INcubes is a Toronto based accelerator that teams up with emerging entrepreneurs and talented startups to create solid businesses out of innovative products and ideas. INcubes’ international network has attracted partners, mentors and investors from across many countries including North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Since December 2011, it has received almost 2000 applications, built a network of over 120 mentors, and nurtured a portfolio of 20 Companies –over 80% of which are still active. INcubes also enjoyed its first exit last December, when Hovr.it was acquired by Slyce Inc.
With its two flagship programs, the Funnel Program and the Acceleration Program, INcubes connects with the most forward-thinking entrepreneurs, those with goals of turning into international success stories.
This week INcubes announced the INcubes International Exchange Program (IIEP). The IIEP was created to give more value for companies that graduate from the Accelerator Program. INcubes has partnered with many hubs, accelerators and incubators from across the globe, in locations such as the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, South America, and the USA. Partners are:
The IIEP provides the opportunity for the INcubes graduate companies to visit any of partner site, work from the space provided, and get relevant referrals from partner hubs and accelerators to help the companies access the different local markets. Likewise, companies that graduate from INcubes’ partner organizations can come to INcubes – one of the top accelerators in Canada – and use INcubes’ offices as well as access the INcubes network.
INcubes looks for companies with global potential and, as such, many of its graduates are actively conducting business in other countries. This initiative provides these graduates with a soft international landing as they expand globally, as well as provides international companies with a home base to work out of while they expand into the Canadian and North American markets.
We don’t often meet or chat with product designers so when Coogobox contacted us recently, we thought it sounded interesting.
How it Works
Coogobox helps product designers bring their concepts to fruition through a multi step process. They encourage designers to send their ideas to the company itself first and that submission is free. Sounds good so far right? Well read on.
The next step is to have an online community vote on the product ideas and the one that receive the highest number of votes is then looked at by Coogobox.
With marketing, design and technical professionals on staff, Coogobox will look at the idea based on specific criteria. Winning ideas go into the production at no cost to designers.
What’s the catch you might ask? Well I thought the same thing but Coogobox Founder Ken Chen notes that all parties benefit from working with Coogobox.
“By building a design community and working closely with product designers we can create meaningful and innovative designs. Designers will get credit for their designs and exposure for the work while the final outcome will be new and distinctive products in the marketplace.”
Finished products are sold through Coogobox Retail Partners and its own Online Store. The designer will be entitled to royalties from sales of the invention.
I like the idea of Coogobox so much so that I plan to promote this venture a little more. Perhaps I might send my gadget in the future. Who knows the next great gadget might come from an unlikely source.
Cologix opened its second Vancouver site last week, providing an additional 15,000 square feet of inventory at 1050 West Pender Street. Companies thirsting for robust, network neutral colocation options in downtown Vancouver now have a new option. Cologix is a network neutral interconnection and data centre company.
Vancouver is Canada’s third-largest market, home to more than two million residents and a rich base of technology companies built on a strong entrepreneurial spirit. In particular, the Vancouver economy has a booming film production, content and creative industries focus. However, local and national companies wanting to route more business through Vancouver have found limited network neutral colocation options downtown. Cologix’s new facility was built to meet pent-up demand and create a more efficient on-ramp to global networks and clouds.
Phase 1 of the build-out has been successfully commissioned, including space for 200 cabinets supported by N+1 cooling, redundant UPS systems and N+1 generators. In Vancouver, green business is important, so the site is designed for ultra-efficiency, leveraging air-side economizers and a hot air containment system that enables the outside climate to cool the data centre for the majority of the year. Six fibre networks in the building can be accessed through Cologix’s Meet-Me-Room. Customers also have connectivity options to networks at the carrier hotel six blocks away at 555 West Hastings riding a low latency, dark fibre ring.
“Vancouver is a growing market within the global network traffic map. Similar to the other markets that Cologix serves, it’s an emerging technology region that requires a high level of connectivity,” said Grant van Rooyen, president and chief executive officer, Cologix. “We’re making a significant investment in Vancouver to address the void left by underinvestment in downtown data centre capacity and the consolidation of network neutral providers by carriers. A strong pre-sales period has validated the market need from both local and global firms.”
As of the March 25 opening date, 25 percent of the facility’s Phase 1 space has already been sold.
1050 West Pender Street is Cologix’s eighteenth data centre in North America and its eleventh in Canada. The successful commissioning marks Cologix’s fourth new build in the last 13 months. Cologix is celebrating 1050 West Pender Street’s commission by hosting a networking event bringing together Vancouver’s service providers and buyers on April 23, 2014 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver.
About Cologix Inc.
Cologix Inc. is a network neutral interconnection and colocation company headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Cologix provides scalable interconnection services and secure, reliable colocation services. Cologix operates densely connected, strategically located facilities in Columbus, Dallas, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. With more than 350 network choices and 18 prime interconnection locations, Cologix now serves over 700 carrier, managed services, cloud, media, content, financial services and enterprise customers. The company’s experienced local service teams are committed to providing its customers the highest standard of local customer support.
Marketcircle offers the solutions that small companies need to become the best. Daylite and BillingsPro are two software application that they offer which will help a small company rise to the top. As both top business software, and the best small business accounting software, these programs offer features that will meet the needs of any small company.
When entrepreneurs or business owners make software decisions, it is crucial they find software that will meet all of their small business needs. Small businesses often work as a team. Therefore, they need software that will constantly allow them to be in contact. Daylite allows constant communication, and team members are updated to important meetings, tasks, or conference calls. These features make it a top business software.
In addition to its line of top business software, BillingsPro is also available. It is one of the best small business accounting software available on the market. It also aims to meet the needs of entrepreneurs or business owners. Accounting software for small businesses should quickly and efficiently manage and update invoices. It should be able to record payments that customers have made, as well as payments that customers owe. Accounting software can be crucial for proper accounting records. Because small businesses may not have the financial status to yet hire an accountant specifically to handle financial matters, accounting software can be crucial.
By offering products that can meet the specific needs of clientele, Marketcircle is able to give small businesses with the software they need to thrive. Every decision that a small business makes can be the crucial turning point to either success or failure. In today’s competitive world of business, there are many internal and external factors that affect a business. Large corporations have the advantage of globalization and advanced technology. Using the right software can give a small company a competitive edge, to compete with these larger corporations.
Business and accounting software are investments, which can greatly help with the success of a small business. To have a chance in competing with larger corporations, small businesses sometimes need help. Because communication and correct financial reporting are such important tools, having software to aid the company will help small companies become successful. Purchasing the right software to fulfill the needs of a small company can help it thrive.
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Facebook has announced plans to purchase Oculus VR, the company behind the Rift headset, for around $2 billion in cash and stock. This includes $400 million, and 23.1 million Facebook shares. An additional $300 million earnout will be paid in cash and stock if Oculus hits certain unspecified milestones.
“I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement today.
Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.
This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.
Zuckerberg says that their efforts with Oculus will continue to focus on gaming initially, and that the company will continue to operate independently of Facebook. But after gaming, Zuckerberg says, they’re going to expand into a variety of other arenas.
“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home,” he says. “This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”
At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook, a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform. But when you consider it more carefully, we’re culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step.
Most important, Facebook understands the potential for VR. Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate. Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn’t agree more.
Facebook, of course, found early success with games. Social gaming is responsible for a lot of the growth and spread of Facebook as a platform, rather than just a social service. Acquiring Oculus could signal a variety of things, but being able to tap into what is potentially the next big gaming trend is likely one of them. In addition, Facebook has been aggressive about understanding and supporting mobile use cases — but only after an initial period of foot-dragging and desktop focus. If VR is “what’s next” then Facebook will want to tap the market early to avoid any transitional gaffes this time around.
The purchase is expected to close in Q2 of 2014. Oculus has taken over 75K orders for its virtual reality headset so far. Those headsets have been developer editions designed to get developers interested in playing around with VR technology. The most recent “Crystal Cove” prototype features a full 1080p display and more sensors to detect and position users in virtual environments.
Of course, if you pull the thread of virtual reality out really really far, you could see a future where we’re not talking about the percentage of time people spend on mobile vs. desktop. Instead, we’re talking about the amount of time that people spend in virtual reality versus actual reality. In that kind of landscape, Facebook starting in on VR early makes painfully obvious sense.
The company has received a total of $93.4 million in funding so far from Spark, Matrix, Founders Fund, Formation 8, BIG Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Oculus got a big boost in legitimacy recently when one of the founding fathers of 3D gaming, John Carmack, left id Software to become its CTO.
“Over the next 10 years, virtual reality will become ubiquitous, affordable, and transformative,” concludes the Oculus post, “and it begins with a truly next-generation gaming experience. This partnership ensures that the Oculus platform is coming, and that it’s going to change gaming forever.”
Last week, Nuvyyo, a pioneer in revolutionizing the home media experience previewed a new product that offers cord-cutters a better way to access free Over-The-Air (OTA) high-definition TV content. The new product, called Tablo is the first solution designed to combine the functionality of a DVR with the convenience and mobility of a tablet-based app to browse, record and stream broadcast TV content to any device, anytime, anywhere. Additionally, Nuvyyo has launched an Indiegogo campaign for Tablo to engage TV-lovers and early technology adopters as supporters and beta testers prior to the product’s retail availability in early 2014.
Enhanced Free HDTV Viewing
Replacing the need for a traditional DVR, Tablo takes free OTA HDTV to a new level through its visually rich, interactive tablet app. Consumers can easily and remotely schedule and view recordings in Tablo’s comprehensive guide that allows browsing by genre, channel or time. The Tablo app works on iPad and Android tablets, with playback and live TV available for iPhone and Android smartphones, PCs and Macs, and on TV screens via Apple TV, Roku, or Google Chromecast.
“We are transforming today’s home media experience by delivering a better way to enjoy network and local programming in gorgeous HD, anywhere you happen to be,” said Grant Hall, CEO of Nuvyyo. “For TV lovers, Tablo takes away the fear of “cord-cutting” by perfecting the user experience with our tablet app and delivering the DVR functionality everyone knows and loves.”
Crowdfunding for Early Adopter Seeding
Nuvyyo’s Indiegogo project (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tablo-dvr-enjoy-free-hdtv-on-any-device-anytime-anywhere) is focused primarily on gathering product feedback from TV lovers and early technology adopters and soliciting beta testers in key geographic markets. Indiegogo supporters at various pledge levels can gain access to beta versions of Tablo ahead of the general public and influence key product feature and design choices. Pledges raised during the Indiegogo project will be used to fund initial production runs of the hardware so that the $4 million in venture backing Nuvyyo received earlier this year from Celtic House Venture Partners – a leading investor in technology and innovation – can be earmarked for sales and marketing support of the general product launch in the U.S. and Canadian markets.
“The TV industry is in an exciting period of innovation with a diversity of new services and business models. Internet-based video is taking off and free OTA HDTV, with better quality than satellite or cable, is now widely available,” said Celtic House partner Brian Antonen. “We believe Nuvyyo has the right mix of technology and expertise to address these trends with a solution that adds free broadcast TV to the internet video experience so that live and recorded HDTV can be enjoyed on mobile devices as well as the traditional big screen TV.”
Converging Market Dynamics
Tablo targets the growing trend in “cord-cutting” that enables consumers to save thousands of dollars by eliminating cable or satellite TV and replacing it with free OTA HDTV and internet video from companies such as Netflix and Hulu. With an average pay TV bill of $85 a month, consumers enjoying free broadcast programming using Tablo will save over $2,000 in just two years. Another market shift positioning Tablo for success is the tremendous popularity of tablet computing with an estimated 44 percent of U.S. households already owning at least one*.
Nuvyyo, based in Ottawa, Canada, was founded in 2010 with the vision of reinventing the home media experience in the post PC era for consumers in the U.S. and Canada. Building on its first mobile media streaming system, the company is preparing to launch the only broadcast TV system designed around the mobility and convenience of a tablet, making it easy to browse watch and record free over-the-air (OTA) TV anywhere, anytime, on any device. Nuvyyo will launch Tablo in early 2014. For more information, visit www.tablotv.com .
About Celtic House Venture Partners
Celtic House Venture Partners is an independent Canadian investment firm. Since 1994, Celtic House has been one of Canada’s most active investors in technology and innovation. For more information, visit www.celtic-house.com.
Market testing as many entrepreneurs know is an important step in helping decide whether a project or idea will take off. Passion and faith in your idea is important but without market testing, you may not have enough to create a popular product.
What is market testing?
Market testing is a method of conducting research for businesses. It tests various versions of an idea, project, or product on the market to find the one most worth pursuing. The market can be targeted, focusing specifically on an audience of potential users, or it can be general, using a broad and diverse population.
Effective market testing tools
Victoria, BC-based startup company Nimble Robot has developed an online service called CrowdPicker. CrowdPicker allows users to test the market quickly and easily and receive feedback on their project to make informed decisions about further development. Entreprenuers can ask questions about which logo design connects better with potential users what company name is more effective, which tagline sounds better, which web page layout looks easier to navigate, and more. Test questions can be launched within 5 minutes of signing up and answers should start rolling in. Questions are completed within a day of launch. Users are able to pick the size of their market as well. Results are displayed in easy-to-understand graphs. As an added bonus, the service offers new user their first 25-picker test question for free.
Market tests are conducted in a number of ways with surveys being a popular choice for potential users. This provides companies with the feedback they need on particular aspects of their product or idea. Businesses also can hire marketing firms to conduct research for them with firms using panels of respondents and focus groups to conduct a range of tests. These methods aren’t as accessible to startups or small businesses however.
Why test the market?
The main benefit of market testing is being able to get feedback on a project before investing a lot of time, effort, and money into it. As a founder it’s hard to be objective so testing an idea on a neutral market will decrease risks. Such a market will give you unbiased feedback on your idea to help you determine whether or not it is viable and will succeed.