The Spectator covers Verdant Analysis with Nick Bontis article

The Spectator has covered Hamilton software firm and DemoCampHamilton3 participant Verdant Analysis in an article written by Nick Bontis:

“Do you have any stock in your investment or retirement portfolio? I bet you do. Have you ever checked out the company’s financial statements? I bet you haven’t. Therein lies one of the biggest challenges for the common investor. Here comes Hamilton-based Verdant Analysis to the rescue (see”

Check out full article here:–software-opens-the-door-to-financial-knowledge

How great is it to see software-based startups in Hamilton being covered by The Spectator?!


DemoCampHamilton3 Recap: Crow Call

DemoCampHamilton3 took place in front of an estimated 200+ members of the community on Wednesday September 28th at the Twelve Eighty pub right on McMaster University campus. The largest ever attendance for a DemoCampHamilton event was double the previous record, mostly because so many McMaster students showed up for what was probably their first DemoCamp experience. DemoCampHamilton3 had excellent community sponsorship in the form of Innovation Factory, Hamilton Economic Development, McMaster Industry Liaison Office and the Department of Computing and Software.

The event was kicked off with a keynote by the “godfather of DemoCamp” David Crow (@davidcrow) himself. Hamilton’s community is young and still learning, and David shared valuable advice about aiming higher, about the importance of “adding two zeros” to our entrepreneurial expectations. He challenged us to not to make excuses about things being easier in Silicon Valley, but to go there and do it if we thought so. David also talked about the strength of community not being in the number of nodes, but in the number of connections between the nodes. He also left us with a useful list of what to read. Thanks for coming down to Hamilton, David!

Jennifer Cameron (@JenniferVerdant) CEO of Verdant Analysis showed off their financial analysis software – the Cogent financial statement analysis tool and Forecast communication platform for the financial community. Verdant Analysis was actually a top ten finalist at the Lion’s Lair event which took place earlier in the month!

Next up was DemoCampHamilton stalwart supporters FluidMedia who did a demo of SkinnyBoard, web-based software that helps agile project teams collaborate to get work done. Somebody yelled out “I love SkinnyBoard!” before the demo could even begin, so they are doing something very right!

Gavin Schulz (@GsMaverick) and Brian Graham of Open Hamilton (@OpenHamilton) demoed the Dowsing app that helps people find the nearest public water play feature, swimming pool, or beach. Joey Coleman (@JoeyColeman) is the passionate leader of the Hamilton branch of the Open Data movement to have governments release or make open certain kinds of data in formats which afford themselves to the creation of apps like Dowsing. If you’re interested in developing Open Data applications, the group meets regularly on Thursday nights at Hamilton’s local hackerspace ThinkHaus.

Next up was the co-founders of another Lion’s Lair finalist, Brad Ross (@BradARoss) and Mike Saniga (@mikesaniga) of Quant Interpretations. They did a demo of their “QiiQ” consumer intelligence solution – a web-based interpretive solution that helps business owners and managers make better decisions: rich insights about consumers: where they live, how they live, how best to connect with them, and how to find others like them.

Alex and Ruxandra Bucataru then came up to demo their Enthuzr social marketing platform that makes word of mouth marketing easy, more viral, and truly measurable. In addition to giving attendees access to an Enthuzr beta invite, Enthuzr is also a sponsor for the upcoming Startup Weekend Hamilton event happening October 21st-23rd – way to support the community guys!

Finally we had Adrian Duyzer (@adriandz) and Martin Eckart of factor[e] design initiative up to demo HomeFinder, a site for finding new and resale homes that is similar to MLS but designed to be much easier to use. They also did a quick plug for a new web portal of the Hamilton Light Rail initiative.

Some people from ThinkHaus were handing out lazzored acrylic keychains in the shape of 8-bit era Super Mario – did you get yours?! If not ThinkHaus (@ThinkHausOrg) opens their doors on 25 Dundurn ST N every Tuesday at 7pm for an openhaus – why not pop in and check out what other cool stuff they have going on? We also had several other community event announcements. Pat Gaudet of CIPS-GH announced a talk by great Mohawk professor Duane Bender taking place at Mohawk College at 6pm this Wednesday October 5th on the state of electronic medical health records in Canada and what the future holds, reservations (required to attend) and details available here. Stephanie Shuster (@stephshuster) and Tammy Hwang (@tammyhwang) of the Innovation Factory talked about the upcoming Innovation Night taking place on the evening of Wednesday October 12th at the McMaster Innovation Park, details and registration here. One night later on Thursday October 13th starting at 6pm we will be having the first ever Startup Drinks Hamilton in the cool downstairs pub of the Kelsey’s at 875 Main Street West, register here.

Special thanks to Dwayne Ali (@interestica) for making our cool new logo, maybe you want to check out his equally well designed website Secret Hamilton that is all about exposing the “hidden gems” of Hamilton? 😉 Special thanks to Jim “microphone guru” Rudnick (@JVRudnick), Simon “unconference Yoda” Woodside (@sbwoodside), Brian Hogg (@brianhogg), Jessica Pavlin, Tammy Hwang and Stephanie Shuster.

It should also be noted that the sponsors for DemoCampHamilton3 aren’t just sponsors, they’re part of the community too, as evidenced by the Department of Computing and Software’s outreach program, the McMaster Industry Liaison Office’s STEM program, Hamilton Economic Development’s mentoring programs and networking events, and Innovation Factory’s Flight Program.


Student software entrepreneurism opportunities [op-ed]

While a Computer Science graduate student and lecturer at McMaster University I’ve often had graduating students ask me if I know if any “good jobs” are available. Students are having difficulty finding jobs that they find fulfilling intellectually, that offer opportunities for advancement, and that make them feel a sense of purpose by doing something important to them. I genuinely believe that even though the opportunities presented to students may seem bleak, the ability for students to create their own opportunity through software-based startups has never been better. I personally believe more McMaster students should consider creating their own software startups as a viable career path.

The success of software startups run by students and recent graduates should provide encouragement. One such example is Kik Interactive, developers of the Kik Messenger cross-platform instant messenger app for iOS, Android and WP7. CEO Ted Livingston was a Mechatronics student at the University of Waterloo in 2009 when he headed up the creation of what would ultimately become Kik. The service became a viral success story, going from zero to one million users in 15 days. By selling some of his personal share in Kik, at the age of just 23 Ted was able to generously donate one million dollars to Waterloo’s residence-based startup incubator VeloCity.

The growth of smartphone and tablet mobile devices and the accompanying increase in app revenue represents an unprecedented opportunity for software startups to launch products built locally to a global market. Smartphone shipments are expected to rise from 249.9 million in 2010 to 506 million units in 2014 according to iSuppli Corp., shipments of tablet computers are expected to grow from 19.5 million units in 2010 to 208 million units in 2014 according to Gartner Inc. media analysis, and Forrester Reports projects that mobile app revenues will grow 1627% from 2.2 billion USD in 2010 to 38 billion USD in 2015.

Many of the tasks required of a startup are now either completely automated or made far easier through the usage of cloud-based services. For example publishing platforms like WordPress for creating websites, MailChimp for managing mailing lists, FreshBooks for billing and accounting, TribeHR for having an HR system, SurveyMonkey for surveys and feedback, Pivotal Tracker for project tracking, Github for source control, and Skype for conferencing. As such it has never been easier to launch a startup with a small team and little or no funding, which is particularly important for student-run startups.

Hamilton itself is beginning to see a surge in software related startups, it’s even been described as “the next new Canadian tech startup hotspot” by Mark Elliot at Venture Accelerator Partners Inc.. I know that some students and recent graduates at McMaster are doing software-based startups. Computer Science students Gavin Schulz and Zaahir Moolla have developed a service called MealDeck which allows restaurants to easily create a cross-platform mobile website. A recent graduate of the MBA program, Lorne Lantz, founded Groupstore, a service which allows people to sell their event as a group online. I feel these efforts should be recognized and applauded, but I think more startups can come from McMaster. McMaster is a world class institution, I believe our students and graduates are capable of creating world class software startups.

If you’re a student that is interested in becoming involved in your own software startup, I would suggest becoming involved in the software startup community in Hamilton and in Canada. Read Canadian tech news websites like TechVibes and blogs like StartupNorth. Attend and participate in local DemoCamp, Startup Drinks and Startup Weekend events. Once you’ve gathered a feel for things, you can make an informed decision about how to either become involved in a startup or start your own. While the intellectual challenges of a startup can be incredibly satisfying, I think the greatest thing is that you can work on a problem that you are passionate about and feel a sense of purpose in providing a solution, potentially for the whole world. I’d love to see more McMaster students doing a software startup, taking up the challenges, providing the solutions and feeling that sense of purpose.

It’s an exciting time for Hamilton’s software community!

It’s an exciting time for the Hamilton software community! Last night Weever Apps came away with the “lion’s share” of the available prizes at Lion’s Lair. The excellent well-executed event was put on by Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and was attended by over 500 Hamiltonians passionate about seeing innovation and entrepreneurial efforts succeed in their city.

Andrew & Rob were actually one of the first people to agree to demo at the inaugural DemoCampHamilton1 event, so it was nothing short of thrilling to see Weever Apps, a software startup in Hamilton, come away with the top prize of $50k in cash and services in front of everyone at Lion’s Lair. Andrew’s post-award speech was from the heart – his passion for what he does is infectious and simply inspiring. Congratulations on another success guys!

The event was a big win for Weever Apps. But most importantly, it was a big win for Hamilton.

In addition to all the excitement of seeing a DemoCampHamilton veteran come away with the big prize, there are several upcoming events for Hamilton’s software community:

DemoCampHamilton3 is set to take place Wednesday September 28th @ 7pm at the Twelve Eighty pub on McMaster University campus. With just under 2 weeks left to go DemoCampHamilton3 already has over 100 entrepreneurs, developers, designers, students and others registered to attend, which would match the attendance of our first two events. Come out and see some cool demos and become part of the community that night by registering to attend here:

StartupDrinks is being brought to Hamilton due to a lot of talk about the need for a monthly meetup for Hamilton’s software startup community. 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! Free registration here:

Startup Weekend is also coming to Hamilton! Startup Weekend is an event where startups go from an idea to a prototype in a single weekend. Startup Weekend is very relevant to Hamilton’s software community as approximately 95% of the ideas at a typical Startup Weekend are either web or mobile focused. For tickets and all the details on the first ever Startup Weekend Hamilton visit:


Developed by Andrew J. Holden and Robert Porter of Hamilton’s own CartaNova, Weever turns almost any website into a web app that look and feel like an app installed from an “app store” for platforms like iPhone, Blackberry Touch, Android and iPad.

With so many operating systems and app stores to in the mobile space, it’s no wonder that 80% of small businesses and most non-profits do not have a mobile web presence. They simply can’t afford the development costs that would be required to build an app for all these platforms. Weever is an accessible and affordable way for such organizations to participate in the mobile web – installation of Weever takes 5 minutes and the cost starts at a mere $30 a year!

The Spectator did a great write-up of Weever not too long ago. Hats off to Andrew and Robert for launching Weever!