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Entertainment District : Innovation + Job News

30 Entertainment District Articles | Page: | Show All

Who's Hiring in Toronto? Top Hat, City of Toronto, Metro News and more

Some of the more interesting employment opportunities we've spotted this week include:

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is looking for a community operations coordinator. This multifaceted role involves a variety of responsibilities, including providing the foundation with data management support, business management support, as well as helping with the onboarding and management of volunteers. Despite the the long list of responsibilities, only a minimum of one to two years in a related field is required to apply.

Top Hat, a Toronto-based startup that creates interactive learning software for classrooms around the world, is looking to fill a variety of positions. Those with a background in software development should check out the company's postings for a full stack developer and a senior quality assurance and test engineer. Those with more of marketing background should look into the company's marketing operations manager posting. Check out Top Hat's website for a full list of positions they're looking to fill.

Journalists looking for a new job should navigate over to Metro's website. Like Top Hat, Canada's second largest daily newspaper is in the process of filling a variety of positions. In Toronto, Metro is seeking two reporters/photographers and a single digital campaign specialist. Those living outside of Toronto are also in luck; Metro is hiring in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax and Ottawa, as well. For the reporter position, Metro is looking for candidates that have at least four years of experience in the newspaper industry, are well versed in CP style and have familiarity with web content management systems.

Finally, the City of Toronto is looking for someone to take over as the manager of events at Yonge-Dundas Square. The person that takes on this role will be expected to oversee all aspects of the square's yearly events schedule. Major responsibilities include and hiring and managing event coordinators and responding to public protests with "tact and respect towards participants".

Do you know of a job opportunity with an innovative company or organization? Let us know!  

Canada's top 100 corporate research and development spenders

On Friday, Research Infosource Inc. released its annual list of Canada's top 100 corporate research and development spenders.

According to the report, Canadian corporate R&D spending increased by 4.1 per cent in 2013 from $12-billion to $12.5 billion.

“4.1 per cent year over year growth is pretty reasonable. Having said that, we’ve seen stronger growth in previous years," says Ron Freedman, the CEO of the company that compiled the report.

Freedman adds that 57 of the list's top 100 companies managed to increase their R&D spending, while 41 companies decided to decrease their R&D spending. Compared to previous years, this represents a slightly worse performance by Canada's corporations.

Indeed, the report's findings will likely reinforce the commonly held opinion that Canadian companies do not spend enough on research. However, Freedman is quick to point out that more, in this case, is not always better.

"Bombardier’s R&D spending went up this year, but the fact is that a large portion of that spending was bad spending. It was spending that was put toward correcting mistakes in the design of their new aircraft. It’s money that they should not have had to spend."

Check out the full list of Canada's top 100 R&D spenders on Research Infosource's website.

Source: Research Infosource Inc. 

Ryerson University launches new study of the analytics talent gap

You've likely heard of the gender gap in tech. It's something that, if allowed to continue, will have a significant effect on the North American economy.

But what about the talent gap that exists when it comes to advanced analytics and big data?

According to recent studies, companies and organizations in both the United States and Canada are finding it extremely difficult to fill positions that require a deep analytical skill set. Should those positions go unfilled in the long term, Canada may find it difficult to compete with rising superpowers like India and China.

On October 31, Ryerson University, in partnership with several other universities across Canada, launched a new study to find out the extent of the analytics talent gap in Canada and to see what the country could do to alleviate it.

The study involves two distinct parts.

During the first part of the project, the university is surveying Canadian organizations on whether they believe an analytics talent gap exists in Canada. In an effort to be as comprehensive as possible, Ryerson is asking that all organizations take part in the study.

Once the information from that survey is collected and examined, the university is planning to hold a summit that will gather some of the best minds on the subject. Their stated goal is to create a set of recommendations that organizations across the country can implement, which will be published in a white paper after the event.

Big data and its effect on Toronto is something that Yonge Street has written about extensively in the past.

Source: Ryerson University

Who's Hiring in Toronto? SickKids Foundation, Canada's National Ballet School and more

Some of the more interesting employment opportunities we've spotted this week include:

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, a non-profit devoted to preserving Ontario's Greenbelt, an area surrounding the Golden Horseshoe, is hiring a research and policy analyst. As the title suggests, the role involves significant amounts of research, though there's a major outreach component as well. Specific requirements include engaging with a variety of government and non-government organizations.

The SickKids Foundation has two new openings this week.

First, they're seeking an associate graphic designer. The position requires three to five years of experience in digital marketing or communications, and will see that the person that takes on this position help the non-profit with its fund raising initiatives on behalf of Sick Kids Hospital.

The foundation is also seeking to hire an associate events director. The role has a significant emphasis on building and mentoring a team, as well as building new and existing events. This position requires five to seven years in a related leadership role.

On the culture side, Canada's National Ballet School is hiring a digital media co-ordinator. The role involves creating audiovisual material that will help with the school's promotional, marketing and educational needs. Three-plus years of related media experience is a requirement of this position, as well as expertise with programs such as Sony Vegas and DVD Architect.

Finally, the National Reading Campaign is looking for someone to join its board of directors as an executive director. Much of the role involves working with a volunteer board, and managing the campaign's initiatives. Candidates living in Toronto are preferred, though those living outside of the city with an exceptional skill sets will also be considered.

Do you know of a job opportunity with an innovative company or organization? Let us know!  

Who's Hiring in Toronto? Penguin, Jane Goodall Institute, and more

In the world of books, major publishing house Penguin is hiring a digital and social media coordinator to both maintain their websites and work on engagement campaigns. Also the literary sector, the Ontario Arts Council is looking for a literature officer to help manage their grants programs. The post is for a five-year term.

Hart House, the cultural hub at the University of Toronto's downtown campus, is looking for an education and production coordinator for a 10-month contract to provide support to their theatre programming. Finally, the Canadian Opera Company is seeking an assistant music librarian. It requires a strong background in music and familiarity with standard office computer programs.

UNITY, a charity that works to empower youth through artistic self-expression, has three posts available. They are hiring a program coordinator, a festival & volunteer coordinator, and a managing director, operations. Contracts, qualifications, and salaries vary per posting. 

If you're interested in urban agriculture, non-profit Cultivate Toronto is looking for a community relationship manager. The organization focuses on creating food gardens in people's front and back yards, and the position involves developing and maintaining relationships with program participants.

In technology jobs, the Ontario Public Service is on the hunt for a senior interactive developer with significant experience working with open source technologies and platforms.

And finally, in leadership positions, the Jane Goodall Institute is looking for a new CEO. The position requires experience both in conservation and in financial management, and they are hoping to find a billingual candidate. Among environmental groups, think tank Pembina is looking for a single candidate to split their time between two functions: director of development for the Pembina Institute, and exective director for the associated Pembina Foundation.

Know of any innovative job opportunities? Let us know!

Toronto among the world's leading cities for startups

"While nearly all high growth technology startups have historically emerged from no more than 3-4 startup ecosystems, namely Silicon Valley and Boston, this trend appears to have reached its end. Simultaneous with a global explosion of entrepreneurship has been an explosion in the rise of new startup ecosystems around the world, and a newfound maturity in others."

So begins a new report from the Startup Genome called the Startup Ecosystem Report (available for free online, though registration is required). And among those ecosystems that are currently flourishing: Toronto, which ranks the highest in Canada on the report's index, and eighth in the world. (Vancouver is right behind us in ninth; more surprisingly Waterloo is further behind, at sixteenth.)

All cities in the index are compared to Silicon Valley (which predictably is the benchmark first-place ecoysystem) across a variety of metrics. While we are similar to Silicon Valley in terms of our level of ambition, our technology adoption rates, our sector mix and mentorship support, one key area of difference, according to the report, is that "startups in Toronto receive 71% less funding than SV startups. The capital deficiency exists both before and after product market fit."

While that may sound like grim news, it actually provides a very useful roadmap for future growth. The report goes on to conclude that the current under-investment in Toronto-area startups "presents a large opportunity for investors. Moreover, "policy makers can help closing the funding gap by attracting late-stage venture funds through tax breaks and incentives, and investor-friendly policies."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Startup Ecosystem Report

Investment Accelerator Fund rewards Toronto innovators

The Investment Accelerator Fund provides seed funding to Ontario-based startups—a total of $26.6 million to 57 emerging companies so far. With money from the provincial government and administration by MaRS, IAF gives new technology companies up to $500,000 each, with the specific goal of positioning those companies to be better able to attract additional funds from venture capitalists and other investors.

The two latest recipients of investment from IAF are both Toronto startups (as are eight of 12 recipients who have been awarded funding since December, 2011): CrowdCare, which provides customer support services, and Better the World, which is about to launch a new platform, called FlipGive, to help accelerate corporate giving programs.

Proof of concept for IAF: their investment in Better the World is just part of a new series of funding—the company recently announced that they've closed a $2-million round—which will help them develop and enhance that new CSR tool.

Better the World CEO Steve Croft says FlipGive is a technology platform "for driving consumer and employee engagement in [a company's] giving programs—a new way for people to raise money for local community initiatives." Essentially, instead of selling chocolate to raise money for charity you'd be selling, for instance, a company's gift card.

Better the World currently has 18 people on staff. The new funding, from both the IAF and other investors, will enable the company to grow to 30 "in short order," says Croft. He has nothing but kind words for MaRS, perhaps even more for the intangible support they've offered, like mentorship and promotion, than the recent cash infusion.

"If you're looking at Ontario as a space," Croft adds, "it's a very supportive province."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Steve Croft, Co-CEO, Better the World

Locationary signs deal with US reseller Localeze, expects to double staff to 32 this year

Early this month, local business information platform builder Locationary announced a deal with US-based company Localeze. The new partnership should see the company's platform penetrate the global market in location-based data.

"It's pretty interesting," says Locationary CEO Grant Ritchie. "Localeze has data agreements with most of the largest web providers. So this should see them moving into data management with out platform and technology."

That platform has been built steadily since late last summer when, as Yonge Street reported at the time, $2.5 million in investment capital allowed the company, based in Toronto's Entertainment District, to focus on building out its technology. "We used that capital to put our heads down and develop and launch this platform and to beta test it," says Ritchie. The technology, called Saturn, "is like a universal translator for local data," allowing data arriving in different formats to be integrated into one system.

Ritchie says that over the past year or so, his company has doubled the size of its staff to 16 full-time-equivalents, and continues to grow. "I could see us doubling again over the next six to 12 months," he says.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Grant Ritchie, CEO, Locationary

$1.5 million in investment helps Toronto's Futurestate IT develop software

Futurestate IT, an Entertainment District-based company that was recently named one of the 10 Canadian Cloud Companies to Watch, has secured $1.5 million in financing from government and private investors to finance its growth.

One third of the money will come from FedDev Ontario, the federal government's regional economic development agency, through its Investing in Business Innovation initiative. The remaining investment is shared by the MaRS innovation incubator and the angel investors of the Maple Leaf Angels investor group.

Futurestate IT CEO, CTO and founder Alex Topitsch says he has been working in IT consulting for about 15 years, and founded Futurestate two years ago specifically to help companies solve the problems of migrating existing data and software to new operating systems with a custom software product. The company's AppRx software is the first cloud-based automatic solution for migration to new operating systems.

In two years, the company has grown to employ 14 staff. The capital injection from FedDev and the other investors will help fuel expansion, Topitsch says.

"Really, it helps us expand into the US, and that's really where we're going to make out mark," he says, saying the financing will allow the hiring of US sales staff and developers to enhance the product line. Topitsch expects the staff to reach 22 by the end of the year.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Alex Topitsch, CEO and CTO, Futurestate IT; FedDev Ontario

Toronto search innovators Chango get almost $1 million in investment, will create 37 jobs

Toronto's Chango, a media company dedicated to "search retargetting"—serving display ads to customers based on their recent search activity after they have left Google, Bing and Yahoo—has been growing quickly. This year they were named to the Deloitte Fast 50 "companies to watch" list of Canada's fastest growing technology startups.

The pace of growth is likely to accelerate soon, as the federal government agency FedDev Ontario recently announced an investment in the company of $978,333 to support research into real-time bidding software and finance growth. Chango says the investment will lead to 37 new hires at its Toronto offices.

"The funding will be used to accelerate our growth plans into the fast-growing search retargetting space," CEO Chris Sukornyk said in the announcement. "We appreciate the support from FedDev Ontario to retain technology start-ups in Canada."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Chris Sukornyk, CEO, Chango; Gary Toft, Ministry of Economic Development

Artez Interactive is first to market with Facebook social graph, expects to hire 20 over next year

When Artez Interactive launched its service helping charities with online fundraising 12 years ago, the business was new and the concept untried. 

"When we started we never would have imagined how big it would become," says CEO and chairman James Appleyard. "Our first year, a charity we were working with raised $50,000 online and they were delighted. This year we've raised $100 million online for charities around the world."

The Toronto for-profit company has built an empire innovating for nonprofit clients, and now has offices in in the US, the UK, Australia and around the world. Recently it continued its tradition of pioneering when it was the first company to launch a fundraising application on Facebook's new Open Graph platform.  Open Graph allows third-party websites to publish user activity to Facebook, increasing the ways sites connect to Facebook.

Appleyard says that when the company helped define the concept of online fundraising at its launch, back in 2004, it developed a software product that could be customized and used by all charities. It has been refining and building on that same product as the online world has grown and evolved. "We invented the electronic tax receipt," he says, "and now those are used everywhere in the world. We invented the personal fundraising page, the first framework for fundraising on the iPhone and Android phones and now we're first to the table with Facebook Open Graph." Appleyard says the immediate future for the industry involves continuing to make fundraising easy across the "multi-channel online world... so that if you're a supporter, you can fundraise equally well using whatever tool you're using."

He says the constant innovation has led to constant growth for the company—at 50 staff, Appleyard says it's fair to say they've doubled the number of employees in the past three years. Artez has 10 open positions now, and expects to add another 20 new employees over the next 12 months.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: James Appleyard, CEO & chairman, Artez Interactive

Legal and financial secure software makers Firmex hiring 10-15 in next two months

Toronto-based Firmex bills itself as a "Virtual Data Room," allowing clients in security-sensitive industries such as the finance, legal and medical professions to share documents quickly and securely.

The company has recorded exponential growth since its founding in 2006, according to VP Elizabeth Caley, and saw an 85 per cent revenue increase last year. The market for confidential online sharing continues to grow, according to Caley, and Firmex's position as an established industry leader with an excellent workplace culture ensures its continued growth. "We combine the simplicity of sharing documents that's become popular in the consumer market with the security that's needed for business transactions," says Caley. "We've taken a very pragmatic but aggressive approach to serving our clients' needs...and constantly innovating with the product itself."

Caley adds that the company is a "fun place to work," another key to its success. And more and more people are working there, too. They have recently added 10 positions, and Claey says they expect to add another 10-15 positions in the next two months, bringing the staff to about 50 employees. Caley notes that rapid growth presents a new challenge: "We're starting to run out of space."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Elizabeth Caley, VP Product Management, Firmex

Buzz-building stealth startup Influitive is staffing up

The Toronto startup Influitive has been operating in stealth mode as it builds a prototype, but that hasn't kept it from generating buzz, much of it resulting from its founders pedigree. As the digital news outlet TechVibes outlined earlier this year, "In September Toronto's [David] Crow left his position at Microsoft Canada as Platform Strategy Evangelist to co-found startup Influitive. As the organizer of DemoCamp Toronto, Founders & Funders, and StartupEmpire and an author, noisemaker, attention grabber at StartupNorth, Crow knows a thing or two about startups. Keep on an eye on Crow and look for Influitive to launch in 2011."

Now the company is ensconced in new offices at Queen and Richmond and the company is staffing up--seeking designers and developers--and some information about this hotly anticipated startup is emerging.

According to the company's own description, they plan to "make buying better" -- "No one is excited by a call from a sales person or an email from the marketing department. We're trying to make that experience better. We help prospective customers connect and have meaningful conversations with happy customers, so they can make an informed purchasing decision."

Moreover, Crow has described the company's progress on his blog, writing: "I found a co-founder. We started a company. We've hired a team. We're raising money. We've built a product. Talked to potential customers. Threw that product out. Started again. Talked to potential customers. Listened. Formed a hypothesis. Gathered feedback. Iterated. Measured. Tested. Design. Built. Lather. Rinse. Repeat."

Influitive is preparing for a beta launch soon. We'll continue to track their progress as the company grows.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: David Crow; TechVibes

Canadian group buys majority stake in local $153 million animation innovation powerhouse Starz

The Toronto studio that did the animation work for the blockbuster film Gnomeo and Juliet, Starz Animation Toronto, has been sold to a majority ownership group of Canadian investors led by J. Thomas Murray and Steven B. Hecht. While the former owner, US-based Starz LLP, will retain a minority ownership stake, Hecht says that being Canadian-owned will allow new routes for "aggressive growth."

Hecht says Canadian ownership will allow the company to take advantage of "significant grants, labour tax credits and subsidy opportunities available in Canada." He says the plan is to continue its production work for major studios while building a larger multimedia business using the company's animation, CG and visual effects expertise.

The company notes that in 2009 the provincial government contributed just under $23 million to a total $153 million investment in the Toronto studio to create 250 jobs, and anticipates the province's continued support under the new ownership group.

In addition to the $100 million success of Gnomeo and Juliet, the studio has also worked on the TV series Camelot, the film 9 and the upcoming Warner Brothers film Dolphin Tale.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Stephen B. Hecht, Starz Animation Toronto

NFB Mediatheque will transform Toronto centre into interactive film hub

The National Film Board of Canada has recently shown itself to be on the innovative edge of interactive film, producing such web-accessible projects as Out My Window that allow viewers to virtually "roam around" inside a film.

The public organization recently announced that it would cement that commitment to innovation with a physical renovation to its Mediateque at Richmond and John Streets in the Entertainment District. The eastern half of the space will be converted into an "interactive cinema and storytelling space," featuring units that allow access to its interactive portal and 1,800 streaming films.

The space will also be a state-of-the-art exhibition venue, equipped with ceiling mounted cameras and a high-tech sound system capable of hosting interactive programming and multimedia art installations. Visitors will also be able to provide suggestions via a high-tech touchscreen feedback system. The renovations are expected to be completed and open to the public next month.

In addition to the new elements, a spokesperson says, visitors will continue to have access at the mediateque to the NFB's archive of more than 5,000 films at free viewing stations.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jennifer Mair, NFB publicist
30 Entertainment District Articles | Page: | Show All
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