TiEQuest 2012 – $150k in Cash Prizes – Deadline in 5 days!

If you’re a startup looking to raise some startup capital, then it might be a good idea for you to start participating in a few Business Plan Competitions. TiEQuest 2012 is accepting registrations for another 5 days and they are giving away ~$150,000 worth of prizes. On top of all of the prizes to be won, you’ll also benefit from getting some visibility with investors (VCs & Angels), potential partners and customers.

TiEQuest is a great opportunity for startups and is less restrictive in it’s requirements than most business plan competitions…You don’t have to have students on your team and don’t have to have a “tech” business in order to participate in TiEQuest… i.e. lifestyle businesses are welcome to apply as well.

TiEQuest is also well known for doing a great job at assigning mentors to teams that participate. They have a large pool of mentors to choose from and will do their best to match your team to a mentor that is experienced in your industry.

You only need to submit a registration form in order to be entered into the first round by January 31st – i.e. you can have the rest of your entrance material ready by a later date – so if you have 15 minutes to spare, I would highly recommend participating in this contest!

Learn more about TiEQuest & Register Today!

By Aydin Mirzaee

Bootstrap Awards 2012 – Deadline Midnight Tonight!


It’s that time of the year again and the Bootstrap Awards are almost here! If you’re a startup, then you should apply as the deadline is tonight! The award ceremony is great fun as there are always amazing speakers and the whole process is an opportunity to get some visibility in the community (investors, media/blogs, prospective customers)…

If you haven’t applied yet, click here to apply now!

By Aydin Mirzaee

Local startup acquired: MediaMiser acquires InfoGlutton Solutions

A great Ottawa startup success story! You may recall we reported almost a year ago that MediaMiser had received $1Mil in funding, now the Ottawa media monitoring and analysis firm has annnounced its acquisition of Gatineau-based InfoGlutton.


Here’s the official news release:

MediaMiser acquires InfoGlutton Solutions

OTTAWA – MediaMiser, a media monitoring and analysis technology company, has acquired Gatineau-based social media and online reputation monitoring firm InfoGlutton Solutions.

The acquisition will provide MediaMiser with its own built-in, automated toning engine able to gauge the sentiment of news stories, tweets, blog posts and other content in multiple languages.

Previously, InfoGlutton’s technology had conducted online reputation management and social media listening specifically for the restaurant and hospitality industry. It was founded in 2009 and incubated via the Talent First Network’s Lead To Win program.

“This is our first acquisition and an extremely important one,” said MediaMiser CEO Brett Serjeantson. “Integrating InfoGlutton’s market-tested sentiment technology with MediaMiser’s own social media monitoring and analysis tools will help the company provide real-time, as-it-happens feedback to both large enterprises and SMEs.”

Mr. Serjeantson added the acquisition will allow MediaMiser to roll out a standalone social media product separate from its flagship software, MediaMiser Enterprise.

InfoGlutton co-founder and CEO David Nadeau, a PhD in computer sciences from the University of Ottawa, joins MediaMiser as Chief Science Officer.

“We see this opportunity as a chance to grow from a relatively small firm into a large company almost overnight,” said Mr. Nadeau. “Working within MediaMiser gives us the means to achieve our ambitions.”

MediaMiser is based in Ottawa and was founded in 2003.

By Kelly Rusk

Sam Zaid gives you a step-by-step plan for funding via StartupPlays.com

In case you haven’t heard, StartupPlays.com is the hottest “startup for startups” with an all-star lineup of successful entrepreneurs who share their founder recipes on how to do everything from getting amazing press for your startup (Adrian Salamunovic) to building a content strategy to drive millions of readers to your blog (Dan Martell).  Past and upcoming authors include Jeremy Olson (Tapity), Cameron Herold (1-800-GOT-JUNK), and Aaron Hall (DressRush, Member of 500 Startups).

Today we launched the newest Play with local startup celebrity Sam Zaid on how to raise money for your startup.  I had the chance to sit down with Sam (CEO of Getaround.com and winner of 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt) to talk startup funding and he had some great insights on how startups should structure their business and focus on milestones to make funding much more straightforward (and successful).

Here are some of the highlights:

  • How to determine when you need money and alternative funding mechanisms
  • Do your research and hand-pick investors that will be a good fit
  • Setup milestones for your business.  Check with investors to see if they’re the right milestones
  • How to know when you’ve nailed a pitch
  • Tips on how to negotiate the best terms (and to get term sheets)

Raising money is a prerequisite for most startups – especially startups that want to scale and are working on the BIG idea.  If you’re launching a new startup or thinking about raising money in the future – you should buy this play NOW – not the night before your first pitch.

(note: I’m affiliated with the StartupPlays.com website… but I still think its ingenious!)

By Scott Annan

Hangin around with the smart people at Wherecloud

So it’s always nice to work with really smart people.  I’ve been pretty lucky in that respect, in that almost everything I have done has kept me in contact with people who are trying to change the world.  

I’ve known Martin Dufort for about six or seven years now.  We first met when he was working on Kakiloc which was an incredible company that was ahead of its time.  Lately, I’ve been doing some advisory work with Martin and his new company Wherecloud.  

Wherecloud is one of the most amazing mobile app development companies out there in that not only do they make great apps for their clients but they also make great apps for themselves.   If you’ve noticed the mobile revolution that has been going on at the Yellow Pages Group, it’s Wherecloud who have made that happen.

Well, earlier today my relationship with Wherecloud became a little more formal with the announcement of their new Advisory Board.  For me it’s a great, not only do I get to help out an amazing company but I also get to hang around super smart people like Martin, his partner Fred Brunel and advisor Jean Boisvert.  


By Scott Lake

SWIX is hiring!

Now’s your chance!

We’re a fun-sized team, young at heart, passionate, and set on blowing the doors off this new market forming around social media! We typically hire talented people either right out of school or with a couple years on the job. There are few opportunities to kickstart your career like SWIX offers. Being a smaller, new company, you really get to have an impact on the group’s success, and gain exposure to a lot of things you wouldn’t normally be allowed to touch in a larger more bureaucratic company. We’ve got a great work environment set up here in the trendy Byward Market, both because of the lifestyle the Market offers, plus the incredible people we’ve hired so far.

We currently have open:

  • 1 office admin
  • 3 developers
  • 1 inside sales

Check out our career page for the full scoop!

By Scott Lake

IRAP’s the new Dragon: VC Recruiting & Vetting

I just got an email from IRAP (who have recently been singing a familiar tune here in Ottawa: that they have no money for startups) that surprised and bothered me enough to stop building my business and write this blog post.

Here’s an excerpt from the email:

Subject: IRAP-Sponsored, VC Pitchfest Opportunity in January

Body:IRAP in the National Capital Region is organizing an event around mid-January for early stage IRAP client companies in the ICT, digital media, and mobile sectors looking for VC financing.  IRAP has arranged to have at least five Toronto VC’s available.  The Toronto VC’s feel they are missing potential investment opportunities in the Ottawa area.  Critical mass of start-ups makes it worthwhile for VC’s to come to Ottawa and see the companies in one day.

…. IRAP will select the top 25 – 30 companies based on submission of one page executive summary (see the attachment for an example).  The company selection process will be completed by IRAP ITAs who will choose the best candidates amongst their client base in the target industry sector of VC’s.

The format of the “event” is a typical dragon’s den format where each company is bestowed 5 minutes of valuable “VC time” to pitch.

I know what you’re thinking -> “Hey, awesome that IRAP is bringing money to Ottawa.  I gotta get my pitch polished up!”.  But that wasn’t my reaction.  Here’s what’s wrong with this:

  1. At what point did the government (more specifically, my tax dollars) get in the business of doing VC’s job of recruiting portfolio companies?
  2. What skills and background does IRAP have in “selecting the top 25-30 companies”?  What objective criteria will they use?  Should the government be implementing any program that is completely subjective?  How does an IRAP field officer have the VC skills to do this?
  3. Um… what does IRAP do?  Is this part of their mandate?

This falls into the same pathetic bucket as most programs run by the government and administered by government groups (see OCRI, OCE, etc…).  ”We’re just trying to help startups succeed”.  Really?  Are you?  If you looked long and hard at IRAP “client companies”, is a dragon’s den event helpful?  Is creating efficiency for VC’s the big problem we have here in Ottawa?  Or could this be a justification for continued government funding – a line item on a list of “great things we’re doing for startups”.

If you’re a great startup, you can contact those VCs directly – they’d love to talk (and I’ll make an intro).

If you’re the government, we want our money back please.

By Scott Annan

Recollective – Qualitative Online Research done right


We all know Ramius (located right here in the ByWard market) to be a leader in the area of social networking for the enterprise. Ramius made a name for itself in the early days through its Community Zero product. As the world of the web moved rapidly forward with the introduction of feeds, tagging and other web 2.0is concepts, Community Zero evolved to become what is known today as Sixent. Sixent is all about collaboration and connecting people within the workplace and it does both quite well – we had a chance to see Sixent’s debut at an Ottawa DemoCamp not too long ago.

A few months ago, I had a chance to meet up with Simon Chen who plays a few roles at the company including being one of its chief product evangelists. Simon mentioned that Sixent was seeing a lot of niche usage by the market research industry as their users were looking for a way to really get an audience engaged on a topic for the purpose of research. In other words, customers were basically using Sixent as a way to replace the traditional focus group and at the same time allow for a more collaborative yet asynchronous user experience.

I guess I missed the launch date but I recently got word that Ramius had gotten so much traction in the area that they decided to focus R&D effort on developing a vertical offering based on Sixent for the market research crowd – they’re calling this newly released product Recollective.

The story of Recollective is a really great example of a company recognizing opportunity by analyzing the behavior of their own customer base and moving fast to meet their needs. From what I hear, Recollective is making a lot of noise in the industry and it’s great to hear that Ramius has managed to hit another home run :) Go Ottawa!

By Aydin Mirzaee

City Hall Open Data Hackfest – this Saturday!

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Free – City Hall, Champlain Room

As population densities increase, neighbours stop talking and start becoming estranged. Isn’t that weird and interesting?

Join user experience & interaction designers, indie video game developers, musicians, urban planners, citizens, librarians, data wranglers, debutantes and government officials in dreaming up and prototyping ways to change the way we interact with our neighbours using public data. This event is basically a party inside of city hall where we talk, draw on giant pieces of paper and make real, working stuff.

What kind of stuff are we talking about here? Think along the lines of impromptu supper clubs for your block that investigate local eateries and vernisages/gallery openings together. Pull knowledge of new places opening from the city’s health inspection reports and arts & events news streams, push it to a tiny Facebook group, and you’re done! Or are you?

Everyone curious is welcome. No skill sets necessary. Show up curious and we’ll take care of you.

More details at http://opendataottawa.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=909ea12e517cc3f0c2dfe1f77&id=d7948f91f8&e=fc1abdc04d

Facebook: http://opendataottawa.us4.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=909ea12e517cc3f0c2dfe1f77&id=685dc8c269&e=fc1abdc04d

Twitter: http://opendataottawa.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=909ea12e517cc3f0c2dfe1f77&id=2b1e884477&e=fc1abdc04d

By Scott Lake

ForkTime.com is a social food journal.

If you take pictures of what you eat, this is a great tool to help you keep them together and share them.

Please sign up and join us; it is free to use.  Create a food journal for yourself.  Follow other members to see what else everyone else is eating.

For the time being, our website provides the best way for uploading and viewing the food journals.

For uploading from mobile devices, we also provide a mobile web view of the site for Android, Blackberry and other non-iPhone devices.  The mobile web view is optimized for smaller-sized screens.

For uploading from iPhones, iPods and iPads, it is not possible for now.  We are working on an app for that.
We would love to hear from you.  Please feel free to contact us at any time at info@forktime.com.


Forktime is the brainchild of my good friend An-min Kuo.  Have fun..

By Scott Lake