Archive for May, 2008

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MaxRoam Saves a $MILLION

May 30, 2008

Maxroam Pat Phelan Florian Seroussi

Pat Phelan and Florian Seroussi, two of the co-founders of MaxRoam have saved their customers a million dollars in the past year! MaxRoam is a SIM card that you can put into your GSM phone so that when you travel you don’t get charged roaming rates. Brilliant? Absolutely.

MaxRoam launched at TechCrunch40 last year and has since made a lot of noise in the media. Conclusion? Next time you’re planning on traveling, make sure to pick up a MaxRoam SIM card and save a lot of money.

You can see the official blog post from Pat here: http://patphelan.net/maxroam-saves-its-customers-a-million-dollars/

Aydin.

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Buddy, Keep Your Million :)

May 26, 2008

snowman vc

This Thursday night should be lots of fun. I’ve been invited to present as part of a round-table of local CEOs, VCs, and Angel investors  about what it takes to start a company without significant outside investment. It should be quite entertaining so if you’re free this Thursday night make sure to drop by.

This is one of the better attended events in town that happens once a year and usually has ~200 professionals in the local tech scene attending… here are the details of the event:

Date: Thursday May 29, 2008
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: The Marshes, 320 Terry Fox Drive
Registration: No-charge, but please RSVP to kdaize@ocri.ca

Ottawa’s technology clusters, OCRI Global Marketing and The Ottawa Network present the 3rd annual “Buddy Keep your Million” funding focused event.  In light of the almost non-existent VC money filtering into the city, the theme of this year’s event is based around how innovative people get their companies off the ground without the traditional financing options. The panel will be made up of experienced veterans and energetic start-up entrepreneurs.

Panel Participants:

  • Moderator, Bruce Lazenby, Chair Ottawa Software Cluster
  • Wael Aggan, TradeMerit Corp.
  • Richard Charlebois, GrowthWorks Capital
  • Rob Lane, Overlay.TV
  • Scott Lake, Jaded Pixel
  • Aydin Mirzaee, bOK Systems Corp. and Chide.it
  • Karen Letain, CMI International
  • Paul Slaby, Kaben Wireless Silicon Inc
  • Kareem Sultan, RaceDV
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Ottawa DemoCamp9 on Monday!

May 24, 2008

Its that time again. Ottawa DemoCamp9 is on Monday at a new location. The big news is that Ottawa’s top blogger, Alec Saunders, will be our MC. Should be lots of fun.

For those of you that don’t know, DemoCamp is an amazing event where some of Ottawa’s Up and Coming Tech Stars present the latest products that they’ve been working on. Its alway impressive to see how much goes on in Ottawa. If you’ve never been to one of these events, this is the time to start! If you’re gonna be there, message me on Twitter (@aydin) or on Facebook…

Here are the details for the event:

  • Stockify – Investing Software
  • SIMtone – Virtual PC, http://www.simtonecdu.com
  • picsphere – complete workflow solution for event and studio photographers
  • SCAN – Transforming community media into community property.
  • OurAirports – a community site for pilots and travelers.
  • What: Ottawa DemoCamp 9
    Six demos by members of the Ottawa high tech community. * Stockify – Investing Software * SIMtone – Virtual PC, http://www.simtonecdu.com * picsphere – complete workflow solution for event and studio photographers * SCAN – Transforming community media into community property. * OurAirports – a community site for pilots and travelers.
    When: Monday, May 26, 2008 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
    Where: The Velvet Room

    62 1/2 York Street
    Ottawa, ON K1N 1T5 Canada
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    Ottawa Tech Sector is Live and Kicking!

    May 19, 2008

    The following is a guest post by good friend Harley Finkelstein in response to an article from reportonbusiness.com entitled: A tech saviour’s manifesto:

    Harley Finkelstein

    Mr. Macdonald,

    I recently read your manifesto article in the globe and mail.

    To be honest, and as a 24 year old Law/MBA grad student and concurrently the founder of a tech venture firm, I think you may be out of touch with what’s really going on in the Canadian tech scene.

    Silicon Valley wasn’t built because of companies like Cognos, it achieved its real success because of garage startups like Google and Paypal (which you mentioned in the article).

    Cognos and ATI are NOT the current Canadian tech scene, the real tech scene are these amazing young startups that will eventually become the next RIMs and Skypes, and many of these guys have yet to even bring their ideas to market (which is when I prefer to invest in them).

    The main reason I moved to Ottawa at 21 years old was to take advantage of the amazing grass roots entrepreneurial climate in Ottawa’s tech community.

    And thus far it seems the Canadian startup tech scene is alive and well, albeit most VCs wouldn’t know it.

    With a fund that is probably smaller than your daily payroll, my shop, Innoventure Capital, invests in local talent and their startups and in the last 3 years we have been inundated with amazing opportunities. Young tech wizards cringe at the idea of pitching an idea to a grey haired VC committee, and when we meet with them they seem relieved to see we are young, ambitious, and just like them. There is a real dichotomy and gap between the next great tech startup and the Canadian VC community, yet WE are getting more pitches and great ideas than we can even read.

    I recently had the opportunity to meet some of the gents from Sequoia in California, and what immediately struck me was that they were the antithesis of the VCs we work with in Canada (Bay street and in Kanata).

    The real problem in Canada is that conventional VC is a dinosaur, yet the Canadian shops are still cherry picking for homeruns and mandating overly restrictive covenants (which in itself is a dinosaur of a contractual concept).

    Innoventure’s key to success has been investing small (5-10k) amounts of funding into strong people, and NOT strong businesses. We let the entrepreneurs focus on what they know best, and often we even pay their living expenses while they are doing so, while my partner and I focus on finding ways to make their ideas profitable. Most of the guys we invest in would never consider putting on a suit and heading into First Canadian Place (and neither did Jobs, Gates or Dell in the 80s), but once we show them that together we can make money most of these entrepreneurs always come back for their 2.0 idea.

    The solution in Canada may be that the VCs need to recalibrate, and if we are so concerned with achieving success like in S.Valley than why aren’t we acting more like them.

    I can show you 3 to 5 online businesses based in ottawa alone who are right now in need of financing, and whose companies have the potential to be market leaders. Innoventure prides itself not on our ability to fund even the smallest businesses, but rather on the mentorship and guidance that comes along with being our partners, and we look for these types of people.

    I would love to continue this conversation if you’d like.

    I mean no disrespect from my email, and in fact am somewhat in awe of you and your company’s success…I hope to one day enjoy even half of your good fortune.

    Thank you in advance, and I hope you will respond.

    Best regards,

    Harley

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    TwitterFone – Twitter via Voice!

    May 7, 2008

    Pat Phelan, Telcom Rockstar – Serial Entrepreneur, just launched a new service called TwitterFone where you can make your Twitter posts via voice. Simply brilliant! I really think that this will get a lot more people hooked on Twitter (about time!). Make sure to head over to TwitterFone!

    If you like TwitterFone, you’ll also love MaxRoam. MaxRoam will let you travel around the world with your cell phone without incurring roaming charges!

    TwitterFone

    Aydin.

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    Kwout.com – great for Screenshots

    May 3, 2008

    Kwout.com is an amazing tool for blogging. Everytime I want to create a screenshot and use it to paste into my blog, I head over to kwout.com. Its really simple to use… This is one of those must use services!

    Here is a screenshot (courtesy of Kwout.com):

    kwout

    Aydin.

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    Sixent.com – your online personal profile

    May 3, 2008

    I met Simon Chen at the last DemoCamp in Ottawa and he mentioned his new project called Sixent.com. I just tried out the service and created my own personal profile here: http://sixent.com/aydin/Public

    Here is a screenshot:

    aydin sixent

    I like Sixent since it gives me LOTS of privacy options… I get to determine who sees what and what is publicly displayed… I’d love for this profile to appear when people are searching for me… I definitely recommend everyone create one of these profiles for themselves!

    Aydin.