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Testing out the MYO on a drone (Image courtesy of Thalmic Labs)

Testing out the MYO on a drone

(Image courtesy of Thalmic Labs)

Small Business Briefing

Thalmic Labs raises $14.5-million to make ‘Jedi’ wristband Add to ...

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Thalmic Labs raises $14.5-million to make ‘Jedi’ wristband

Kitchener-based Thalmic Labs has raised $14.5-million in Series A funding to make its MYO armband, TechCrunch reports. Major investors include Spark Capital, a Boston-based venture capital firm, and Intel Capital, the investment arm of computer chip-maker Intel.

The wristband device lets you use the electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone, and other favourite digital technologies. It’s part of a great wearable technology trend, which includes such devices as Pebble smartwatch or Leap Motion’s controller.

Thalmic was co-founded in 2012 by Matthew Bailey, Aaron Grant and Stephen Lake, three graduates of the University of Waterloo’s mechatronics engineering program. The startup secured $1-million in 2012 and is alumnus of UW VeloCity and Y Combinator. A week after the $149 device was unveiled on February 25, there were 20,000 pre-orders, according to Communitech. Now the company has accrued “ well over 30,000 orders,” which represents total potential sales of $4.5-million.

To see the ‘Jedi’ device in action, check out their popular YouTube video, has been view more than 2.6-million times.

Foursquare testing paid promotions in NYC

Foursquare, the location-based social network that awards users with badges for checking into locations, is now giving small business owners what they’ve wanted from the start: a way to promote themselves to customers.

The New York-based company is testing paid promotions with ’select’ local businesses, allowing merchants to target people based on their locations, tastes and – most importantly – check-in histories, AdAge reports. It’s a way for small business owners to have local advertising, but according to the company’s CEO Steven Rosenblatt, it’s not ’daily deals.’ Merchants will be charged on a ‘per action’ basis.

According to VentureBeat, Foursquare is also looking to leverage its own ad product by allowing advertisers to dip into its data to target users on external networks.

Out of prison, Japanese dot.com celeb announces new ventures

Takafumi Horie, the Japanese dot.com celebrity imprisoned for nearly two years on securities fraud charges, told reporters that the Japanese government should stop getting in the way of entrepreneurs, reports The Associated Press.

Before his arrest in 2006, the celebrity entrepreneur was the CEO of Internet service provider Livedoor and attracted much media attention for his lavish lifestyle.

Mr. Horie recently announced several new business plans, including most recently a social media app “7gogo,” a celebrity group-talk platform similar to Google’s Hangout services, except subscribers monitor conversations among famous people.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Terminal 4

After 14 years in downtown Toronto, the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS) is moving back to Pearson airport – and they’re pulling out all the stops. Event organizers have announced the building of a unique airport terminal at the International Centre in Mississauga, complete with check-in concierge desk, luggage carousel “stage,” duty-free manufacturing shops, VIP lounge and dining areas. CMTS, which takes places between Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2013, is Canada’s largest manufacturing event for buyers and sellers to come-together under one roof to evaluate new products and solutions and learn about hot topics currently impacting the industry.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

When it comes to sales, coffee roaster feels the heat

In this week’s Challenge , owner of Toronto’s successful Lit cafés wants to build wholesaling business. What’s the next step Pig Iron should take to expand its wholesale business? Three experts weigh in.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Style meets substance at sleek Calgary office

Collaboration is crucial at Wax partnership – a marketing and advertising agency in Calgary – but creativity is key. In this edition of The Amazing Space , founder and president Dan Wright walks us through the company’s stylish space.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com .

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