Tag Archives: startups

You Know Tech Startups are Hot When…

Earlier this year, I wrote a story for TORO Magazine entitled “Are Tech Devs the New Rock Stars?hard disk on fire Well, it seems my hypothesis in that story has not only come true but it has now reached “X Factor” status. According to this story from BetaBeat, even Simon Cowell and Will.I.Am are jumping on the tech startup bandwagon.

I know that Will.I.Am is a big supporter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for youth. But will an “X Factor” type of show really send the right message?

Likewise, as the BetaBeat article suggests, how can one really test the skills and success-potential of a tech entrepreneur in that type of an environment? And who will judge this talent competition?

The details aren’t out yet. So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’d be interested to find out what type of companies try out for the show and how it will fare compared to a Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den format. I’m also curious to see what else transpires as the popularity of tech startups continues to explode.

As always, your comments are welcome below.

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Deals for Canadian Startups and SMEs: Preview of the GaggleBiz Launch

On April 2nd, Toronto-based group buying startup GaggleUp Inc. and Post Media (Financial Post) will launch a strategic partnership called GaggleBiz. The new service will offer
 business
 to
 business
 daily
 deals,
 targeted to small
 to
 medium-sized
 Canadian businesses.

I asked Mark Skapinker, founder of GaggleBiz a few questions to find out how his company will stand out in a sea of group buying websites, and why it will be a hot destination for Canadian SMEs and startups.

How will GaggleBiz differentiate itself from other daily deal sites out there?
The group buying space is finally growing up. It is no longer what the Groupon clones do: “throwing together a deal and buying some consumers”. Merchants are looking for the long‐term value in group buying, customers are looking for new and different deals. GaggleBiz will sit between the small business and the merchant trying to cost-effectively reach small businesses. By using the power of group buying and pulling together many small businesses, we facilitate a much lower cost interaction – this leads to much lower prices for small businesses.

Why go after the small business market?
Small businesses usually pay a premium for everything: be it products like coffee supplies or paperclips, services like IT services, insurance, cell phones or backup. The main reason is that they are making much smaller purchases than larger corporations and it is expensive for sales forces to reach them and service them. GaggleBiz is focused on delivering low-cost products and services to small
businesses.

What do you anticipate to be your biggest challenges in growing an audience/user base?
From the start, GaggleUp has offered a differentiated service. However, the crowded nature of the group‐buying market means that we need to constantly get beyond the noise of the Groupon clones. As we partner with more large corporations and our offers become further differentiated, it becomes easier.

GaggleBiz be offering great deals from top national and regional business brands to small-medium size businesses across the country, ranging from 50% to 90% off. From deals on office supplies, to maintenance and operations services, to technology and software solutions – there will be something of value for any SME or startup in Canada. Visit http://gagglebiz.com/ to enter to win fabulous prizes and get exclusive deals.

Small business co-working spaces abound in Toronto

Last week, I tried out ING DIRECT Cafe’s new Network Orange co-working space in Toronto. What’s great about the space is that small businesses can drop-in for just $20.00 per day. To be a member, all you have to do is fill out an application form and explain how your business can collaborate with and give back to the other small businesses who use the space.

Network Orange has everything that a small business would need including: meeting rooms, work benches, a reception, free wifi and coffee, access to printers and much more. You can also book their event space for free. However, I’ve heard that you have to schedule it far in advance, as it’s becoming a pretty popular venue for startups.

What’s interesting is that Network Orange seems to have a partnership with AutoShare – a Toronto car sharing service (like Zip Car). Clearly, ING is also attracting advertising/promotional dollars from businesses who want to cater to startups. Great idea!

Th ING Café concept is very similar to what I described in a blog post about how coffee shops can capitalize on the small business market about a year ago. The trend is definitely catching on!

In the past few months, I’ve heard about two other new co-working spaces opening up to serve the Toronto technology startup community:

  • [IN]Cubes: a new incubator launching in November. You can read more about this space on my blog on Techvibes from last month.
  • MaRS Commons: MaRS announced this week that they have created a new space for 50 of their Information technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice startups. However, other startups and entrepreneurs can apply to collaborate with these businesses and become mentors. You can read more about it on their newly launched website.
There is obviously a growing need for these services. Have you heard of any other new co-working spaces that have launched in Toronto in the past few months? If so, please share a link in the comments section below.