Shopify, leading ecommerce tech company in Canada, has opened a new R&D office in Toronto

Shopify has opened a new office in Toronto and is looking to hire up to 1,000 employees by 2019.  The new address is at 420 Wellington and can now accommodate up to 200 new employees.

Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, that develops computer software for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems.


Mayors’ Duel

Toronto Mayor John Tory had a bit of a spat with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson when he called Shopify a Toronto success story. Jim Watson replied back that it is an Ottawa success story.  Then Craig Miller, Chief Product Officer at Shopify, had to get involved with the following iconic twit:

As for creating new tech jobs in Toronto, Stergios Anastasiadis, the director of engineering at Shopify, said that he will be hiring developers with experience in building mobile, application, and hardware development.

Apply for a job at Shopify at:

Top Ten Most Crowd Funded Kickstarter Canadian Campaigns Ever

Kickstarter is one of the top leading crowdfunding websites on the internet and has acted to support many innovative endeavors, connecting fans to the creators of the projects they want to see made.

In the 2016, Pebble Time, the colour e-paper smartwatch with up to 7 days of battery and a new timeline interface was the leader of the pack on Kickstarter in terms of money raised: over $CA 26 million (!!!) dollars pledged from 78,471 backers. Unfortunately, this was not a Canadian campaign but originated in Palo Alto, California.

OVER $$$CA 26 Million Dollars RAISED!!!


In the list below we list top 10 highest earning campaigns to date from Canada. Most of the top crowdfunding campaigns on the list have originated either in Toronto, Ontario or Montreal, Quebec. Vancouver / Ottawa / Calgary – what is going on? Time to wake up and hustle.

Here are the top 10 highest-earning campaigns to date that came from Canada (all pledges were converted to Canadian $): 

#10. Neptune Pine: Smartwatch. Reinvented – CA$ 801,224

From: Montreal, Canada: 2,839 backers pledged CA$ 801,224 to help bring this project to life.

Neptune Pine, the definitive all-in-one smartwatch. Voice calls, video chat, full keyboard, GPS & much more.


#9. POLAR Pen & Stylus 2.0 – Made from MAGNETS – CA$ 817,164

From: Waterloo, Canada: 14,253 backers pledged CA$ 817,164 to help bring this project to life.

POLAR is the world’s first modular pen made from MAGNETS. This beautifully simple product will transform into endless possibilities.


#8. Vanhawks Valour | First ever connected carbon fibre bicycle – CA$ 820,083

From: Toronto, Canada: 802 backers pledged CA$ 820,083 to help bring this project to life.

The first connected bike featuring performance tracking, security sensors & interactive feedback to radically change the way you ride.


#7. Castle Story – strategy game – CA$ 936,612

From Montreal, Canada: 27,060 backers pledged CA$ 936,612 to help bring this project to life.

Castle Story is a voxel-based creative strategy game about building castles brick by brick and defending them against enemies.


#6. Bulat: Your Go-To Kitchen Knife – CA$ 942,716

From: Toronto, Canada: 5,131 backers pledged CA$ 942,716 to help bring this project to life.

Creating a remarkable chef’s knife for a better price. Meticulous design and exceptional materials make for one incredible blade.


#5. Luuup Litter Box – The Best Cat Litter Box Ever Made – CA$ 1,178,504

From: Toronto, Canada: 14,333 backers pledged CA$ 1,178,504 to help bring this project to life.

Our ingenious three sifting tray litter system is the smartest, cleanest and last litter box you’ll ever have to buy.


#4. Helix™ – The World’s Best Folding Bike – CA$ 2,262,621

From: Toronto, Canada: 1,069 backers pledged CA$ 2,262,621 to help bring this project to life.

Big wheels. Titanium frame. Smaller, lighter, safer and easier to use than any other folding bike in the world. Made in Canada.


#3. ZNAPS – Connection is just a snap away – CA$ 3,007,370

From: Toronto, Canada: 70,122 backers pledged CA$ 3,007,370 to help bring this project to life.

ZNAPS is a magnetic adapter specially designed to seamlessly fit your mobile devices and cables, so you can charge and sync with the peace of mind that your devices are safe and protected.


#2. Smart Parka – The World’s First Complete Winter Coat

From: Toronto, Canada: 8,805 backers pledged CA$ 3,257,695 to help bring this project to life. 

A winter coat with built-in gloves, scarf, length extension, hat pouch and tech pockets. Built for two different temperature ranges.


DRUM ROLL PLEASE .. AND #1 TOP BACKED (Montreal company beating Toronto by about $CA 100,000) CANADIAN CAMPAIGN IS ….



#1. Revols – Premium Quick Custom-Fit Wireless Earphones –  CA$ 3,374,513

From: Montreal, Canada: 10,569 backers pledged CA$ 3,374,513 to help bring this project to life. 

Canada’s #1 crowdfunding campaign of all time! Bluetooth earphones with tips that mold to the unique shape of your ears in 60 seconds. Unparalleled fit, comfort, sound and features.


Did we miss any? Or maybe you know why Canada’s West Coast Vancouver is not not on the list? Let us know in the comments below. 

France launches French Tech Visa / lures tech talent

France wants you to pack your bags and say “Bonjour” to doing your tech business startup in France. If selected, you will get a 4 year work visa and can bring your spouse with you to live and work in one of the 41 French incubators. Visa could also be renewed on 4 year term basis. La French Tech is an initiative by the French Government to support the French Startup Ecosystem. Please note that citizen from European Economic Area and Switzerland do not need such a visa . 

However France and EU are not without their problems. France with its high taxes, and low entrepreneurship rates is trying to reinvent itself by luring fresh tech minds from other countries with French Tech Visa. The country where even French businessmen went out into the streets not so long ago, shouting “enough is enough” into megaphones — an expression of their frustration with the layers of regulations and government’s anti-business stance.

By creating this program, France is moving in the right direction, but at the end of day Europe and France in particular needs to become more competitive in global markets. That can be achieved only by various policy changes, such as keeping top tax rates at sensible levels and regulatory reforms that would give companies more freedom to manage their businesses as they see fit, including, when necessary, closing plants and reducing head counts. That is the only viable path to sustainable growth and, ultimately, more jobs.

Whatever you do however, keep in mind no after-work e-mails are allowed as the French government has recently ordered to ignore the boss’s emails after 6pm.  Also do not forget that in France the work week is 35 hours a week. Time to be more efficient.

La French Tech was created by French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, in partnership with the Direction Générale des Entreprises, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the Commissariat général à l’Investissment, Bpifrance, Business France, and Caisse des Dêpôts et Consigation.

The way the visa works is described below: 

  • Validity: Four years, on a renewable basis.
  • Family: “Talent Passport – Family” residence permit granted to spouse of the main applicant, guaranteeing identical family treatment and automatic labor market access (as an employee, business founder, etc.).
  • No work permit is required for any work performed as an employee.
  • Upon certain conditions, a fast-track procedure will be provided.

How do you get this visa?

Apply to the French Tech Ticket Program*

The French Tech Ticket is a 12-month seed accelerator program designed for international entrepreneurs willing to create their startup in France. More than just a startup visa, this 12-month program offers end to end support on the journey of 70 international startups, from early stage start-up to successful business – from financial support and training to first customer acquisition. *winners will benefit from a fast-track procedure

Apply to Start-Up Accelerators & Competitions* La French Tech will soon be partnering with French Accelerators and Start-Up Competitions. This partnership will provide accelerator and competition participants exclusive support to the French Tech Visa application process. *winners will benefit from a fast-track procedure

Apply to the French Tech Visa for Founders

Contact your local French Consulate or the local “Prefecture” (if you already reside in France) and follow the general procedure to apply for a “Passeport Talent”.

Innovate Calgary partners with Telus to advance tech startups

Innovate Calgary has launched TELUS Technology Accelerator (TTA), a six-month program beginning December 2016 that will showcase and grow Canadian technology startups primarily in four areas: seamless experience, data analytics, health and wellness, and “last 100 metres” technologies. This program aims to rapidly accelerate a startup’s technology, business model and investability.

Each participating startup is matched with mentors from both TELUS and Innovate Calgary. These mentors bring decades of business, technical, and entrepreneurial experience to the startups.

The conclusion of the program is an opportunity for participating startups to share the results of their work. Hosted at the TELUS building in downtown Calgary, startups are invited to demonstrate their products and accomplishments to a select group of TELUS leaders and community investors.

So far – 3 startups are participating: RallyEngine – RallyEngine is a nimble, mobile-focused content publishing platform for alerting groups, rallying teams, and informing communities., Physio4D – motion tracking system that enables clinicians to objectively assess joint mobility, MedDuck – works with its partners to improve health care outcomes through the appropriate use of nimble mobile application solutions.


Interested in qualifying? Make sure that you are

1. Incorporated in Canada

2. Working on your startup full-time

3. Revenue, or an identified path to revenue

4. Validated technology as determined by a customer demonstration, field trial etc.


Companies in any technology area that address any of the four priority areas are encouraged to apply:

Seamless Experience: Technologies that enable users to access and/or generate any content and/or information on any device, anywhere, anytime, for an integrated communications and entertainment experience.

Data Analytics: Services and applications that simplify the managing and securing of IoT devices, as well as any solutions that offer clear analysis of IoT-related data to TELUS and its customers, to enable improved and expedient business decision-making through data insights.

Health and Wellness: Initiatives that promote healthier lifestyles through technologies, such as ones based on network sensors and wearable devices that leverage network infrastructure and APIs to enable more efficient physician collaboration, or increasing patient awareness and self-monitoring as part of a holistic preventative healthcare plan.

Last 100m: Technologies that dramatically reduce the costs of building actual fiber connections to each building/home, while maintaining high levels of reliability and low operational costs in the long run even in the face of the severe northern climatic conditions.




Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation Makes Life Difficult for Technology Startups

For many technology startups getting the message out is crucial for their businesses success, but with Canadian anti spam laws they might want to consider moving to the US where email marketing faces much less restrictions and penalties.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (or “CASL”) came into effect in July 2014, about ten years after the U.S. has enacted its anti-spam law.  While the U.S. has enacted an anti-spam law promoting an opt-out model, Canada has adopted an opt-in model. The main difference between these systems is the fact that under an opt-out model, businesses can send promotional email messages unless the recipient informs the sender that it no longer wishes to receive such emails, or “opts out” of receiving them. Business groups, for the most part, tend to prefer the opt-out approach because it is easier to imply consent and thus create mailing lists. Under an opt-in model, the recipient of the promotional email must affirmatively give the organization permission to send information about new products or sales.

Under CASL guidelines you can send a commercial email with implied or express consent:

Express Permission

Express permission is obtained when you explicitly ask your potential contacts for permission to send them email, and they agree. You need to use clear language when you ask and you also need to include the following information to fully inform them about who will be emailing:

  • Your name (or the name of the party/company asking for permission)
  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Company website
  • Company phone number
  • Company postal address

The customer must also be told which email provider (such as Constant Contact) will be sending the emails and that unsubscribing at any time is an option.

Implied Permission

Implied permission takes place in a situation where the conditions of express permission have not been met but some previous relationship exists. Some examples of implied permission include:

  • Existing business relationships where the recipient has:
    • Bought or leased a product, good, or service from the business owner in the past two years
    • Been involved in an investment or gaming opportunity with the customer in the past two years
    • Entered into a written or electronic contract with the customer in the last two years
  • Existing non-business relationships where the recipient has:
    • Made a donation or gift to a registered charity or political organization in the past two years
    • Volunteered with the charity or political organization in the past two years
    • Been a member of an organization’s club, association or not-for-profit volunteer association in the last two years

You can’t keep contacts who have only given you Implied consent on your list forever. Implied consent does expire after a period of time and needs to be converted into Express content. Your Implied permission will expire:

  • For contacts captured BEFORE July 1, 2014: On July 1, 2017 (three years after law goes into effect)
  • For contacts captured AFTER July 1, 2014: Two years after they were initially collected. This applies only if the contact doesn’t buy something new or doesn’t renew their subscription, loan, account, or contract

Why Canada’s anti-spam model not good the way it is done now?  

  1. it is not clearly defined. What does constitute commercial message ? If a business wants to send a survey to someone – am I breaking the law? What constitutes a business relationship exactly – if I had a coffee with a secretary 2 years ago and email her boss today – is that a business relationship?
  2. This regulation only applies to Canadian businesses – (most spam 99% or more) is sent from outside of Canada – so this does not solve any problem at all you will still get spam.
  3. Gmail already sorts through email filtering out 99.9% of spam – maybe Canadians do want to get contacted by a nearest Crossfit gym about their new programs / promotion or big data mining software tool that would be useful for our business – but under the law it would be illegal for them to contact me unless I opt in (but I would never opt in because I am busy at work / have kids at home / etc) .
  4. Just opting out is the best way to go about it from a consumer and business view. Punish businesses who do not abide by unsubscribe requests.

To conclude, we include the following article that been republished with authorization from napkinmarketing >> ideas that influence to discuss this issue in more details:

Email marketing can often be a game changer for lead generation and new business development. But many businesses still shy away from using email marketing more strategically as a marketing tool.

Case in point: One of my clients, a financial advisory, recently sent out a very successful campaign to over 20,000 prospects. The content: well thought out, insightful accounting advice for their specialized audience. The response was incredibly positive: prospects were calling his office, and several email recipients wrote back, thanking him for the information (quite unheard of for a “cold” mailing”). Yet this same client does not want to email his list more than once per year, afraid, in his words, to “piss people off”, despite evidence to the contrary- that many prospects appreciate the valuable free advice that he shares, as demonstrated by his ringing phones and renewed interest in his business.

Look, no business owner wants to be known as a spammer. But a fundamental misunderstanding of Canadian SPAM laws and what constitutes valuable content keeps a lot of small businesses from launching email campaigns, when it can help them enormously with their lead generation efforts. Though many businesses are concerned about violating SPAM laws, the new Canadian SPAM legislation, CASL does allow for emailing to B2B prospects, emailing to individuals who publicly publish their emails and colleagues with whom you have pre-existing relationships.

Though we do encourage all clients to actively seek consent to email everyone on their list, in many cases, such as with list rentals and emailing members of an association you are a part of, the law allows you to send campaigns as part of the course of legitimate business. For more information about CASL and spam laws, go to

The key to avoid being a spammer? Provide valuable content. The positive interest you will gain will translate to more opt-in sign ups, prospect calls, interest and awareness of your business. And for those who don’t want your email campaigns: they do have the option of clicking the “unsubscribe” link. Always honor all unsubscribe requests!

These 30 Rare Photos Of Canada Startup Offices Will Mesmerize You

Most corporate offices are made up of fluorescent lights, bare beige walls, dated technology, and the dreaded cube farm. But some companies—like Hootsuite, Unbounce and 500px—offer employees much more creative, colorful and conducive workspaces.

You can see 30 photos of Canadian top startups and the culture that they reflect.

Vancouver Hootsuite, the leading social media dashboard

Toronto 500px, The Premier Photography Community

Vancouver Unbounce, lets marketers build, publish and test landing pages without IT or software

Waterloo Kik, proprietary instant messenger software application (app) for mobile devices

Montreal Plotly, modern platform for agile business intelligence and data science

Montreal Frank and Oak, Premium men’s and womenswear

Toronto Uberflip , makes content perform by giving marketers the metrics they need to provide a tailored content experience

Montreal BusBud, worldwide bus and coach travel company

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver Make it to the Top 10 Most Livable Cities in the World

Country RepTrak® measures the reputation of 55 countries based on levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect based on an online panel of more than 48,000 people representing the G8 countries. The Study measures a country’s perceptions exploring 16 attributes that include it being viewed as: a safe place to visit, a beautiful country, having friendly and welcoming residents, having progressive social and economic policies, being run by an effective government, and more.

Toronto Montreal and Vancouver made it to the top 10.  Toronto was #4 – the city where #1 “people would want to live for sure” , #2 “to work”, and #3 “invest money”.  Montreal and Vancouver were “two cities where people said it would be interesting to try to live.”

Note, Vancouver has been coming down in ranking from #1 in 2012 to #9 in 2016.

Top 10 cities for 2016 were:

  1. Sydney Australia
  2. Vienna, Austria
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Toronto, Canada
  5. Stockholm, Sweden
  6. Edinburgh, UK
  7. Montreal, Canada
  8. Rome, Italy
  9. Vancouver, Canada
  10. Copenhagen, Denmark

Jon Mamela, Chief Marketing Officer, Destination Canada said:

“Canada’s top ranking in the report is a testament to the global desire to come and visit our country and we’re honoured by this recognition. We know that a country’s reputation is its calling card, opening the doors to tourism, trade, investment and academic excellence to name but a few benefits. The study by Reputation Institute shows clearly that perception of a country translates into economic benefits when people want to visit that country as well as live, work or study there.” ~