Video in which Canada promotes Diversity and Inclusion

Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion has recently released a video to promote Diversity and Inclusion around Canada. This is another way Canada tries to promote its openness and politeness.

Even though this is a tech blog, we have decided to showcase it as there are millions of people considering moving to Canada for work, to start their startup, etc. So this once again shows that no matter where you are from / what language you speak / what you look like, you will always be welcomed in Canada.

This one’s for all the Canadians who are free AF. 🍁🍁🍁 by Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion

https://www.facebook.com/CCDISOCIAL/videos/1629749660368915/

Montreal Local Logic does AI for Real Estate

Local Logic is a big data company which uses a combination of geospatial and user generated usage data to quantify the qualities of any given location within a city. The technology developed by Local Logic is used to guide the decisions of e-commerce consumers when looking for real estate or travel accommodations and built predictive models to inform decision makers investing in urban environment.

We sat down with Naoufel Testaouni to get to know more about the company:


 

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

Alexandre Pagé, Colin Stewart, Gabriel Damant-Sirois and Vincent-Charles Hodder are the co-founders of Local Logic. Alex and Colin have a programming background while Gab has a background in statistics.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQDyBrcAE5v/?taken-at=1489411254655379

How are you being financed?

We have revenue from our existing clients and closed 2 rounds of financing from VC.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

The biggest obstacle will be to scale our technology in geographies where the data we use in our algorithms are harder to collect.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BP_kfHoD-sD/?taken-at=1489411254655379

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

We have the chance to build a product that can impact how cities are used and developed and most people find that project quite appealing. This helps us attract great candidates. Also, we’re trying to be involved in strategic community initiative and gain a good reputation and exposure through these.

Who is your biggest competition?

Walkscore is our main competitor. They offer Walkscore, Bikescore and Transitscore. They are based in Seattle and have been acquired in 2014 by Redfin an online real estate company. Spatial.ai is another competitor that offers layers of information to add on maps in travel and real estate. Their algorithms use AI fed by social media feed such as Twitter and Foursquare. Based in Cincinnati, they offer their services to automotive industries to power autonomous vehicles.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQTqv5EFT0h/?taken-at=1489411254655379

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in
revenues? In what markets?

Our product is already available throughout North America and has good traction with major players in the Real Estate market. We also have big potential in the travel market, and in building predictive models for organizations investing in urban environment.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this
project.

Putting in place a process that guides the tech and product team to build small iteration providing values to clients or other stakeholders, rather than converting new ideas into huge projects, allows you to build what is really needed and not waste months on the wrong thing.

 

Learn more: https://www.locallogic.co

Toronto Avocare Reduces Healthcare Wait Time

Avocare helps reception desks in the healthcare industry reduce their phone volume. They do it by enabling two-way channels of digital communication – text message, Facebook Messenger, and web messaging. To drive efficient communication, they further support both patients and practitioners by automating requests and conversations with our in house developed AI powered assistant. The outcomes are reduced costs for healthcare clinics, and improved patient access and satisfaction.

We sat down with Vikram Luthra, CEO & Founder, to find out more about his company:


Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

The company was founded by Vik Luthra, an experienced entrepreneur and corporate executive. Subsequently, Vik partnered with Taylan Pince (CTO & Parner @ Avocare, and an experienced technology leader), to build Avocare’s products. Avocare has a talented team of designers, developer and advisors. Another partner in the business is Dr. Manisha Verma (a family physician), who is a partner and the companies Chief Medical Officer.

How are you being financed?

Avocare has raised pre-seed capital from some early stage investors, including its founder and partners.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

A major obstacle will be barriers to technological change in the healthcare industry. Typically, technology is dominated by larger incumbents and switching and integration costs from existing solutions can be high. Furthermore, especially in Canada, adoption of new technologies is slow – for a number of reasons. Our challenge will be to drive change in a way that lessens the impact of these obstacles and factors on practitioners and patients.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

Taylan, our CTO, has years of experience developing junior technical talent, and also brings with him a wide network within the tech community. Our team and recruitment has been built on this platform.

Who is your biggest competition?

Our biggest competition is web-based technologies that are offer digital services to patients on behalf of clinics. However, it’s important to note that our value proposition and product features differ in many ways – for one, we strive to make our services as accessible and efficient as possible to all parties, with great focus on helping clinic administrators run better practices. Providing great customer service and very simple user experiences help too.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?

There are many initiatives that we are working on from both a product and scaling perspective – including growth of our product and expansion into new markets in Canada and the US. We have a pipeline of clinics that are interested in the benefits that our product provides. Ultimately, it requires that we sign on as many clinics, practitioners and patients as possible, as quickly as possible, across key Canadian & US markets.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

Building an incredible product and launching with our first clinic within 5 months is a huge success, however arguably we could have gotten to market sooner. We had recognized problems that needed to be solved long before the start of Avocare, but it took a long time to fully take the plunge – a consequence of over-analysis.

Lesson: As an early-stage startup, moving fast, and constantly iterating on and testing ideas with real world users is the most important thing we can and will continue to do. If we fail at things, it’ll be okay, as long as we pushing hard and fast to drive progress on our path.

 

Learn more about Avocare here:

Major Canadian Company Pays $425k To Hackers

We have learned that major Canadian firm paid $425k in Bitcoin money to unlock their servers from ransomware attack. Their live servers were locked as well as their backup. The name of the company can not be published at this time due to confidentiality agreement.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid.

HypnoArt / Pixabay

This is the largest ransomware attack pay out ever in the Canadian business history. Not so long ago, South Korean firm paid $1m to unlock their files.

While investigation is still ongoing, it started with phishing attack targeting 6 key company officials by sending them infected PDF documents. They faked PDF docs to be from the company’s current suppliers stating that this is an invoice for services provided.

After getting in, hackers spent few months exploring the system before locking up live servers, as well as backups.

Lesson learned? Way to make sure it does not happen to you?

  1. Hire some ethical hackers to try to penetrate your system and see if you are secure. You will pay much less than they did.
  2. Move your backup to a remote server not associated with your main live server;
  3. Patch your systems religiously.

 

Learn more about WannaCry ransomware attacks here:

Toronto Kukuzoo Animates your Business

Toronto startup Kukuzoo makes short animated videos for all types of stuff like products, services, social messages or anything else!

We sat down with Don Radhay, Founder at Kukuzoo, to find out more about his startup.


Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?
Don Radhay started the company in 2014, in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto. Most of our team members come from an arts background specializing in animation, writing and design.

How are you being financed?
We started the company lean and have never been financed. We simply began building our video portfolio by reaching out to customers that we felt would benefit from having an animated video. We’ve been growing organically ever since.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
Changes in video technology (Like VR) and video platforms are a major challenge. As new video platforms and tech get introduced, our job is to research, experiment and become experts in them. It’s important for us to be able to effectively use these platforms and create great content on them for our customers.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
We don’t have IT guys or developers, however when it comes to hiring animators, writers, or voice over artists, we look into their previous work and portfolios. We make sure that the people we hire, will understand our own creative process. To do that we try to understand what their process is like when creating work and then see how they can compliment ours.

Can we see some of your work? 
More than two-thirds of doctors use online video to keep updated on clinical information. That makes videos like this one very important. A video detailing new medical discoveries is a valuable educational opportunity.

The video below presents the complicated information in a clear manner for doctors. The animations illustrate the groundbreaking research in a quick and efficient style. Animations like these are time savers for doctors.

https://youtu.be/OXD6OsxcG8k

Who is your biggest competition?
We believe Epipheo is one of the best video production companies right now. While still a competitor, they inspire us and challenge us to make higher quality videos. Fiverr.com does a great job of bringing together experts in the arts field with competitive pricing, so that clients can develop their own animated videos without a video production company. However with Fiverr, it can be challenging if they don’t know how to effectively manage the video making process.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?
Overtime, as our unique creative process and animations become more attractive and favorable, customers will be willing to invest more as they see major value in working with us. When we say creative process we mean taking an idea from concept all the way to completion through Script, Design, Voice Over and finally Animation. We continue to get input from clients on how well their experience was, and what we can do better to streamline the creative process. There aren’t much limits to what markets we currently work with. We’ve done videos for Academia, Nonprofits, Human resources, Finance and Economics, and of course Retail.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is, if you plan to start a business, ask yourself if you’re actually willing to sacrifice a lot of time and money, and if this your passion. If not, I don’t bother pursuing it, because you will learn quickly that there will be a thousand times more failures than there are successes. At times, there may only ever be failure, so be sure that anything you pursue, its based on your passion and your strengths.

Check out the video to get more info about the company and their portfolio:

500 Startups Canadian fund shuts down its operations

In addition to recent sexual assault investigation of co-founder, David McLure, we have found out that the fund its shutting its operations in Canada.

Even though the money was already raised, a lot of investors decided not to proceed forward just so they wont be associated with David McLure . McLure has since apologized for “being a creep”. Proday CEO Sarah Kunst had told NY Times that McLure sent her a message:

“I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you.”, David McLure hitting on Sarah Kunst

Investors and board members have tried to renegotiate the terms of the contract, but were not able to come to an agreement and had no choice but to disband Canadian operations.

500 Startups have managed more than $25 million dollars from various investors. They have raised money for companies such as AmpMe, Element AI, Smart Reno and many others.