Category Archives: startups

Startup Empire, the conference you want to be at

This one is going to be the startup event of the season. Some great speakers (and more surprises to come, just you wait) and a great deal for a two day conference (thanks to some generous sponsors) . Very impressed by the job David, Jevon and Michele have done in putting this event together. There will be many cool founders and startups, there will be funders looking to make deals (seriously on that). Hope I’ll see you there!

Early bird tickets run out this Sunday. Get yours.

and keep an eye on for updates.

Startup Fuel

Rick Segal is doing a good thing. He’s organizing VC round tables around the country for start-ups offering conversation and “Sample Term sheets, documents, business plans, PowerPoints”. I caught an earlier iteration of a similar event by Rick and some others a year ago. Let me tell you this stuff is gold. If you’re a technologist, even if you are a commerce grad, they don’t teach you this stuff in school. And the opaque world of term sheets and finance structures its damn hard to learn this stuff any other way. The event is also free, I’m sure it will be poplular, it’s worth your time.

StartupCamp Toronto is also back. This isn’t just financing pitches, it’s a full-on public debugging session on your business model. Fun stuff. StartupCampToronto2 is happening at CIX on April 29, here’s how to apply to present.

UPDATEWow Rick wasn’t kidding, the VC roundtable is a serious cross Canada event. Here’s the full list of dates:
Halifax Monday, April 14, 2008 8:00 am – 10:30 am
Moncton Monday, April 14, 2008 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
St. John’s Tuesday, April 15, 2008 5:00 pm – 7:00 am
Ottawa Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:30 am ET – 12:30 pm ET
Montreal Wednesday, April 16, 2008 4:30 pm ET – 6:30 pm ET
Toronto Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 8:30 am ET
Victoria Monday, April 21, 2008 8:00 am PT – 10:00 am PT
Vancouver Monday, April 21, 2008 4:00 pm PT – 6:00 pm PT
Edmonton Tuesday, April 22, 2008 8:00 am MT – 10:00 am MT
Calgary Tuesday, April 22, 2008 3:30 pm MT – 5:30 pm MT
Regina Wednesday, April 23, 2008 8:00 am CT – 10:00 am CT
Winnipeg Friday, April 25, 2008 12:00 pm CT – 2:00 pm CT
Guelph Monday, April 28, 2008 4:00 pm ET – 6:00 pm ET

Sign up here

LearnHub Launches, looks great

LearnHub shot

Congrats to John, Malgosia and their highly tallented team at Savvica on the launch of their newest product LearnHub. This is the project that brought them back from the valley to build their startup in Toronto. What they’ve just launched is version 1.0. It already looks great. But know to expect even more polish and general awesomeness in iterations to come.

LearnHub is a social learning platform, where members can create lessons, guides and all sorts of learning tools around user-generated communities like photography, cooking, software development (some serious Ruby experts resident at Savvica) and other subjects. Check it out!

Lift08 Venture Night: 5 Venture Pannelists and one MC

This update cross-posted from

Welcome to my live-blogging coverage of Lift08 in Geneva. At venture night togight. 50 submissions, narrowed to 8 startups to present their demo and business case tonight. The format is a good one, familiar from Under the Radar for example, 5 minute demo and business model, 5 minute questions from pannelists and 5 from the audience. This is a posh event, wine and Swiss breadsticks no less and the turn out is substantial turnout for this “pre-lift” event (I’d estimate 400+). And the inimitable Guido Van Nispen as MC.

A venerable panel featuring techcrunch europe, VC an Angel, a top euro blogger and long time lifter Robert Scoble (twittering and blogging from stage, would we expect any less).

    video search company. find people in video, image, contextual and voice cues. more than just tags. Very slick and ajaxy
    searches for clinton, then narrows by Iran, shows in search results streamable clip of Hillary speaking of Iran. Options: sort by tag, by content channel, and by timeframe and, oh god, they have video tag clouds (what is this 2006?). But the seach works well in the demo, and it’s cool.

    Have widgets for blogs. Business model is video search sold to content producers (reuters) or video aggregators. Processing is computationally intensive, not trying to crawl or index web on their own (smart).

    2) holistis
    converting online store visitors to buyers 98% of online shoppers don’t make purchases. Uses, past behaviours, intention and behavioral targeting to convert viewers to buyers. Turn known visitors into loyal customers through targeted content. Theory is to grow the 2% end of the funnel as more profitable than the 98% end.

    3) wuala
    Free and simple online hard drive. sure great, online file folders with sharing. This has been done before. The twist, using distributed storage and bandwidth. You have to share your own HD and bandwidth to us it. They’re catch phrase is to be the skype of online storage (great catch phrase). Judges are throwing softballs until vc asks about copy write infringement they have the same issues as youtube or ftp servers say. Revenue streams, ads, photo prints, or sell for premium services. makes sure data is available even if large part of network is down, they also back up on their own servers works with bittorrent principles, fast downloads through fragmented storage

    4) Mixin
    what are other people are doing cause i wanna plan my friday evening. Like a dopplr for activities with your firends. Nice looking screens. looks like a jaiku/twitter calendar mashup begs the question, why not bundle, or at least mash this up w/ existing social networks instead of creating a new one. I asked this question. They want to, will support integration.

    5) IO
    digital is more present in the physical world like table top computing, surface computing and like bumptop but real. For public spaces, skinnable walls and tablesgorgeous interactive sufaces, rippling water and blomming flowers, more art than tech. VC pannelist says there are a few funded competitors – which also means this is a validated market with some action in it. I’d like one of these for my living room. But, revenue mode, they have no interest in making it cheap, not a consumer technology.

    6) cocommentwas launched way back at Lift 2006 syndicates and collects and aggregates blog comments tries to solve the problem of bog comment viability trouble is blog comments are less interesting than blog posts. Cocommenters comment more and are stickier. Rev model is ads, and conversation tracking. A lot of “former” users on the panel asking ome questions about performance, usability.

    7) clipperz
    Do you trust online services, do you trust them with your data? You should have control of your data. Keep it to yourself. Data is stored on cards that aggregates all your secure data and logins. talk about a vulnerability, get hacked once and they get everything. Admit that I don’t really understand this play or how it’s differentiated. Authentication and security is important, but in reality, mostly people say they do, but, in practice, don’t care. Many many startups before them have leapt onto this sword of federated online security management.

    8 ) Pixelux entertainment
    Digital molecular models. animate materials like materials instead of scripted animations. metals bend like metal, trees bend like trees, great for realtime video game animations. reduces costs of video game production through procedural physics rendering. DMM physics engine, realtime animation libraries, based on glass, metal, wood, etc. the algorithms know how it will break, bend or shatter. For movie market or for games and animation. Flat fees, and licencing business models on titles sold by the millions. nice.

Whew, a solid deck of demos. Now this is a larger scale of event (and later stage companies) than our typical democamp or startupcamp, but I’m left feeling that we in the Canadian community step up our game. A lot of good Tech here (whith a capital T). Good polish of apps, good polish of demos and some impressive technology that could actually work (mostly). Bravo.

UPDATE: minor typographical edits 7:00a.m. 020708 GMT+1