Super-enterpreneur: Anthony Carbone, MadWhips

Anthony Carbone, MadWhipsBy day, Anthony Carbone is an engineer at DuPont Canada. But from 6pm to 2am, he’s his own man. Not only does he travel back to his old university town, Guelph, to grow his property management firm, but he also moonlights as a web designer for hire with his partner Vinay Menon.

It’s in his soul. He has to be busy. “I?ve always been an entrepreneur, ever since high school; cutting lawns, doing landscaping, selling my time as a web programmer and developer back in university.”

Sure, there’s the extra money. But it’s more than that. Rattling around the back of his head are a huge number of unexpressed ideas that he feels compelled to act on. In fact, there is one idea in particular Anthony and Vinay have been driving towards since they met in undergrad.

Mad Whips

As Anthony tells it, “I met my partner outside of the engineering building at the University of Guelph in my second year and the topic was cars, money and the Internet. It was just at the time when everything was peaking and the Internet bubble was at its prime.” They decided since to moonlight as web designers to raise enough cash to launch their true passion, a car spotting online community called MadWhips.

Taking photos of whips? Well, I had to ask too…
Anthony: Obviously the ‘whips’ is referring to the new slang term for your ride.
Sunir: Is it really?
Anthony: Yeah, well, like your crib is your house, your whip is your pimped-out ride, right?
Sunir: I feel old now. Thank you very much.

Hitting the road

But isn’t moonlighting a problem for DuPont? Anthony says, “I have a really good relationship with my boss and he knows that I?m not really interested in going anywhere for the next two, three, four years and I still enjoy that corporate education that I?m getting by being at DuPont and interacting with all the different business units. That kind of corporate experience to me is more important than venturing off on my own right now.”

They’ve been striving to achieve their dream for years, working hard on the side. But it’s on the side, and their day jobs rule their schedule. The question Anthony left me with was: “When do we take on that certain level of clientele and when can we afford to say, ‘Okay, one of us can quit our jobs’?”

Contact: Anthony Carbone

This is part of a series of entrepreneur trading cards by Sunir Shah of FreshBooks.

Clay Tablet Technologies – Translation Middleware

Clay Tablet Technologies, a Toronto, Ontario company made a few interesting announcements today. The first is that they are partnering with SDL as a partner to allow SDL clients to glue their translation technologies in to content management systems.

Clay Tablet has an interesting position in the market. They sit between large content-focused systems, like a document management system or content management platform, and outside providers of translation services. Clay Tablet automatically manages the routing of content by connecting directly with content management systems, allowing for the immediate and automatic sending of content out for translation.

What I love about this approach is that once they are deployed, Clay Tablet then plays a vital role in the relationship between the two additional vendors. This means that they can continue to build revenues while having to spend an order less of effort in servicing the customer.

Their client list is growing impressively, and with today’s partnership announcement, we will undoubtedly be seeing a lot of new customers coming on board.

Their second announcement today was that they are releasing version 2.0 of their product, which is a significant improvement over their previous versions.

The long-term opportunity for Clay Tablet is significant. I don’t have to tell you how big the translation business is, or how much it is growing year over year. There is not a company in the world that doesn’t require translation services at some point, and by acting as an easily integrated middle-man, Clay Tablet can profit handsomely from that need.

Contact Robinson Kelly, CEO

SlashID – Federated Identity Management

Slash ID LogoSlashID launched today. The Toronto, Ontario based company is entering a market that has slain giants such as Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, and IBM among others. This is also the same general market that Vancouver-based SXIP is competing in, although they have a primarily enterprise-focused business model (where they compete with companies such as Australian Atlassian with its Crowd product).

The most successful effort to date in the federated-credentials market has been OpenID, which has seen a lot of acceptance in the developer and service provider world, but still flounders in obscurity for the average internet user. So, the big question really is: is there a federated credentials business to be made at all? Or is this just a big dream?

The benefit to the end user seems obvious: I have one login name and password to remember and no matter which site I go to, I can log in without going through signup hassles or having to reset a long-forgotten password. This has been the promise of every federated credential system to date, and it continues to be a major dream of companies such as Google and Microsoft, who feel that the credential and it’s attached identity are the keys to being the number one destination for web users.

For website owners, the deal gets a little more complicated. Above all else, site owners feel like they are being asked to give up control for the sake of user convenience. The fact is though, there is very little evidence that tells site owners that users will bypass their site or application in favor of a competitor because they do not allow users to use an external authentication system. While the level of control being given up in reality is minimal, if any at all, perception remains the biggest enemy of federated credential systems.

Will SlashID make a break for it? A strong endorsement on Mashable is a great start, and their focus on providing up-to-date and useful developer tools is smart. If SlashID can provide incentives to site owners to include them as a login option, then they could emerge as a clear leader.

Contact: Colin Smillie