamp…

This past monday night, we had our first DemoCamp in a while and I was great to see lots of new people signing up to do demos.  As I’m sure most of you know DemoCamp is a place where people come to show what they are working on before their apps are ready for public consumption. The idea is that this forum is a place for positive feedback and suggestions on how we can all improve our apps. 

What pissed me off about Monday night was that someone actually stood up and asked Treena Grevatt from "why would someone use choose your service when it looks like shit".   Can someone please explain to me what can be gained by saying something so insulting?  Of course the app is not polished yet, its still in development. Of course they could use help from a professional designer, so could we all.  As far as I’m concerned this type of comment, no matter how "well meaning" has no place at DemoCamp and goes against the whole spirit of the event.

To top it off, this was Treena’s first DemoCamp and she specifically mentioned at the start that she was a little nervous – so this type of comment helps how?   From what I heard she took it all in stride but how could you not feel least a little embarrassed at some level when someone says that to you.  What also sucks is that there are likely people in the crowd who probably won’t demo in the future because they don’t want to take this kind of public criticism. 

Now I’m not sure who this person was since I wasn’t in the room at the time but I spoke to some people who were and many felt that this was just rude.   In any case, if you where there and you think I got this all wrong please let me know in the comments…  


By Scott Lake

Natasha D’Souza to MC DemoCamp tomorrow night…

After a few days of rabid voting – Natasha D’Souza of VirtualEyeSee has emerged as the winner and will be MC’ing DemoCamp tomorrow (Oct 19th) at the Clocktower pub on Bank street.   There were almost 80 votes cast in the contest and it seems that most candiates have on average about 12 very close friends. :)   Can’t wait for tomorrow night and thanks to all who voted.

By Scott Lake