TechTalk Blog
VidTime Online Inc. moves into the Innov8 Hub!

vidtime logoVITP is very happy to announce a new tenant will be joining us over in the Innov8 Hub!

VidTime is a new way of connecting artists and their audiences through live online video.  Their website allows performers to register and schedule events for free and helps them market those events to their fans and collect payment for viewing the event live online.

VidTime makes it easy for everyone to connect and communicate. Their platform uses a new, simple broadcasting interface – one click and any performer with any camera and any PC will be streaming Live video to their audience. Viewers can see and hear sold out performances or shows far from home, find new content that they may love, and connect with other fans through their chat system.

Their primary mission is to provide artists and broadcasters with the ability to connect to their audience by removing the barriers of technology and economics. Using the power of universal access to online video broadcasts, they will allow the organic formation of communities around shared interests in artists, teachers and performers.

We are very excited to have VidTime move into our offices and we look forward to exciting things from them in the future!

Check out their website, Facebook page and Twitter page!

Tech News: What Investors are Looking for in Your Startup Team, and Why

Posted on Techvibes.com
Written By Kamal Hassan
View the original article here

What Investors are Looking for in Your Startup Team, and Why

For many investors the most important factor in their investment decision is the team.

Here’s why—and what are investors looking for in the team itself.

The first thing that matters to investors is whether you’ve done it before. If you’ve built a certain kind of product, or marketed successfully to a certain customer group, then you’ve proven you know how to do it, so it’s reasonable to assume you’ll be able to do it again in this business.

Experience is only useful to “prove” you can do it again. If you’re already selling your product, or have traction, then you’ve already proven you can do it by doing it.

When experience becomes a non-issue, what else matters in the team?

If you have invested for any length of time, you have seen businesses fail. As you invest more, you tend to see recurring failure patterns. Four of these are primarily team failures (six others are business failures).

Investors care about you team because they don’t want to see you fail in one of these common ways:

1. Will you stick with it, and not go get “a real job?”

It’s common to see entrepreneurs, especially first-time entrepreneurs or those that have a family to support, get discouraged in their business, especially if they’re not being paid a salary. This is why investors look at clues to gauge your commitment.

Are you working full time in the business? Have you invested your own money? Are you willing to work at survival wages? These are clues of your ultimate willingness to stick with the business when you have slow progress and/or get a better offer.

2. Will the team stay together and not break up?

I remember sitting in the middle of a pitch, and watching a VC’s whole body language change from open to closed when a cofounder interrupted and said something like, “Kamal doesn’t understand the industry and his strategy is wrong; mine is better.”

I believe with a fully cohesive team we could have solved our challenges in that business and landed that money. This story of founder splits dooming the business is repeated over and over. That’s why investors want to hear how you have met and if you have worked together in the past. They also want to meet the whole team to see the dynamic between you.

3. Do you get stuff done?

If you’ve ever worked in a large organization, be it private or public sector, you have probably noticed that there are people who get stuff done, and others who seem to coast and do very little. If you are someone who likes to coast along, don’t become an entrepreneur.

Investors will be looking very closely at you to see whether your company gets things done. They’ll also use how rigorously you follow up with them as a clue.

4. Are you liars, crooks and thieves?

Not everyone is honest in the world. As an investor, you will encounter more than your fair share of people who are being economical with the truth to get your money. This is why most investors will refuse to invest until after they do due diligence.

In brief, due diligence is a chance for them to verify if everything you have said is true. If they catch you in even one lie or exaggeration (either in diligence or before), they are going to wonder what else you have lied about. And they’ll probably figure they can’t trust you, and will run.

There is really no easy answer for how to present your team well to investors. Sure, there is obvious stuff like not arguing with each other in a meeting. And fundamentally, these factors are about who your team is, not how you present.

To get your team invested in, look yourselves in the mirror and do some soul searching. Are you ready to stick with it when things get tough? Is your team unified? Do you get stuff done, or would you be better off in an environment where you can hide out?

If something doesn’t feel right, address it. The investors are only putting their money at risk. You are also an investor in your business, and you are putting years of your working life at risk.

Vancouver Island Technology Park is proudly supporting two local charities this holiday season!

Donation boxes will be available this week in the front lobby near the security desk, one for clothes and one for nonperishable food/supplies.

Once again VITP is proud to support “The Charity Guys” in their 2013 Coats for a Cause campaign benefitting the Victoria Cool Aid Society. We ask that you raid your closets for any old or un-used winter articles in any color, shape or size! They can be dropped off in the VITP front lobby to help out the Charity Guys and hopefully thousands of children, teens and adults in the Greater Victoria area who so desperately need warm winter clothing and accessories.

We will be accepting donations for Coats for a Cause until the end of the day on Friday, November 29th.  

VITP will also have a donation box available for nonperishable food items and household supplies for the Victoria Mustard Seed. This organization is the largest food bank on Vancouver Island and is in desperate need of food and supplies every year, especially in the winter months. Any donation is a good one, so please sift through your drawers and pantries and donate a few items to those people who need it most. Some of the more consistently needed items include peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, canned fish, bulk pastas, baby food and diapers.

We will be accepting donations for the Mustard Seed until the end of the day on Wednesday, December 18th.

Donation bins will be set up in the VITP front lobby, so spread the word and make your contributions today! We are collecting a little bit of everything, so we welcome any of your donations!

About the Victoria Cool Aid Society:

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, mental health and employment services, and the Downtown Community Centre. Cool Aid focuses its services for adults who are homeless or in need of help and provides assistance to over 10,000 individuals every year.

About the Victoria Mustard Seed:

The Mustard Seed is a non-profit organization fighting hunger and restoring faith in Greater Victoria. We provide many crucial services for any and all people in need. From food to friendship, we aim to meet the physical, relational, and spiritual needs of the whole person. We have an active weekday drop-in centre that offers all sorts of services such as chapel, hair cutting, nursing, a clothing bank, access to home starter kits, and more. We regularly serve weekend meals and offer a host of other weekend activities. We run the largest Food Bank on Vancouver Island, providing nutritious hampers to our neighbours in need throughout the week. Our skilled staff offer advocacy, counseling, addictions recovery, and many other resources.

MTC officially welcomes newest tenant Pureleau to the building!

MTC has a new tenant! We’re happy to announce that Pureleau has officially taken up residence at the Marine Technology Centre.

Pureleau (Pure-l’eau) is an advanced technology company founded in 2011 by Resman Holdings Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta to pursue innovative low energy methods of water recovery from ocean and similar saline and brackish reservoirs. The ever increasing demand on drinkable water for human consumption, agricultural and industrial use, urges development of new desalination technologies. To date the company has proven feasibility of a patented process known as capacitive deionisation (CDI).  Our mission is to bring smart technological innovation to the looming crisis of global water shortage.

The core group of researchers include Lawrence Lambert, P.Eng.  B.Sc. UVIC (Hons. Physics, Mathematics); Juan Pablo Bravo, Ph.D  Materials Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, and  Greg Eaton, CET, microelectronics specialist.

CDI achieves water purification by electrically inducing ions absorption from seawater (or other aqueous sources) onto high surface area electrodes. This low energy method is an ideal synergistic technology for use with solar or wind power; as CDI requires extremely low voltages i.e. typically < 1.5 VDC. It is expected that a working system can be achieved at energy budgets < 1/10th of the existing desalination industry standard of Reverse Osmosis (RO).

Pureleau efforts will focus in bringing affordable desalination systems to the drinking water market.  Pureleau R&D activities will involve design and development of specialised sensors for water quality monitoring; a second generation CDI ion pump design, advanced electronic nanomaterials engineering and other related clean water technologies.

We’re looking forward to an exciting future with Pureleau! View our website for contact information and we will keep you posted as more details come about!

Tech News: The Founders’ Dilemma: to Bootstrap or to Seek External Funding

Posted on Techvibes.com
Written by Maher Arar
View the original article here

The Founders’ Dilemma: to Bootstrap or to Seek External Funding

It seems that everyone by now, including non-techies, knows this secret of launching a web or mobile startup: it has become more affordable than ever before.

What this excitement masks is the fact that in order to take the business to the next level (read: scale it to millions of dollars in annual revenue) still requires a huge effort that necessitates the injection of cash that venture capitalists are willing to provide if the market, in their sole estimation, has the potential to scale to more than $100 million in annual revenue.

I am not going to get into the fight between those who insist that bootstrapping is the way to go and those who have a firm belief that in order to be successful (read: to crush the competition and to gain a sizable market share) one has no choice but to seek external funding at the early stages of the startup life cycle. Both camps have valid points, and they have living examples they can point to.

What I think gets lost in this heated debate is the fact that what should decide the outcome in favor of one option or the other is the objectives and tolerance levels of the founders themselves. It’s only through answering this question that the choice becomes obvious.

For instance, if the purpose behind launching a web/mobile startup is to create independent jobs for the founders—and may be create jobs for few other employees—then bootstrapping is the way to go. In this case, the founders must go after a niche market and be the best at what they do.

On the other hand, if the objective is to tackle a much bigger problem (read: become the next Facebook or disrupt a complete industry) then the founders have no choice but to seek angel seed funding, and eventually go after follow-up financing from VCs.

It should be emphasized that the founders in this case must be willing to sacrifice control, at least partly, that inevitably comes with the injection of cash (VCs are not charities as far as I know). On the other hand, what the founders must realize, and accept, is that VCs do not only bring cash to the table; they also bring a whole network of valuable contacts and leads—at least the good VCs do—which in most cases are far more important than the cash they inject into the startup. In a nutshell, the baby becomes theirs as well to that point that they feel they have the obligation to nourish and grow.

To help founders decide which route to take I list below four questions they must answer (before even writing any code):

1. What is it that we want out of this? Do we want to become the next Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg, acquiring fame and wealth in the process? Or do we simply want to make enough money and to have independence in order to live a “comfortable” lifestyle?

2. What problem are we trying to solve? Is the problem real or imagined? Have we talked to enough potential customers? How big is the market? Is it a niche market (leaving the excitement aside will help answer this question) which we can go after with modest resources? Or is it a big untapped market with little or no competition that requires the financial support of deep pockets in order to capture

If there is a real problem, for which we have a real solution, what is the perceived value of our solution? And is the customer willing to pay us money for it immediately upon launch? Or will we have to wait many years before generating any income?

3. What do we see ourselves doing in five years from now? In 10 years from now? Do we want to exit through selling or through an IPO? Or do we want to do this for the rest of our lives because we feel so passionate about it to the point that we can’t imagine ourselves doing other things in life?

4. Do we have the patience, the energy and the time to deal with investors and to answer their never-ending questions and concerns? How much tolerance do we have for “external” interference? Will we be willing to step down from our executive role if the board asks us to? Are we willing to be scrutinized by the media and by the public?

There is no shame attached to choosing one option or the other. What’s important is to discover and know one’s self before launching a startup. Once on the high speed train it might be hard, if not impossible, to reverse the direction. Therefore, finding out who you are early on will save you time and headache.

And it is my hope that answering the above questions will help your train move in the right direction.

Exclusive Seminar Series coming to VITP!

Join us at the Vancouver Island Technology Park on November 18th for an informative all day session focused on start-up companies and how to grow. This seminar is suitable for C-level executives and senior management in technology companies. Speakers include: Rob Bennett – VIATec Program Director, Simon Philp – Investment Advisor at CIBC Wood Gundy and Grant Wallace – Director of CIBC Mid-Market Investment Banking.

The focus of this discussion is on the key stages of a technology company’s life cycle and the schedule looks like:

Part 1: START-UP

10:45am – 11:45am “Tectoria Angel Panel” moderated by Rob Bennett, VIATeC Program Director

  • Product validation
  • Market validation (Early traction)
  • Market penetration (Focus on sales)

11:45am – 12pm Open Mic 

12pm – 12:45 Lunch at the Link Lounge (sponsored by Hewlett-Packard)

Part 2 & 3: GROW AND SELL
Moderated by Jason Sikora, Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy

12:45pm – 1:30pm Financing  with Simon Philp, Director, CIBC Commercial Banking

  • Developing a plan for financing
  • Strategies to finance growth
  • Advice on buy, hold, sell or build; options to take advantage of favourable market conditions and opportunities

1:30 – 2:15pm Sale of a Business with Grant Wallace, Director, CIBC Mid-Market Investment Banking

  • Canadian M&A activity and trends for 2014
  • How does a sale process work
  • Top 10 criteria buyers are looking for
  • Action items to prepare for sale and maximize value
  • Valuation trends for technology companies

2:15pm – 2:30pm Open Mic 

2:30 – 3:15pm Social at the Link lounge

Lunch is being provided by our sponsor HP Advanced Solutions, and spots are limited to 30. Please RSVP by emailing meet@vitp.ca and include your Company Name, Title and your contact information.

 

Tech News: Navigating Social Media: How to Be Shareable and Engage with Your Audience

A great article posted on TechVibes that breaks down the do’s and don’ts of successful social media tactics!

Posted on Techvibes.com
Written by Suzanne Huber
View the original article here

Navigating Social Media: How to Be Shareable and Engage with Your Audience

Anything that is shared or goes viral is informative, entertaining, captivating or funny.

The goal should be to build an audience of relevant people engaged by your messages so you can connect and build a relationship with them. Collaborate with other relevant content makers and promote their material on your platforms. Repost others’ shareables that connect with you; chances are if your audience is like you, they will be engaged by it also. Hang out where there is already established traffic. It is easy to neglect the amount of time and attention that successful implementation of social media requires.

Work to create your own content, but use others to keep momentum going when required.

MINGLE AND SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY

Nobody wants to talk to a self-serving robot online.

How can you serve your audience? Ask questions. Talk to people, voice opinions in forums and connect with humans. Giving updates on how you are doing is acceptable and allows people to get to know and support you. Network in other online communities and meet people virtually that have the potential to backlink to you.

Caution: throwing up a sales pitch and blabbing about your company everywhere is amateur and reserved for people who don’t know what they are doing. Have conversations, ask questions and inspire engagement with good content. But asking people to like your page that you have never spoken or interacted with is asking too much.

ENGAGE

Blogging is a great vehicle to share good content and connect with readers. You can take your blog to all channels and applicable communities around the internet. Share your posts on Google+ or in Linkedin groups aside from your own statuses.

What valuable information do you have to share with audiences? Captivating headlines entice new readers so get acquainted with an attention-grabbing opportunity. Adding pictures to status updates, blogs, and posts attract more likes and shares. You can go real-time with hash tags and join current conversations in Twitter and jump in the conversation in trending topics. More and more people are hanging out in Google+ these days so it should be on your radar too.

Measure results, post regularly and pay attention to what gets shared and what starts up conversations and tailor your content accordingly.

DON’T WASTE TIME

Know what platforms are the best vehicles to connect with your target audience. In most cases, it does not hurt to be in a lot of places—but find where the engagement is the best while being able to manage communications properly. You are further ahead to develop a few channels then do ok on a lot of them. More platforms require more management and content.

Social media may not have direct or immediate impact on your revenue so make sure the time you put into it is worthwhile, strategic and in line with your objectives. Social media is important for all businesses today to connect with potential customers or keep unhappy ones from slandering your name with no resolve.

If you find that you are not putting in the right effort, hire someone you trust with your voice to manage things for you.

 

Tech News: How Entrepreneurially Minded Millennials are Reshaping the Canadian Economy

Posted on Techvibes.com
Written by Rob Lewis
View the original article here

How Entrepreneurially Minded Millennials are Reshaping the Canadian Economy

A new survey from Intuit Canada suggests that Millennials embody a bold new entrepreneurial spirit that could reshape the Canadian economy.

The survey, conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, found that those born between 1980 and 1995 are twice as likely as the Canadian average to want to start a business in the next 12 months (16% versus 8%).

One likely explanation for the rise of entrepreneurialism among Millennials is necessity: the youth unemployment rate is 14%, double the Canadian average of 7%, the biggest gap since Statistics Canada started tracking this statistic in 1976.

“It’s far too common to dismiss Millennials as an entitled ‘me’ generation, and to dismiss their approach to the workplace,” noted Jeff Cates, managing director of Intuit Canada.

According to the study, millenials:

  • They are nearly five times more likely to be motivated by the opportunity to chart their own course (78%) than they are by money or status (16%).
  • They are not naive about the realities of managing a business—they ranked a poor understanding of business finances as the top reason entrepreneurs don’t succeed.
  • They are roughly three times more likely to point to financial risk (61%) than they are to point to personal (17%) or career risk (22%).
  • Almost half (48 per cent) would run a business from their home.
  • They are nearly twice as likely to finance their business using personal savings than by borrowing money from a bank.

“Our research shows that financial literacy has a direct impact on new venture success, a higher financial literacy leads to more financial reporting which leads an increased measure of success,” says Dr. Sean Wise, Associate Professor in the Entrepreneurship & Strategy department at, Ted Rogers School of Business Management, Ryerson University.

Tech News: HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes Says Lack of Women in Tech Startups ‘Keeps Me up at Night’

Posted on Techvibes.com
Written by Rob Lewis
View the original article here

HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes Says Lack of Women in Tech Startups ‘Keeps Me up at Night’

Women are still underrepresented in tech and Ryan Holmes wants Canadians to do something about it.

As the chief executive officer of Vancouver-based social media firm HootSuite, Holmes is aware firsthand how males dominate North America’s tech startup space.

“For every 10 people interviewed for a tech position at our office, nine are men,” he writes in the Wall Street Journal. “We have 58 engineers and developers on our team, and only 17 are women. Figuring out why this is and what can be done about it is a question that keeps me up nights.”

RELATED: Why Women Founders Matter

Holmes goes on to point out a number of saddening statistics, such as how only 1.3% of percent of founders at privately held, venture-backed companies are women, according to a 2012 Dow Jones study, and how women comprise fewer than 30% of US computer science and engineering programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, according to the National Science Foundation.

So what do we do? The HootSuite founder believes that it’s a matter of education—the earlier, the better.

“Truly narrowing the gender gap in the startup community comes down in large part to how we educate children,” affirms Holmes in the WSJ. “Providing better computer science education in public schools to kids, and encouraging girls to participate, is the only way to rewrite stereotypes about tech and really break open the old boys club.”

Do you think tech startups need more females involved? How do you think this problem can be addressed?

Big News for VITP as UVic Properties announces new CEO!

Join us in welcoming Peter Kuran as the new CEO of UVic External Properties!

UVic Properties announces new CEO

The University of Victoria has appointed Peter Kuran to lead the restructured management of its non-academic real estate properties, including the Vancouver Island Technology Park and the Marine Technology Park.

Kuran has a diverse background of commercial real estate and hospitality management expertise, exceptional strategic planning, as well as successful engagement initiatives and partnerships to foster creative solutions with community, corporate and First Nations groups.

Kuran was most recently deputy general manager with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, where he was responsible for a significant commercial real estate portfolio. Prior to that, he was Director of Commercial Services at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Polytechnic in Calgary and Director of Commercial Services for the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto.

“The portfolio that comprises UVic Properties is in a great position and we will ensure the holdings continue to be managed consistent with the university’s core mission and for those that were donated, the wishes of donors who entrusted us with them,” says Kuran. “I’ll be doing my utmost to carry on the commitment to the community that is well-established and widely recognized.”

UVic Properties includes management of: the Vancouver Island Technology Park and Marine Technology Park; Heritage Realty Property; and other off-campus holdings such as the Queenswood and Dunsmuir sites.

During this transitional period, please continue to contact our Team via the usual avenues as listed:

Leasing: leasing@vitp.ca or 250.483.3204
Building Maintenance: maintenance@vitp.ca or 250.483.3282
Business Services: accounts@vitp.ca or 250.483.3204
Administration and Communications: officecoordinator@vitp.ca or 250.483.3203
Conference Room Bookings: meet@vitp.ca or 250.483.3206
Security: security@vitp.ca or 250.483.3215