StartupCampToronto1 Review

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StartupCampToronto was last night and it was awesome. A much more business focused crowd than DemoCamp, the crowd was a mix of startups and funding options. It was a No Regrets, which is a more intimate environment to have a drink and watch the presentations.

The presentation line last night was as follows:

Freshbooks

I’ve seen Freshbooks present many times and even tried using their software. I didn’t really liked the direction they chose in their pitch as a more service oriented, high touch, service offering. In using their service it does work quite well and eliminates a number of problems for small businesses. Their Q&A session also focused around how to grow the business while maintaining
the same level of service. I think there are some great opportunities for them to grow their business through partnerships and channel sales.

Defensio

Defensio is a tough situation in that they are competing with a free service from wordpress to prevent comment spam. Their algorithm focuses on eliminating spam and false positives through a more detailed analysis of the blog content. I thought it would have been good to high light the accuracy difference between Akismet ( wordpress solution ) and Defensio. I’m also not clear the market
opportunity for the product with many blogs not reaching the level of comment
spam where Defensio would provide a substantial benefit.

CakeMail

CakeMail provides a white label mail delivery system through an API. As someone who has run a number of mass e-mail campaigns ( always opt-in ) I know frustration with sending emails. There are many services available though in this space and its not clear the opportunity for growth.

Workspace

Workspace provides an online IDE ( integrated development environment ) for developers focused on web projects. I like the idea around this in that I’ve always been frustrated with the time required to setup development
environments. The environment also provides some collaboration tools and I really like to see them do a DemoCamp to see more about their product. As a
business I’m a little concerned about competition with free IDE’s and its ability to support commercial software platforms which are more proprietary.

Investmate

I really like the enthusiasm of the Investmate team and they reminded me of the JobLoft team last year with their energy level. They have an interesting solution to target smaller and less experienced investors with investment information. The big problem I see in this model is the licensing and regulation around providing investment advice. There was a number of suggestions around licensing the technology to existing brokerage firms, which is probably a good plan but might not be inline with the brokerage firms goal of landing big
clients.

A great selection of companies and basement of No Regrets was opened for startups that didn’t make the presentation list to run table top demos. The SlashID team and Ogrant were both among the teams running demos and were swamped with questions most of the
night.

Night also featured an announcement of a new venture capital company started in Toronto called Extreme Venture Partners. I met Amar from EVP a few months and have been impressed with his involvement in FacebookWeekend. I think its great to see a few firm forming in Toronto around the technology sector.

The Startupnorth guys did a great job organizing and I’m sure this is just the first of many events.

1 COMMENT

  1. Colin, I just wanted to thank you for engaging us last night in the discussion. Last night was the first time we tried on the ‘customer service is the new marketing’ pitch, which is something we really do believe in and will be building out in 2008. Our angle had a lot of flaws that we’ll try to fix before we leave our home crowd. We chose to be a little cheeky in asserting that we magically create fanatical customers, thinking that the irony would be obvious, but that didn’t play out right. Irony isn’t our core personality, and it’s too arrogant. We also should have gone into specifics about what we were doing, rather than keeping it conceptual and aloof. I actually had a longer pitch about the problem of extending our service-oriented brand through all the mass marketing touch points, such as channel sales as you suggest. Then I discovered it was 5 minutes, and so I cut it to the bare bones. Oh well, I should have known bett…