Demos announced for DCT27

DemoCamp lineup has been announced:

This is a great set of early stage Toronto and region (Waterloo) based startups. Some of the folks are getting their second shot at a demo. It will be interesting to see how far they’ve come from their launch. I hope that everyone takes the time to understand the need for “wow” in the demo. And remember the goal is not to heckle but to give entrepreneurs a chance to show what they’ve been working on, how they’ve improved and to get feedback.

DemoCamp Surprises

Anand Agarawala has stepped up with an EPIC DemoCamp sponsorship as a thank you for all of the support from the Toronto community and DemoCamp for helping promote and inspire Bumptop. We’ll take none of the credit for Anand and the Bumptop team’s hustle in getting acquired by Google, but we’ll enjoy the rewards at the next DemoCamp.


I know and appreciate everyone paying for a ticket. We don’t run DemoCamp as a business. We run it as a cost recovery event, that is, our goal is not to generate a profit (often we run at a loss). We couldn’t do this with out the support of our sponsors. There are some great local companies including:

  • Anand Agarawala and Bumptop! You have to be at DemoCamp from 4pm-6pm to find out what it is.
  • Eqentia builds the a semantic publishing platform for knowledge tracking & competitive analysis
  • XtremeLabs is hiring agile engineers and ui designers for the hottest mobile development company on the planet.
  • Microsoft BizSpark jumpstart your startup and speed up your time to market.
  • FreshBooks is the fastest way to track time and invoice your clients.
  • Mercanix develops tools that enable organizations and their people to do good work.
  • Rob Hyndman is the bee’s knees & the cat’s pajama. Startups looking for a lawyer. Start here.
  • Rypple builds social software that makes workplace feedback easy and fun.
  • Dayforce is the an enterprise software company in Toronto. Hiring dev, qa, ui and sales ninjas.
  • Kontagent is a Facebook Fund funded startup that is hiring rockstar developers in Toronto.
  • OCE helping commercialize the next generation technologies like Bumptop & Sysomos.
  • KPMG Information, Communications & Entertainment (ICE) practice helps startups to succeed in turbulent markets.

Rypple raises $7m in new round

Rypple has gone public about their latest round of financing which appears to include Bridgescale. Bridgescale’s participation likely came through their acquisition of Edgestone. Edgestone’s GPs participated personally in Rypple’s initial angel round.

We will post more as we hear it.

Here is the official word from Ryple:

Toronto, Ontario – September 29, 2010 – Rypple announces it has raised $7 million in financing led by Bridgescale Partners. Rypple makes social software that makes workplace feedback easy. Howard Gwin, a Bridgescale partner and former EVP at PeopleSoft, and Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, will join the company’s board of directors.

Additional investors include: Edgestone Capital Ventures, Extreme Venture Partners, Peter Thiel, Seymour Schulich, Roger Martin and Joe Sigelman. To date, the company has raised a total of $13 million in financing.

“Employees and managers are fed up with HR software that sucks. They don’t want top-down performance software focused on process, not results. What people really want is frequent, useful feedback to do their jobs better. Rypple delivers this feedback so people can stay on track, learn faster, and consistently hit their goals.” said Daniel Debow, co-CEO, Rypple. “Our customers are innovative companies including Mozilla, Rackspace, and VivaKi (Groupe Publicis). Their employees use Rypple because they love it, not because they’re forced to.”

“Rapid adoption social software is providing companies big and small with a significant competitive advantage,” said Howard Gwin, partner, Bridgescale Partners.  “Rypple is a key solution for companies today as it enables the process of continuous feedback. Their customers tell us that they have seen a noticeable improvement in employee engagement, focus, and performance since they started using Rypple.”

“We were up and running within an hour of introducing Rypple to our organization. We were customers before we were investors.” said Amar Varma, co-founder, Extreme Venture Partners. “Our team’s love of Rypple was a big part of our motivation to get involved. People want relevant feedback at work and no other company can deliver it as easily and effectively.”

StartupWeekend Toronto recap – 200 people, 13 ideas and 5 winners

This is a guest post by Chris Eben who, along with Karthik Soravanahalli and Ahmed Badruddin, organized StartupWeekend Toronto.

Startup Weekend Toronto ended late Sunday night. While I’m still going to need a few days to reflect on the weekend, I thought I’d take a few minutes to jot down some thoughts…

Given my initial apprehension about taking on the organization of this event, I couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out. What an amazing community of startup and tech professionals and enthusiasts we have in Toronto. Starting with the buzz that began weeks before the event, it was clear that Startup Weekend needed to come to Toronto.

Friday night was quite something. A capacity crowd of over 200 people gathered at Ryerson’s amazing Atrium. I kicked things off briefly and explained how I got involved and what Startup Weekend is all about, immediately sensing the excitement from the crowd to start pitching and building new startups. But first we heard from Mike McDerment of Freshbooks about truly understanding the benefit you provide with your startup. Mike was followed by a great panel made up of Leila Boujnane, April Dunford and Sarah Prevette, moderated by Dan Martell who came in from San Francisco to help out. Mike sat on the panel as well. Lots of great stuff here – we’ll be posting the videos of the entire weekend when they’re ready.

And then onto the pitches… We had 38 people come up and give 60-90s pitches. This was amazing. I was so impressed with the level of participation and the great ideas. At this point, I had no doubt the weekend would be a success. Then came what I like to call “organized chaos.” Voting on ideas followed by team formation. After the top 20 ideas were selected teams started forming over the rest of the night and following morning, resulting in 13 great ideas and teams, ready to get working.

Now the whiteboarding, coding, strategy discussions, business model validations, etc started in full swing with mentors wandering around helping out the teams and some great insights from our Saturday night speakers (Mark Ruddock, Tim Smith and James Lanthier). After many all nighters, lots of food and coffee, and some beers, the teams were ready to start pitching on Sunday at 4pm.

The pitching is where it all comes together. What a site to see 13 teams come up and show what can really be accomplished in a weekend-  often from ideas barely conceived until the Saturday morning, and with teams made of people who just met. Most teams actually had mockups or working code and even a few live demos. TadWanna even had 2 paying customers. While there were officially 5 winners (the top 3 as voted by the community and the judges, and 2 categories for honourable mention and the startup most likely to change the world) all 13 teams did something special.

Congratulations to our winners! Task Ave. took 1st place and upwards of $25k in prizes. Schedify took 2nd, winning some great prizes and is already invited to pitch to the Ryerson Angel Network. In 3rd, RateHub is well on its way and has a complete new set of features for an already great web app. In our other 2 categories, Styllist got honourable mention with a really cool and working demonstration and N2O showed us how they will change the world with a Facetime app bringing doctors together from around the world.

There were so many other great ideas and startups that I truly hope will keep going. This is an amazing time in Toronto – the community is vibrant and something is in the air. We’ve already seen the talent this city and country has to offer and I know that there is so much more to come.

With such great feedback after the weekend, we’re going to do it again in April 2011. Mark your calendars and come out to build something amazing.

A special thanks to my co-organizers. Ahmed Badruddin is the founder of Simpleafy, a GreenTech startup helping home owners track and better understand their energy consumption and discover ways to reduce it. He’s passionate about energy efficiency – check out his blog. Karthik Soravanahalli brought together the SIFE Ryerson team to make this event work. He’s killing it for Tim Smith at Gridcentric and finishing off his degree at Ryerson. And of course, thanks to all our amazing SIFE Ryerson volunteers!

Thanks of course to Marc Nager from Startup Weekend headquarters in Seattle. He’s one of the guys responsible for bringing these awesome events to cities all over the world!

If you want to talk to me about Startup Weekend Toronto, get in touch. I blog at The Low Post and am on twitter – @ceben and @startupwkndTO.

Thanks to all our sponsors and to everyone who took part!