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Hilarious New App Tells Former Bosses to “Shove it!”

So this is kind of funny, but also kind of not funny if you have to actually use it. Basically, if you get fired, and you want to know how much your boss should pay you off, you’re in luck.

Today, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, a Toronto-based law firm that specializes in labour and employment law, released The Severance Calculator, a new free iPhone / iPad app that aims to provide assessments of severance entitlements quickly and accurately. (And yes, I too think this is an app designed specifically for Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad)

If you’ve ever been laid-off (or had to lay somebody off) the question of how much severance is owed can be difficult to answer without legal advice, said the law firm in a release. If adequate severance is not received, it often results in significant financial hardship for the terminated employee, which can then lead to messy court battles, more money troubles for former employees and a “legal nightmare for businesses”.

The new Severance Calculator app aims to answer severance questions clearly and quickly and calculate a severance amount that employees and employers can work with.

“Many employers and the majority of terminated employees have a very limited understanding of the way severance is calculated and how much should be paid. This means that most employees that lose their job accept grossly inadequate severance without even realizing it,” said Lior Samfiru, partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. “People who have recently lost their job often don’t know that they should do their due diligence and consult a lawyer, even if they do, when faced with employment uncertainty, legal advice just isn’t in the budget.”

The new app only asks users a few simple questions about their employment, like age, position and years worked. The app also has an employer mode that allows business owners and managers to calculate a fair severance package thus reducing the possibility of a lawsuit from unhappy ex-employees.

“Lawyers generally charge a fee to assess a person’s severance entitlements. The Severance Calculator app provides this service for free, understanding that many cannot afford the price of a meeting with a lawyer,” said Samfiru. “We hope that the app can serve to inform both employees and employers as to their legal rights and obligations and will help to eliminate lengthy and expensive severance disputes.”

The law firm is right when it said the app is launching at time when there is “nothing else in the app universe to help terminated employees figure out the amount severance they may be entitled.” It was conceived after Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, filed lawsuits against the Ontario Ministry of Labour on behalf two terminated employees that received poor free advice from a Ministry of Labour helpline.

Acting on incorrect free advice from the ministry, both plaintiffs unwittingly accepted the legal minimum of eight weeks severance for 22 and 15 years of continuous service, when in fact their full legal entitlement was 24 months severance. Had either of these employees, or countless thousands of others had access to the new app, it would have given them an accurate picture of the severance they were entitled to.

The new app is available on iTunes and an Android version will be available in coming weeks.

Originally Published on BetaKit

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Meet Your Match With Matchbook Dating


Feel weird about online dating and meeting up with strangers? Give PlentyofFish a break and try Matchbook Dating.

Created by DMZ alumni Malcolm Walloch, Matchbook Dating is a new approach to online dating that connects people romantically to other people they already know. Users can log in with their Facebook accounts and show interest in existing friends in their network, remaining anonymous until mutual interest is expressed.

“The difference between Matchbook Dating and other dating sites comes back to a simple but pervasive issue of fraud and dishonesty. If you are operating outside of a mutual network, you are relying on the honesty of strangers to start a relationship,” Malcolm explains.

“There are a lot of people out there, specifically Facebook users under 30, that have a huge number of people on their list — in the high hundreds. A lot of those people they don’t have meaningful relationships with, but [they] are potential dates or romantic interests,” Malcolm says.

One of the most attractive features of Matchbook Dating is that its anonymity helps eliminate embarrassing rejection. Plus, because daters already know the other person — even if just from Facebook —, the first date is less likely to be awkward or disappointing.

“In a way it’s a throwback to pre-online dating. It wasn’t a realistic prospect to meet someone far away and hit it off. The people you would date and would marry would be the people you or your family and friends already knew,” Malcolm points out.

Curious about who might be interested in you? Try Matchbook Dating out here.

The post Meet Your Match With Matchbook Dating appeared first on Digital Media Zone.

Originally Published by Ryerson DMZ

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For Millennials, Technology Equals Job Security

We millennials are having a lot of trouble jumpstarting our careers. The national youth unemployment rate is 14%.
We’re not getting jobs because we’re under qualified or incapable. Rather, our unemployment woes are the byproduct of a rapidly changing economic landscape.

Thanks to the advent of technology, Canada’s economy is transforming quickly. A growing skills gap is looming, and unfortunately many of us aren’t even aware of it. The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) predicts that approximately 106,000 ICT (Information, Communications, and Technology) jobs in Canada will go unfilled by 2016.
If we want to increase our employability in this new economy, then it looks like we must collectively include some form of ICT training as part of our broader career goals and aspirations. This makes sense not only because of an imminent skills gap, but also because further advancements in technology will eventually impact the overarching nature of all professions.
But how do we acquire this training and make it relevant to our individual career paths? I’ve asked myself this this question before—and was able to answer it as well.
A couple of months ago, I graduated from the BBA program at the Schulich School of Business. During my second year, I discovered the exciting world of startups and technology. After realizing that my degree wasn’t going to give me the depth of knowledge and experience I needed to crack this space, I became determined to seek out whatever I was lacking. I created a “to-do” list that included the following:
• Self-Directed Learning: In order to familiarize myself with the industry, best practices, and emerging trends, I had to read up on a lot.
Whether it was picking up popular books, religiously visiting the top technology news websites, or taking extra courses at York University, I took every opportunity to learn. The fact that

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An App in 60 Days? Dandy Wants to Help

Waterloo-based startup Dandy, the group of guys that I first met at the CN Tower Elevator World Tour event last winter in Toronto, are trying to make it possible for anyone to build an app in 60 days.

The mobile app crowdsharing platform wants to give aspiring app creators everywhere the chance to have their idea developed and launched as a finished app in just 60 days, developed for BlackBerry, Android and iOS platforms. The release date is planned for January 6th, 2014, in Las Vegas.

“We want to support anyone with a good idea, anyone who says, ‘I wish there was an app for that,’ and help make it happen,” says Matt Scobel, CEO of Dandy. “With our development team, marketing capabilities, support from BlackBerry and BDC Venture Capital, we can help anyone with an app idea turn it into reality in a matter of two months.”

Dandy launched back in April, when it was then part of the HYPERDRIVE accelerator program. Then cofounders Matt Scobel, Taylor Jones and Karl Allen-Muncey created the platform with the notion that “it takes a community to raise an app”.

Now they’re going to give someone a big chance to have an app developed extremely quick.

Dandy’s 60 Day Challenge asks anyone with an app idea to submit it to be voted on by the community. No technical, design or development skills are actually needed to participate, which is quite cool. You just need a great idea.

The winner will be selected by a jury of technical, commercialization and marketing experts on November 21.

Dandy  will share 30 percent of the royalties with the winner of the 60 Day Challenge, and the Dandy community. The royalties are divided as follows: 8 percent goes to the winner of the 60 Day Challenge, two percent goes to the community who voted during the 60 Day Challenge and 2.5 percent goes between the community and winner of the 60 Day Challenge for their input into each phase of the development: name, tagline, logo, features, revenue model UI/UX, beta testing, and market research, which comes to 20 percent of the total royalties.

BlackBerry’s Lynda Chau said Dandy has found an “appealing way to solicit what customers can dream of in an app,” and the talent to bring that app idea to fruition. “We’re excited to work with Communitech and BDC Venture Capital to support Dandy’s 60 Day Challenge, and look forward to seeing what innovative ideas are submitted for mobile apps.”

Meanwhile, the BDC’s Michael Mahon said andy represents the “innovation potential” in the Waterloo Region, having taken a creative slant to getting people to develop apps. “Our investment in Dandy is part of our ongoing work to ensure the success of Canada’s most promising early-stage tech start-ups. We wish Matt and his team all the best with the launch of Dandy – they certainly have what it takes to succeed.”

Dandy graduated from the Communitech HYPERDRIVE incubator in April 25th, 2013, and closed a $300,000 funding round on September 27th, 2013, from BlackBerry and BDC Venture Capital.

Originally Published on BetaKit

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Dandy’s 60 Day Challenge To Make It Possible For Anyone To Launch An App

Mobile app crowdsharing platform Dandy is giving aspiring app developers everywhere a chance to launch their idea with their 60 Day Challenge.

Dandy is providing aspiring app creators everywhere with a chance to have their idea developed and launched as a finished app in just 60 days. The app will be developed for the BlackBerry, Android and iOS platforms, with the release planned for January 6th, 2014, in Las Vegas.
“We want to support anyone with a good idea, anyone who says, ‘I wish there was an app for that,’ and help make it happen,” says Matt Scobel, CEO of Dandy. “With our development team, marketing capabilities, support from BlackBerry and BDC Venture Capital, we can help anyone with an app idea turn it into reality in a matter of two months.”
Dandy’s 60 Day Challenge asks anyone with an app idea to submit it to be voted on by the community. No technical, design or development skills are needed to participate.
The winner will be selected by a jury of technical, commercialization and marketing experts on November 21st and the app will be developed for a cross platform launch on January 6th.
Waterloo-based Dandy graduated from the Communitech HYPERDRIVE incubator in April 2013 and closed a $300K funding round from BlackBerry and BDC Venture Capital in September 2013.

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Accelerate Okanagan Success Story: Two Hat Security Wins $15K Prize at BCIC New Ventures Competition

The following guest post was originally published by CDMN hub Accelerate Okanagan and is published here with permission

Two Hat Security, a member of Accelerate Okanagan’s Venture Acceleration Program, was awarded the $15,000 Vancity Social Venture prize at the BCIC New Ventures competition.

Earlier announced as a top 10 finalist from a field of 146 competitors, Kelowna-based Two Hat Security is making the world a safer place for online kids. Its latest product, PottyMouth Chat Tools helps block cyber-bullying and child predators by instantly mining and measuring children’s chat for risk before it even goes on the screen.

2 hat security“This year’s finalists were the strongest and most promising set of companies we’ve seen over the 13-year history of the competition,” said Angie Schick, Program Manager, BCIC-New Ventures Competition. “Congratulations to all our winning companies. The BCIC-New Ventures Competition looks forward to following their continued development and success.”

“For more than a decade, the BCIC-New Ventures Competition has helped to encourage new technology leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “We are proud to support programs like this that encourage innovation and help develop the talent that is so important for new companies to grow and thrive. Our tech sector is a vital part of the economy, and as it expands it creates new jobs and prosperity for BC families.”

Originally Published by CDMN

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Kids Health Record Lets Parents Take the Information Online…Forever

Toronto-based startup Kids Health Record launched this weekend at the Babytime Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to positive reviews: an expected 100 signups turned into nearly 700 within a few days.

The startup is incubated in-house by Kela Medical, a Whitby-based company that specializes in developing ultra-secure, fully accessible personal health record to individuals, physicians, and practitioners of the healthcare industry. Kela Medical is one of 13 firms in Ontario who’s medical record technology is currently being used by physicians.

Kids Health Record cofounder Kathleen Babin described her platform as one that can replace the oft-misplaced, damage prone paper health record. The team developed a web app that helps users securely store, manage, and access children’s medical information 24/7. Moreover, it allows instant access and can prepare kids for the future by giving them access to the information as they get older.

“It’s an interactive health tool that allows parents to track and manage their children’s medical information,” said Babin. “The goal is that parents would start using this with their kids when they’re really small and continue using it until one day you can pass it on to the children when they go off to university”

Kela Medical’s CEO Arjun Kumar is mentoring Kids Health Record. His father a physician, Kumar was already tinkering around his dad’s clinic at the age of 13. He spent summers working in patient care and eventually founded Kela Medical. He said a number of factors are near perfect for Kids Health Record to make a splash in the online health records space, namely a greater interest in childrens’ records on the part of a new generation of online mothers.

“People in general do not have an interest in monitoring and taking care of their own health records because we haven’t been trained to do that,” said Kumar. “But it seems that there’s something there with new mothers: it’s a totally different story and they want to have these tools to become empowered to really take control of all their information.”


He commented how his own mother may have kept his health records in pristine condition for decades, but many modern parents have lost their children’s records “three or four times”: “Parents are really changing. Our generation of parents are not the same as our parents. It’s a convenience factor that’s adding on to technology and it’s behaviour change that really creates the value.”

Kids Health Record charges $50 per year, which is significantly less than its main competitor in Palo Alto, California: the venture-funded Mother Knows, which charges $98 per month, per child for its basic package. Kids Health Record, meanwhile does not charge based on amount of children.

(Mother Knows may be going through some issues though, as its Twitter account has been silent for eight months). In Kumar and the startup’s eyes, it means an opportunity.

Kela Medical hasn’t taken any equity from the younger startup, and Kumar figures if the company ends up doing well they can discuss that later on. For now he’s trying to leverage Kela’s expertise in the field of online medical records.



In speaking of Kela Medical’s solutions, Kumar said they’re so privacy-focused that “it’s more secure than your online banking.”

“This is much more secure than paper,” he said. “Paper you can have a fire, a flood, your information can get lost or stolen, but when its in a portal like this, basically it’s the concept of online banking, but for your health information.” Logically, much of the same technology can be applied to Kids Heath Record.

From the time Babin and her team approached Kumar about the idea in April, they’ve built their site and are servicing paying customers. It was amazing to see how fast they got traction, said Kumar.

Kids Health Record is now targeting private schools to adopt their solution at the enterprise level. Every year before the first day of school, parents will have to fill out paper copies of their kids’ health conditions. But if a child develops a new allergy half way through the year, ideally it gets reported, and possibly it gets mixed up in the shuffle of paper.

“So using Kids Health Record, when parents update it in real time the school is actually notified through the dashboard that these changes have happened,” he said. “Johnny hit his head over the weekend and it really lets the schools have that extra level of safety with their kids, so there’s a much broader application than just a consumer-facing app at the end of the day.”

Originally Published on BetaKit

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How Having the Right Mentor Can Open Doors and Expedite Your Learning

Standing on the shoulders of giants during your career can open a lot of doors for you to learn from the generous people that have accomplished a lot in their lives and who are willing to share their insights.

It is surprising how open people are to sharing their own story while helping encourage you to develop your own. Whether it was a mentor feeding me information and loading up my iPad with business and personal development books or former CEOs of private and public companies placing me under their wing, without the help of mentors, I would not have been able to expedite my learning and be open to the opportunities that have presented themselves to me so far in my career.
Loyalty and determination are not always positive traits. Sometimes you need someone to get in your face a little to let you know that something isn’t working and it is time to move on. When you are finally done chasing your own tail, your mentor can politely remind you that it was painful to watch but happy you are ready to move on.
New beginnings lead to new opportunities; one should not be afraid to embrace them. It is encouraging to associate with people who have accomplished goals you wish to achieve or that have endured some relatable adversity that they overcame themselves. Their support can be very helpful during times of transition especially when they have been helping push you to change and grow.
When the time is right, pay it forward and offer someone else your time. Volunteering as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters and for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation has allowed me to learn a lot from my matches as a mentor myself. In most cases, these types of relationships are reciprocal.
Learning from other

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Former Top Hat COO Andrew D’Souza Joins Bionym As President

Bionym, the company behind the Nymi heartbeat authentication bracelet set to disrupt the authentication and password space, has hired former Top Hat COO Andrew D’Souza as their President. D’Souza will lead all aspects of go-to-market and will be a critical component to Bionym’s dedication to future partnerships and opportunities.

D’Souza was responsible for growing Top Hat from 15 employees to 80 and secured strategic partnerships with some of the world’s largest education companies. In February of this year, D’Souza helped close a major partnership for Top Hat with Pearson which provided discounted subscriptions to students as part of their purchase of participating Pearson textbooks. Top Hat is a web- and mobile-based classroom response system that engages students and provides professors with the real-time feedback on student understanding.

“I love building world-class teams and creating companies that change lives,” said D’Souza. “Once I met the team at Bionym, learned about what they were building and recognized the company’s potential, I knew I had to be part of it. I’m excited to show the world that we can build the next Apple, Google or Facebook right here in Toronto.”

D’Souza is expected to help Bionym through its next phase as the team readies their first shipment of Nymi to those who have pre-ordered.  “We are thrilled to have Andrew join the growing team,” said CEO and Founder of Bionym Karl Martin. “He brings a phenomenal track record and will be instrumental in realizing our vision of bringing the Nymi platform to the masses.”

His fundraising ability may come in handy: After an $8 million Series A round in July 2012, D’Souza and Top Hat Monocle accepted $1.1 million in funding from Felicis Ventures in January of this year.

Bionym was recently honoured as one of ten up-and-coming startups by PwC as part of this year’s Vision to Reality awards. They recently passed the 5,000 mark of their pre-orders of Nymi. They are continuing to take pre-orders for their first batch of 25,000 which is expected to ship in early 2014.

Originally Published on BetaKit

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VeloCity Gives 10 Startups the Nod for $100K Competition

University of Waterloo-based student startup and innovation hub VeloCity has named the ten startups that will compete in the organization’s VeloCity Fund Finals on Thursday, November 28.

The finalists will pitch their startup ideas for a chance to win one of four grants of $25,000 and a place as one of over 30 startups operating at VeloCity Garage in downtown Kitchener. To be part of the VeloCity Garage, at least one member of the team must be a current student or alumni.

“The wide range of industries and the diverse business models of these VeloCity Fund finalists shows the breadth of entrepreneurial talent that is fostered at the University of Waterloo,” said Mike Kirkup, director of VeloCity. “The VeloCity Fund Finals process helps to draw out innovators and entrepreneurs from the university and prepare them for the transition into the global startup community.”

The ten Fall 2013 VeloCity Fund finalists are:

GamePress – GamePress lets users create fun mobile games without any programming experience and share them with users around the world.

Light-bot – Light-bot is getting today’s generation of kids hooked on Computer Science by playing games.

MetricWire – MetricWire accelerates groundbreaking research by enabling academic researchers to easily collect rich scientific data via smartphones.

PiinPoint – PiinPoint uses machine learning to identify optimal new store locations while centralizing demographic, real estate, traffic, and municipal data.

Realtime Labs Inc.– Realtime Labs Inc. develops real-time audience feedback technology for a variety of industries including education and entertainment.

Sesame IO – Sesame IO provides a free service that streamlines a teacher’s day from lesson planning to capturing and assessing student work into personalized portfolios.

SparkGig – Online marketplace to connect performers with event planners.

TrendRadius – Defensible Product Decisions. All Customer Feedback. One Simple Solution. Let your Product Managers do what they do best!

uMentioned – uMentioned is a college-based location app that lets you anonymously flirt and make new friends with people nearby.

Velatron Labs Inc. – A personalized tailor app that helps you find or order perfect fitting clothes online.

The finalists underwent a month-long qualification process including a 20-minute pitch to a panel of independent judges from the Kitchener-Waterloo business community. At the VeloCity Fund Finals, the ten final teams will present three-minute pitches on-stage before a live audience, and a second panel of judges.

The judges for the $25,000 competition include:

–       Cameron Hay – Partner, Front Burner Consulting
–       Karam Nijjar – Venture Capitalist, iNovia Capital
–       Mike Stork – President, Stork Holdings

Three $1,000 grants are also up for grabs, as ten student-entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas to the judges as well.

The VeloCity program fosters entrepreneurship by providing University of Waterloo students with opportunities for startup funding, free workspace, workshops, networking opportunities and access to mentors.

Started in March 2011 following a donation of $1 million by Kik Interactive Founder and former VeloCity resident Ted Livingston, the VeloCity Fund awards Waterloo students with over $300,000 in grants each year and the opportunity to build their startups at the VeloCity Garage workspace in downtown Kitchener.

The best part for young startups is that VeloCity takes no intellectual property rights or equity in return. Along with The VeloCity Garage in downtown Kitchener, the VeloCity Residence at the University of Waterloo main campus which houses another 70 entrepreneurial students, and weekly programming to provide students from any faculty access to entrepreneurship workshops and networking opportunities.

VeloCity is funded through the University of Waterloo, the Government of Ontario, and private donors. It is one of the many programs that have upheld the University of Waterloo’s position as Canada’s most innovative university for over 20 years.

A live stream of the VeloCity Fund Finals will be available. The $1,000 competition starts at 11 am while the $25,000 competition starts at 1 PM. Don’t miss it!

Originally Published on BetaKit

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