venture capital

The impact of Canadian venture capital (Infographic)

Here is an interesting infographic by BDC on the impact of Canadian venture capital.



Louis Rhéaume

Editor, Infocom Analysis

Twitter: @InfocomAnalysis

Dashbook, a new application start-up, is targeting the promising Google Glass and smart watch markets



We had an interview with Brandon Chatreau, the CEO of Dashbook, one of the start-ups from the summer 2013 cohort at FounderFuel, a technology accelerator in Montréal. Dashbook is an intelligent, developer friendly, open platform that delivers the right information, at the right time, and with the right context by leveraging device data, users’ inputs, and data analysis.  The Dashbook platform is brought to life via consumer-facing applications, through their iOS app.  The app is comprised of a series of DASHES, which deliver real-time information to end users. The Dashbook platform is totally open so that third party developers can leverage their technology to create custom dashes that connect their real-time data to end users. DashBook takes care of all the parsing, processing, and presentation and provides developers with the ability to access any API, web feed, and other connected data. The company is located in Montreal and Ottawa.

Some media provided a description of their technology as an app aggregator: a sort of “combination of Flipboard and Google Now with the main popular applications.” 

How do you want to differentiate your services from Google Now?

“Let me say first that we aren’t trying to ‘out google’ Google. At Dashbook we believe that the world is bigger than Google Now, and it’s more open. People want choices. Google now only provides [a] small selection of the information they think you need to know (13 cards ranging from sports scores to weather and traffic). The Dashbook platform provides users with the choice of what information they want to monitor. For some it could be traffic, weather and sports, but for others it could be developer services like New Relic, AWS, and GitHub. Our dash library already has 100 dashes that monitor the different information that end users care about. Google Now doesn’t allow for this level of customization and choice.  Google Now doesn’t allow for third-party developers to create cards to monitor additional information. Dashbook’s open platform provides any third-party developer with the ability to leverage our technology to create custom dashes that connect their real-time data to end users, expanding our reach, and user base.”

In what sector they want to specialize?

“We are starting [to commercialize our services] in the commercial sector, but there are a lot of applications for Dashbook in the B2B space. We have explored the idea of selling the Dashbook platform as a service to businesses and have them customize datebooks based on employee roles (different roles require different real-time information).”

What have you learned at FounderFuel? About your business model?

“The first thing we learned was the importance of laser focus. We came into FounderFuel with a problem we identified and an idea to solve it. We wanted to go after our big vision right away, but the team at FounderFuel taught us the importance of validating in a small market that can scale easily to a bigger audience. With this laser focus, we also saw a bigger business behind the problem we are solving. Instead of an app that gives you all the information you care about most, we created an open, intelligent platform that is used to deliver the information end users care about most.”

The CEO explained the potential of markets like Google glass and the smart watch: “Wearable technology is still in its infancy, but products like the Nike fuel band, fit bit, and even Apple trademarking iWatch, indicate a shift towards wearable tech. The market is supposed to jump from 750 million in 2012, to 5.8 billion by 2018, but at Dashbook, we believe it’s going to be bigger.”

What are your objectives in one year?

  • “Add 100 developers on the platform before the end of this quarter, targeting another 1000 within the next 12 months
  • Scale our team
  • Refine our web platform
  • Host Dash-a-thons at universities twice a month starting in September
  • Enhance our iOS offering and launch with a full rollout before 2014
  • Solidify our data model to collect and create user profiles
  • Increase the number of dashes in our library to 300
  • Develop and launch our Android offering”

Dashbook wants to raise around $500,000 in funding, and the markets and technologies they are targeting look really promising.  This represents a great opportunity for developers as well as corporations that want to better know (in real-time) the consuming behaviour of their clientele.

Louis Rhéaume

Editor, Infocom Analysis


FounderFuel Demo Day Summer 2013



Today was Demo Day for the Summer 2013 cohort at FounderFuel in Montreal.  The Rialto theatre was full for the presentations from the nine startups and also three other startups from other Canadian accelerators.

The qualities of the projects are still improving.  Several startups are now expecting financing rounds between $400,000 to $1.1M. Real Ventures the main VC behind FounderFuel, expects that the 37 startups from the four cohorts could raise in total around $10M in the coming months.  It appears that the vast majority of startups from the Summer 2013 cohort  (maybe all) will succeed in their new financing.  Several projects are already getting tractions and are also posting interesting metrics.

We will cover the new startups in the coming days.  Stay tune  for high-quality analysis.

Louis Rhéaume
Infocom Analysis

Living the “Canadian dream”


Marzio Pozzuoli who is the founder of RuggedCom, received the CVCA’s 2013 ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award.  RuggedCom is a communications and networking equipment company with products used in hostile or demanding environments.

In less than 10 years, he had, with the support of his wife, grown his start-up into a market leader and sold it for $440-million to    Siemens. He spoke about the “Canadian Dream”, in a speech at the 2013 Canadian Venture Capital Awards Gala Dinner, last month.

“Every entrepreneur has one person that they owe so much to for their success,” suggests Pozzuoli. “The person who encouraged them to take the leap and quit his good paying job at GE. This important person who said don’t worry about the money and remortgage the house, we’ll find a way to get by.” For Mr. Pozzuoli, it was his wife.

Pozzuoli says the Canadian Dream can exist in Canada because of immigrants and multiculturalism. He says there is a strong correlation between immigration and entrepreneurialism, noting that around 52% of the startups in Silicon Valley have immigrant founders.

Pozzuoli says Canada could be a model for the world because we have a health care system and social assistance programs that support people who deeply need it. Thus, a single mother doesn’t have to choose “between a child’s health and putting food on the table”. Mr. Pozzuoli lost his father when he was a child.

To see the whole video:

Louis Rhéaume


Infocom Analysis

Pourquoi la plupart des accélérateurs de firmes en démarrage échoue?

Notre article est disponible sur

Selon certains experts, dont Peter Relan, entrepreneur en série, 90 % des programmes d’accélérateurs et d’incubateurs ne sont pas rentables!


Louis Rhéaume


Infocom Analysis

Description of the average US Angel Investor (infographic)

Investor Pitches provides a description of the average US angel investor in the following infographic.  The average angel investor is  a man with 47 years old, making$90,000 a year, and investing around $37,000 per deal. In 2002, there were 200,000 angel investors.  In 2011, that number jumped 60 percent to 318,480. Angels funded 66,230 companies in 2011, compared to 36,000 in 2002, investing $22.5 billion in entrepreneurship in USA, an increased by 84 percent, from $15.7 billion in 2002.



Louis Rhéaume

Infocom Analysis

Twitter: @InfocomAnalysis

There are around 25 to 40 startups in the Silicon Valley with a value over $1 billion

According to the NY Times, the number of privately held Silicon Valley start-ups that are worth more than $1 billion is between 25 to 40.

Among the startups in the $ billion club, there are:







-Violin Memory




-Pure Storage





For Phil Libin, chief executive of Evernote, ““There is no safe industry anymore, even here.”  Several of those startups are in the enterprise sector.

“A year from now that might be 100,” said Jim Goetz, a partner at Sequoia Capital, a venture capital business. Sequoia counts a dozen such companies in its portfolio. It is part of what he calls “a permanent change” in the way people are building their companies and financiers are pushing up values.

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs argue that the price spiral is not a sign of another tech bubble. The high prices are reasonable, they say, because innovations like smartphones and cloud computing are disrupting some technology sectors that are already worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Louis Rhéaume

Infocom Analysis

Twitter: @InfocomAnalysis

“Le Québec a besoin de plus d’entrepreneurs comme Dominique Brown” est disponible sur

Louis Rhéaume

Infocom Analysis

Twitter: @InfocomAnalysis


The 3 most promising start-ups from FounderFuel’s cohort of Fall 2012

Last week was the third Demo Day at FounderFuel in Montréal, this time for the cohort of fall 2012.  FounderFuel is in the major league of tech accelerator in North America.  So far, start-ups in the three cohorts have raised $6.5 million in financing.  The quality of each cohort is improving.  In this latest cohort, the three most promising start-ups are: Urbita, MyCustomizer and Openera.

Urbita has reached an important milestone with 3 million unique visitors last month on its web site.   The website is based on recommendation of marketplaces and destinations for travelers. The website is rich in images and comments from people who are passionate about the city. The web site aims to become a platform with direct competitors such as TripAdvisor.

In a previous article I discussed about the challenges for entrepreneurs who want to build platforms on the web.  With strong network effects and economies of scale, the success can be very fast, and unfortunately fierce competition can also produce fast failures.  Thus, Urbita will need to differentiate itself from TripAdvisor by focusing for instance on the weaknesses of the quality of many reviews on TripAdvisor.  Several travel agencies are not recommending TripAdvisor to their customers due to poor assessment of hotels, for instance.

Urbita has raised $500,000 so far and wants another $500,000 in the short-term.  Building successful web platforms necessitate a lot of capital but the payoff can be huge (Facebook and Yelp are public firms and Pinterest is growing fast). The founders are from Los Angeles and Buenos Aires.

Openera aims to simplify automated filing for everyone.  Openera automatically organizes email and cloud files to meet corporate compliance requirements and allow the right people to find files quickly.  The start-up is in a niche market that could be huge.  The CEO of Openera had over 15 years of experience at Open Text, one of the biggest IT firm in Canada, which experienced fast growth through internal projects and acquisitions.  The software of Openera makes the links in cloud computing with many other applications such as Box, Salesforce and Evernote. Some of their first customers are Box and CCA (Creative Artists Agency). Openera has an iPhone application enabling the management of document filing.  The start-up has raised $250,000 so far and wants $500,000 more in the short-term.   The firm is from Ottawa.

MyCustomizer enables retailers to sell customized products adapted to the special requests of their customers through cloud computing with a ready-to-use SaaS platform.   Mass customization was a buzzword with the growth of Web 1.0 around 1998.  Now, it is a reality in the retail world through Web 2.0. For instance, MyCustomizer has a partnership with Warrior Sports, a hockey goods firm, that lets the customer pick the colors of a hockey glove, and can change the material or even put its name or number.  In exchange, retailers can charge around 30% more to the customers for their special requests.  MyCustomizer is charging $99.99 per month and a commission around 5% on sales.  Thus, the company is already profitable and wants to expand in other vertical markets such as furniture.  The potential for customized products represents a large market for the start-up, which should help to attract Venture Capital money. The founders are from Quebec City and Montreal.  MyCustomizer is looking for a financing of $600,000.

Louis Rhéaume

Infocom Analysis


OOHLALA Mobile aims to become the leading mobile platform for college and university students (interview with the CEO)

OOHLALA is the mobile app for university and college students. OOHLALA help students better connect with their campus and also help campus services better engage with students. Students use the app to enhance their campus life with features such as campus maps, courses, study groups, social scheduling (find where your friends are), campus wall (share conversations and photos), and games.

Problem: Right now if you as a student want to know what’s happening on campus your choices are several Facebook groups, different campus websites etc. Information is fragmented everywhere, and we are betting that mobile the best platform to both organize this information and keep students connected on the go. User discovery is another aspect that’s broken. For example if you are sitting in class and want to connect with other students in real-time (or that cute girl in the front row), current social networks such as Facebook can’t help you as you don’t know their names (but we can).

We did an interview with the CEO of OOHLALA Mobile: Danial Jameel.  OOHLALA was part of the Montreal technology accelerator FounderFuel in 2011.


Q1-OOHLALA mobile app is available in how many campus/ student organizations?

Since this semester, we are currently working with 50 campuses in Canada and United States, with another 150 to be launched during the next semester from US, Canada, UK, Singapore, France and potentially Mexico (currently in progress).


Q2-Does OOHLALA monetize with advertising? Any other source of revenue?

We put user experience and satisfaction as our top priority and generate revenues through sources that provide value to students. We currently monetize through premium features for campus services, and location based deals. We don’t do generic ads as its ruins the experience for our community.


Q3-How much money your firm has raised so far for its financing?

I can’t disclose this as yet as we are undergoing some financing, but we have raised our seed round.


Q4-OOHLALA has how many employees?

10-12 (we have some part time community managers)


Q5-What are your goals in one year? 

To be the leading mobile platform for college and university students in North America and UK.


Q6-Are you planning any new or complementary product(s) and service(s) in the short-term?

Right now our focus is looking into user feedback and user metrics to optimize UX and streamline performance.
Q7- As an entrepreneur, what is your most important challenge, since you graduated from FounderFuel?

Once Demo Day ends and the hype is over, its time to get back to reality and the grind. Demo Day puts you out there in the spotlight which is great, but it also means expectations for you are much higher. The reality of most startups is that after the initial hype they need to figure out the right product to market fit and build a business model before running out of cash. This doesn’t always happen overnight and hard/smart work is required.  I knew some founders who were not able to adjust the ‘you are on your own’ reality that sets in after.

On our end, we started our company at the basement library at our university where we iterated 24/7, and ate $4 pizzas to help solve student problems lol (good times). Post Demo day for us meant we could focus back on our users without distractions and on building the best product.


Louis Rhéaume

Infocom Analysis

Twitter : @InfocomAnalysis

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