Startup Grind hosts Matthew Sheridan

When: Wednesday September 14th 2016 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON

Cost: $10 early, $15 regular




6:00pm – Networking and Food
7:00pm – Fireside Chat
8:00pm – Networking




Speaker – Matthew Sheridan (NIX SENSOR LTD.)

Matthew Sheridan hails from McMaster University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering and Management i.e. the modern discipline that transcends the boundaries between Embedded Systems, Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer Engineering and Engineering while integrating the technical education of the engineer with a business education for management

After founding and being the chief executive of Nix Sensor Ltd., Matthew has pushed the company towards awards such as the 2016 Award for Engineering Project of the Year by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers and the Hamilton/Halton Engineering Week Committee as well as the David E. Mitchell Award of Distinction and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Ontario Business Achievement Awards in 2015.

Nix Sensor is rapidly becoming a household name and a staple in the Hamilton community and beyond and Matthew is sure not to stop there.


IoT meetup brings together hardware community



Hamilton’s first ever Internet of Things meetup took place last night, drawing out a new 30+ person audience (with some familiar faces) of experts, hobbists, students and curious folks oriented around hardware and IoT devices (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and others).

Unfortunately the planned speaker at the event Omega 2 was unable to make it, but the discussions that took place anyways were well received:

“I was pleasantly surprised at the large turnout for such a quickly organized event, with a newer/switched date. Doug did a fantastic job at “MC’ing” the event, and despite the no show Onion guys, the quality of conversations following Doug’s intro to the Onion’s new product “Omega2″ were outstanding. It was an excellent networking event and honestly I enjoyed meeting and speaking with so many of the attendees. I had a great time, I urge everyone that was thinking of coming out, to make sure they come out next time, because you’ll regret it if you don’t. Thanks again Doug! Looking forward to the next one.” (Meetup Group Comment)

Co-organizer of Startup Weekend Hamilton Maker Edition Doug Petican put together the meetup, he told the attendees, “I want this meetup to be different, I want it to be about having discussions, helping each other and solving problems”. He discussed a plan to build a library of IoT devices and sensors that the members can use, and a desire to bring the skills of the hardware and software experts together.

We’ve had local hardware startups like Roboteurs and Chipsetter for awhile now, and the interest in the student community in Arduino and similar devices couldn’t be higher, so it’s fantastic this is happening. I can’t think of anyone better to lead up an initiative like this in Hamilton than Doug, and I look forward to future events!


OPPORTUNITY – Become a CTA Boston client

Announcing Incoming CTA@Boston Clients

ANNOUNCEMENT: Upcoming CTA@Boston fall cohort of 8 Canadian-based IT and Life Science startups and SMEs set to participate in our 4-month accelerator program.

CTA@Boston includes world-class team mentoring for each client from the Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England (The CENE). This mentoring program is comprised of 70 local global Canadians who are C-level executives, successful serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors passionate about giving back to Canada.

Incoming CTA@Boston companies:

Covina Biomedical
Covina Biomedical produces injectable biomaterials for minimally invasive procedures for hard tissue repair.
Halifax, NS I Life Sciences

A Temperature Management System for critical application.
Montreal, QC I Life Sciences I @DataToWeb

Immune Biosolutions
A unique platform to generate high quality polyclonal and recombinant chicken antibodies aimed for research, diagnostic and therapeutic use, with a fast and eco-friendly technique allowing to yield large quantities.
Sherbrooke, QC I Life Sciences I @iBiosolutions

Riipen Networks Inc.
Riipen is a web-based platform that enables higher educational institutions to offer students meaning, project-based, experiential learning at scale.
Vancouver BC I ICT I @riipen

Boondoc Technologies Inc.
The Rounds is a physician-only online professional network that doctors use at the point of care to deliver better outcomes.
Bedford, NS I ICT
the I @TheRounds

ValidateIt Technologies
Validate It is a technology platform that enable marketers to get their answers in 24 hours and at 1/10th of the cost of traditional research.
Toronto, ON I ICT I @validate_it_

VastCon Inc.
Vastcon’s lead technology is a blood-based, population screening /diagnostic test for the early detection of colorectal cancer.
Winnipeg, MB I Life Sciences I @vastcon

Vision Coaching
One on One leadership coaching delivered remotely through a cloud based client delivery portal.
Rothesay, NB I ICT

The CTA@Boston, managed by the Trade Commissioner Service in Boston in collaboration with the CENE, is recognized as Accelerator Program of the Year in 2016 by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a 60-country organisation. This is a vote of confidence by international peers and a great validation of the unique services that we provide to Canadian entrepreneurs.

To find out more contact:

Susan Ahern

Canadian Technology Accelerator Coordinator | Coordinatrice de l’accélérateur technologique canadien
Trade Commissioner | Délégueé Commerciale
Steering Committee Member Canadian Mentoring Service

Tel.| Tél. 617-247-5154
Canadian Technology Accelerator in Boston
@CanCGBoston #CTABoston #48HrsInTheHub #CdnMentorBos

Interview with Tasytt about new Obie Slackbot



Check out the interview below with Tasytt (@tasytt) about their new Slackbot product Obie.


What is Obie?

Obie is a Slack bot. He’s kinda like Siri, but for business. He helps teams store and organize their collective knowledge.


What kind of features does Obie have?

His functionality can be broken into ‘push’ and ‘pull’. Users can pull information by asking questions and Obie accesses knowledge recorded in Slack, in your Google Drive, and on our web platform to answer them. Conversely, he can push knowledge using Flows, which are like task lists on steroids. Everything happens in a Slack DM. As an administrator, you can create a task list or lesson, then assign it to anyone (or everyone) on your team to complete.


Why did you decide to develop Obie?

Our mission has always been to help companies organize their knowledge and make it universally accessible and useful. We found that companies want to solve their knowledge problem, but they balk at introducing yet another software. They have countless point solutions for business problems and their knowledge is already fragmented into different platforms and cloud storage apps. They are quite simply tired of new software. Beyond that, most employees hate their LMS (Learning Management Systems) and the administrators hate managing them. And for good reason—they’re just an online binder with cleaner design.

So we knew that we needed to deliver information and the value you might find in learning software without more software. Users need to access the knowledge they need right away and without switching apps (and mindsets). Given all that, a Slack integration made perfect sense for us. It’s the default place where people spend their work days and they’re really working to make developer’s lives easy.




Who is using Obie so far, and for what purposes? How has the response been to Obie?

We’ve had a great response so far, we were featured on Product Hunt and in Venture Beat and have been in talks with some larger companies who want to try it (although I can’t say whom). It’s the best feeling when someone just ‘gets’ it and loves your product.

Teams have been using it to plan for events, to bridge the gap on remote teams, to deliver lessons or refreshers, for checklists or to onboard new hires. Most people really like that Obie can search their cloud drive in addition to knowledge they ‘feed’ him—that way they don’t need to manually move all their content. Our most interesting use case so far has been wedding event planning, that’s something we never would have predicted, but in hindsight makes perfect sense!


What tools did you use to build Obie?

Our original platform was built with C# and ASP.NET MVC, but for the bot, we used the MEAN stack. We’re incredibly lucky that there’s a community of early bot developers and one team (Howdy) thought to create a framework for bot development as they went along, called Botkit. Botkit is written in Node.js.




What was the biggest technical challenges with developing Obie?

Having a framework and community is great, but we were faced with a unique challenge: unlike a team building a bot from the ground up, we were connecting it to our already robust Tasytt application. We don’t want to diminish other bots and the developers behind them, but it’s one thing to build a bot that connects to a weather API or even one that connects to a database. It is quite different to build a bot, make it conversational, and connect it to both a database and web platform.

Our CTO Alex Sopinka had also never written a line of NodeJS, but since he’s a rockstar, he was able to build the majority of Obie in under a month. His protege Carolyn Chong, along with the rest of the team, did an amazing job testing and breaking the early Obie so that we could tighten him up and ensure he’s stable.


How can the local community help Tasytt make Obie a success?

If you use Slack, try him out and let us know what you like, hate or want to see! The majority of the functionality is free though we do have some premium features like reporting and analytics. It’s also a ridiculously simple setup process.


There’s been talk of chat being the “universal interface”. What are your thoughts on that? Do you see chat taking over more interfaces going forward?

There’s no doubt we’re going to see more bots and more companies choosing chat over a GUI, but we’re still very early on. Just like the first apps weren’t that useful, many of the bots out right now are pretty frivolous.

There are a few ways you can categorize bots: push vs pull; use of AI, ML, and NLP; standalone bot or counterpart to an existing app. There isn’t one combination that’s better, it depends what they’re trying to accomplish. A chat interface without NLP might work as a Calendar extension, but not for customer service. Unfortunately for bot developers, while being lean and working with an MVP is important, bots trying to ‘fake’ AI usually fail miserably.




Do you have any advice for startups in Hamilton?

Don’t let not being in the Valley, or even Waterloo, stop you from chasing your dreams. It doesn’t have to hurt your chances, but as soon as you modify your goals or let that become an excuse, it will.


Where are you hoping to take Obie next?

Right now we’re working on making it as easy as humanly possible to add information to a company knowledge base and access it right in Slack. Recording shorter form text is fairly simple, but we’re always cognizant of making it easy to attach rich media since most people find it easiest to learn from a combination of images, audio and text. Each piece of knowledge or step in a Flow needs to be short enough that people actually consume the information, but not so short that the medium becomes useless.

We recently implemented an upvote/downvote feature so you can help ‘train’ Obie. I’m also really excited about some of the newer NLP and the background AI that we are working on. I’d love to say more about that, but my business team won’t let me.

Later on, we’ll probably look into bringing Obie to other platforms: Facebook messenger, Skype, Telegram, Hipchat or Kik. The bot framework was designed to be fairly transferable to Facebook’s developer platform, but since companies are the primary buyer we’ll have to see if that makes sense.


First ever Internet of Things meetup this Wednesday



Editor’s note: Omega2 is a $5 Linux computer with wifi, the Kickstarter has raised $350k already off a $15k goal – what an awesome first speaker!


When: Wednesday August 17th 2016 from 7:00pm to 9:30pm

Where: CoMotion on King @ 115 King St East, Hamilton

Organizer: Hamilton Internet of Things Meetup




The Onion Omega2 Kickstarter is coming to our first meeting!!!  My apologies for being a little wish-washy with the date.  For those who can’t make it this Wednesday maybe we will have the next meetup sooner than a month from now.

The Omega folks will talk about their fantastic Kickstarter and ecosystem and what it means for the future of IoT.



If there is time and interest I’ll still talk about my day job which is turning machine tools into connected nodes.  I’m contemplating using Omega2 devices for some of our future applications.

And there will still be time for show-and-tell and getting help from other members.


Lunch ‘n Learn with Rover CEO John Combs



When: Tuesday September 20th 2016 from 11:30am to 1:00pm

Where: McMaster Innovation Park @ 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton

Organizer: Innovation Factory (@itbeginswithIF)

Cost: $10 General, $5 IF/Forge client or student



Please join Innovation Factory and The Forge on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 for a joint Lunch ‘n Learn session featuring John Coombs of Rover!

John is the CEO of Rover, a rapidly growing startup focused on location-powered mobile engagement. At our session, John will share firsthand knowledge on how to compete with large enterprises as a startup, and also touch on his experience as part of the 500 Startups accelerator in San Fransisco and his fundraising journey that raised over $1.1M for Rover this past year.


This is a can’t-miss opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups to hear a success story that’s close to home – a young, Canadian founder who’s a great example of making opportunities pay off and who will speak candidly about his entrepreneurial experience.


Rover is a mobile engagement platform that leverages iBeacon and Geofence technology to connect marketers with their customers at the right time. The platform serves hundreds of locations, in a number of key sectors including professional sports, retail, loyalty and tourism. As a leader in proximity marketing, Rover compliments the platform with industry insights and comprehensive campaign support. Customers are guided from pilot to full-scale rollout, ensuring they achieve a positive ROI from this powerful channel.


11:30am-noon – Lunch & Networking
Noon-1pm – Factory 5 (TBD) and Keynote Presentation (John Coombs)
1pm-2pm – Dessert & Networking (at iF’s Innovation Destination)

Lunch ‘n Learn sessions are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a catered lunch and learning something new! Please forward this to all of the innovators you know.

GameDevDrinks with Alex Bethke



When: Wednesday August 24th 2016 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker at 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton

Oraganizer: @GameDevDrinks




We invite all of you within or curious about our game development community to come and join us at the Pheasant Plucker on Wednesday, August 24th for a night of good times and good cheer. This month our guest speaker is Alex Bethke developer of Fate Tectonics, Long Story, and Pipe Trouble.

From 7:00-10:30 p.m., GameDevDrinks is the place for you to hang out and to hear Alex Bethke speak about the trials and tribulations of game development. Afterwards you can chat with Alex, share your game concepts and ideas, tell and trade stories, show off game demos or just network and hang out because at GDD our goal is to create a casual and creative social environment for anyone – student, hobbyist, enthusiast and professional alike – who shares the common interest of game development of any kind.

We look forward to seeing you on the 24th!


Jamie Strachan, Rami Sayar and Simon Woodside at HamOnt.js

HamOnt.js is a new JavaScript conference… low cost and kick ass, featuring experts from within and abroad for a full day of talks… we would love for you to join us on Saturday October 22nd!


The speaker line-up will be announced over the course of the next month, check out the first three announced speakers below. Full details will be updated on the ticket page regularly ($10 for students, $20 regular).







We’ll post a full schedule with more details soon (like early September).  Note that while arrival and coffee time will start at 9am, we won’t start the talks just that early (9:30am or 10:00am, dependent on final talk schedule).

We’ll start posting some speakers here in the meantime though:


Interested in giving a talk?  Fill out this application and we’ll get back to you shortly!





Interested in sponsoring?  E-mail for details!









Code of conduct

Our conference will follow this standard code of conduct.