Update #2: PWC SR&ED Seminar – Thursday, Jan 29

Those tickets went fast! By popular demand, the good folks at PWC are going to run an Afternoon SR&ED Seminar Thursday, January 29 as well.

SR&ED is easily the largest tax credit program available to Canadian companies for recouping R&D spending with over $4 Billion being distributed each year. SME’s can recoup 35% of their R&D spending from the Federal program and then layer on Provincial tax credits as well. Thousands of tech entrepreneurs across Canada have used SR&ED to bootstrap their companies and stretch R&D dollars. This is not a government program you want to ignore. So you might be concerned by the recently announced changes to the SR&ED claims form (T661) and process.

pwcWell then register now for the upcoming PWC SR&ED Breakfast Seminar. There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited, so you’ll want to RSVP as soon as possible.

PWC SR&ED Breakfast Seminar
*Update #2 – Morning & Noon sessions have reached capacity, but an Afternoon session has been added.*
7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Presentation and Q&A

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Registration
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Presentation and Q&A

2:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Registration
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Presentation and Q&A

King West Rooms 1 and 2
145 King Street West, 11th floor
Toronto, Ontario

Please register by January 26, 2009 at http://www.pwc.com/ca/sred or contact Simone Knott by email [email protected] or phone 416-941-8383 x14498.

We invite you to join senior members of the PricewaterhouseCoopers SR&ED group as they discuss the implications of these recent changes on the preparation of your SR&ED claims and your claiming processes.

The seminar will highlight:
• What the changes are (and what has not changed)
• How to adapt to the changes
• Transitioning from the old form to the new form
• Old vs. new terminology

We hope you can join us. We know you will not want to miss this opportunity. If you have questions related to this topic that you wish to be addressed during the seminar, please include them in your RSVP.

identi.ca gets funding, and a case of bad timing

I learned through GigaOM this morning that Montreal-based Identi.ca has taken a round of funding from Montreal Startup. I was, and remain, a big supporter of Identi.ca and first covered it back in July, 2008.

It appears that Montreal Startup is the sole funder in this round so I will assume that GigaOM is right and the amount of funding is probably in the $200,000 to $400,000 range.

This is exciting news for the Canadian startup community, but just after hearing it this morning I came across this announcement from Google. In November 2007, Google acquired Jaiku, a “lifestreaming” service that resembles Twitter and which preceeded services such as Friendfeed which largely copy its functionality, and it was founded even before Twitter.

Google is announcing today that they are going open-source and will be making Jaiku freely available. On top of that, you will be able to easily deploy it to the Google App Engine.

I am not sure of the exact impact of Jaiku going open-source, but it no doubt has some impact on Identi.ca’s plans. I am confident that Evan and Montreal Startup will take this development in to account, and I certainly believe that there is more than enough room for a few open source applications to thrive.

Pitch coaching – YowTRIP

Thanks to everybody who has submitted a pitch in response to my post on pitch coaching. As I mentioned in the post, I’ll post some of the pitches & my feedback to help people refine their pitches. I’ll focus my commentary on 3 main questions:

1) Have you clearly outlined the problem & how your product/service addresses it?
2) Have you covered the main areas investors are interested in?
3) Have you generated a sense of interest that your company has real potential that people will want to take the time to learn more in a more in depth meeting?

As I’m not familiar with every company’s domain, I’ll more focus on the structure of the pitch and leave the fact checking of the content to the wisdom of the crowd.

For YowTRIP, the presentation is located here.

My feedback I gave is as follows.

Have you clearly outlined the problem & how your product/service addresses it?

Yes – this was well communicated

Have you covered the main areas investors are interested in (market potential, revenue model, competition, management, go to market strategy, exit, deal terms)

This needs some work. Some key questions I would have would be:

a) How does your site make money (ads, taking a commission on travel booked, etc)?
b) What is the market potential? How much revenue do you think your company can make based on point (a)?
c) Who are your main competitors (direct and in-direct)?
d) Who is on the management team?
e) How will investors likely realize an exit (acquisition, dividend stream, etc)?

Have you generated a sense of interest that your company has real potential that people will want to take the time to learn more in a more in depth meeting?

Granted this is subjective, but to me this seems like a very specialized niche in an already crowded space. i.e. on-line travel sites, other social networking sites could be used to offer a solution to your problem statement. I’m not sure what your previous business model was, but since you have some past history, if you can show some traction that people would use your site (i.e. visits, user sign-ups), this would go a long way to showing the viability of your idea. Otherwise you are in the same position with other social network based start-ups – the viability of your company will be largely based on how many people you can get into your network and how achievable is this in a crowded marketplace with already established dominant players.