Category Archives: Latest News

Techstars Launches Accelerator in Toronto – Sorry Montreal / Vancouver

A major U.S.-based accelerator, TechStars , for promising young technology companies is set to announce plans to launch its first Canadian chapter in Toronto, two sources with knowledge of the plans said on Wednesday. It was not clear when the Toronto program would host its first cohort.

As of mid-2016, Techstars has accepted over 800 companies into its program. Collectively, these companies have raised over $2,300,000,000 USD.

David Brown, founder and co-CEO of Techstars said:

As a Canadian native, I’m proud to announce that Techstars, a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, is opening our first Canadian outpost in Toronto. We’re very thankful for all the help from Real Ventures, Canada’s most active early stage venture fund, for their assistance in making this happen. They’ve been a champion for us in the community and helped encourage us to make the leap into Canada. We’ll run our first accelerator program in Toronto in 2018, though we’ve been in Canada with our Startup Programs since 2010.

It’s no secret that Techstars has been active in the entrepreneurial community throughout Canada for a number of years. The speculation began when my co-founder David Cohen visited Toronto-Waterloo in 2014 and has been building since. The Toronto-Waterloo/Kitchener startup market is full of innovation, mentors and capital – the exact ingredients for a successful accelerator. We have several alumni companies with Canadian roots, including Vanilla Forums, Lean Systems, Mosaic, Kepler, Sprout Wellness, Shyft, and CuePath Innovations.

Techstars Toronto will have a horizontal focus and will operate like our other city programs, like Boulder, Austin, Boston and NYC. Since our inception in 2006, we have successfully operated more than 100 accelerator sessions and have more than 1,000 companies in our portfolio. We’re excited to build on this success with the entire Toronto-Waterloo/Kitchener ecosystem. Application and program details will be announced later in 2017.

Montreal WorkJam, workforce software, raised $12m

WorkJam, startup from Montreal, Canada with over 30 employees have raised $12m  from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Founder Collective, NovelTMT and WorkJam’s management team.

WorkJam enables employers to improve labor cost management and sales through better communication with their workforce, enhanced employee self-service and a better customer experience through a more motivated and engaged staff.

Steven Kramer, President and CEO, WorkJam said :

“We are proud to have caught the attention of some of the most respected names in technology investing, and look forward to having these new partners join us as we continue to make major strides in the global workforce management market for both large and mid-sized organizations,”

See video below:

Connect directly with employees to create a more knowledgeable, engaged and productive workforce, while improving customer experience and controlling labor costs.

Sofdesk, Montreal startup sales accelerator for solar power, raises $3m

Montreal based Sofdesk raised $3m from EnerTech Capital and BDC Venture Capital.

Sofdesk is the Number 1 sales accelerator for Solar Power, Roofing & Insurance. Its main products are Solargraf made for solar installation companies and Roofgraf for roofing companies.

Lennie Moreno is the founder and CEO of Sofdesk with over 8 years of experience in the solar industry. He first started as a salesman, switched to the solar installation business and finally ended up in the software world. Lennie was able to understand firsthand how solar is sold from first contact to system connection. An avid Muay Thai practitioner and hip-hop enthusiast, Lennie also inspires teens in difficult situations.

Watch Lennie talk about solar roofing made simple:

Toronto BlueCat Networks sold for $400-million

BlueCat Networks, a leading provider of Enterprise DNS, announced today it has agreed to be acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners, a leading private equity firm based in Chicago. Upon completion of the transaction, BlueCat’s management team will remain in place and retain a significant equity ownership position in the company.

BlueCat is The Enterprise DNS Company™. Company’s software enables the centralization and automation of DNS services and the ability to leverage valuable DNS data for significantly increased visibility, control and compliance. The largest global enterprises trust BlueCat to provide the foundation for transformational strategies such as cloud, virtualization and security. Company employs about 300 people in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for BlueCat,” said Michael Harris, CEO of BlueCat, “We have prioritized the needs of enterprise customers by taking a uniquely software-centric approach to our delivery model, and that strategy has propelled BlueCat to the forefront of the industry. MDP recognizes BlueCat’s valuable position within our customers’ infrastructure and our tremendous growth prospects. With the added resources and expertise of MDP, BlueCat will be strongly positioned to accelerate our growth.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with MDP as we embark on our next growth chapter,” said Michael Hyatt, BlueCat’s Co-founder, who is also retaining an equity ownership interest in the company. BlueCat has established itself as an integral partner to many of the world’s leading companies and, alongside MDP, will remain focused on delivering solutions to manage increasingly complex network infrastructure needs. In addition, we would like to thank our investors Trident Capital and Northleaf Capital Partners for believing in our vision and for their unwavering support and assistance in growing the company. They have been excellent partners.”

“BlueCat is a leader in a high-growth, in-demand sector of the global enterprise IT industry, and we look forward to partnering with Michael Harris and his talented management team to build upon the company’s momentum,” said Doug Grissom, a Managing Director at MDP and head of the firm’s Business and Government Services team. “Enterprises around the world are experiencing a growing need to adopt enterprise DNS solutions to manage the rapid increase in scale and complexity of their IT networks. We look forward to utilizing our expertise in high-growth technology companies to help BlueCat realize its growth prospects, while continuing to deliver critical solutions to customers.”

Toronto RoadMunk, roadmapping software, raised $2m Canadian

RoadMunk raised $1.5m USD today to further grow their software product.

This round was financed by Golden Venture Partners, Felicis Ventures and Garage Capital.

Roadmunk Inc. provides visual roadmap software for product management. It offers Roadmunk, an online software solution for creating sprint, project, release, technology, business, and consulting roadmaps. Roadmunk Inc. was founded in 2013 and is based in Toronto, Canada.

In case you are looking for a job – they are hiring: Email Marketing Manager, Quality Analyst, Web Application Developer at their downtown Toronto office.

Canadian Startups Can Now Post Jobs for Free on Facebook

Forget LinkedIn and Monster – where posting jobs can cost as much as $1,000 after taxes – now you can reach millions of candidates by posting your jobs on Facebook. The cost? $0. But hurry up – free job listings might not be free forever.

The Facebook on their blog post said:

We know that finding the right talent can be a challenge. 40% of US small businesses report that filling jobs was more difficult than they expected, which is surprising when you consider that these small businesses also employ nearly half of the country’s workforce.

We’re focused on building new ways to help make it easier for businesses to interact with the over 1 billion people visiting Pages every month. Businesses and people already use Facebook to fill and find jobs, so we’re rolling out new features that allow job posting and application directly on Facebook.

Beginning today, businesses in the US and Canada will be able to post job openings, and their future employees will be able to easily find those posts on their Page or in the new jobs bookmark. This new experience will help businesses find qualified people where they’re already spending their time—on Facebook and on mobile.

Do you Know Your Rights at the US Canada Border Crossing?

A lot of our users live in Canada and commute to the US on weekly basis to go to work, conferences, seminars, etc. Since Donald Trump got elected, it seems, it became more frequent for border guards to do secondary inspection and inspect your belongings including your cell phone.

Even in Canada under Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Canadian government wants to introduce Bill C-23 under which if passed: U.S. border guards would get new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil under a bill proposed by the Liberal government. A Canadian going to the U.S. through a pre-clearance area [on Canadian soil] can say: ‘I don’t like the way [an interview is] going and I’ve chosen not to visit your country.’ And they can just turn around and walk out.

“Under the new proposed bill, they wouldn’t be able to walk out. They can be held and forced to answer questions, first to identify themselves, which is not so offensive, but secondly, to explain the reasons for leaving, and to explain their reasons for wanting to withdraw,”

–Michael Greene, Q.C.

So what do you do? Can US border agents force you to unlock your devices?

No.  But they can make your experience pretty uncomfortable. Do you really want to put up with 10 hours in custody because you do not want to show your facebook posts? If you agree to give up your device it might be seized for weeks and the data on it might be copied.

Can US border agents force you to give up enter your password for social media?

Once again the answer is No. But if you unlock your device – most people’s cellphones do not require passwords to enter their Facebook or Twitter.

So what do I do when entering US?

Travel with least data possible.  Maybe have one device for your work and one for your personal or store all your data in the cloud.

You can comply and get on your way or put up a fight and ask for a lawyer. If you are not American citizen or immigrant with Green Card you might be refused entry to the US due to this decision.

How about Canadian border up North? Mounties are nice, right?

Not so quick. Read the following excerpt from the Canadian Customs website:

Customs Searches Under Canada’s Customs Act, Canada Border Services Agency officers have widespread powers to stop and search people, their baggage and other possessions and devices at any Canadian port of entry (land border crossing, air terminal or sea port).

Canadian courts have generally recognized that people should have reduced expectations of privacy at border points. In this special context, privacy and other Charter rights are limited by state imperatives of national sovereignty, immigration control, taxation and security.

Canada Border Services Agency officers are authorized to conduct searches of people entering Canada, including their baggage, parcels or devices such as laptops and smart phones. These searches may be conducted without a warrant. Officers may examine devices for photos, files, contacts and other media.

If your laptop or mobile device is searched, you will likely be asked to provide the password. If you refuse, your device may be held for further inspection. Our understanding is that the issue of whether a border security agency can compel an individual to provide a password for a personal electronic device at a border crossing is not something that has been specifically looked at by the Courts in Canada.

Safe travels!