MBAs team up for sports management website

My two sons are at that age now where they understand sports statistics … goal difference, points, shots per game. To them, it’s enjoyable math. To my former MBA student Gihan Fonseka, it’s a thriving new business venture (see

I still love playing and coaching soccer. When I step onto the field I can pretend that I am Ronaldo or Sir Alex. But when I leave to go home, reality kicks in. So I’ll just watch highlights of professional soccer on TSN, Gol TV and Setanta Sports and then I will follow my favourite players and teams on Twitter and Facebook. I will then check up on some statistics through ScoreMobile on my BlackBerry and then review more data on Yahoo Fantasy Sports. It’s a passion, or as my wife says, a sickness. But what if all of that was also available for the local amateur athlete? Could I even follow the statistics of my two sons’ athletic exploits?

Prior to his MBA studies at the DeGroote School of Business, Gihan Fonseka was always thinking about the next big idea. Motivated by the successes (and learning from the failures) of companies coming out of Silicon Valley, he started documenting every single thing that came to mind. A fellow classmate, Jason Brenzel, was also contemplating his next big move as he watched his friends successfully launch their own ventures. They were both hungry.

Although they sat right beside each other on the first day of welcome week in September 2008, the two did not end up brainstorming together until the following fall. By this time, Jason realized that Gihan had qualities that complemented his own. Gihan was a web design and marketing specialist while Jason had a finance and computer engineering background … a formidable pair would be created if they could find an opportunity to work together.

After going through an initial list of ideas that Gihan had (including the idea of a sports-based social network), Jason was not satisfied with any of them. But the sports idea would continue to linger. Gihan would later enrol in an entrepreneurship class where he further developed the business plan. Eventually, Athelink was born and Gihan and Jason were now ready to dive into programming and database development.

Fast-forward a year and half later and Gihan and Jason are now experts in the entire process of organized sports. They have developed an elegant solution for the thousands of volunteer sports conveners all over the world. Their first official client was the Toronto Private School Board and they have since made waves in various hockey and lacrosse leagues.

This is just the beginning for the duo. Their unique approach to sports league management is quite compelling. Their pricing model is quite attractive to league administrators and the resulting services to coaches and players is extremely attractive. Imagine a website that stores all of the players’ statistics in perpetuity with video highlights and comments that are all integrated with social networking. My two boys will essentially have their own “baseball card” for the rest of their playing days regardless of what sport or league they play in.

Athelink continues to add new features, including the rollout of more recognition tools for all players. One of the main challenges for amateur athletes is the ability to benchmark performance across various teams (even divisions or leagues). Athelink makes it possible to benchmark performance by providing standard statistics so that scouts can easily identify differences among various players.

One of the predominant reasons Athelink has been impressing conveners, coaches, athletes and even soccer moms and hockey dads is its intuitive usability. The

system has been built from the ground up in such a way that it reduces workload for the convener while adding more value to end users. You can forget all the confusing web interfaces, arduous manual data entry and Excel spreadsheets that are currently used by most leagues. Athelink empowers conveners, coaches, and score keepers to provide easy live updates, right from the field of play.

Gihan and Jason plan to expand into soccer, football and golf by next spring. Current clients are delighted with the service so far and the duo has big dreams for expansion moving forward. They want to become the standard solution for all sports conveners worldwide. That’s a gigantic goal … I wouldn’t expect anything less from two DeGroote MBA graduates.

2011 was great, let’s make 2012 even better

2011 was a great year for software in Hamilton!

The success of WeeverApps was one of the bigger stories of the year, especially after winning Lion’s Lair. In building a product based around the unfulfilled need of their clients at CartaNova to get on to the mobile web affordably, they may have demonstrated a path to creating a startup for other Hamilton entrepreneurs to follow. It wasn’t just Weever Apps though, a multitude of area startups received attention such as Athelink, Quant Interpretations, SnapPay, Verdant Analysis and more. Hamilton’s new RIC Innovation Factory helped to drive startup activity in Hamilton with their client services and events.

Mohawk College pulled off a very successful AppsForHealth conference and its IdeaWorks Lab continued to blend industry with academics. McMaster University’s Computing and Software outreach program and Gr8 Designs for Gr8 Girls event brought the fun and empowerment of understanding computer science to a new generation, a new software entrepreneurship course helped to foster a stronger startup culture, the computer science club was more active than in anytime since the 90s, and the Don Pether Incubation Centre was launched.

An exciting Open Data citizens group Open Hamilton held the first ever Random Hacks of Kindness in the city, and produced cool apps like Skate Hamilton. Hamilton’s hackerspace ThinkHaus re-opened after a move to 25 Dundurn Street North, and thanks to them we now have retro awesome lazzored key chains. Other groups like the Joomla! User Group South Western Ontario, Hamilton Linux User Group and CIPS-GH continued to meet regularly to learn, share and build connections.

At our first Startup Weekend in Hamilton, 20 of the 22 ideas pitched were dependent upon web or mobile software development. Software startups such as Sochi, GeoFresh and Caltrakr came out of the weekend. DemoCampHamilton took place regularly with demos from startups, students, an inventor, and established companies like Factor[e] and FluidMedia; offshoot pubnight StartupDrinks now occurs monthly.


Looking forward into 2012, we’ve got another exciting year ahead.

For starters we’ve got DemoCampHamilton5 on February 9th, the #TechTalk4HamOnt web series covering the community is set to launch February 14th, #Hack4HamOnt2 is taking place March 2nd-4th, StartupWeekend is taking place April 27th-29th, and AppsForHealth is taking place May 10th-11th. And that’s not including StartupDrinks, Innovation Nights, Lunch ‘n Learns and various other regular gatherings.

If we work together we can make 2012 even better for the community. We can talk about it, we can tweet, facebook, linkedin and blog about it, we can bring friends into it, individuals can organize more events to benefit it, and we can help each other without expecting anything in return.

If you go to AppsForHealth this year, or even if you don’t, you can help to create a storm of tweets about the conference so Hamilton and the entire eHealth world knows about it. If you go to Hack4HamOnt, you can bring an interested friend with you too. If you see local events on linkedin, you can share them with your network too. If you see a local startup with a cool product, you can blog about it. If you think that somebody could benefit from a connection, you can make it. If you can offer experience or advice to someone, you can have that coffee or beer with them. If you have the time to organize an event for the community, there are many different events other communities do that we do not.

Many little drops put together can make a big enough wave for the world outside Hamilton to take notice, and some people can see great things happening for us. Let’s go for it.

Software startup events we don’t have yet in Hamilton

This is just a list of different types of software, tech and startup events we don’t have in Hamilton. Checking out some of these events in Toronto and Waterloo is definitely recommended! But should we have some of these events in the Hamilton community? Maybe you can take up the creation of a Hamilton-version, or create an event of your own with a similar purpose or focus?

Open, participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants.

A 15-20 minute technical talk and 15-20 minute non-technical talk, developers sharing and learning from each other, free to attend.

Founders & Funders
Organized to get tech entrepreneurs to meet each other, and meet potential angel or VC funders.

Girl Geek Dinners
Informal dinners with speakers on technical, business or women in tech issues.

Presenters have 5 minutes to share personal and professional passions with 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds.

Intersect puts geeks and artists on stage to show off creative projects that merge the worlds of design, music, art, film, fashion, technology and other creative fields. Concepts, demos, samples, prototypes – but no powerpoint.

Ladies Learning Code
A women-run not-for-profit group working to empower everyone to feel comfortable learning beginner-friendly technical skills in a social, collaborative way.

Lean Coffee
Lean Coffee Meetup is a gathering of business professionals and entrepreneurs who are living and breathing the Lean Startup principles.

Lean Startup Machine
Lean Startup Machine is a metrics-driven startup competition where teams learn to identify the key risks in their business model through hands-on mentorship and our framework of tools.

Canada’s leading online conference, mesh explores how the Internet is changing how we live, work and play.

Startup Job Fair – UBC, Startup Riot, BASES
Events to connect startups with talent; often focused on student talent.

TeamCamp is a series of events aimed at forming like-minded individuals into teams for the purpose of turning smart ideas into startups.

TechTalksTO is an ongoing boutique speaker series for developers in the Toronto area.

UserExperience Camp
Focus is on user experience – online and offline, no set agenda until everyone gathers, attendees are required to participate to some degree: either by leading a discussion, showing a demo, or by creating another type of collaborative session.

Hamilton-based online marketplace REfficient featured in Toronto Star

The Toronto Star recently featured an article about REfficient, a Hamilton based online marketplace led by CEO Stephanie McLarty. From the article: “Still in its infancy, this Hamilton-based company offers a business-to-business platform, linking buyers and sellers primarily of used telecommunications equipment, from set-top boxes to the switches, servers and wiring that bring telephone and cable to your home or business.”

Check out the article here. Follow REfficient on Twitter here @REfficient.


Mohawk College job opening – Research Project Manager – Software

Apply for the position in the job board here.

View original:


The Mohawk eHealth Development and Innovation Centre (MEDIC) represents the point of access for industry, government, government agencies, employers, educators and students, to Mohawk’s software applied research capacity including eHealth systems integration, testing and mobile technology. The Research Project Manager (software), promotes, facilitates and manages projects within the MEDIC with a strong emphasis on software development related to enterprise service bus and services oriented architecture. The research project manager (software) will be responsive to industry needs and enable effective communication between faculty/student project teams and external partners.


Duties include, but are not limited to:

Manage a range of projects within the MEDIC with an emphasis on Health Informatics and Mobile Technology. The role of the Research Project Manager is to:
•Act as a liaison to industry, faculty, staff, students and funding agencies;
•Identify faculty and students for project development;
•Co-ordinate project funding within MEDIC and funding agencies;
•Maintain and develop knowledge of software systems and architecture and sectors of interest to the MEDIC;
•Design and implement prototype solutions
•Develop and participate in networking events, conferences and tradeshows in order to enhance the growth of the MEDIC;
•Manage financial and human resources (project team).

The Project Manager (software) is directly responsible for the performance of all project teams (directors, staff, consultants, external team members) to ensure successful project outcomes.


The successful applicant will have demonstrated experience and understanding:
•Software standards and systems including HL7 version 3;
•Enterprise architecture (service bus and services oriented architecture)
•Software development lifecycle (unified process and/or agile)
•Provide evidence of software development team leadership;
•Corporate training curriculum development and delivery experience

Educational requirements:
•Minimum 3 year diploma in Computer Sciences (software development)

Personal requirements:
•Highly developed analytical skills and exceptional written and verbal skills
•Superior interpersonal skills and a high level of personal integrity
•Self motivated with the ability to initiate and implement new ideas

Cutting the cost of knowing your customers

Customers are the foundation of any business.

Without customers you have nothing. The need to attract new ones and keep existing ones happy is a primary concern for all organizations. Gaining insights about them and taking action on those insights is the foundation of marketing. But how do businesses gain this type of market intelligence?

The largest multinational corporations hire armies of people and buy millions of dollars worth of market research, conduct focus groups, and survey their customers and markets. They spend an estimated $22 billion each year in North America just to convert this data into something business people can understand and act on.

But for all of the small- and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organizations, spending $100,000 on a market research project is simply out of the question.

In most cases, these relatively smaller organizations rely on piecemeal information they collect while surfing the web. Realistically, many of them just plain guess.

Enter Quant Interpretations, a Hamilton-based startup founded late last year by Brad Ross, the inventor, and Michael Saniga, the president (see Quant invented an online software tool that simplifies the process of market intelligence — in seconds at a price point that is reasonable for most businesses.

This online marketing tool delivers business decision makers and marketers fully interpreted and actionable insights about customers and markets that they can turn into better decisions and in turn, better performance.

Ross describes the process as follows: “For almost six years I worked with a team to help clients understand their customers. It was a manual process requiring weeks or months of number-crunching, expensive market research data and a dozen or so software tools. We invented a provisionally-patented process that automates and simplifies this entire process. We do all the number crunching so our clients have all the tools they need to make better business decisions.”

The product of Quant’s hard work is a flexible online portal that delivers presentation-ready reporting, insights that you likely never knew about your customers that go well beyond age and income.

Users can predict what customers will buy in the future based on what they are interested in, their attitudes and behaviours, where they prefer to shop, and how they prefer to collect information (i.e., newspaper, TV, radio, or the internet).

“Determining what your best customers look like — and more importantly how to find more of them — will have a significant impact on your bottom line,” says Saniga. “You can be more efficient with your marketing efforts, focusing on the people who want to hear from you. One thing for sure is that you’ll be more in tune with your customers, making your relationships stronger and longer lasting.”

Getting your hands on this type of intelligence may have seemed like magic in the past, but the experts at Quant Interpretations have harnessed the power of 10,000-plus variables and billions of market research data points to allow organizations to use this in both their most important strategic decisions and their everyday decision-making processes.

If your small- to medium-sized business is looking to spend some money on a marketing campaign, or if you want to learn where to find more clients like the ones you already have, ask Brad and Michael for a demo of their software solution. You will be as shocked as I was when they showed me how much they know about potential customers that you have not tapped into yet.

Job opening: Clinical DataFax Systems Inc is looking for a Software and Networking Wizard

As posted in the job board here.

About us:

Clinical DataFax Systems Inc. is a small Hamilton based software development company founded in 1991 that produces software for managing Clinical Trials data.

About you:

– entrepreneurial spirit, self-motivated, proactive, able to think outside of the box
– deep knowledge of networking – able to explain all the fields in a TCP/IP header
– demonstrated strong C, C++ and/or Objective-C programming skills
– experience with Qt GUI frameworks
– understanding of HTML, CSS, SOAP and/or JSON
– PostgreSQL database experience
– likely have contributed to an open source project
– in-depth Solaris, BSD and/or Linux experience
– strong debugging skills
– able to communicate clearly and concisely both in writing and verbally
– committed to creating tools users will find elegant, a joy to use and rock solid
– excellent collaborative skills
– genuine passion for software development and networking

If this list begins to describe you, we want to hear from you!

Attn: Martin Renters
Clinical DataFax Systems Inc.
25 Main Street West, Suite 500
Hamilton, Ontario
L8P 1H1


First StartupDrinks Hamilton of the year is next week!


When: Thursday January 12th 2011 @ 6pm

Where: The Winking Judge @ 25 Augusta Street – Hamilton, Ontario


StartupDrinks Hamilton is a monthly presentation-free and sponsorship-free 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! We meet on every 2nd Thursday of the month @ 6pm.