Hacking Health Hamilton Hackathon


Hacking Health Hamilton, in collaboration with Mohawk College’s Apps for Health event, will hold the city’s first health hackathon on the 25, 26 and 27 of April, 2014, at Mohawk College, in which doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and health system administrators, will collaborate with computer scientists, technologists, programmers and designers in the creation of digital solutions to improve the health of Hamiltonians. Hacking Health hackathons are fun, intense, hands­on events where small teams tackle tough problems in a supportive community of peers and mentors.

Register for Hacking Health Hamilton Hackathon:


About Hacking Health

Hacking Health is a social organization that seeks to foster and facilitate collaboration and interdisciplinary experimentation between healthcare professionals and technologists to enable them to work together on realistic, human­centric solutions to front­line healthcare problems, design prototypes (games, apps, websites, web applications, services) and problem­solve new ways to deliver and transform healthcare and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Hacking Health hosts monthly Hacking Health Cafes and weekend­long Hackathons. By creating such creative and innovative spaces, Hacking Health seeks to build bridges between healthcare professionals working in the field, who have ideas of their technological needs, and technology experts who understand how to design and develop such new technologies.

Technology alone cannot necessarily deliver change. However, well­designed, user­informed digital tools can influence individual behaviour and disrupt the traditional methods in which healthcare is delivered and patients treated.

About Hacking Health Hamilton

Hacking Health Hamilton started in the Summer of 2013, when David Kemper, who had relocated to the city a few months before, took note of the city’s robust institutions of higher education, burgeoning technology startup scene, and numerous hospitals and healthcare centres, and saw the potential of bringing the Hacking Health movement to the Steel Town.

Working with other Hamilton volunteers, Hacking Health Hamilton was formed and held its first event, Hacking Health Cafe, on October 22, 2013 at Innovation Factory in the McMaster Innovation Park. The informal free event­­attended by roughly by 50 professionals for the health and IT sectors­­was a success and set the stage for the upcoming hackathon event.

The overarching goal of Hacking Health Hamilton is to bring people from all sectors and disciplines together, but especially from health and technology, and to support collaboration and build partnerships of innovation as the city of Hamilton continues its economic shift from large, heavy industries to education and health services.

Examples of Hackathon pitches and projects (Montreal Hackathon 2014):

David Kemper
on behalf of Hacking Health Hamilton


Finding B2B Clients: 4 Strategies We Use

Getting more clientsAs a B2B sales and marketing agency, we are often asked how VA Partners finds new customers. Here are four tactics we use on an on-going basis to build a funnel of potential clients.

1. Use Inbound Marketing

Using a mix of blogs, white papers, email newsletters, website content, social media and SEO, we have built a great inbound lead generation process at VA Partners. We generate close to 60 inbound leads every month, qualify all our leads and then add them to the sales effort.

2. Be a Leader in the Local Startup Space

VA Partners has been in business since 2006 and since that time we have worked hard to build relationships with many well respected organizations. This has led to monthly speaking opportunities, mentoring opportunities, and leading peer-to-peer sessions. This is not a one-time effort, but an ongoing and consistent pursuit.

3. Network and Attend Events

The team is regularly at startup or small business events through the Toronto and GTA region, including KW, Halton and Hamilton. This has been a great way to meet prospects and potential partners.

4. Look for Sales Triggers on Social Media

Social media is a wonderful tool for growing firms. Every member of our team has a strong presence on social media. One of the great opportunities from a sales effort is finding sales triggers that can then be acted upon quickly. Early this year we signed a new B2B customer and also helped a client close a customer through a conversation that started on Twitter and Linkedin. Both of these opportunities closed in less than a month.

What strategies does your business use to find new clients?

Need help getting started with sales? Download our free Introduction to Startup Sales white paper to learn about researching prospects, using LinkedIn for sales and handling sales objections.

Factor[e] wins communications tech award

Congratulations to factor[e] (@factor_e) for winning the communications technology category at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce (@hamiltonchamber) Outstanding Business Achievement Awards last night.

Last night we won the Communication Technology Award at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Outstanding Business Awards! We are very humbled with this recognition, and we would particularly like to thank all those we have worked with, both present and past. This is a great honour, and we are so happy to be apart of the #HamOnt community!facebook.com/FactoreDesignInitiative




Orbital (@GetOrbital) was also nominated last evening in the communications tech category.

We had an absolute blast last night at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Business Achievement Award celebration. Our nomination in the Communication Technology category was a huge honour and we wish to express a huge thanks for the overwhelming support! Congratulations to factor[e] design initiative, on the well-deserved award!facebook.com/OrbitalStudios




Talk by Ken Seville at next StartupDrinks April 9th


When: Wednesday April 9th, 2014 @ 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker (2nd floor) @ 20 Augusta Street – Hamilton, Ontario

What: StartupDrinks Hamilton is a monthly networking event for Hamilton’s startup community to make connections over drinks and relax a little! Feel free to talk about projects, ideas, funding, technology… or just shoot the breeze! Starting in 2014 we’re going to experiment with a featured talk by a local startup and a tighter runtime.



Featured Talk



Ken Seville – Founder of Democravise


Democravise helps users to crowdsource questions that need to be asked for stakeholder affecting decisions made by government, enterprise, and non-profits. Democravise uses proprietary software to crowdsource questions and gather stakeholder intelligence that alerts management when a decision is at risk of being derailed and the questions that need to be answered to get it back on track. Democravise offers free and paid tools. Paid tools include analytics with data points that increase or decrease buy-in. Free tools have all the buy-in power but don’t include analytics.



Rough Agenda

6:30pm – 7:00pm – Networking
7:00pm – 7:30pm – Talk by Ken Seville
7:30pm – 9:00pm – Networking


Ontario inches closer to equity crowdfunding

CrowdFundedDiplomacyToronto, Ontario – The Ontario Securities Commission is proposing new rules to allow start-ups and early-stage businesses to raise up to $1.5 million a year from individuals through registered crowdfunding web portals.

Several other agencies, in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, said Thursday they’ll also publish the Ontario proposals for comment at the same time.

But the British Columbia Securities Commission made it clear Thursday that it has a different approach in mind.
“The BCSC is not publishing the Ontario crowdfunding proposal at this time, but will monitor crowdfunding developments across the (Canadian Securities Administrators),” the B.C. agency said.

Entrepreneurs use crowdfunding to pitch their ideas directly to large numbers of consumers, who then invest typically small amounts in the startup. There have been concerns that individual investors could be at risk of fraud if they are victims of unscrupulous schemes.

OSC chief executive Howard Wetston said Ontario’s approach would provide new regulatory rules to provide businesses with more access to capital and expand opportunities for investors.

“We have done so in a balanced and responsible manner that is intended to facilitate capital raising while maintaining an appropriate level of investor protection,” Wetston said in a statement.

Ontario’s proposed rules would allow businesses to raise up to $1.5 million during a 12-month period through a crowdfunding portal that has been registered with securities regulators.

The OSC proposal would also limit how much an investor can invest _ a maximum of $2,500 in a single investment and $10,000 per year.

The B.C. approach would differ in several ways, including allowing crowdfunding portal to operate without being registered under securities legislation if it meets certain criteria.

The BCSC also says it would limit issuers to raise no more than $150,000 per offering and limit them to no more than two offers or up to $300,000 per year _ only a fifth as much as Ontario would allow.

In addition, the B.C. commission would limit investors to $1,500 per offering.

All the agencies said the proposed changes will be subject to a 90-day public comment period closing June 18.

The other proposed changes outlined by the OSC on Thursday include one plan to allow a company to raise money based on comprehensive disclosure document and another that would allow family, friends and business associates to more easily invest in start-ups and early stage businesses.

The fourth change would allow public companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange and Canadian Stock Exchange to raise money from their existing investors based on the public disclosure.

Websites like Kickstarter have raised the popularity of crowdfunding with projects like the Veronica Mars movie, which was funded by fans of the now defunct TV show.

However, investing in start-up businesses can be extremely risky and critics of crowdfunding have raised concerns about the possibility for fraud.

Last year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released crowdfunding proposals for how much people could invest and how much companies must disclose.]


Know the cons too

We had a great talk last night at CoderCamp on dependency injection. It followed the format that a lot of great CoderCamp talks seems to follow: general principles outlined + more details + examples in code. My favourite part? The speaker gave us a list of cons.

The cons matter because a lot of tech decisions come down to ‘best tool for the job’ rather than ‘x tool is the best thing since sliced bread’.

For example, the whole native app vs. web app vs. hybrid app argument. With some app types, the UX of a web app just doesn’t match the native app experience, in other types of apps the difference is negligible / doesn’t matter (and development cost advantages or other factors override UX quality concerns). The truth is that sometimes in tech the right answer isn’t A or B, it’s “well, it depends…”.

Too often when I’ve seen people describe a technique or a technology they neglect to mention the cons.




This is understandable, because a lot of technology is not a democracy or an art, it’s an objective reality. A lot of things in technology are either right or wrong, better or worse, and as a result it tends to attract people who see the world this way as doing so helps them to excel.

The problem is this results in technology holy wars when the “right or wrong, better or worse” view doesn’t hold up. In the best case this results in healthy, illuminative and interesting discussions and disagreements. In the worst case it results in neckbeardism.

Don’t make the mistake of arguing over apples vs. oranges, recognizing pros and cons of different techniques and technologies is important to deciding how to go about doing things.


CoderCamp18 This Wednesday

When: Wednesday March 26th, 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

Anand Sinha (@AnandSHamilton) will give a presentation on embedded system design.

Tom Sweeny from Nuway Software Inc. will speak with us about his experiences helping developers grow professionally using the craftsmanship model of apprentice-journeyman-master.

Rob Prouse is going to help us master Dependency Injection, introduce some of the frameworks available, and give a demo using Ninject.

Interview with Josh Brown of Pricecanopy

Pricecanopy is a Hamilton-based startup by Josh Brown. Niche vertical SaaS startups don’t seem to have the sex appeal of ‘trying to be the next WhatsApp’, but they sure seem to work in Canada (and Hamilton too). That’s why I was really curious to interview Josh about what he’s doing with Pricecanopy, check it out below:


Tell me about yourself.

I’m a new grad from Queen’s University and I have been building web applications for about 5 years now. I’m interested in all kinds of software but especially eCommerce applications, ERP/financial software for retail companies and weather forecasting systems.


What is Pricecanopy?

Pricecanopy is an automated repricing service for businesses that sell goods on amazon.com, amazon.ca or amazon.co.uk. It helps retailers maximize their sales on Amazon through keeping their listing prices competitive.




What is the ‘buy box’, and how does Pricecanopy help users win them?

The buy box is a highlighted rectangle on each Amazon product detail page where most buyers make their purchase. It’s common for multiple Amazon sellers to offer the same product for sale. When that happens, one seller occupies the buy box and the other sellers are buried under the “More buying choices” link or the offer listings page. (There are a few exceptions to this, which I won’t get into here.)

The seller that holds the buy box is chosen automatically by Amazon. That decision has many inputs — including a seller’s feedback score and fulfillment process — but one of the biggest factors that Amazon takes into consideration is price. Typically a seller that’s eligible for the buy box can win it when their price is slightly lower than the nearest buy box-eligible merchant.

This means that prices on Amazon can change very quickly as sellers compete with one another for the buy box spot. Third party merchants use Pricecanopy as a tool to automate their repricing and maximize their exposure to the buy box when it makes sense to do so.


What sorts of competitive intelligence data does Pricecanopy allow users to gather?

Pricecanopy users can keep track of their competitors’ feedback ratings, their competitors’ eligibility for the buy box, their competitors’ ship-from locations, and whether or not the competitor uses Fulfillment by Amazon. They can also see approximately which Amazon sellers compete against them the most.




What other features does Princecanopy give users?

There are no other features yet – that’s about it :)


SaaS seems to be a tech startup business model that works in Hamilton, and in Canada more broadly speaking. How have you found running a SaaS business so far?

I like SaaS because I think it reduces vendor lock-in and encourages startups to focus on customer experience. Clients can try it, use it for as long as they like or cancel if they don’t see the benefits. No long-term commitment is required and I think a lot of buyers expect that now.


How are you finding your customers?

Most of our clients find us through referrals and organic search. As far as I know, Pricecanopy is the only Canadian repricing service out there, so we are sort of specializing in serving retailers on amazon.ca. We are also active on various major and obscure social networks and we run the JungleBlog.




What’s next for Pricecanopy?

Well we have a new product for Amazon sellers in the works. I hope it will be out in the next month or two — keep an eye on our site for details!


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

If you are interested in getting involved or just want to say hello, feel free to send us a message. You can email me at josh@pricecanopy.com or we’re on Twitter @pricecanopy.

Amazon sellers are welcome to sign up for a free trial on our website, pricecanopy.com — we’d love to hear any feedback or comments you may have.


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