StartupCamp Waterloo 3 Recap

This is a guest post by Mic Berman, one of the instigators of StartupCamp Waterloo. Thanks Mic!

We had great turn out and interesting crowd, lots of new startups first time demonstrating in a public forum. The event was sponsored by TechCapital, WatStart, CommuniTech and SunStartup – thanks to those folks for supporting the community.

We tried something different and hosted a panel at the start made up of Iain Klugman , Larry Borsato, Ali Asaria, Melanie Baker, Sandra MacDonald, and Gary Will. The basic question was “why, why do a startup?” The answers varied from why not to do one to a very philosophical approach by Ali that centred around passion and drive.

The start ups that got to present (based on audience voting and time available) were:

Semacode (on StartupIndex) – Simon showed off his technology for the first time. A fully integrated viral marketing based service integrated into FaceBook as a great way to manage events and conduct mobile marketing campaigns. The issues that came up in discussion were privacy (how does the user control information that is captured in their barcode/name tag), which target market they should go after (i.e., advertising/marketing/event type companies or the end user/enterprise running the event). Simon has partnered with SuitedMedia Inc to help them sell the service.

Navarra run by Avery Pennarun was a somewhat controversial concept for outsourcing development of your founder ideas. The concept being they would charge a flat rate to develop against particular specifications provided by the “business founder”. Avery figures lots of business people/founders with great ideas need a good development shop to develop out their ideas. Issues that came up were: “are you mad?”, “that will never work”, and ” how will you ensure specifications are crystal?”. Maybe they are on to something (as is typically the case when faced with great controversy)?

Clutterme presented by Mark Molckovsky & Alex Curelea was a totally fun demo of a cool technology that enables you as a user to instantly create a webpage that effectively becomes your “cork board” online. Great job to whomever did their brand and logo, as it so clearly defines what they’re up to. Their key questions of the audience were “what’s your business model?, how will you make money?”, usability issues, and how to get the word out there. They’ve asked for community support on testing their beta about to be released in 2 to 3 weeks. Check them out :)

UbietyLab – Developed by local Waterloo professor, Todd Veldhuizen, demonstrated some very powerful visualization technology that quite frankly the audience was very impressed by with folks throwing out many many applications for its use. Hence the professor’s problem. What market with what offering, considering “I’m really doing this in my spare time and not really as a business person?” – I’m sorry guys, I missed this one because I was in conversation at the time (oops). The just is a powerful new online advertising metrics application. You can check out the recording of the presentation on

Let’sCube (which is currently a Firefox plug-in you can download) is an instant sharing technology for cool sites you want to share with your friends and for which you can receive results as the owner of the site that’s being shared. Differences between StunbleUpon, Digg, Twittr, etc and their service is they aggregate your interests into your own let’s cube page – so it pulls for you and filters by your friends. Does it go both ways? Can you share and pull? That was the biggest issue posed by the audience and yes, it does. Lots of other ideas about how to leverage the Firefox plug in to test additional features.

IndigoFire presented by Karim Shaehata is solving the problem of website registration and sharing among friends real, business and otherwise. His product is not yet live (powerpoint presentation). Solving the problem of how you create differentiation among your usage across community sites like Facebook, Flickr, etc. for the people you want to share with and the public at large. Good questions and may be interesting technology yet to come :) Kareem’s basic question was what are the potential business models for which the audience offered several alternatives e.g., server side, small user charge, middleware approach, etc. and would you use it?

The audience participation rocked, thanks everyone who came and asked and offered great questions, suggestions and comments. You can check out a recording of the event on

StartupCamp Toronto 2 – What we expect from you

Pitching is never easy, and every pitch is different, but there are a few basic pieces of information that every audience would like to hear, so I decided to throw together an outline of the critical components that your pitch should cover.

This is not an outline of your entire pitch, but a starting point to help you make sure that you have the most important parts in there.

This is based on the audience feedback from StartupCampToronto 1.

Market Analysis

The audience needs to have some context. The easiest way to answer the majority of the audience?s questions is to define as tightly as possible who you plan to sell to.

Relevant data includes

  • Estimated Market Size
  • Rough demographic information
  • Geographic limitations or focus
  • An idea of how your market will grow and change during the time you are targeting them

Marketing Plan

How will you communicate with your customers? ?We will get written about in blogs? is a popular but ultimately bad answer.

If you have done the ?Market Analysis? work and have an idea of who you will be selling to, then the best way to get a decent first marketing plan is to look at the ways in which you can communicate with that market.


Not everyone will need this, but if your customers go through any sort of ?purchasing process? (ie: Enterprise customers, or small businesses), then it is a good idea to demonstrate how you will handle that sales process. What are your points of contact?

How will you find a lead, test it and then follow through on communicating with them? Think about showing how you go from cold leads to getting the sales rolling in.

Product Development Vision

A lot of startups get so caught up in demoing what they have built so far that they forget to get people excited about what?s coming next. Telling people your vision for the product says a lot, but more than anything it shows that you aren?t going to sit still. People have trouble getting excited about a startup that has built something great but might not do much of interest going forward.

  • How will your product change?
  • How will the market change?
  • How will the product address that change?

Don?t be that guy

Occasionally there is a really smart group of people who have the product nailed, but are weak on the marketing and biz dev side of the startup. If you fit that profile, the audience is going to be hard on you about this, so you have to prepare to be as open as possible to the advice you will get.

What you don?t want to do is to become defensive and start relying on the product as your savior in each case ?it will sell itself?, etc.

Don?t be ?that guy? who won?t admit his shortcomings. Knowing your weaknesses is a critical part of being a great entrepreneur. So get real about where you fall down and get ready to be grilled about it.


Relax. Startupcamp could be the opportunity of a lifetime for your startup. Mentors, investors and other entrepreneurs (who may be your most valuable connection) are all there to help you build something great. So relax, you are among friends.

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StartupCamp Toronto 2 – Voting Season

Applications are in, which means voting season has arrived! 12 startups have applied to pitch, so check them out, they look like a great bunch! If you have a ticket, you’ll shortly receive an email invitation to vote for 5 of the following startups to pitch at StartupCamp. If you don’t have a ticket, you can try to sway voters’ opinions in the comments!

RaceDV provides custom video coverage of motorsport events to the regular track day enthusiast through proprietary technology starting with in-car video and web.

Chide.It is a web tool that allows anyone to solicit constructive feedback from friends and the community anonymously.

?I just found your feed reader, and I think it?s revolutionary! I used Google Reader a long time ago, but I signed up to Alertle right after the demo.?

Social commerce trading platform for converting frequent flier points/miles to cash.

Brainpark is a white-label solution for the enterprise. We help individuals learn from the collective intelligence of their organization. Think twitter meets delicious with a social recommendation system. We are in development and enter closed alpha testing phase in April 2008.

Natural Semantic Modules
Natural language based engine for web self-service and social networking markets.

Thriftopia is a social enterprise providing green technology disposal services. Current customers include STAPLES Business Depot, Casino Rama, and The Simcoe County District School Board. The company plans to expand through selling franchise collection centers.

Level Social
Enabling businesses to better leverage the social web.

Celltrigen Inc
postbyME is a LBS mobile social networking mobile community for browsing & posting user generated multimedia news & events with geo tags.

SocialDeck is a social gaming company that is working to bridge the gap between the mobile and web spaces. Our product is a platform that enables multi-player gaming in a device independent manner: mobile to mobile, mobile to web, and web to web.

AskKinjo uniquely integrates advertisements with location-based services. Our mobile information offers free, ubiquitous, off-deck relevant content, in audio.

MyVine (soon to be rebranded to is an application that is used to create and manage a referral program for a business.

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