Interview with founders

Check out the interview below with Hamilton startup, and register to see demo’d live at DemoCampHamilton22 on Wednesday October 7th from 6:30pm – 9:00pm at The Art Gallery of Hamilton!


Tell me about yourself.

McMaster grads: Ken Seville (B.A.: Poli. Sci., 03), Matt Nelson (B.Eng, Software, 13)

We met playing on the same softball team (3-16-1) and have been working together since July.


What is

Greenplate is an online marketplace of home-cooked meals. It offers an alternative to cooking for oneself or eating restaurant takeout.




Why did you create

I don’t enjoy cooking and I’m sick of eating restaurant takeout.


How did you get the idea for

I had the Greenplate idea while walking home after work and thinking about what to have for dinner. It occurred to me that people were cooking family dinner in the houses I was passing, and I asked myself “what if I could know what they were making and buy a serving for takeout?” I asked others what they thought of the idea, and the response was so enthusiastic, that I knew I had to get working on it immediately.


How will you monetize the service?

We charge a markup (tbd) above the seller’s price.


How are you planning on marketing

To this point we have done all face to face marketing at events and door to door canvassing. As we go on we will do more media marketing.


What has the response been like so far to

Great. Most people recognize that eating reasonably healthy pretty much only happens with home-cooked meals, and yet, most people just have the time to cook every day, Greenplate solves that tension.


Who do you picture using

We’re initially focused on Mac students. Our reasoning is that we’ve got more than 10K students living away from home, with limited cooking skills, and not a lot of time to learn. In addition, they are spending ~50% of their food budget out of home, so they are a good fit for our service.




How long did it take to build

Took about 3 months to get it to this point.


What have you learned so far building

Scratching one’s own itch makes telling the story much easier.


Where do you hope to see in a year?

We want to perfect our model at Mac (and potentially Mohawk) this year. If we see the metrics we think will make it scalable, we will actively expand for the next school year.


Any advice for entrepreneurs trying to create similar products?

It’s certainly not my advice, but it’s good advice, figure out the smallest thing you can build that creates value for the customer (feels like a better deal than alternatives) and iterate the hell out of it. The temptation is always to build bells and whistles, but just keep it simple to start and improve as fast as you can.


How I hire software developers



Originally posted on


I’ve noticed that quite a few job posts for software developers still recruit for “ninjas,” “makers,” or other hip job monikers.

As one of the people responsible for new hires at Weever Apps, I try to carefully write our job placement adverts to demonstrate that our business culture views a developer as a person and not as a cute title. When I see these “of the moment” job titles, I feel that the applicant is being treated only as a commodity. I believe in hiring people.

I was recently asked by a person I was interviewing for a position at Weever Apps how I evaluate software developer job applicants. I explained that after I establish the applicant’s general technical qualifications, I then evaluate additional attributes to determine their suitability for the job: problem-solving experience, perseverance, and patience.

Problem-solving experience.

My first evaluation addresses the applicant’s commercial or self-directed problem solving experience, – and not their education, training, or certifications. I don’t think there’s a substitute for solving real-world problems with code or other tools. Great developers, in my experience, are professional problem-solvers.

Items which “flag” someone’s proven problem-solving experience include:

  • Active and varying roles on complex work projects.
  • Contributions to open-source github repositories.
  • Volunteering, or co-op work, or internships.
  • Personal projects.
  • Experience with a business case that’s similar to what we do at Weever Apps (fulfilling projects for enterprise clients, working with digital forms, etc.)

Perseverance and Patience.

As with all things, class and other types of privilege give undue advantage to some some individuals. Finding the time to contribute to a github repo, volunteer, or work on personal projects is much easier when you’re already well situated and/or well-off. So I also look for evidence of perseverance and patience in our applicants. While not everyone has the time to volunteer or work on side projects, but most people who really love coding will find ways to pursue and keep their passion active. continue to do so as much as they can.

Perseverance is important. Very few companies build things well on their first try. Most struggle through shifting project scope, employee turnover, miscommunications, and (sometimes) unreasonable expectations. The best people-at-building-things I’ve known have learned to match their intelligence with both the perseverance to confront tough, unfair problems, and with the patience to know when to step back, review whether the problem is actually being solved (well,) – and formulate a new plan.

So when you are looking (or hiring) for a reliable software developer position, remember the three P’s: Problem-solving experience, Perseverance, and Patience. It’s a good formula for developers and a good one for entrepreneurs too I think!


Synapse Life Science Competition Applications Open



Applications for the 3rd annual Synapse Life Science Competition are now open!

Synapse is a competition for innovators in the life sciences to take the first step towards commercializing their ideas. From January to April 2016, successful applicants will move through a series of milestones including preparing an Executive Summary, crafting a Commercialization Plan, and even getting the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors and leaders in the life sciences at the final showcase on April 6, 2016. Last year’s prizes included over $35,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, and this year is shaping up to be even bigger!

We are currently looking for researchers, doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs and others with ideas in med-tech, medical devices, therapeutics, diagnostics, and more, who are interested in turning their ideas into a business, as well as 4th year or post-graduate students from McMaster University, who want to gain the real-world experience of working with emerging life sciences innovators to help their companies grow.

Please help us to promote the life sciences in Hamilton, and to support local entrepreneurs who are changing the future of healthcare by encouraging innovators and students to apply at Applications for both students and innovators are open from October 1 to November 9 at 5pm.

For more information, you can visit


SURGE Speaker Series with Shaun Iles

shaunWhen: October 7, 2015 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Where: Mohawk College Fennell Campus – i219 (135 Fennel Ave West)


This session will offer an innovative spin on how to make learning fun! As well, you will walk away with some great ideas on how to make your business stand out from the crowd!

Shaun, is a Mohawk professor of Sociology and Sustainability and President and CEO of Flyte Studios. Flyte Studios provides educators access to focused educational video games for grades K-12 through the underSTUDYgames platform.


Top Accounting Mistakes Freelancers & Small Businesses Make

fbAmanda Levine from Freshbooks will be giving a really useful presentation on common accounting mistakes small businesses and freelancers make (and how to avoid them). A free pizza lunch will be provided.

You’ll learn tips to help keep your expenses organized, how to stay on top of receivables, how to do proper book keeping, and much more.

If you’re the type of freelancer or small business owner where accounting just isn’t your thing, or you’ve been trying to do all the accounting work yourself… then this presentation will be really helpful for you.

Date: Wednesday October 7th
Time: Noon-1:30pm
Location: CoMotion On King, 115 King St E.

Event is open to the public – everyone is welcome to attend and learn valuable accounting tips. Invite your friends!

REGISTER and claim your spot.


About CoMotion On King

Hamilton’s Largest Coworking Space, CoMotion On King, is a 10,000 square foot coworking space with 39 glass window offices, 26 dedicated and shared desks, 3 meeting rooms, mailbox services, a kitchen space, lounge areas, large event space, rooftop patio, and a multitude of other little nooks, crannies, and decor features meant to inspire collaboration, productivity, and creativity.

Learn more at

About Freshbooks

FreshBooks is the #1 invoicing software for small business and freelancers. Easily send invoices, track time, manage expenses, and get paid online. They are a Canadian company, based out of Toronto.


Ain’t no party like a cryptoparty



Last night I attended an event that’s new to Hamilton, a CryptoParty:

Attend a CryptoParty to learn and teach how to use basic cryptography tools. A CryptoParty is free, public and fun. It is an open format where everyone is welcome independent of their age, gender or knowledge. People bring their computers, mobile devices, and a willingness to learn! CryptoParty is a decentralized, global initiative to introduce the most basic cryptography software and the fundamental concepts of their operation to the general public, such as the Tor anonymity network, public key encryption (PGP/GPG), and OTR (Off The Record messaging).

CryptoParties are free to attend, public, and commercially and politically non-aligned (see the guiding principles).

The event was organized by Wes Kerfoot (@weskerfoot), and started off with the following video:



After this the 30 or so attendees went over materials covering cryptography concepts together. The event attendees were friendly and social, mingling in groups and discussing cryptography and related tools in a relaxed setting. More meetups will take place in the future (see: I’ll keep an eye out and post upcoming events on the SH calendar. If you’re interested in learning about cryptography it’s worth checking out, and it was true to form in being beginner friendly too.


DemoCamp22: first three demos announced

When: Wednesday October 7th 2015 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Where: The Art Gallery of Hamilton – Joey and Toby Tanebaum Pavilion – 123 King Street West Hamilton, Ontario





Demo 1
Trebble is web and mobile platform for sharing and listening to music. The platform allows users to listen to music by tuning in to trebbles. Trebbles are similar to playlists: trebble owners can add any song from a 30-million songs catalog to their trebble and optionally give it a “grading”. Songs added to a trebble will play according to their given grade, their popularity and trendiness, and will match each individual listeners. The platform gives the power to Djs, music bloggers, artists and any music lovers to have a single destination where people around the world can tune in on tap and listen to music recommended by them at any time.


Demo 2
We will be demo’ing our web app for buying and selling home-cooked meals. The one liner is “ is an online marketplace of home-cooked meals”.


Demo 3
Project-1 offers data-driven solutions that help athletes, coaches and teams gain better insights into the game. Project-1 will demo Advanced Digital Performance Solution (ADPS), a fully automated, wearable system that isn’t intrusive to the equipment, game or athlete. Our high speed technology (ADPS) enables a rapid frame-rate that captures more data per second to capture fine movements and improve training assessment. Our software package also provides clients with the most commonly used tables, graphs and alerts to ensure performance tracking in a team environment is done in an easily digestible format.


…more demos to be announced next week!


Are you interested in demo-ing? Fill out the application form to demo at this or a future DemoCamp event!


Keynote Speaker


Kirk Simpson – Co-founder and CEO of Wave


Kirk (@tksimpson) launched Wave in November 2010 with co-founder James Lochrie, and as CEO has since led the company to becoming one of Canada’s most significant startups, with recognition from Deloitte, CIX, TechCrunch, Techvibes and many more. Under Kirk’s leadership, Wave has reached more than 1.3 million registered users, raised over $35 million in venture funding from top VCs in Silicon Valley, Boston and Toronto, and grown to a company of 70 team members. As a previous entrepreneur, Kirk had experienced the pain of back-office tasks like accounting, which he set to solving by creating Wave. Kirk’s earlier ventures, both in online technologies, include a pre-YouTube streaming video service for high-end adventure events around the world, and an online community for outdoor adventure enthusiasts, which he sold to an outdoors magazine in 2010.







       Art Gallery of Hamilton                   



Interview with Simon Woodside about Hacking Health Hamilton



Hamilton’s had a strong health sector for decades. McMaster’s health programs and research are top flight. There has been plenty of top-down efforts by local institutions over the last 15 years to turn that strength into private sector job creation, be it biotech startups or software startups. Initiatives like GHBSN for example.

There hasn’t been a truly bottom-up effort though, at least to my knowledge, until now. Simon Woodside (@simon_woodside) put together a great team of folks that have been regularly organizing meetups to connect the health and tech/startup communities in Hamilton. The meetups have been highly successful, a firm from Toronto actually opened an office in the city after meeting the right talent at the inaugural event.

Check out the interview below with Simon Woodside, and consider coming out to a Hacking Health Hamilton event!


What is Hacking Health?

Hacking Health exists because there are these two communities, healthcare professionals and tech innovators, who rarely intersect. There is no existing forum for these two groups to meet. Medical workers often have problems that they would like solved with software or hardware, but they don’t know how to build the solutions. Tech innovators like programmers and entrepreneurs can build solutions, but they don’t know what problems to solve. Hacking Health gets them together in the same room and creates opportunities for them to work together.




Why is Hacking Health being done in Hamilton?

Hamilton is a healthcare hub. We have world-class research being done at McMaster, frequently cited in the international press, and an impressive array of hospitals and medical institutions which are the largest employer in the city. At the same time we have a growing tech community championed by organizations like Innovation Factory, Software Hamilton and supported by the city. There’s a big opportunity here just waiting to happen.


Who should come out to Hacking Health events, and what can they expect to get out of them?

We have two kinds of events: meetups and hackathons.

The meetups are evening events where we invite speakers from the local area and from out of town to talk about what they’re doing and demonstrate their work. For example recently a medical resident demonstrated an app that could make it significantly easier to treat people who have stents and balloons. We also had Giancarlo de Lio, a successful entrepreneur and investor from Toronto, come and talk about the companies that he’s working with. We’ve seen both healthcare workers and tech entrepreneurs make important connections and even find jobs at our events, even though we only launched this year.

We are holding a weekend hackathon in February. This is an opportunity to create something real over a very intense and short period. It’s like starting up a new company, but compressed into about 48 hours. Anyone who has the innovation bug and is into healthcare should consider going.




How much of a health tech sector does Hamilton have now?

It’s pretty fledgling. There are some well-established Health IT projects like Clinical Connect and OSCAR, supported by the public sector. In terms of private innovation, it’s still early days. Sound Options is a very interesting startup with clinically validated treatment for tinnitus out of McMaster. Geneyouin’s genetic-testing backed app PillCheck has Hamilton connections. There are few other small or early-stage projects in the area, but overall the potential of our vast pool of health expertise has barely been tapped by the tech sector.




Why should we be trying to grow our health tech sector?

That’s a great question, and it gets to the heart of why I got interested in running Hacking Health in Hamilton. It’s a matter of jobs and economy.

To start off with, I think it’s important to know where we sit in comparison with rival communities from a tech perspective. Waterloo has a powerhouse tech sector and a lot of activity in hardware and software. Toronto has a broad tech community with no particular focus. There is strong healthcare research in Toronto, but health tech is fragmented between many competing organizations and companies.

I see innovators here in Hamilton looking for opportunities to create products. But, they are often struggling to find a niche. We need to find a deep seam that we can mine for unique creative opportunities that aren’t just me-too versions of a social app that’s already been created a thousand times in other places. A great way to find a solid niche is to hang around with the specialists of any industry. What kind of specialists do we have in abundance here? Well, what is it that makes Hamilton be Hamilton? Steel, art, and healthcare.

Why pursue healthcare in particular? Because healthcare is a specialization of tech that has enormous growth potential. Healthcare is projected to consume a third of US GDP by 2040. Health apps are doubling yearly. There are literally titanic market forces at work to shift care away from hospitals and institutions and back into the home and community to drive down costs. Fortunately, we are also on the cusp of a technological revolution that looks like it can accomplish that. Consumer wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch are integrating sensors that go beyond step counting to tracking heart rhythms, calories usage, and blood oxygen levels.




What do we need to do to grow our health tech sector?

We have the medical expertise, and we have a growing tech community, so the next step is to merge them and build something great. We need broad-spectrum support, from our hospital networks HHS and St. Joes, from our educational institutions McMaster and Mohawk, from the city, from our tech innovation community. The beginning is all about connecting the health, tech, and entrepreneurial communities so that they can meet and put their combined skills to work.


What is your own background in health tech? What projects have you worked on recently?

My first iPhone app was a hearing that I created for a hearing aid company. It’s a screening tool only, but it actually produces professional-grade results. That was in 2009 — since then my company Monolith Apps has worked on maybe a dozen mobile healthcare apps and cloud systems, including electronic health records, personal health, and professional training for pharmacists with a University of Waterloo professor. My latest project is a new startup called MedStack. It’s a cloud platform for healthcare apps that need to send personal health data to healthcare workers. Under our laws in Canada (and in the US and Europe) there are very stringent rules about how your health data has to be protected and encrypted. It’s a huge burden for an innovator, but a necessary one. We have created a complete set of cloud tools to lift as much of this burden as possible and let software and wearable makers focus on what they are good at.




Where do you see the broader health tech industry going in the years ahead?

We are seeing a massive democratization of healthcare. Like it or not we can’t continue with the current centralized model because as our population ages the costs rise exponentially. The good news is that we now have the technology to allow people to receive much of the same level of care at home. For example you can now purchase a Bluetooth-enabled blood-pressure cuff for about a hundred dollars that connects to a smartphone, collecting and monitoring that aspect of your health at the same level as would previously have required hospital-grade equipment.

I also see the integration of sensors not only in smartwatches but also in your thermostat, your car, your clothing, to integrate data to monitor and alert doctors and nurses when you show signs of worsening symptoms for chronic diseases and those at risk. This requires a lot of new technological infrastructure to be built, smart algorithms, clinical expertise, a lot of which we already have here in Hamilton.


What does Hacking Health Hamilton have planned for the future?

We have regular meetups scheduled for the fall, and a weekend hackathon planned for February. Sign up to our meetup group ( to be notified about our events.


How can the community help you make Hacking Health a bigger success?

Spread the word. If you’re a tech innovator, consider the opportunities in healthcare. If you know a healthcare practitioner of any kind, from doctors and nurses to therapists and pharmacists, let them know about Hacking Health Hamilton.


Hacking Health Hamilton Cafe #4: Voices of Health



When: Thursday September 24th 2015 from 6:30pm – 9:00pm

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




We are very excited to expand hamilton’s healthcare ecosystem with “Voices of Health” on Thursday Sept 24. We start at 6:30pm.

“Voices of Health” features:

John Neary is the Chief Medical Information Officer and practices general internal medicine at St. Joseph’s Healthcare. He also works as a consultant in internal medicine for the Shelter Health Network in downtown Hamilton. John Neary lives in Beasley Neighbourhood and is actively interested in the urban environment and community building.

John will share his experiences and insights with software systems in healthcare, and the possibilities for innovation.

Syd Fletcher is President, and co-founder of MultiVoice (2014) Inc. A school principal for many years he has been involved with computers since they first came into general use back in the late 1980’s. Using Hypercard on the Mac he developed communication programs for non-speaking but cognitive users (e.g. with ALS) that garnered four national awards such as the Marshal McLuhan medal for innovative technology. MultiVoice applications are geared toward non-English speaking patients who find themselves in an emergency situation. Using MultiVoice apps nurses are able to use 50 different questions or requests of their patients in 20 different languages. This new concept is referred to as ‘specific situation translation’.

CoMotion on King:

CoMotion on King is new coworking initiative and Hamilton’s largest coworking space in the heart of downtown Hamilton at 115 King Street E. Moving towards better ways of working CoMotion on Kin has a 10,000 square foot coworking space with 39 glass window offices, 26 dedicated and shared desks, 3 meeting rooms, mailbox services, a kitchen space, lounge areas, large event space, rooftop patio, and a multitude of other little nooks, crannies, and decor features meant to inspire collaboration, productivity, and creativity.

Other important stuff:

Hack4Health Hackathon in Waterloo: Want to do a hackathon and don’t want to wait for our first Hacking Health Weekend in February 2016? Then go to Kitchener Waterloo for Hack4Health, on the weekend of Sept 26-27. Brought to you by the University of Waterloo, it’s all about creating apps to help people people living with MS or Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Hacking Health Waterloo: There’s something in the water in KW — the first Hacking Health Waterloo is Thu Oct 22. Check it out on their meetup page.

Our schedule: And finally, if you can’t make this #HHHamOnt meetup, our upcoming schedule is:

• November 19 – Meetup

• January 21 – Meetup

• February 2016 – HACKATHON!

A big thanks to our sponsors Hamilton Economic Development, MedStack, and CoMotion on King.

See you all Thursday!

Simon & Team

Windows 10 Makers Workshop



When: Thursday September 24th 2015 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Where: Innovation Factory @ 175 Longwood Road South



Come and learn why Window’s 10 may finally be the operating system for everyone who’s wanted a better alternative than Windows.

We’ll start off with a discussion of the upgrade path to Windows 10 and some features that have been removed, then move onto improved features such as the revamped start menu, Cortana (search), and Edge (browser) just to name a few. But most of the time will be spent on new features of interest to programmers and hackers.

Remote Arduino allows an Arduino’s I/O ports to be controlled from any Windows run-time language. Virtual shields which expose a Windows Lumina phone’s sensors to an arduino. Windows 10 IoT core running a Raspberry Pi. Universal Windows Application Platform which allows one program to run on different devices regardless of screen size or input device. Potentially Microsoft azure mobile web services will also be covered as this ties all the hardware and software together into the Internet of Things IoT.


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