Shelter for startups in Ottawa

Mercury Grove offices

Catwalk at Mercury Grove/NetworkHippo offices

Scott Annan announced he was making available some of the space in the newly acquired NetworkHippo/Mercury Grove office space for startups. It is a raw space located in downtown Ottawa to enable startups and entrepreneurs to come together and share. It embraces the idea that great things come out of the collisions that happen in our communities.

“The idea behind opening up our space is that I think that Ottawa has some of the greatest entrepreneurs, talent, and ideas in the world. But we don’t spend enough time together collaborating on ideas, discussing technology opportunities, or discussing ways we’re changing the world. I think the more we can be surrounded by people who are facing similar challenges (trying to get launched, trying to get noticed, and trying to get paid) the more we can feed off each other’s successes and learn from each other’s experience.”

This is different than a coworking space. It’s an entrepreneur that values the collisions, differing view points and conversations that happen in larger offices. It’s Scott making sure that he and his staff have a unique experience by getting to interact with others in the Ottawa community. It speaks deeply to why we host events like DemoCamp and Founders & Funders. And you can see venture firms in Toronto and Vancouver taking advantage of the opportunities of having others drop in (BootupLabs during Grow Conference; and open door policy at Extreme Venture Partners and office hours with Year One Labs).

If you’re visiting Ottawa make sure that you stop by:

Mercury Grove Startup Shelter
Address: 738A Bank St. (map here)
Phone: 613-237-2071

Network Hippo

Congratulations to Scott Annan and the Network Hippo team for their great demo at Demo Spring 2010. Scott Lake wrote about the performance on StartupOttawa, and I’d agree it’s worth taking the 5 minutes and 24 seconds to watch a great demo.

Funding Details



No direct competitors. Secondary competitors include Gist, Plaxo, Xobni, Highrise, and Batchbook.

Product Description

Network Hippo is the smartest way to manage your network. We help individuals and businesses manage and stay connected to people across social, professional, and business networks. Network Hippo aggregates and organizes contact information intelligently from email and social networking sites and has proactive, addictive tools to engage your network. Close more deals, crowdsource your next product design, or change the world: Network Hippo and your network make it possible.

Market Opportunity

Jack Myer’s Media Business report forecasts spending in social marketing to grow from $800 million to $3.2 billion by 2012. AMR projects CRM revenue of $22 billion in 2012 (up from $14 billion in 2007) and Gartner predicts 80% of the immediate growth to come from “social application vendors.”

C'mon Meat, throw me that weak-ass shit!

Crash Davis: Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: [to himself] What’s this guy know about pitching? If he’s so good how come he’s been in the minors for the last ten years?

I guess this makes me Crash Davis, ten years in the minors, makes me wonder when my Waterworld is coming (so please make sure you take any feedback with the appropriate sense of pending doom).

“Open challenge to local startups to “pitch” for a meeting in a 140 characters or less in the comments (more realistically less than 420 characters – basically 3 tweets).”

In response to my Pitching Fastballs post on StartupNorth (reblogged), Trevor and Karim from Big Time Design have answered my open challenge, along with a bunch of others in the comments. Along with Scott Annan and Tim Harris.

Big Time Radar


big time Radar is: Discreet, targeted messaging; customers ask for it & you deliver via Live Messenger, Twitter, SMS, email & Facebook from one interface.

Big time’s management team consists of three guys from marketing, design and development backgrounds.  Radar’s market opportunity is massive for anyone in the marketplace looking to use social media to sell, communicate and connect with their customers.  Initially, we plan to focus on four verticals: retail, events, media and real estate.  Our pricing model is segmented by number of users and selected features. We are currently in the beta phase (with very positive initial results) and are bootstrapping rather than looking for funding as our overhead cost is negligible. 


This is a great approach to layered information. The piece that is missing for me is the separation between Big Time Design and Big Time Radar. I’m assuming Radar is a product offering of Big Time Design. That coupled with I’m curious at the benefit of the solution, i.e., it sounds like a multi-channel replacement for MailChip or Constant Contact, i.e., email marketing that uses social media for notification beyond just email. A little more clarity about how it fits with respect to these other offerings might be helpful.

Network Hippo


Network Hippo is a smart address book for startups and professionals. It combines and scrubs contact information from dozens of sources, finds more info about them on the web and social networks, plugins into your email, and alerts you when – and who – you should contact. It’s a smarter, personal, social CRM. We’ll replace Highrise completely & Salesforce’s smallest customers.


I also like the one provided on Network Hippo’s home page , “Network Hippo is a powerful and unique network relationship application that puts your professional network to work. We help professionals and small businesses build their network, identify their most valuable contacts, remind them when somebody needs a call, and track deals for their business.” It’s very clear who the product is for, what the product does, and who are the competitors. I would like a little more detail on the differentiator, i.e., what makes Network Hippo special?

Star Return


Star Return links out door media to rich media content on handheld apps via web services, while providing advertisers with solid analytics to evaluate effectiveness and viral affects of their campaigns.


I’m still not sure how Star Return links outdoor media to rich media content (I’m assuming that this is online content). I still don’t actually know what Star Return does. Jumping on the Interwebs, I find “We are Star Return. We allow you to download information to your mobile device, related to products, places, people and businesses.” and “Star Return puts a new twist on information access. Users – anytime, anywhere can now access information on restaurants, stores, products, sporting events, concerts, bands, real-estate and much much more.” My guess is that it’s for billboards?