Weekend Reading

Workbrain Children

Joey deVilla, Austin Hill, and I (here & here) have written about one of the best indicators of a strong startup community is the number of repeat entrepreneurs and the number of successful follow on/spinout companies. It’s the “Fairchildren” principle that is one of the many complex factors attributed to the rise of Silicon Valley.

Workbrain agreed to be acquired back in April 2007 for $227M. This was one of the largest software acquisitions in recent history in Toronto, Platespin’s $205M acquisition by Novell being the other. It has been 2 years since the the announcement, and it appears that many of the Workbrain’s ex-founders and senior executives are starting to turn up running the next generation of Toronto startups poised for massive success.

  • dayforce 
    Dayforce is an enterprise solution that enables companes to integrate performance with planning, scheduling and management of their workforce. The company’s management team is a mix of ex-Workbrain leadership (David Ossip, Paul Sandusky, Ozzie Goldschmied, Warren Perlman) and new blood (Bob Brooks & John Orr [Note: Andrew Giblon comments John Orr was previously the VP Industry/Retails Solutions at Workbrain]). The company is building a world-class enterprise application. Dayforce launched on April 16, 2009, roughly 2 years after the Workbrain acquisition. There’s no data about the funding, but one would guess that David Ossip is able to bootstrap.
  • rypple 
    Rypple is a bottom up solution to collaborative performance management. It is a collaborative tool that enables employees and managers to request and give near real-time feedback about their performance. The team is also a mix of ex-Workbrain founders (Daniel Debow, David Stein, Tihomir Bajic, David Priemer) and new talent (George Babu, Ryan Dewsbury, Jay Goldman, and others). Rypple is funded by Peter Theil, EdgeStone Capital, Roger Martin, Seymour Schulich, and others. That’s some heavy valley hitters and some of Canada’s most respected busines individuals.

These are 2 very prominent Toronto-based startups that are poised to knock it out of the park (again). And it provides further proof, that one of the best training grounds for young entrepreneurs is to work in successful companies. By the way, both Dayforce and Rypple are hiring.

Are there other Workbrain children?

Up-Start Competition 2009

Update from Tony Redpath at MaRS:

“An important correction – the actual competition runs from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM on the 29th, with the class party starting at 5:00 PM and running to 7:00 PM. (12 pitches x 15 minutes = 3 hours, hence the 2 – 5). Anyone can attend to watch the pitches – but they will have to sign an NDA at the door since many entrants will have to disclose confidential ideas in order to make their pitch. The party is wide open however …and the winner of the competition will be announced, a large cheque handed out etc. I will have non-confidential summaries of each pitch available for interested parties, and they can buttonhole any team that interests them. We’ve got a great crop this year.”

CIBC_Ent101-250px The MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 is coming to a close for the 2009 season. The season ending wrap party, aka Up-Start Competition, is happening on April 29, 2009 from 5:00-7:00pm at MaRS. Twelve (12) companies will be pitching a 10 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of questions to a panel of three judges. Unfortunately, the judges are not currently listed on the site. However, a quick assumption is that it is probably someone from MaRS Venture Group (Tony Redpath or Peter Evans), a successful past entrepreneur and a local venture investment professional.

The twelve entrants selected from the executive summary stage each give a 10-minute presentation, with a further five minutes for questions, to a panel of three judges on a day in late April (date to be confirmed). Presentations will be made under cover of a non-disclosure agreement that all audience members will be required to sign. The judges will pick the winner on that day and the first prize of $10K will be awarded. (Note that the prize will be paid out against an approved expenditure program that advances the business upon which the pitch was based.)

All of the presentations will be judged against the following criteria:

  • Has the summary/presentation clearly articulated the value proposition?
  • Has the summary/presentation demonstrated competitive differentiation/intellectual capital?
  • Has the summary/presentation demonstrated a business model that makes money?
  • Has the summary/presentation demonstrated market awareness?
  • How effective was the overall presentation?
  • Would you invest?

Should be a great night of pitches from the Entrepreneurship 101 class. See you there.

What: Up-Start Competition 2009
The Up-Start Competition is a business pitch competition open to participants enrolled in CIBC Presents Entrepreneurship 101. Individuals, or teams of individuals, have to give a ten minute presentation on an idea for a technology based business that they wish to implement (or, if appropriate, for a business that they have already started). They are expected to apply the concepts that they have learned from the course to their business idea, and to make a compelling case that this will lead to a very successful business.
When: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Where: MaRS

101 College St
Toronto, ON   Canada