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ENTREPRENEURSHIP “The money is great, obviously, but as well the exposure is great. It’s a lot of validation.” – OTTAWA’S SHAUN MacLELLAN, ON WINNING A $35,000 PRIZE AT THE MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL STARTUP FESTIVAL’S PITCH COMPETITION

Ottawa teen lands major entrepreneurship prize BY JACOB SEREBRIN Special to OBJ


haun MacLellan says he was on the fence about going to the Montreal International Startup Festival. “I wasn’t really expecting much going there,” he says, referring to the gathering in late July. But he ended up walking away with thousands of dollars in prizes and an invitation to attend one of Canada’s most prominent entrepreneurship programs. Mr. MacLellan, a student at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, is the founder of YouCollab, a startup that connects content creators on YouTube.






Ottawa-based WiLAN saw its revenue drop by more than more half during its second quarter of 2016 compared with the same period the year before. The patent-licensing firm reported revenue of US$16 million during the three-month period that ended on June 30. That’s down from US$35 million during the same period last year. The company attributed the decline to a larger number of fixed-fee license agreements that were signed last year, particularly a multimillion-dollar deal with Samsung. “There’s no question that

His startup received a $35,000 investment as part of the startup festival’s main pitch competition along with an invitation to attend the Next 36, a Toronto-based program that provides networking opportunities and mentorship to young entrepreneurs. “It was quite an enjoyable and unexpected weekend,” Mr. MacLellan says. He says he thinks the prizes will help open doors for him in the future. “The money is great, obviously, but as well the exposure is great,” he says. “It’s a lot of validation.” As an 18-year-old starting his first company, Mr. MacLellan says getting that kind of recognition from top-tier investors

our business performance can be lumpy and we experienced that dynamic this quarter,” Jim Skippen, WiLAN’s CEO, told investors on a conference call on July 28. “Revenues were lower this quarter, but as we’ve said before, this lumpiness is just business as usual for us. It reflects the fact that timing and license agreements can vary from quarter to quarter.” WiLAN reported a GAAP net loss of US$3.2 million during the quarter, down from a net income of US$11 million during the same period last year. The lower income was credited to the drop in revenue, offset partially by lower costs. WiLAN reported EBITDA of US$7.1 million during the quarter, down from US$25.2 million during the same period last year. “Even with revenues being down, we still generated a healthy EBITDA margin and grew the cash on our balance sheet,” Mr. Skippen said. Litigation costs for the

company, which frequently uses the courts to enforce its patent rights, were US$600,000, down from US$3.1 million during the same quarter last year. The company said that decline was due to a focus on settling lawsuits and developing contingent-fee arrangements with legal counsel. WiLAN currently has more than 60 ongoing litigations, according to Mr. Skippen. Increasingly, he said, WiLAN is pursuing litigation outside of the United States in Germany, China and Canada. “The environment for patent litigation in the U.S. is not as favourable I don’t think as it was a decade ago,” he said. “We still think it’s a good jurisdiction, but we think it’s worth looking at other jurisdictions.” Despite the losses, WiLAN declared a dividend of CDN$0.0125 per common share. The company said it returned $2 million to shareholders during its second quarter through share buybacks and dividend payments.

at such an early stage should help build his reputation and his company’s credibility. YouTube content creation has become a big business – some of the most popular “YouTube celebrities” make millions of dollars in advertising revenue and attract tens of millions of viewers. Thousands more have turned making YouTube videos into a full-time job. But Mr. MacLellan says there’s so much content on YouTube that it can be hard to get noticed, and that’s where his company comes in. Mr. MacLellan’s business is based around the idea that collaboration is the best way to help YouTube content creators build their audiences. By appearing in

During the call, Mr. Skippen highlighted several new patent acquisitions and licensing partnerships, including a patent portfolio for the technology used to develop Siri, the voiceactivated personal assistant software. “Apple has already licensed this portfolio, but many other players in this market are not licensed for similar products, which creates what we believe is a significant market opportunity,” he said. WiLAN also signed partnerships with the University of Waterloo and the University of Saskatchewan. “That two of Canada’s top universities have sought our assistance to help license and promote their technologies speaks to our high stature in the licensing world and also speaks to our potential to develop new and exciting markets in the future,” Mr. Skippen said.

Q2 REVENUES RISE AT TELESAT An increase in the value of the United States dollar

each others’ videos, creators can help each other reach a larger number of viewers. The YouCollab app, which is currently available for iPhones, uses a similar approach to dating apps such as Tinder – users are only connected to each other when they both agree to connect, and they can’t see who wants to connect with them. Mr. MacLellan says that ensures all the collaboration opportunities set up by the app have the potential to be mutually beneficial. Mr. MacLellan wasn’t the only entrepreneur with a local connection to walk away from the Montreal Startup Festival with a prize. Ottawa-based Key2Access won the Videotron/MAtv Prize, which includes a promotional campaign worth $30,000 on MAtv, a network of community television stations in Quebec, and in the Journal de Montreal. It’s developed a system to help people who are visually impaired navigate intersections in cities and is currently working with the City of Ottawa.

has pushed revenue up for Ottawa-based Telesat Holdings, according to quarterly results released on July 26. The satellite communications company reported a revenue of $232 million during the threemonth period that ended June 30, an increase of $5 million from the $227 million it reported during the same period last year. However, that increase was largely credited to a four per cent rise in the value of the U.S. dollar during the same timeframe. The stronger U.S. dollar means that Telesat saw a boost in the value of revenue generated in U.S. dollars, but it reported that revenue in Canadian dollars. Adjusted for currency conversion rates, revenue was up by around $1 million. “The revenue increase was principally due to short-term services provided to another satellite operator, partially offset by lower revenue from customers in the energy and resource sector

in certain international markets,” Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg told investors on a conference call. Net income was $62 million during the quarter, up from $56 million during the same period last year. That increase was credited to the rise in revenue and a drop in operating expenses. Telesat’s operating expenses during the quarter were $42 million, down $2 million from the same period last year. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $191 million, an increase of $6 million from the same period last year. The company says it currently has a backlog for contracted future services of $4.5 billion and the utilization rate of its North American satellite fleet was at 94 per cent, while its international fleet usage rate was at 66 per cent. Mr. Goldberg said the company remains focused on selling that available in-orbit capacity as well as constructing two new satellites. – OBJ staff

Ottawa Business Journal 20160801  

Local Ottawa business news, start ups, technology, real estate, marketing, tourism, entrepreneurship, local commentary, reader comments, peo...

Ottawa Business Journal 20160801  

Local Ottawa business news, start ups, technology, real estate, marketing, tourism, entrepreneurship, local commentary, reader comments, peo...