Startup Weekend Hamilton promo video released



McMaster Innovation Park (@MIP_Hamilton) has released a video featuring Startup Weekend Hamilton 4 co-organizer Chad Fullerton (@Chad_Fullerton) describing what the event is all about. Check out the video below!

Startup Weekend Hamilton will be taking place (this weekend) April 25th – April 27th at McMaster Innovation Park. A new group rate of $50 per participant is available when you register with 3 or more people!



Nine new firms added to the directory

Frontline Focus International
Frontline Focus International develops solutions for customer experience measurement, research and performance metrics aimed to drive customer loyalty and influence customer behaviour.
64 King Street East Hamilton, Ontario L8N 1A6

Genius Inspirata Evolorum
PC asssembly & repair, 3D scanning service, 3D consumer products, 3D foodstuffs printing, vanity 3D printing, and 3D print filament manufacture.
Hamilton, Ontario

Digital media agency that provides traditional and digital media marketing services.
69 John St. S. (Suit 450) Hamilton, Ontario L8N 2B9

Providius Design
Providius specializes in simplifying the way broadcasters and multi-service operators monitor and analyze digital video services across a network, providing 24/7 visibility and analytics of live and scheduled linear programming, Video on Demand (VOD) and commercial advertising.
848 Main Street East (2nd Floor) Hamilton, Ontario L8M 1L9

Signaids merges traditional signs with smart phone technology creating an inclusive and interactive sign system.
480 Barton Street East Hamilton Ontario, L8L 2Y8

SmartPOS Systems
Smart poster based ordering & marketing solutions.
131 Bond Street South Hamilton, Ontario L8S 1S9

Top Me
Challenge one another through short videos.
Hamilton, Ontario

Virtual Image
Website design, website marketing, and web hosting.
608 Harvest Road Hamilton, Ontario L9H 5K7

Vision Design
Web design, search engine optimization, creative graphic design, software development, and other services.
11 Quincy Court Hamilton, Ontario L8W 2T4


CoderCamp 19 This Wednesday!

When: Wednesday April 23rd, 2014 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker (Upstairs) – 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton, Ontario

What: CoderCamp is for local software developers to learn tools, techniques, and technologies from one another in a casual and friendly setting. We meet to talk about coding and software development to learn from each other and get better at what we do in the process.



Scheduled Presentations

Alex Pineda (@alexpineda77) will demonstrate the power of Ansible for one-line deployments and updates to EC2 and RackSpace.

Rob Prouse will demystify the black art of project planning with a talk on Agile Estimation.

Bryan Poetz (@bpoetz) will demonstrate how a motivated script kiddie can steal your codez by exploiting the openssl heartbleed vulnerability with a go program he found on github. Assuming the internet isn’t fixed by then.


Interview with Top Me creators

Top Me was demo’d at DemoCampHamilton15 as ‘Props’ and it garnered a ton of interest from the community – check out the following interview with the creators!


Tell me about yourselves

Julian: Hi! My name is Julian Villella, and I’m the Android developer for Top Me (@TopMeApp). My background is in developing computer graphics software (ray tracing specifically, and GPU optimization). I picked up Android development after Google allured me with their fantastic API and open platform. I’ve had some success on the Google Play Store so far. One of my apps is a few days away from hitting the 150,000 downloads mark (exciting!).

Nino: Hello, my name is Nino and I made the web service and backend for our app. It’s nice to be able to get more involved in the Hamilton software community. There are many talented and successful software developers and entrepreneurs in this city.




What is Top Me?

Julian: Top Me (formally Props for those who were at DemoCamp in February) is an app where the community challenges each other through 12 second videos. We noticed the countless pictures and videos across YouTube, Facebook, Vine, etc. where people would show off something they did/accomplished. There were also quite a few fads that went on like the cinnamon challenge, bread challenge, 24-hour challenge, etc. gathering thousands upon thousands of people to participate. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger, and who doesn’t like to throw down a challenge? The problem until now was that there was no platform dedicated to this. Top Me is our attempt at filling that gap.


Where did you get the idea for Top Me?

Julian: The idea started as creating timed challenges that would be sent to a random person to complete. It eventually turned into Top Me from fixing all the holes in the concept and trashing what we didn’t think worked. At the same time we also realized the importance of a community, social driven platform, and how important it is for these challenges to take off.


How does the app work?

Julian: We tried to take what worked from other apps that people are already used to. The process is simple; you create a challenge (title and description), and optionally record your first video attempt (12 seconds) to start it. Let’s say for example you wanted to do something funny, how many cloves of garlic can you eat in 12 seconds? This challenge will then show up on a list where people can perform their take on it. You can also comment on the videos and prop them (same thing as your “heart” or “like”).




How has it been received so far?

Julian: We’ve gotten a lot of validation from the idea, designs and current beta. In February we got the opportunity to present at Democamp (thanks Kevin!). There’s really nothing more exciting than having people come up to you and express their excitement for something you’ve spend night after night working on. In fact, it’s kept me going even more than coffee!


What’s your plan to grow the Top Me user base?

Julian: We released the beta last week and are in real need for testers. Once we are happy with the app’s stability we want to target it to students at Universities and Colleges. We feel if they like it, it could really take off. The hard part with these social networking apps is getting the ball rolling. With enough support from the students at these schools it will hopefully drive downloads.


What type of challenges are you hoping people will upload?

Nino: Some of the challenges I would love to see in the future are ones that involve friends having to compete together, such as double piggybacks and human pyramids. It would also be interesting for people to show off their skills and talents, or to challenge one another to do Good Samaritan-type things.


Will you monetize Top Me? How do you plan to do this?

Nino: I think these kinds of apps are hard to monetize at the start. It’ll always be free, and we are going to stay away from ads for now. With that said, SnapChat seems to have done fairly well without monetizing in the beginning. Hopefully we will find someone more business savvy to come on board.




Where do you see Top Me going in the future?

Nino: Currently the app is only for Android, going forward it would be awesome to see it on more platforms. I do not own an Android phone, so it would be nice if I were able to use my own app in the future, haha.


Where can readers get Top Me?

Nino: Right now the app is in the Google Play Store. You can find it by searching topme (one word). I’ll also put the link below. Otherwise you can go to The iOS version will eventually be on there too.


How can the community help you make Top Me a bigger success?

Nino: If anyone would like to leave us their thoughts and feedback on the app it would mean a lot. Sharing the app with friends and family would help tremendously too.

Julian: I’ve had some challenges (no pun intended) with the video recording portion of the app. The Android camera has been a pain to work with. The differences in hardware vendor support, using it against the default (landscape, full screen), front and back facing cameras, the state machine media recorder, ffmpeg through the JNI, etc. has been very time consuming. The good news is that it’s working on more and more phones now. Galaxy S3, LG Optimus 4X HD, Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4, 5 have been tested and are now functional. We’d really appreciate if a few could try taking a video with the front and back camera and send us the bug report if something goes wrong. It will be a huge help in making this more stable.


Interview with RentHost



Check out the follow interview with Shubham Kansal and Suhel Brar of RentHost!


Tell me about yourself.

At RentHost (@RentHost), we are a team of two – Shubham Kansal who is a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo with a degree in software engineering and Suhel Brar, a former student of McMaster University. As students, engineers, and aspiring entrepreneurs our goal is to find logical and feasible solutions to everyday problems.


What is RentHost?

RentHost is a free online service that allows students to search off-campus housing smartly and efficiently by providing them a beautiful search interface, reviews by past tenants and a set of additional tools to make their search less painful.




What makes RentHost different than other rental search apps?

Currently, students use online classifieds or their university’s off-campus housing site to search for rental houses. Students have to continually check for new listings on these sites as they become available. At RentHost, we allow students to save their search criteria and notify them as houses matching their search criteria become available. They no longer have to repeatedly visit the site to check for new properties. We also provide unbiased reviews left by past tenants to help future tenants make an informed decision.


Where did you get the idea for RentHost?

When I was a student at McMaster, I rented a house with a few of my friends through McMaster’s off-campus housing site. While renting, we used to hear strange noises in the house and had no idea what it was. Upon investigation, it was found that a raccoon was living in the house. If there was a way to get feedback from previous tenants before renting the house, this situation could have easily been avoided. With such personal experiences, we decided to build RentHost to help fellow students find safe and reliable housing in a quick and easy manner.


How can readers use RentHost?

To search for off-campus housing, readers can go to the RentHost Search page and begin searching over 250 properties around McMaster University.

If you have already rented an off-campus house, sign up to post reviews and help out your fellow students.




Where do you see RentHost going in the future?

In future, we see RentHost as the largest one-stop service for all renting needs from finding a reliable and safe property, to contacting landlords, to paying rent to the most important part of it all, writing reviews and making use of them. We are starting at the McMaster University, and our goal is to be able to help students at universities all across Canada.


How can the community help you make RentHost a bigger success?

Community is the largest and the most important thread in making RentHost a bigger success. To begin with, posting reviews and asking your friends to post reviews will create a greater value to the site and to your fellow students looking for a safe and reliable place to rent. In addition, we always welcome your feedback and new ideas to help us serve you better. Please feel free to drop us a line at our Facebook page or tweet us @RentHost.



RentHost Manager:







Justin Policarpio announced as new student entrepreneurship manager

justinLocal startup community leader Justin Policarpio (@Justin_Polic) has been hired as Manager, Student Entrepreneurship in Student Affairs at McMaster University. Congratulations to Justin, and please help him out in this new role! Check out the announcement below:



I am pleased to introduce Justin Policarpio in the new role of Manager, Student Entrepreneurship in Student Affairs. Justin holds two degrees from McMaster: a BSc (Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences) as well as a Master’s of Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He is the Founder of the Women Entrepreneurship program at McMaster and was the Business Development Co-ordinator in our School of Engineering Practice. He is also the CEO of his own startup, Roboteurs. Justin will focus on co-curricular programming, launching this fall, that will help strengthen our culture of entrepreneurship and that will connect students from all disciplines with each other and with the community. Please join me in welcoming Justin to his new role.


Sean Van Koughnett BA, MAES
Associate Vice-President (Students and Learning) and Dean of Students
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | 905-525-9140 x 27455


Interview with Startup Weekend co-organizer Larissa Drobot

Check out the interview below with Larissa Drobot (@La_Rissa_D), co-organizer of Startup Weekend Hamilton 4 (@starthamilton) happening on April 25th – April 27th at McMaster Innovation Park!


larissaTell me about yourself.

I am a Hamilton native, an alumni of Mohawk College, a production manager (animation), and a freelance video editor. I am also one of Hamilton’s startup cheerleaders and an alumni of Startup Weekend Hamilton 2 & 3. This year I am one of the new team of volunteer organizers for Startup Weekend Hamilton 4. It is our first time collaborating together and we are building a great event on the strong foundation that was left to us by our predecessors.


What’s Startup Weekend Hamilton 4 all about?

Startup Weekend Hamilton 4 is a 54 hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, business and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch a startup.


Where and when is the event, and how can people register for it?

This year’s event will be held at Innovation Factory & The Atrium at McMaster Innovation Park (175 Longwood Rd S, Hamilton). It will run from Friday, April 25th at 6:30pm to Sunday, April 27th at 8:30pm.

People can register for it here.


Why did you decide to co-organize this year’s Startup Weekend event?

Two years ago I saw an article about Startup Weekend Hamilton 2 and I was intrigued by the concept and decided to sign up. I enjoyed the experience so much that I became more involved in the startup community. I have formed lasting relationships and am infected with the enthusiasm of the entrepreneur’s in this town! After participating in Startup Weekend Hamilton 3 I decided that I wanted to help organize the event and create a great experience for others and their future startups.




How did the overall Startup Weekend movement get started? How big has it grown now?

Startup Weekend is a grassroots movement that began in 2007 when a group of individuals worked on a single business idea and developed it over the weekend. Today Startup Weekend events are held all over the world in over 100 countries and involve larger groups of individuals developing multiple startups in competition with one another.


What are some of the more interesting startups that have come out of past Startup Weekend events?

I might be a little biased as I am still involved in the project, but I feel Walkbug was one of the most interesting Startup Weekend startups we’ve had locally. Walkbug is an app that lets you create and share curated walking tours, allowing travellers to experience any city as locals do.

Outside of Hamilton I would say Groupnotes who won Startup Weekend Toronto and then went onto win at the Global Startup Battle. Groupnotes is a tool that you can use to easily share and comment on websites making it easier to share notes with groups of people.




Why should people attend Startup Weekend Hamilton 4?

Startup Weekend attracts the community’s best makers and do-ers. It is a great opportunity to build your network, create lasting relationships, and learn a new skill. If you survive the weekend you will have gained months worth of learning, building and networking by drawing on the resources of other individuals that a startup might not have at their fingertips.


Can anyone take part in Startup Weekend?

Yes. Anyone can join; it takes many different skill sets to develop a business.


What can attendees expect during the weekend?

On the Friday night there will be a rapid ‘Pitch Fire’ event where anyone can pitch their business idea, then the ideas are voted on and groups form around the selected ideas. The group members collaborate for the rest of the weekend to build the startup businesses. During the weekend mentors will be available to guide and answer questions that might arise. On Sunday evening the teams will present to a panel of judges who will then award prizes to the top three groups.



Do the startup projects at Startup Weekend have to be technology based, or are other types of startups allowed too?

Any business ideas are eligible however we strongly recommend that even non-tech projects focus on a tech-related deliverable such as a website for Sunday’s presentations.


What will be different about this year’s Startup Weekend Hamilton event than previous years?

This year we are having an entrepreneur exclusive after-party on the Sunday night at a different venue (Stonewalls 339 York Blvd) where we will announce and award our prizes.


Where do you see Hamilton’s startup community going in the future?

The startup community is like a snowball going down a hill. As it gains momentum there’s no way in telling how big it’s going to get. Hamilton has a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem with organizations, networks, resources and opportunities that foster the region’s new generation of entrepreneurs and young professionals.




What role do you see Startup Weekend playing in that community?

Startup Weekend plays a vital role in the startup ecosystem by giving startups a chance to meet cofounders, find developers, build a website, establish market validation, get support and get advice from experienced mentors. This process would normally take months but it all happens in 54 hours. It’s a great time saver and a way for entrepreneurs to learn and try new things and possibly develop an even greater idea.


How can the local community help you make Startup Weekend Hamilton 4 a success?

The local community can help us in many ways. Firstly get the word out. Everyone knows someone who would benefit from an event like this. Secondly, the ‘weekend warriors’ as the participants are called need to keep up their energy, and any businesses that would care to support us this year or next year that could help out with refreshment/food donations, or sponsorship of prizes is always appreciated.


Startup Weekend Ideas

Coming to Startup Weekend on April 25th-27th?

Good! Now here are some ideas to pitch!

Idea #1

A solution for the “too many tabs open” problem. Need a way to save my history in an organized and interactive manner, with a nice looking UI. Sort of like the old WebMynd ( I find that most of my tabs are open as a form of reminder.

“We’re a reminder + tab management + todo list system all in one.” – Your Company

If I close it, I’ll forget it and might as well not have seen it. Same if I hide it away in some kind of bookmarking app. I think it would be best to apply a UI layer over my entire history in a way that makes it easy to search and recall things that I found interesting int he past.
Need to store all data locally for privacy reasons, and have a way to logically group urls by content and bring them back to the front occasionally (maybe with some kind of gamification?) so they don’t disappear.


Idea #2

I want to search for furniture, and other products, based on dimensions. My girlfriend and I furnished a new apartment recently, and had to be space conscious..

“We let you search for furniture, and other products, based on dimensions.” – Your Company

This spot next to the couch could fit a 10″ wide table. It’s not easy to search for that, yet the information is there. My original plan was going to use the Amazon API and take a search term and page through looking for dimensions that fit. I still think it’s a great idea, but obviously not huge, and I don’t really have time to build it. If you do, hook me up.



Idea #3

I have a strange fascination with knowing exactly how I discovered a particular artist, film, website, etc.

I’d really love a browser extension that could keep track of how the user reached a given site. Then they could go back later and input, say, a YouTube URL, and it would show exactly what lead them to that song.

“We tell you how exactly you discovered a particular artist, film, website, etc” – Your Company

I started writing such an extension myself, but I was clearly out of my element. So when Mozilla shut down their Firefox Add-on Builder, I lost motivation completely. For someone with experience created extensions, though, I imagine this would be pretty straightforward.

EDIT: no, using the browser history is not good enough. Browsing is a non-linear activity (especially with multiple tabs open), and to visualize your path through the web you need a graph, not just a list of sites.



Idea #4

Idea: Airbnb for food. An app where you buy meals cooked by your neighbors.

I see two big trends these days.

1) People seems more willing to connect back with their neighbors and community.

2) People have less time but want to eat more healthy.

“We connect you with your neighbours over a meal” – Your Company

Imagine this scenario:

While going back home, a student could check on the app what’s available to eat for tonight. Next to his place, there’s a family willing to sell the extra tacos for a few bucks. The student would then just stop by and pick them up.

Obviously, there would be quality rating and the possibility to reserve a few days in advance.

What is Startup Weekend Hamilton?

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Find out more at Startup Weekend Hamilton.

Or reach out to one of the organizers:

Ideas sourced from:


Interview with Shreya Tekriwal of Hacking Health

Check out the following interview with Hacking Health (@hackinghealthca) team member Shreya Tekriwal (@ShreyaT), and don’t forget to register for the first ever Hacking Health Hamilton event taking place April 25th – April 27th at Mohawk College!


Tell me about yourself.

I graduated in 2012 from Western University with a business degree and am looking to start law school in September. While I was working at a local tech startup, I happened to volunteer for Hacking Health’s first event in Toronto. I was absolutely mesmerized by everything that happened that weekend and really enjoyed working with Hacking Health’s co-founders, Jeeshan Chowdhury, Dominic Savoie and Luc Sirois. Since then, I’ve been doing anything and everything I can to help grow this movement.


What can you tell us about Hacking Health Hamilton?

Hacking Health Hamilton is a weekend-long hackathon focused on bringing innovation to healthcare. We want to bring healthcare professionals together with technologists, entrepreneurs, policy makers, patient representatives and other stakeholders to not only identify the various problems in healthcare but to also develop ways in which we can remedy them using technology.




Why are you bringing Hacking Health to Hamilton?

The idea of bringing Hacking Health to Hamilton came about when David Kemper, our lead organizer in Hamilton, approached us. With the help of some awesome volunteers, the local team organized a Hacking Health Cafe held at the Innovation Factory back in October. The event was very well attended and it was clear that Hamilton had a thriving health-tech community. Hamilton is also home to Apps for Health and when Duane Bender proposed joining forces to bring a weekend full of innovation to the community, it was really a no-brainer.


Where and when is the event, and how can people register for it?

The weekend-long hackathon will be held on April 25-27, 2014 at Mohawk College. We’re collaborating with Apps for Health and Startup Weekend Hamilton to make this a very exciting weekend, full of innovation for those in and around Hamilton.

You can find out more about HH Hamilton and register through our website or email us at if you have any questions!




How did you become interested in health tech?

It was actually quite random and not at all planned. After graduation, I happened to grab coffee with the founder of a local design and development studio, which was really the first time I got into tech. About 4-5 months into my job, I ended up volunteering at Hacking Health Toronto in 2012 and that was my first time getting involved in anything health-tech. It may sound cheesy but I’d been trying to find something I truly felt passionate about – Hacking Health and health tech filled that gap for me.


Why did you start organizing Hacking Health?

I remember asking one of Hacking Health’s founders this same question and here’s what he said: hackers love to solve problems and healthcare has plenty to go around.

However, there was a problem that prevented innovation in healthcare. Healthcare professionals and technologists remained in silos. Lots of clinicians had ideas but didn’t have the right skills set or know the technologists who could turn these ideas into reality. That is essentially why Hacking Health came around – to foster the much needed collaboration. All stakeholders needed to be involved in building a solution right from the beginning and that really wasn’t happening before.




Where have Hacking Health events taken place so far?

We started in Montreal and have now organized events in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, London (ON), Hamilton, Cape Town (South Africa), Stockholm (Sweden), Strasbourg and Paris (France). We’ve got teams in Saskatoon, Calgary, New York City, Boston, Hong Kong, Whitehorse, Berlin, Zurich, Bucharest (and many more) working towards organizing events in 2014. A full list of upcoming events can be found here.


What are some of the most interesting health tech solutions that have been developed at Hacking Health events?

I could never pick the most interesting one – they’re all so different and so uniquely interesting in their own way. What we find amazing is the variety of solutions that are developed and the people who drive them. They’re not just software solutions but also hardware. Hacking Health Strasbourg even had an animal health project! The project leaders aren’t always healthcare professionals or technologists either – one of our successful projects was driven by a team of social workers in Toronto. A glimpse of past projects and some of our success stories can be found here.




Why should people attend Hacking Health?

I think the reasons vary from person to person. Hacking Health events provide participants with the opportunity to make a difference, to learn new skills and to meet some amazing people in the community who you wouldn’t interact with otherwise. Many others join us because they’re looking to validate their idea and this is a very easy, cost-effective way of doing so.


What can attendees expect at Hacking Health Hamilton?

Attendees can expect to step outside of their comfort zones and learn how to communicate and work with individuals from completely different backgrounds as themselves. The whole weekend is so full of activity! It starts off with pitches on Friday night and ends with demos on Sunday afternoon and it’s amazing how much teams can accomplish over a weekend.

You can also check out some of the videos from our past hackathons!




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

Tell your friends about Hacking Health Hamilton and bring at least five people along with you! Other than that, it’s really about keeping the conversation going. We’re always looking for volunteers and leaders in the community to join forces with so if you’re interested, definitely get in touch!


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