Weekend Reading – July 26, 2008

Align interests or… FAIL.

5 more reasons to go with the little guy.

VC musical chairs continues: Marc Faucher departed Summerhill Venture Partners to join JLA Ventures and drive their investment efforts in the new BlackBerry Partners Fund. / And here is Rick Segal on the the Berry Fund.

IDC released a list of Canadian web 2.0 companies to watch.

Links galore: Resources for founders in Vancouver.

How to interview a startup. / And how to interview a VC.

Y Combinator, six weeks in.

b5media CEO Jeremy Wright’s open letter offer to buy nearly imploded Know More Media. / And his thoughts on the infeasibility of Small-Scale Blog Consolidation.

J2Play scores $250K grant from fbFund

J2Play, based in Waterloo, has landed a fbFund grant of $250,000. Founded by Rob Balahura in 2000, J2Play is a ?viral distribution framework for existing Web, Mobile, and PC casual games that helps them move their business to the social web.?

J2Play offers game developers a social wrapper that allows players to chat with their friends, receive awards, rank on leader boards, place advertisements, and generate revenue by promoting other games. The wrapper reaches across social networks, so for example: a Facebook user playing a game of Texas Hold?em Poker could play with one friend who is using their mobile phone and chat with another friend playing within Myspace.

Extreme Venture Partners, run by Amar Varma and Sunny Madra, had already invested a seed round in J2Play and no doubt played a large role in helping J2Play land the fbFund grant. Pretty good value-add for J2Play and a great way in leverage, validate, and de-risk the investment for XVP. This didn?t happen overnight, XVP has been working with J2Play since at least StartupCamp Toronto 1 back in December of 2007.

This fbFund grant doubles the company?s runway and is a big win. Facebook is about as good a strategic partner as one can get for a company like J2Play. Having Facebook onboard also might make it less likely that J2Play will be run over by Facebook launching a Games platform of their own? but you never know.

While we have been pretty critical of the hoards of folks building Facebook Apps and pitching those apps as scalable businesses, it was hard not to be impressed by the enthusiasm. Each Facebook Camp in Toronto has attracted over 400 attendees and Facebook often had an official representative at each event. There is a bigger picture here, companies out in Silicon Valley are paying attention to what we have going on up here in Canada.

Kontagent – Deeper Social Network Analytics

Kontagent, which straddles Toronto and San Francisco and Toronto, and is co-founded by Toronto native Albert Lai (no relation to Rick Segal), launched today at the Facebook Developers Conference. This is one of a few Canadian announcements coming out of the conference.

The application is an analytics suite focused on social networking platforms, not unlike Refresh Analytics who we profiled several months ago.

Kontagent claims to offer a deeper level of analytical reporting than other available tools and, based on the previews available on their website, they have taken a page from some of the larger analytics suites.

The platform has been under development for almost a year and requires deeper integration in to the application it is monitoring than other suites might. It is also currently free, but is in Alpha testing.

It’s good to see Albert take the shroud off of what he has been working on, he has been pretty quiet since he left Kaboose, inc., after selling his last startup, BubbleShare.