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DriverLab: a high-tech simulator to test older drivers

The Economist has taken note of a Toronto startup called DriverLab, which holds out high-tech hope for elderly drivers who are at risk of losing their licenses. DriverLab is founded on the idea that maybe elderly drivers can be given a more fine-grained test, so that instead of risking losing their license completely, they might simply face restrictions on their driving as their abilities dictate - for instance, no driving at night, or driving for short distances only.

The trick is in constructing the test itself. That’s why DriverLab has built a unique test rig that has more in common with flight simulators than more driving simulators. The company has taken an Audi S3, removed the engine, mounted the chassis on a turntable, and hooked the whole thing up to panoramic projectors that can not only simulate a variety of driving situations, but shine realistic lights on the driver in a way that computer screens alone can’t. Will the government consent to this kind of reverse-graduated licensing? It’s too soon to tell - but now they can give it a test drive.

Read more here.

Startup hub that took partial root in Toronto announces its 150th global location

Startup Grind, the global startup support hub that originated as a Silicon Valley tech meetup in 2010, has just announced the opening of its 150th local chapter. Along with Singapore and Sydney, Toronto was among the first cities outside of California's tech epicentre to raise its hand for an outpost. It makes sense: as we've mentioned a lot over here, Toronto is something of an enterprise node. 

The organization now spans 65 countries; attendees from around the world are scheduled to present at 2015's Startup Grind meetup in Silicon Valley. Some are based in Toronto, including Startup Grind CTO, Joel Fernandes.

“It really just solved a personal need. I was disenfranchised by the events that I attended and the attitude of the people organizing and sitting in the audience,” Startup Grind founder Derek Andersen told Forbes. “We decided that it was better to create a small group of smart people with similar values than to go to a huge event and get your brains pitched out by everyone.”

Read the full article here
Source: Forbes

Rubicon Project buys Toronto's Shiny Ads

Advertising automation giant Rubicon has picked up the Toronto start-up, Shiny Ads, along with San Francisco-based iSocket, for the combined tune of just under $30 Million USD. 

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Rubicon Project has built its business offering complicated online ad systems that offer marketers and publishers the ability to buy and sell advertising in real-time auctions. This is often referred to as real-time bidding or “RTB.”
Technology provided by iSocket and Shiny Ads helps power a different type of sale, however, often referred to as “automated guaranteed” or “programmatic guaranteed.” Their technologies enable marketers to buy ad space from publishers on an upfront basis, without the hassle of picking up the phone or emailing their order to the ad seller.

Shiny Ads' website describes the company a provider of "end-to-end programmatic direct advertising platform for digital publishers to sell more premium inventory for increased revenues and profits. By automating the process for advertisers of all sizes, Shiny Ads allows the direct sales team to focus on more complex ad buys and close more deals."

Read the full story here. 
Source: The Wall Street Journal


Does Toronto have better food than New York?

Toronto's “multicultural snacking and molecular cocktail” scene got love from influential alt weekly The Village Voice last week. It shouldn't be a huge surprise; the city's diverse and eclectic neighbourhoods have drawn plenty of international attention in the past.

King and Queen Streets West get a shoutout, as do a number of Kensington Market hotspots including Italian-Jamaican fusion joint Rasta Pasta, taqueria Seven Lives, and people-watching patio, Ronnie's. As the article states, “Ontario's capital is anything but provincial.” We couldn't agree more.

Read the full article here.
Source: The Village Voice.  

Little India gets some love from the Big Apple

Little India is changing, and the New York Times has noticed.

"Sari shops and curry emporiums still dot Gerrard Street, the main artery in Toronto’s Little India. But over the last decade, much of the city’s South Asian population has decamped for suburbs like Brampton and Rexdale," the publication writes.

"Now, as artists and young families move into the neighborhood’s neat single-family homes, Gerrard Street’s affordable storefronts are attracting creative entrepreneurs priced out of trendier districts. The fresh crop of businesses is giving this east-end enclave a vibe that’s both edgy and homey. And with a wave of Irish immigrants settling nearby side streets, a distinctive lilt can now be heard on the strip."

Coffee house and gallery Flying Pony gets top nods for its "bold works by emerging Canadian artists like Gilles Arsenault and David Irvine," while The Swag Sisters, a "tiny toy shop where Legos share shelves with duct-tape wallets from MarinaRocksToronto – a.k.a. the 15-year-old Toronto designer Marina Wilson," receives additional praise. 

Eateries Tea n Bannock and Lazy Daisy's Café are applauded for traditional cuisine and local-faire, respectably. 

And lastly, Gerrard Art Space gets a write up for its "multimedia exhibits, Sunday afternoon concerts, ukulele classes and children’s art workshops."

Read the full story here
Original Source: The New York Times

MakeWorks partners with Indiegogo Canada to expand reach

On Monday, Toronto's MakeWorks announced a partnership with Indiegogo Canada that will help the co-working maker studio expand their programming and potentially finance a second location.

MakeWorks is the first coworking space of its kind in Toronto, providing support to both digital and physical-focused startups. The 10,000 square-foot space houses some 30 different startups, prototyping tools and maker tools such as 3D printers, and acts as a large event space for community and hackathon events alike. 

"Toronto needed a new kind of shared workspace catered to the next generation of startups, products, and services. We built MakeWorks to serve a more diverse group of startups, and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” MakeWorks founder Mike Stern said in an article that appeared in Tech Cocktail

The partnership with Indiegogo Canada will allow the studio to enhance their community workshop programming and expand their in house equipment offerings. MakeWorks has been working to increase the number of startups involved in the space. As such, Indiegogo will move its Canadian headquarters into the space as part of the deal. 

Read the original story here
Original Source: Tech Cocktail

Notable Toronto startups team up with Homecoming to lure homegrown talent back to city

A group of significant Toronto startups including Wattpad, Shopify, InteraXon, Bionym, and Freshbooks have teamed up with Toronto Homecoming to launch an event designed to attract Canadians living abroad back to Toronto's "thriving technology startup ecosystem," a release stated. 

"Returning to Toronto was the best career move I've made, giving me the opportunity to join Bionym at such an exciting time," said Andrew D'Souza, President of Bionym, in the release. "The current wave of startup technology companies emerging from this ecosystem have enormous potential and represent trajectory-shifting career opportunities for those looking to take the next step as technology leaders. All of these companies have attracted capital, customers and partners from around the globe -- now they're looking to add world-class talent to build their businesses."

Toronto Homecoming's startup event will feature 10 to 15 startups looking to expand their employee base and entice homegrown talent back to the city. It is estimated some 300,000 Canadians live and work in the Bay Area alone. 

"Toronto Homecoming is excited to partner with startups that have significant momentum, funding and great leadership teams. We believe this new startup stream will attract more talent to Toronto, and Canada," said Andrew Graham, Toronto Homecoming's Co-Chair, in the release. "Toronto Homecoming shows Canada's next generation of world-class companies."

The event takes place October 9-11. Applications are open until August 1. 

Participating startups include:

•    Bionym
•    Shopify
•    WattPad
•    500px
•    Wave
•    Freshbooks
•    Achievers
•    Ecobee
•    WealthSimple
•    FinMaven
•    Soapbox
•    Shoebox
•    Interaxon
•    Tab Payments

For more information and registration click here
Original Source: Market Wired 

Local entrepreneur weighs in on successful crowdfunding techniques

Joanna Griffiths, the Toronto-based entrepreneur and founder of innovative underwear company Knix Wear, sat down with Entrepreneur magazine recently to discuss something she knows quite well—building a successful crowdfunding campaign. 

Griffiths turned to crowdfunding in 2013 with the launch of an Indiegogo campaign to test the market for her moisture-wicking, odour-absorbent underwear. 

"It was the last test in a series of tests I conducted before launching the business," she told the magazine. 

It worked. She surpassed her goal and raised more than $50,000 from some 518 backers. But it didn't come without its challenges. Still, Griffiths persevered and learned a few lessons along the way.

For starters, she says, you need to have a plan. "You can't launch a campaign, go on autopilot and expect money to come rolling in," she says in the article. She studied successful campaigns before launching one of her own, determined to mimic their results by following their approaches. 

She makes eight recommendations from making your campaign personal ("People fund people, not just ideas") to taking things offline ("You want to build excitement, get people excited about backing the project…Don't ignore offline opportunities to build engagement.")

A worthwhile read for anyone considering launching a crowdfunding campaign of their own—or for those looking to pick up a few smart business practice tips. 

Read the full story here
Original Source: Entrepreneur.com 

Bar Isabel voted second best restaurant in Canada

Ten Toronto restaurants ranked among the country's top 50, according to the third annual guide determined by Vacay.ca and a panel of judges consisting of some of the nation's top chefs. 

While the top prize went to a small, but elegant eatery in St. John's Newfoundland—recognized for elevating the province's local cuisine—Toronto took home 20 per cent of the honours with Bar Isabel, a Spanish eatery found along College Street at Shaw, leading our city's rankings as the second best restaurant in Canada. 

Executive Chef Lucais Syme of La Pentola della Quercia hailed, "Simply presented food with awesome flavour made of great combinations. Great style and interesting." While Executive Chef Paul Brans of Artisan proclaimed, "Great sharing plates that take you back to those crowded tapas bars in Barcelona. Perfect."

"Go for the charcuterie and cocktails; stay late for the fried chicken," says Little Room President Joseph Caturay. "Check out your fellow diners; chances are they are some of the top chefs, bartenders and servers in Toronto."

Bar Isabel is a newer establishment that did not exist at the time of nominations in 2013, thus 2014 marks a strong debut. 

Here's how Toronto restaurants ranked:

2. Bar Isabel, 797 College St.
7. BUCA, 604 King St. W.
12. Bar BUCA, 75 Portland St.
15. Hopgood's Foodliner, 325 Roncesvalles Ave. 
28. Auberge Du Pommier, 4150 Yonge St.
34. Momofuku Shoto, 190 University Ave. 
35. Canoe, 66 Wellington St. W.
36. Patria, 478 King St. W. 
38. Splendido, 88 Harbord St. 
40. Chantecler, 1320 Queen St. W. 

Read the full list here
Original Source: Vacay.ca

Tech MBA entrepreneurs thrive in Toronto

The Rotman School of Management's Creative Destruction Lab has received praise from a publication dedicated to trends in the business school world because of its "scores of start-ups, mostly tech-based, [that] have been accelerate this year."
Among them: Bionym, a wearable technology company that has grown to 27 employees and raised $1.4 million in funding since entering the lab.
"These are not hobby start-ups," Karl Martin, who co-founded Bionym in 2011, says BusinessBecause. "People come here to help turn your company into a billion dollar company…The mentality is unique and I can tell you it's been hugely instrumental to the kind of success and growth we have achieved."
The Creative Destruction Lab provides free working space and access to fellows "whom are established, successful entrepreneurs," the article says, with the intention of increasing "the probability of venture success." The program has additional opportunities for current, final-year MBA students to help "identify and solve business problems faced by the start-up."
The core of the program is what's called "the G7," a group of entrepreneurs and investors that act as mentors. Five of the initial seven invested $1 million in Bionym's seed round funding. In its first year alone, the Creative Destruction Lab "produced eight successful ventures and generated over $65M in equity value," the article reports. These donations are key to making the lab a reality. 
"The lab pulls together people with significant successes; exits in the region of hundreds of millions of dollars. There is not better teacher than somebody that can lead by example," Martin says. 
Fifteen new ventures have been accepted into the lab this year, several are alumni from Rotman's MBA program. A range of industries has been accepted. 
Read the full story here
Original Source: BusinessBecause

York U team among finalists for $1M global social enterprise prize

Six business students from York University’s Schulich School of Business are among six teams from four countries competing for the Hult Prize global case challenge for social enterprise startups, valued at $1 million (US). This is the second year in a row a Canadian team has advanced to the finals, The Globe and Mail reports.
The prize "challenges business students to devise affordable solutions to global problems, put its spotlight this year on the issue of non-communicable chronic diseases in urban slums," the article reports. "For example, according to Hult prize organizers, an estimated 74 million slum-dwellers suffer from diabetes that goes mostly untreated and, as a result, leads to early mortality."
The Schulich students pitched the idea of REACH Diagnostics "to develop a patent-pending detection test for diabetes that can be produced on an ordinary printer for two cents," according to a press release from Schulich.
For placing first regionally, the team won a two-month stay at the Hult Prize Accelerator in Boston, which incubates social entrepreneurship startups, as well as a one-year membership in the Clinton Global Initiative, which was established by former U.S. president Bill Clinton in 2005.
The York students will compete against two teams from the United States and one each from France, India and Spain.
McGill students took home the prize last year for "a project that promotes cricket farming as a low-cost source of nutrition in poor countries," the Globe and Mail reports.
Read the full story here
Original Source: The Globe and Mail

Invest Toronto appoints new Board of Directors

Invest Toronto, the division of the City of Toronto that, among other things, advises businesses looking to set up shop in Toronto or use Toronto as a homestead to further service in the North American government, announced its new Board of Directors.

Comprised of 12 citizens, the Board is responsible for providing “input and vision to the agency’s efforts to sell the City of Toronto as an ideal location for Foreign Direct Investment,” a press release said.
The new citizen appointees, as selected through the City of Toronto's Public Appointments Policy, include, with descriptions from the press release:
Robert Howard Lane, Vice-Chair, Managing partner of Robert H. Lane and Associates Inc., business advisors.
Steve Bower, Director, Director and Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee of Parkinson Society Canada and Vice-President, Programs at Financial Executives International Canada.
Matthew Corrin, Director, Founder and CEO of Freshii.
Tyler Currie, Director, Director, International Affairs for the National Hockey League Players' Association.
Keith DeGrace, Director, Vice-President of Marketing at Red Bull Canada Ltd.
Graham Henderson, Director, President of Music Canada.
Gregory Hewitt, Director, President of DHL Express (Canada) Ltd.
Aleem Kanji, Director, Manager of Government Affairs and Stakeholder Relations with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and joins Invest Toronto's Board of Directors for a second term.
Kim Koster, Director, Principal and Brand Strategy Consultant, Koster Consulting.
Jason Leung, Director, Business Advisor on China-based development and marketing projects. He is the former Head of Audience Marketing for Microsoft Advertising.
Patricia McQuillan, Director, President and Owner of Brand Matters Inc.
Lida Preyma, Director, Director, Capital Markets Research, Global Finance, G8/G20 Research Group, PLP Group.
Board members are required to server on the Board for two years, plus a renewal term of two years or until their successor is appointed. Invest Toronto is chaired by Mayor Rob Ford. 
"I am personally delighted that we have recruited a passionate and capable group of professionals to provide Invest Toronto with their vision and guidance as we work to attract new Foreign Direct Investment into the City of Toronto," said Renato Discenza, President and CEO of Invest Toronto, in a press release. "I am very excited to have a group of dedicated volunteers steward us on our mission to sell Toronto as a business destination of choice."
Full profiles of the Board can be read here
Original Source: Invest Toronto

A new appreciation for Toronto's oldest restaurant

Toronto's oldest restaurant the Senator has long been celebrated as a throwback to old times when the world was a simpler, gentler place. And until recently its menu was a reflection of this as well, maintaining classic dishes such as house made meat loaf and liver and onions. Now the Senator could be considered a leader in the local restaurant scene having placed local ingredients at the threshold of enhancing the customer experience. 
"Typically, restaurants have one or two suppliers," says Peter Moscone, the Senator's manager, in an article that appeared in the New York Times. "We now have 40."
A favourite of people attending the nearby Pantages Theatre, the Senator opened in 1929 on Victoria Street just south of Dundas. Bob Sniderman, who saved the restaurant from demolition and took over as owner in 1984, called in help from Andrew Taylor, "the chef at Langdon Hall, an acclaimed restaurant in a Relais & Châteaux hotel in nearby Cambridge, Ontario, to revamp the Senator’s menu," the Times reports. 
"The vision was to make this not just a diner, but a destination," Taylor says in the article. "We wanted to get a little artistic, but still keep it simple."
Together they overhauled the menu and did what Toronto restaurants do best: embraced the community. They added in a "gleaming La Marzocco machine that’s cranking out superb espresso drinks using a custom roast from a local microroaster, Dark City." Additional suppliers include Spirit Tree Cidery, Beau's All Natural Brewery, produce from Kensington Market's Sanci's, and Sheldon Creek Dairy, which provides organic milk and cream. 

Read the full story here
Original Source: New York Times

Two Toronto companies among finalists at SXSW Accelerator wearable tech competition

Two Toronto companies were announced among the finalists in the 2014 SXSW Accelerator pitch competition's wearable technologies category this past weekend.

South by Southwest, an annual music festival and technology conference that takes place in Austin, Texas, saw 500 web-based companies apply for a chance to showcase their products to at Startup Village in several different categories. 
Up first was Bionym, a company that launched its debut product the Nymi in September of last year. Nymi is a wearable identification wristband device that authenticates users through their heartbeat. 
"Identity is hard," the presenter is reported as saying in an article that appeared on livescience, but "what if you could make identity easy?"
Later, Kiwi Wearable Technologies took the stage to present their "Kiwi Move," a tracking device that "the company says will contain motion sensors, temperature and air pressure sensors, a microphone, and Wi-FI and Bluetooth capabilities," the article says. 
Although the top award did not go to one of these startups (Silicon Valley startup Skully Helmets won for its augmented reality motorcycle helmet), having two Toronto companies in the wearable tech sphere make it into the finals further solidifies our leading place in this field internationally.
Read the full article here
Original Source: livescience

TO 3 For All: Happy Birthday Toronto, AGO First Thursdays, and an event for young entrepreneurs

Happy Birthday Toronto
March 6, 2014
Steam Whistle Brewery's John St. Roundhouse
255 Bremner Blvd
7:30 p.m.
Toronto turns 180 years this week and one event looks to celebrate the city's birthday in style. Calling itself a "celebration of the city's fundamental past, the evolving present and its promising future," the event features big band music and a number of different performances and artists. All proceeds from the ticketed semi-formal 19+ cocktail affair will support programs at Evergreen Brick Works. 

Tickets available at Soundscapes (572 College St West) and online here.

AGO First Thursdays
March 6, 2014
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas St W
$15 at door/$13 for AGO members

If you haven't attended one of the Art Gallery of Ontario's monthly First Thursdays, now is your chance. This month celebrates the opening of two exhibitions of contemporary art: Elevated: Contemporary Art in the AGO Tower, and Bruce Nauman: Words on Paper. The event also features a cash bar, a performance by Egyptrixx with visuals by the Berlin-based Artist A.N.F., projects by a number of local artists and a performance by experimental musician Princy Nifty. There will be multiple of talks, interactive art-making, food, drinks, and DJs.
For more information and to buy discounted tickets in advance, check out the AGO's event page here

Helping Young Entrepreneurs Start a Business
March 12, 2014
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
6:30 p.m.

Here's an event for young entrepreneurs looking to take the next step in their careers. The Toronto Reference Library will host Scott Bowmen, the senior director at the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, in a discussion about programs supporting young entrepreneurs ages 13-39 looking to launch their own businesses. Programs range from pre and post-launch coaching, financing, mentoring, and business resources. 

For more information, click here

Want your event listed in Yonge Street? Email [email protected]

61 small businesses Articles | Page: | Show All
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