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Tatsumi Kimura, researcher at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), shows laser plasma technology making a flashpoint in the air. (TOSHIYUKI AIZAWA)
Tatsumi Kimura, researcher at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), shows laser plasma technology making a flashpoint in the air. (TOSHIYUKI AIZAWA)

Small Business Briefing

CIX lists Canada's 20 most innovative companies Add to ...

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Hundreds of applicants competed for spots

The Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has announced this year’s Top 20 list of Canada's most innovative Canadian technology companies, which have been selected to present at an event on Dec. 1, at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

The CIX Top 20 is split into two groups of 10: Information and communications technologies (ICT), and digital media.

Hundreds of applications were received from across the country, and the finalists hail from the Toronto area, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, St. John's and Waterloo. The selection committee was made up of experts from corporations, as well as entrepreneurs and investors. The companies were judged on a number of key factors, including the product or service offering, the depth of management, market opportunity and business model.

The Dec. 1 event gives each business the opportunity to showcase their innovative concepts to a CIX audience of Canadian and international venture capital firms and corporate investors. A winner from each of the two categories will be chosen through a "virtual stock exchange," where event attendees buy, sell and trade virtual shares.

Here are the finalists:

Digital media:

  1. Massive Damage, Toronto
  2. Arcestra, Toronto
  3. Wattpad, Toronto
  4. Recoset, Montreal
  5. Achievers, Toronto
  6. Vanilla Forums, Montreal
  7. Woozworld Inc, Montreal
  8. Infersystems, Toronto
  9. ClearRisk, St. John’s
  10. bitHeads Inc., Ottawa


  1. Shoplogix, Mississauga
  2. TribeHR, Waterloo
  3. Wave Accounting, Toronto
  4. Evoco Inc., Calgary
  5. QuickMobile, Vancouver
  6. Nexalogy Environics, Montreal
  7. ResponseTek Networks, Vancouver
  8. NexJ Systems, Toronto
  9. True Voice Technologies, Burlington
  10. Polar Mobile, Toronto

Scribble raises $4-million in financing

Toronto-based Scribble Technologies Inc., which publishes and delivers content in real-time online, has raised $4 million in Series A funding lead by Summerhill Venture Partners. The company says in a press release that it will use the proceeds to "strengthen its market position and aggressively expand its sales, marketing and software development activities." The ScribbleLive platform allows media companies and other big organizations, including The Globe and Mail, The New York Daily News, CBS Sports and Sky News, deliver timely and engaging content. "Today’s funding news marks the first major investment in live blogging, which validates the demand consumers have for real-time content as global events unfold,” CEO Michael De Monte says. Rogers Ventures, the venture-capital arm of Rogers Communications, also participated in the financing. Its mandate is to invest in companies with a focus on mobile finance, machine-to-machine, cloud computing, and mobile advertising technologies.

Khosla on failure breeding success

Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems and of Khosla Ventures, addressed a room of entrepreneurs in a rare appearance this week at the Nasscom Product Forum in Bangalore. In the past decade, he pointed out, one of the few conferences at which he chose to be a speaker in Silicon Valley was FailCon. Such is his conviction, reads a story in Forbes India, about failures being intrinsic to entrepreneurial successes. “My willingness to fail gives me the ability to succeed,” he said, kick-starting the two-day conclave. And if anyone thought that was punditry, coming from a highly successful venture capitalist, he reminded people that he didn’t start out as a VC, but as an entrepreneur, and that even as a VC he’s failed more often than many others. “You only lose one-times your money if you fail, but if you succeed, you can make 100 times. That’s the beauty of product companies." He also pointed out that government and multinationals "are largely irrelevant in the business of innovation.”


Angel investor comes to Calgary

The Alberta chapter of the Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) brings Howard Lindzon, co-founder and CEO of StockTwits, to speak in Calgary on Nov. 17. Mr. Lindzon is an angel investor who has scored a number of successes, including Rent.com (purchased by eBay for $415 million U.S.), Golfnow.com (acquired by Comcast), and Wallstrip (bought by CBS Corp. His new media and online business investments also include Bit.ly, Tweetdeck, Limos.com, Blogtalkradio.com, Buddy Media, Ticketfly, and Assistly. His latest project, StockTwits, is a real-time financial platform for the investing community where traders and investors share ideas and information. He'll be speaking from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Melrose Cafe and Bar. Tickets are $40 for CIRI members, $80 for non-members.

A day of leadership advice

Internet entrepreneur Chris Hughes, also known as “the kid who made Obama president,” and Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson are the featured speakers at Power Within: Leadership Mastery, taking place in Toronto on Nov. 22. The event, which runs all day at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, is being billed as "everything you need to improve productivity, increase sales, profitability and drive innovation." Other speakers include Billy Beane, Rick Belluzo, Connie Podesta and Les Brown.


Don't toss off your head shot

People spend hours agonizing over the words they want on their LinkedIn or Twitter profiles, ensuring they perfectly reflect who they are and how they want others to perceive them. Then they take a hasty look through their picture files, and toss up a photo taken by a friend, or worse, a picture snapped by an office colleague on a smart phone. That’s a mistake. Your corporate head shot or executive photo is often the first impression you make with someone. And for many, it is not well aligned with the personal brand for which they want to be known. Read on for some tips from a professional photographer.


Court failure in order to innovate

Roger Martin, dean of the University of Toronto's Rotman School, participated in a video in April, 2010, where he pointed out that "to innovate you have to court failure." Making incremental changes to your product, he said, doesn't count.

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