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Don’t Want to Miss Out When That Album Goes on Sale? Check Out This Ottawa Startup

Hype Badger cofounder Brad Rach told us that too many times while following favourite bands he’s missed out on the album launch date. And by the time he remembered to buy said album, it was six months after the release date.

The Ottawa-based Project Management grad teamed up with Chris Horsnell, a developer based outside of London, England, and put together Hype Badger, a site that “lets you track release dates for your favourite upcoming products and projects.” Users can discover, share, and contribute to hundreds of projects, such as movies, games, tv, books, gadgets, music, etc., and when products finally do come out, those users get notifications.

“We see ourselves as a tool for independent product makers, developers, musicians and others who might be able to get that ten seconds of interest at one point: maybe they post a song and someone likes it, they find out they have an album, but without any marketing money those fans are just going to forget about them,” Rach told BetaKit. “What Hype Badger wants to do is allow that user to say ‘ok, I actually like these people, lets go on this site, follow that album, so that even though I know I’m going to forget about them, when it does come out it’s something I can remember.’”

Central to the startup’s strategy will be an Android app, which is first priority. Rach mentioned that once the site and mobile platform has attracted enough users it can then focus on partnerships and advertising opportunities for various product designers and others who are selling the products.

Hype Badger’s minimal viable product was only released six weeks ago and Rach said it’s still in continuous improvement mode. Currently visitors to the site can sign up and follow a number of different products in tons of categories, like the new Nike Lebron sneakers, Google Glass, Xbox One and much more. The design and layout is relatively simple and this startup just wants people to know that they can remember and discover cool stuff and their release dates.

Originally Published on BetaKit

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Ryerson University Helps As The “Indian Startup Story” Continues to Grow

Ryerson University, Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) and Bombay Stock Exchange Institute Ltd. (BSEI) have announced the winners of ‘The Next Big Idea’ competition.

Supported by the Ontario government, the competition is a joint venture that seeks to discover India’s most innovative companies who looking to use a presence in Toronto as a vehicle to expand to North America.

“Hosting these young entrepreneurs from India in our Digital Media Zone is another step forward in creating a permanent entrepreneurial bridge between Canada and India,” said Sheldon Levy, president and vice-chancellor of Ryerson University. “This first activity as part of our partnership, supported by the Ontario government, provides innovative Indian companies the opportunity to explore opportunities in Toronto to grow their companies globally. We are pleased to work with BSEI on an initiative that will support innovation and prosperity in both countries.”

Citrus Payment Solutions and Ingenuity Ventures were selected as winners of the competition. Citrus Payment Solutions offers online payment services that are simple and convenient to use for both merchants and consumers while Ingenuity Ventures is an augmented video indexing technology and web platform providing a unique method of marketing and advertising products or services via interactive media and social networking.

In July 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between BSEI, Ryerson University and RFI, outlining a partnership to create the BSEI-Ryerson Digital Media Zone, a new India-based incubator for entrepreneurs to fast-track their startups and connect with mentors, customers and investors. The collaboration initially laid the groundwork to help young entrepreneurs expand into both the Indian and Canadian markets.

The first activity as part of the partnership between BSEI, Ryerson University and RFI was the launch of ‘The Next Big Idea’ contest.

The BSEI’s Ambarish Datta said that “the Indian startup story continues to grow.”

“With quite a lot of emerging startups in the country, there is hope for many product innovators to make opportunities for themselves and many others by creating great products and services not only within the Indian market but also globally,” he said. “The winners of ‘The Next Big Idea’ competition have come up with some very innovative ideas which I am sure will develop into products of immense value globally.”

The initiative is certainly positive for both Canada and India, the nation of almost 1.25 billion. The country is pushing out so many bright minds in tech but who don’t always have either the capital, the connections or even just the push. It would be interesting to see how these contest winners immerse themselves in the Toronto community- they could even become potential future recipients of the Startup Visa as a result of this program.

The Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University is one of Canada’s largest incubators and multidisciplinary co-working spaces for young entrepreneurs. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ has “stimulated Canada’s digital economy by incubating and accelerating 112 startups and creating nearly 900 jobs.

Originally Published on BetaKit

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Adzuna Says If You Want a Startup Job, Go to Toronto

“If you build it, they will come”: those are the eternal words spoken in a whisper to Kevin Costner in the 1989 fantasy-drama film “Field of Dreams”, urging the man to build a baseball field on his farm.

There may not be any baseball fields being plowed in Toronto right now, but a recent study by Adzuna revealed that startups in Toronto have indeed “built it”, and if people are looking for a job, then they should come.

That’s right: there are over 1,262 startup jobs currently being advertised in Canada and Toronto is the top hiring city in the country, with just under 30 percent of all the startup jobs advertised. Overall in Toronto currently, 371 startup jobs are up for grabs.

field

“These new figures clearly show that the Canadian tech startup ecosystem is maturing and creating more jobs, with well-funded and profitable companies emerging with a need for top talent and the financial clout to take on big tech companies,” said Gabriel Puliatti, Country Manager Canada at Adzuna. ”It’s great to see the overall improvement and surge in vitality in the Canadian job market cascading all the way down to grassroot startup businesses.”

Vancouver came in second place in terms of vacancies with 308 positions available while Ottawa has 161 jobs available. All of New Brunswick has just four jobs currently available. Meanwhile, HootSuite, Shopify and Simplycast are “leading the charge in Startup hiring” with hundreds of open vacancies: Hootsuite alone has 56 vacancies currently.

Interestingly, the report made note of an unfortunate new wave of language and keywords in job ads directed towards startup people. “The swell in startup jobs being advertised has brought with it new, quirky language used in job ads,” read the report. “36 company ads are looking for ‘Wizards’, 12 for ‘Legends’ and 58 are desperate to find a tech ‘Guru’. Employers are also seeking 6 ‘Ninjas’, 5 ‘Super heroes’ and 24 ‘Rockstars’.”

Other findings in the report included that web developers are the most in demand among Canadian startups with 49 percent of vacancies looking to fill these positions and software engineers. Operations roles (account management, customer support and others) accounted for 26 percent of the jobs, while marketers (11 percent) and designers and sales (7 percent each) make up the rest of the vacancies.

Startups are also paying less and find it difficult to compete with large banks and other well-paying organizations with IT requirements, but they make up for this with stock with almost half of the developer jobs surveyed offering equity.

Finally, the startups that are hiring the most people fall under the social media category, with 19 percent of the jobs, followed by eCommerce (10.7 percent) and mobile (9.34 percent). The fewest number of jobs come from Education and Music startups, each under 1 percent.

Here’s some of the stats:

Top hiring startups in Canada

 

Rank

Company Name

Location

Province

Sector

# of Vacancies

1

HootSuite

Vancouver

BC

Social

56

2

Shopify

Ottawa

Ontario

Ecommerce

45

3

Simplycast

Dartmouth, NS

Nova Scotia

Marketing software

19

4

Big Viking Games

London

Ontario

Gaming

18

5

Freshbooks

Toronto

Ontario

Business software

16

6

Lightspeed

Montreal

Quebec

Other

14

7

FluidWare

Ottawa

Ontario

Big Data

12

8

Chango

Toronto

Ontario

Advertising

11

9

BNOTIONS

Toronto

Ontario

Other

11

10

Wajam

Montreal

Quebec

Social

10

 

Top cities for startup jobs

 

Rank

City

# of Vacancies

%

1

Toronto

371

29%

2

Vancouver

308

24%

3

Ottawa

161

13%

4

Montreal

140

11%

5

Waterloo

60

5%

6

Edmonton

51

4%

7

Dartmouth

36

3%

8

London

34

3%

9

Victoria

23

2%

10

Calgary

12

1%

 

Top provinces for startup jobs

 

Rank

Province

Jobs

%

1

Ontario

657

52%

2

BC

344

27%

3

Quebec

151

12%

4

Alberta

60

5%

5

Nova Scotia

38

3%

6

Manitoba

8

1%

7

New Brunswick

4

0.32%

Top product categories

 

Rank

Product

# of Vacancies

%

1

Social

237

19%

2

Ecommerce

136

11%

3

Mobile

118

9%

4

Business software

103

8%

5

Photo/Video

44

6%

6

Marketing software

79

6%

7

Travel

66

5%

8

Gaming

54

4%

9

Big Data

50

4%

10

Project management software

39

3%

Originally Published on BetaKit

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Google Stops Disabling Resold Glass Devices (But They’re Still Not Ok With It)

If you are frothing at the mouth for a pair of Google Glass, you may not have to wait until sometime next year to get your paws on this ultimate eye candy for geeks.

Google may not yet be selling their wearable tech to the masses but this hasn’t stopped many devices from popping up on eBay. There are currently about twelve Google Glass devices available for sale on eBay.com as we speak. Of course, being one of the first to have Glass will cost you double to triple the retail price of $1,500. Those on eBay are priced anywhere from $2,699 to  $7,498 USD.

Google doesn’t condone the sale of Glass. In fact, their FAQ specifically states that it is against their terms and services for an Explorer to sell their device. But they recently made a major update to their FAQs which should make a buyer of a used pair of Glass more comfortable.

Last week, Google updated their FAQs stating that they would not disable Explorer devices even if they were sold by the original owner.

 “Q: Is it OK for Explorers to try and sell their devices online? Will you disable the devices if they do this?

A: The Explorer program is about taking Glass out in the world and seeing what’s possible with the technology. We hope our Explorers are excited to do just that. While it’s against our terms of service to sell your device, we don’t plan on disabling any Explorer’s device.”

Google’s policy change may be due the growing number of Explorers making it harder to keep track of all of the devices. The original Explorer community started at 10,000 and if we consider the number of invites each Explorer has been given since, this means the community could have potentially quadrupled itself to around 40,000 in total.

Of course buying something on eBay always comes with risk so if you are going to go down this road, caveat emptor. We should add that all of the devices we looked at are not offering shipping outside of the US, sorry fellow Canadians.

But if you are outside the US or can’t bear to pay three months rent on the device, you might not have to wait much longer to get a brand spanking new one of your own. Activity around Google Glass has seemed to pick up steam, suggesting that the market launch of Glass is just around the corner.

The company released a software update last week which redesigned the setup sequence for Glass. And Rochester Optical announced that they will be creating prescription lenses for the second-gen headgear which will be available in 2014. In addition, there have been a number of major marketing events including the mysterious barges which are said to be a Google Glass showrooms and the cast of Hunger Games wearing the device which may be part of Google’s lead up to the big unveil.

Originally Published on BetaKit

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Montreal Startup Folks Sport the ‘Stache for Prostate Cancer Awareness

A group of Montreal startup founders and investors are joining together to raise money for prostate cancer awareness, forming the “Startup Stache” team in the hopes of raising $5,000.

The group was started by iNovia Capital‘s David Nault, Trendr‘s Peter Davison and SeedingFactory‘s Heri Rakotomalala. Also representing Montreal tech startups while growing their “dusters”, “broom sticks” or “flavour savours” are frequent Startup Weekend organizer Sergio Escobar, JS Cournoyer of Real Ventures, Frédéric Chênevert of Unlok.me, Yanick Lavoie of Sobersmart and Ildar Khakimov of Studio du Plateau

The team is raising its money not through the global prostate cancer awareness giant Movember, but rather Procure.ca, another Quebec-based prostate cancer research firm that is also providing fundraising portals. Procure.ca’s founder Marvyn Kussner died in June, while its general manager, Laurent Proulx, found out he had prostate cancer when he was 47, a relatively young age according to Nault.

Proulx founded Nstein Technologies Inc, which went public and was sold to OpenText in 2010. After that Proulx decided to try and help improve prostate cancer research.

“So [in Procure] he’s basically running a big bio bank that collects and processes tissues form your prostate so that you can understand how it goes from generation to generation,” said Nault. The Biobank is a collaborative organization with long term partnerships with the four Québec universities and the Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec. It collects and stores high quality biological materials relating to the cancer, like prostate tissue, blood and urine.

One of the reasons the Startup Stache crew chose Procure was that Movember raises a significant amount of money in Quebec but unlike Procure, it doesn’t proportionally return that money to Quebec-based research and initiatives.

As the Startup Stache crew’s efforts pertain to the startup community, Nault explained that one of the best channels for people to band together for a good cause is the startup world.

“They’re so connected via social media and they’re such a closely-knit community that we said, ‘why don’t we try to group together the startup community and get them to try to create this change?,’ and so that’s where the idea came from,” said Nault. “We’ve got a great community, they mean well and I thought it matched up well.”

He emphasized that clear communication and awareness is crucial to the cancer that is 95 percent curable if treated early enough. His father had prostate cancer, and the principal at iNovia explained that getting involved in any charity is always a personal decision. A friend of his died from cystic fibrosis, and thus Nault is also quite involved with charities revolving around the genetic disorder. “It’s what hits home close to you,” he said.

IMG_1095

For Cournoyer, the Real Ventures partner, both his father and his grandfather had prostate cancer. He said if its easy as growing a ‘stache and raising some money then why not?

Originally Published on BetaKit

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Angel Investors Upping Their Ante in Canada, Say NACO and BDC Venture Capital

Angel investment activity in Canada increased last year, according to a recent survey by the National Angel Capital Organization.

The survey, released in September, looked at investment activity in 2012 by 20 angel groups—around two-thirds of identifiable angel groups in Canada. Those groups made a combined 139 investments last year, a 96% increase over the 71 reported investments in 2011. Of those deals, 102 were new.
Despite the steep increase in deal volume, however, the total dollar value of these was only up 13%. According to the survey, that’s due to a decline in the average investment: from $506,679 in 2012 to $313,935.
Tech companies received the overwhelming share of angel investment, and most are startups, with more than half having five or fewer employees and just 6% having more than 25 employees.
“The Canadian angel ecosystem is still relatively nascent by comparison with our American cousins to the south,” admits Yuri Navarro, the executive director of NACO. “However, we are seeing that the tremendous growth of angel groups and funds has increased the visibility of our investors and helped create a network of angels that is more connected into the overall ecosystem.”
Navarro acknowledges that it’s difficult to tell truly whether the ecosystem itself is growing overall, but told Techvibes that “we [NACO] have definitely seen an increase in the amount of visible investors and this has definitely lead to more deal syndication through the standardization of terms and the development of best practices,” which he believes is an indicator of quality.
Regardless of the state of our angel ecosystem today, there’s a lot to look forward to down the road.
“The growth and professionalization of our angel ecosystem is going to continue into the foreseeable future,” Navarro affirms. “We also believe that deal syndication will become an increasingly common trend among our members. Ultimately, I

Continue Reading on TechVibes

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Bridge Your Own Skills Gap

This article was written by Kanika Gupta of SoJo and originally posted on TheGlobeandMail.com 
Whose responsibility is it to fill our skills gap? Employers? Schools? Governments? The current discussion over the skills gap points fingers at all these groups.
My advice to fellow peers? Bridge your own skills gap. It’s time for recent graduates to own up to the reality that a degree alone is not enough, but when paired with the right attitude and skills, they can set themselves up for success.
For better or worse, the future we were promised is not the reality we’re job-hunting in. Grads are being blamed for not selecting an educational path that meets labour market trends. My generation of millennials has more ambition and is more aware of the world than any other generation. The world has provided us with all the tools needed to act on those ambitions in more ways than we can imagine.
Telling people, in particular students, what we should or should not be doing is in essence removing the agency that we as individuals have over our future. Pointing the finger at students for their choice in education is in many ways victimizing the students and grads – turning them into angry, cynical and depressed individuals. Instead of seeing the world as their oyster, they are disempowered from the moment they graduate.
Let’s instead recognize their ambition and potential regardless of educational background. Reality check: Companies don’t actually want or need cookie cutter employees. They want people who are competent, adaptable, interested and passionate.
For nearly three years, I have been running SoJo – an organization that educates social entrepreneurs through online technology. Some of our team members illustrate how graduates can take control of their careers.:
– A graduate of urban planning who was unemployed and in transition between jobs, but now manages

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Where Are the Women in Tech Startups?

It’s a question that tech companies and startups everywhere are still asking themselves. From large-scale companies like Twitter to smaller ones like HootSuite, people are asking “Why are there so few women in tech startups?”
Maple Leaf Angels — a high profile group of Canadian private investors who invest in seed and early stage companies — decided to tackle this question by hosting a special investment event on Monday.
What made the event so special? The attendees and presenters at the event were almost all female, thanks to a joint initiative with CanWIT (Canadian Women in Technology), a leading national network dedicated to supporting women advancing in the tech space.
A 2012 Dow Jones study found that only 1.3 per cent of founders of privately held, venture-backed startups are women. Stats like those make events like this one — which brought together a large number of female angel investors at a female-led investment presentation — that much more significant.
“Diversity leads to innovation and we know that when we foster women into leadership positions that we’ll get greater innovations,” said Emily Boucher, executive director of CanWIT.
The keynote address was delivered by international innovator and female angel investor Fariba Anderson, who inspired entrepreneurs to be “actively involved in volunteerism and to take time to pay it forward.”
Following the keynote, three startup companies pitched their ideas to the investment committee for early stage investments of $350,000 to $1,000,00. All three startups are female-led:

BrainFx is a digital clinical assessment tool to detect mild to moderate brain disorders, led by Tracy Milner.
Social Asset Management — a software and consulting company to measure social and environmental impact of organizations — is led by Anshula Chowdhury.
Innohub, a dynamic context-aware mobile platform for brands and advertisers based at the DMZ, is led by Amanda Parker.

WIth the awareness created from events like this, to the special recognition opportunities and awards for female engineers, to early educational initiatives like

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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne Announces Open Government Initiative at the DMZ

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne chats with Komodo OpenLab’s Mauricio Meza.  Photo by Clifton Li.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the DMZ on Monday to announce a new initiative that strives to make the provincial government more transparent.
The premier toured the sixth floor of the DMZ and met with DMZ teams HitSend, Komodo OpenLab, Greengage Mobile, and DreamQii to learn about their businesses.
In addition to the premier, Government Services Minister John Milloy and Ryerson President Sheldon Levy were on hand to make remarks.
Read on for details about the Ontario Open Government plan.
—————–
This post was originally published by Knowlton Thomas on Techvibes.com
Waves of government data will soon be public in Ontario.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Ontario’s new Open Government initiative this week, which she says will give the province a more transparent and accessible government.
“Our Open Government initiative will help create the transparent, accessible government the people of Ontario deserve,” Wynne said. “This is part of our vision for One Ontario, where every voice counts.”
A group of academic, business and community leaders will form an Open Government Engagement Team, which will be chaired by Don Lenihan. They will gather feedback from people across the province and report back to the government next year.
“Putting the people of Ontario first and serving them better is our priority, and our initiative will make sure we’re using new ways to hear every voice and provide access to data and information when and where people want it,” said John Milloy, Minister of Government Services.
The focus [of the Open Government initiative] will be on three areas: open dialogue, so it is easier for people to connect and interact with government through new tools and technologies; open data, so people can access data to solve everyday problems and come up with new ideas; open information, which means creating even more transparency by sharing more

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Learn to Code and You’ll be Employed for the Rest of Your Life

This article was originally posted by Chris Spoke on TechVibes.com
“We are in this really huge, secular transition away from degrees, towards skills. It no longer matters where you went to school, what you did. Don’t tell me you have an MBA. It’s irrelevant. It’s useless. Who gives a shit? Learn to code and you’ll be employed for the rest of your life.”
Thus spoke Chamath Palihapitiya, the well known and highly esteemed software engineer turned venture capitalist, and University of Waterloo alumni, at an event in New York City earlier this year.
“I lost a kid – 24 year-old kid – to a big company in Cupertino, where he got paid $175,000 a year, and $600,000 guaranteed over four years in [Restricted Stock Units]. And he’s not done anything, ever! So, all of you should teach your kids how to code. All of you! You should learn how to code.”
Sky high remuneration of skilled software developers is not a new phenomenon, but it has been garnering increased attention as Canada faces a double crisis of underemployment of recent university graduates and record high student debt levels.
Many have interpreted these trends as a clear sign that the traditional model of a four-year bachelor leading to a stable and profitable career has broken down.
Coding schools have popped up across North America and the world to provide an alternative to these disillusioned job-seekers, offering them training of skills in high demand, for a fraction of the cost – the true cost, the opportunity cost – of a university education.
One such school is Toronto’s Bitmaker Labs, which made headlines this past June when it was investigated by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) for operating as an unregistered, unaccredited institution. Bitmaker Labs trains its students to code Ruby on Rails and JavaScript over

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