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Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

By Vanessa Caldwell
Toronto's tops in tech
Toronto is Canada’s high-tech hub

Toronto is known for lots of things. The longest street in the world. The tallest freestanding structure in the world (at least, such was our claim to fame until 2007). North America’s largest continuous underground pedestrian system.

Toronto is also gaining global steam as Canada’s leading high-tech hub: home to 30% of Canada’s ICT workforce and a thriving entrepreneurial environment where the number of ICT service firms has increased by 2,000 since 2002.

A recent report, Canada’s High-Tech Hub: Toronto, showcases highlights from Toronto’s high-tech scene, including an overview of the entire sector and details about our city’s research and innovation community, talent pool and investment environment.

The report also details Toronto’s emerging tech scene–including mentions of many MaRS clients.

Mobile device proliferation will drive mobile platforms and apps

By the end of 2010, 4.6 million smartphones made their way into the hands of Canadians. Businesses are looking at how these devices can be used to improve efficiency and accuracy across all fields, from health care workers to sales staff. The mobile scene has exploded in Toronto in recent years, growing to include events such as MobileMonday @ MaRS and Mobile Innovation Week.

MaRS clients in the mobile space:

Digital media will transform creative communication and interaction

Digital media is well positioned for healthy growth in Canada: 42% of Canadians share pictures online, 41% play games, 36% download music and movies and 35% access online newspapers. Businesses are going digital too–think paperless education, reviewing presentations on the fly and sales presentations with clients onsite.

MaRS digital media clients:

Social networking mania will demand attention and insight

Social networking is playing an increasingly important role in the ways people connect, from our personal lives to our interactions with organizations. According to a 2009 consumer survey, 74% of respondents participated in or posted to social networking or community sites. 50% of Canadian organizations use social networking for recruiting and 40% use it as an information source when making ICT purchase decisions.

Toronto is home to Facebook’s Canadian office and will soon be home to a LinkedIn outpost. With two of the biggest social networking sites setting up their Canadian offices in Toronto, opportunities for thought leadership, knowledge sharing and partnerships will undoubtedly arise.

MaRS social networking clients:

Canada’s High-Tech Hub: Toronto (download the PDF here) illustrates and confirms the City of Toronto’s motto: Diversity is our Strength. The breadth, depth and scale of the tech sector in Toronto is enormous and is poised for tremendous growth in the years to come. Where will you fit in?

Reposted from MaRS

Vanessa is a writer at MaRS. She writes all kinds of things, like posts for the MaRS blog, articles for Convergence (the MaRS magazine) and the weekly MaRS eNewsletters.

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By Bryan Watson

After successfully mobilizing more than $29 million in Angel capital over three years for Ontarian early-stage companies, the National Angel Organization – Ontario welcomes  the Investing in Business Innovation program by FedDev Ontario, an agency of the Government of Canada. According to FedDev Ontario:

Investing in Business Innovation provides funding to boost private sector investment in start-up businesses to accelerate the development of new products, processes and practices and bring them to market. Funding is also available for angel investor networks and their associations to attract new investment and support the growth of angel investment funds.

Up to $190 million has been allocated to this program from 2010 to 2014.

Organizations representing southern Ontario angel networks may request non-repayable funding of up to $2 million to support investment attraction activities, and FedDev Ontario will provide grants of up to $50,000 to support approved and newly forming Angel groups in Southern Ontario.  In addition, start-up businesses in southern Ontario may request up to $1 million in repayable contributions from this program to accelerate the development of their products, processes or practices.

“FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation program recognizes the importance of organized angels and angel networks in growing Canadian businesses from the earliest stages. As important as the capital invested is the senior level industry experience that angels contribute in a time when speed-to-market is critical. Angel networks bring scale and diversity to both sides.” said Patricia Lorenz, chair of NAO-Ontario.

NAO-Ontario President W. Daniel Mothersill stated,

“The Angel Network Program in Ontario has clearly demonstrated the importance of Angel capital in the commercialization ecosystem.  We have also shown that a small amount of support for the Angel community can provide significant leverage in terms of capital invested in companies, which, in turn, results in job creation.  With FedDev Ontario’s support, we expect that Ontario’s Angel community will continue to thrive and to grow more start-ups.”

Reposted from National Angel Capital Organization

Throughout his career, both in Canada and the UK, Bryan J. Watson has been a champion of entrepreneurship as a vector for the commercialization of advanced technologies. Upon his return to Canada in 2004, Bryan established his venture development consulting practice to help emerging-growth companies overcome the barriers to success they face in the Canadian commercialization ecosystem.  Visit Bryan’s blog and the National Angel Capital Organization.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By David Crow

Local angel investor Paul Maasland was murdered, his body was found north of Toronto at a public boat launch. We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Maasland’s family. And our sincerest concerns go out to his friends and colleagues at Maple Leaf Angels and his investments (according to Mr. Maasland’s LinkedIn profile) including:

The conversations with his investees shed some light on Mr. Maasland as an investor. From one of the portfolio companies CEOs:

“I’d just say he was very generous with his time and resources and provided great input into how we ran [company removed]. He always was positive and excited about the initiatives we were doing.”

These comments were repeated throughout Mr. Maasland’s portfolio. He was a knowledgeable, generous investor that provided useful guidance and support for his companies.

This is an unexpected situation for anyone including many startups. It opens questions for startups about succession planning for Board Directors, questions around the Shareholders Agreement and the shares of a deceased investor. Hopefully most Boards are experienced in succession planning. As the shareholders change over time with new investment, replacing board members is a fairly straightforward and common practice (albeit usually under very different circumstances). Regarding what happens to a deceased investors shares this is decided between the deceased’s estate and the shareholders agreement. If an estate needs or chooses to liquidate the investment, many shareholders agreements have a clause that allows the company or other shareholders to purchase the investment at Fair Market Value. There are tax and legal considerations, so this should not be considered tax or legal advice, please consult a professional.

It’s unfortunate for our small close-knit community to suffer such a sudden, tragic loss. We are deeply saddened to hear about the loss of a member of our community.

Paul Maasland photo source: CBC & OPP

Reposted from StartUp North

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. At Microsoft Canada, he is responsible for helping Canadian start-ups gain access to software, support and visibility in the Microsoft ecosystem through programs like BizSpark (details at microsoft.com/bizspark). David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By David Crow

Eli Singer, the team at Entrinsic, and a supporting cast of  people & advisors have organized the first Social Media Week Toronto.

There is a great schedule of events that span the gamut of social media for companies large and small, not for profit, and local case studies. The schedule is a week with independently organized events. Some of the events I’m watching include:

PowerPoint Karaoke is one of my favorite social formats. It is just brilliant. I first saw it executed in 2006 at ETech. And I wrote about as an alternative format to DemoCamp. I’m stoked to see that my friends Tom & Jay are making the effort to make it happen in Toronto. Remember it’s a social event, it’s meant to be a way to have fun!

If it feels like there is a push of activities in Toronto including:

You don’t need to attend every event, there is lots going on.

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. At Microsoft Canada, he is responsible for helping Canadian start-ups gain access to software, support and visibility in the Microsoft ecosystem through programs like BizSpark (details at microsoft.com/bizspark). David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow

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