Biotech boom in the works? PULVERMACHERKENNEDY & ASSOCIATES TRANSITIONING YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS IS BOTH SCIENCE AND ART
Transferring the torch
New leadership at PulvermacherKennedy & Associates See page two
Two generations are wiser than one Family business transition experts PulvermacherKennedy & Associates are living proof that transferring the torch thoughtfully and planfully can be more beneficial than simply passing it
usiness success doesn’t always run in the family, but the odds for it improve greatly when PulvermacherKennedy & Associates (PKA) are brought in to assist. With a growing presence in Ottawa, Toronto, New York City and South Florida, PKA partners Luzita Kennedy and Gerald Pulvermacher have built a highly successful consultancy by helping mostly high-networth family businesses transition from one generation to the next. Importantly, they’re not lawyers or bankers. PKA delivers a deft mix of advising around generational change, strategic enterprise transformation and leadership development. In the last three years, while the firm’s reins were being passed from Pulvermacher to Kennedy, the pair have found themselves happily practicing some of what they preach. Though not related, the longstanding associates had a definite father-daughter way about them as they sat down to describe their own generational transition. “When I bought the practice from Gerry about three years ago, I intentionally called it PulvermacherKennedy & Associates because what Gerry has built is a very, very solid brand and business foundation,” said Kennedy. Perhaps the most important thing to go unchanged is the presence of Pulvermacher himself, who will stay on with the firm in a consulting role for the foreseeable future. What started out as a planned, three-yearlong transition from mentor to protégé has become a sharing of the torch – to the advantage of all involved. From working with family clients, Kennedy had seen up close how critical it can be to retain the wisdom of the elder generation. She applied that principle to the betterment of PKA and its clients.
Luzita Kennedy and Gerald Pulvermacher specialize in helping family businesses transition from one generation to the next. “A concern that some of our clients expressed when we announced our transition was ‘Where is Gerry going?’” said Pulvermacher. “But I’m simply not disappearing. I’ll continue working with those clients that I have and continue to mentor other people that we have on board.” The elder statesman Pulvermacher is a Ph.D., registered industrial/organization psychologist and former global partner at Deloitte Consulting. He entered the business transition field 47 years ago and at first consulted extensively with non-family firms and organizations. “I consulted to several professional services firms in a variety of industries,” said Pulvermacher, “and I had a number of oil companies in Western Canada, as well as a company in the pipeline business, a major
pension fund and hospitals where we did the succession planning for the leadership of both the medical and non-medical positions.” Only in the past 10 years or so has PKA been extensively sought out by family businesses. It started when Pulvermacher was hired by an Ottawa real estate company that was family-owned-and-run at the time. “Because Gerry did such a good job there, he was referred to another real estate company that is family-owned and family-run,” said Kennedy. “And so through word of mouth, it just so happens that at least 90 per cent of the work that we do now is with family businesses in a variety of business sectors.” Pulvermacher says that whether it’s a corporate or family-run firm, “the methodology is not all that different but the complexity in
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family business is much deeper because you’re dealing with family dynamics. It is essential that the family unit remain intact and therein lies the challenge.” In fact, the human factor challenges that come with those dynamics are largely what drive the PKA team. These highly people-skilled partners are quick to reaffirm that they don’t do law, don’t do trusts, don’t do asset management, wealth management, tax advice or even accounting. “Our space is quite clear so that we can maximize our value,” said Kennedy. That said, they will refer that work, when it surfaces, to high-quality professionals they have known for many years. What they do provide is a personalized blend of business guidance, strategy and broad expertise. Besides the obvious psychological component, “there is organizational development and change management,” explained Pulvermacher. “There is executive development, there’s learning, there’s many components to delivering this service effectively.” Pulvermacher also notes how unlike other types of consulting, PKA client relationships call for much more than simply laying out a blueprint and walking away. “You’ve got to really bring the people along,” Pulvermacher explained. “Help them formulate their ideas as opposed to forcing an idea on them. At the same time, we have decades of experience which our clients can bank on and we are not shy to offer up options they can consider.” For Kennedy, a former KPMG partner with a chartered accountancy background, regular conversation is a key to the whole process. “What Gerry and I do is we talk every day,” she said. “Here’s what’s happening in this family, this is how I’ve dealt with it. Did I miss anything? Having that conversation is very valuable.” This kind of knowledge sharing is a core advantage of blending experience with youth. It’s part of a succession strategy that will help both PKA and its clients go from strength to strength as they move from generation to generation.
Biotech boom in the works? A new generation of companies focused on medical therapies and devices is making its presence felt in a software town
STAR SEARCH Capitalâ€™s tech firms casting wide net in hunt for top talent P31-32
PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
February 2020 Vol. 22, NO. 12
Q1 is a busy planning period for most companies. That also holds true for OBJ. Complementing OBJ’s daily local business coverage is a constellation of projects that provide specialized information to OBJ’s audience of business leaders. Sometimes the project explores a niche of the regional economy (see OAX launch on March 3 in Datebook on opposite page) or a wideranging research project such as the everpopular Book of Lists (scheduled for early September). In total, OBJ will undertake dozens of special publications and events that will fill the calendar year. Here is a quick overview of some noteworthy projects in the first half of 2020.
Five years ago, OBJ, the Ottawa Board of Trade and our lead partner Welch LLP established the Ottawa Business Growth Survey. Administered by Abacus Data, the survey answers a critically important question: How confident are local business leaders in the local economy? This is explored by gathering input from 1,000 business leaders (that’s the stretch goal) on their hiring plans, revenue outlook, access to capital and other topics. The survey will start in March and its findings will be unveiled at an event in early June.
the projects that are shaping the city, such as LRT, the refurbishment of the ByWard Market and LeBreton Flats. It was a fascinating exercise that will happen again in 2020, this year scheduled for April 30. Mark your calendar.
FORTY UNDER 40
At OBJ, we don’t like to play favourites, but let’s just agree that Forty Under 40 is near and dear to our hearts. Two decades after it was established, this is still the most sought-after award for rising young business stars. The concept is pretty straightforward. Forty business leaders under the age of 40 are recognized for their business accomplishments, expertise and community involvement. Nominations are now being accepted until the end of March. Recipients first come together in May at the Telfer EMBA for an afternoon of networking and learning. The big party (emphasis on party) happens on Friday, June 19 at Hilton Lac-Leamy. Be there or be square. And here is a whole new level of special. OBJ is now months away from turning 25. Yes, it’s OBJ’s silver anniversary. How time flies. Stay tuned for important announcements that relate to this big milestone for OBJ.
CITY BUILDING SUMMIT
OBJ and its partner, the Ottawa Board of Trade, piloted three one-day conferences in 2019 with much success. The first was a spring event that brought together a unique group of people with a common and lofty purpose: city-building. Land developers, real estate, construction and business leaders with a real passion for Ottawa talked about
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These three projects will mark first half of 2020
BEST OFFICES OTTAWA 1
Best Offices Ottawa is a celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region. The 2020 edition will feature designs by some of the city’s top architects, interior designers and leading employers. Pick up your copy with the February edition of the OBJ newsmagazine.
In this issue’s Go Global feature, OBJ newsmagazine editor David Sali reports on a Kanata company that’s quietly carving out a growing market niche with devices that help track the vital signs of a warming planet. Read more about RBR’s cutting-edge tech on pages 10 and 11.
ORDERING FOR OBJ DELIVERY Want this great publication conveniently hand-delivered to your office each month? Well, now that’s a lot easier. Thanks to a partnership with local tech company Fusebill, you can now guarantee your regular monthly delivery of OBJ through an easy online system. Simply visit www.obj.ca/delivery to place your order. It’s a nominal fee of $8 per month to get 1-25 copies of OBJ hand-delivered. Pick the number of copies that you need. It’s a flat delivery fee. Use the promo code PROSPECTUS for 50 per cent off the delivery fee for three months.
The Ottawa Board of Trade is entering 2020 with the theme of “scaling up.” To further that goal, OBOT has invited the City of Ottawa’s top bureaucrat, Steve Kanellakos, to speak to its members at Brookstreet Hotel. The presentation is titled “The Making of the Nation’s Capital.” For details, visit www.ottawabot.ca.
OBJ grand poobah (technically he is the publisher) Michael Curran will be the featured guest at an
Only months after being appointed, Ottawa’s new police chief will be the guest speaker at the first Mayor’s Breakfast of 2020. Peter Sloly was sworn in as chief in late October, bringing 27 years of experience policing in Toronto and educational credentials that include the FBI National Academy. The chief also has some serious corporate credentials, having worked with Deloitte as its “national security and justice leader.” The event takes place at Ottawa City Hall with a hot buffet breakfast and formal presentations in council chambers. Visit www.ottawabot.ca for details.
event organized by eSAX in February. eSAX is a networking community for entrepreneurs and a series of trade shows created by the fedora-wearing man-about-town Jarrod Goldsmith. This particular event is called the “eXclusive eXperience” (that will drive OBJ copy editors nuts). It’s food, drinks and chatter at an upscale establishment that is a closely held secret known only to registered guests. Pssst. Sources say this particular event will take place in Orleans. More details at www.esax.ca.
If you run an association or non-profit, circle this event on your calendar. With the support of OBJ, OTUS Group will present the second annual OAX half-day forum. OAX is the Ottawa Association Exchange, a special project intended to provide association and non-profit executives with best practices to stay relevant, boost membership, diversify revenue and other key business objectives. Special guests will include David Coletto of Abacus Data, who will present findings from a survey of association executives, and Michael Brennan, executive director of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants. Brennan will share lessons learned from his nearly three decades of experience from the “third sector.” Full details at www.oax2020.eventbrite.com.
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EXECUTIVE BRIEFS M&A
Intouch Insight to acquire two companies in $1.75M deal
Intouch Insight says its latest acquisitions will immediately improve the Ottawabased customer experience firm’s bottom line, as well as adding new channels for growth. Intouch announced in late January it has entered into a deal to acquire both Calgary’s PerformaLogics Inc., an experience measurement firm, and its sister company MobilForce, a field reporting software developer. The transaction remains subject to conditions from the TSX Venture Exchange. The all-cash deal will see Intouch pay $750,600 upfront and an additional $1 million over the next three years, assuming the acquirees meet certain revenue targets. Together, PerformaLogics and MobilForce currently collect annual recurring revenues of roughly $2 million with a gross margin of 51 per cent. Intouch, which last quarter pulled in revenues of $4.9 million and reported a net profit of $136,566, said in a statement it expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive. CEO Cameron Watt stated that the overlap of the two acquired companies’ existing client bases with Intouch’s target markets will mean new expansion opportunities for Intouch’s solution, which already helps brands such as Sobeys and A&W track customer satisfaction. Intouch expects the acquisition to close Feb. 1.
CORRECTION The photo caption on page 12 of the January issue of OBJ incorrectly identified one of the people in the photograph. Colonnade BridgePort CEO Hugh Gorman is actually pictured with Stefania Parnanzone, the firm’s portfolio manager, mixed use real estate.
Chicago service set to resume at YOW A popular route to Chicago’s O’Hare airport is coming back to the Ottawa airport’s list of direct connections as the local travel hub reports a slight decline in overall passenger volumes in 2019. A total of 5,106,487 people passed through the gates of the Ottawa airport in 2019, down slightly from the 5,110,801 passengers the airport saw last year. The stagnant 2019 figures follow a six per cent growth rate in total traffic figures from 2017 to 2018. The dropoff in traffic came from YOW’s domestic connections and transborder travel to the United States. Domestic was just under four million passengers in 2019 as compared to slightly above that mark in 2018. Meanwhile, some 686,297 people travelled to or from the U.S. through Ottawa last year, a decrease of five per cent from 2018. The silver lining in YOW’s 2019 figures was a spike in international passenger volumes. The number of overseas travellers passing through Ottawa hit 426,637 last year, an increase of 10 per cent from 2018 and the highest annual total in the segment since 2015. The Ottawa airport’s declining transborder traffic figures might soon stabilize with the restoration of direct flights to Chicago. A YOW spokesperson confirmed
to OBJ that United Airlines is set to resume its daily, non-stop service between Ottawa and Chicago following a temporary suspension starting last year. United’s direct service between YOW and Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) – one of the highesttraffic travel hubs in the world – will resume with twice-daily flights starting March 5. Service will increase to three daily round-trip flights on weekdays starting May 8. United Airlines first put its YOWORD service on hold last June, with representatives telling OBJ that the suspension of direct flights was likely to be temporary. A United spokesperson said then the decision was primarily based on fleet availability during the busy summer season. Though United has maintained its flights from Ottawa to Newark and WashingtonDulles, YOW’s transborder traffic has taken
of programs at the school. Since 2016, Beauchamp has also acted as executive director of the Centre of Executive Leadership. Beauchamp will replace the previous dean, Dave Donaldson, who retired at the and colleagues she had made over the end of 2019 after nearly a decade in the course of more than two decades with position. Telfer, but noted she was excited to A flood of comments on Beauchamp’s join the “vibrant” Algonquin business LinkedIn post thanked her for the years community. of work she put into Telfer. The prevailing Beauchamp has been a professor with sentiment from commenters was that uOttawa for the past 25 years. She was while Telfer’s community will miss her, the director of undergraduate studies Algonquin’s School of Business is lucky to at Telfer starting in 2011, and for the have her as its new dean. past seven years has been the vice-dean Beauchamp starts the new gig on Feb. 3.
Telfer veteran named new dean at Algonquin business school There’s been a shift in the academic waters in Ottawa: Julie Beauchamp, a veteran of the University of Ottawa and Telfer School of Management, announced this week she has accepted a new role at Algonquin College. Beauchamp will become the dean of the School of Business at Algonquin, she announced in late January in a LinkedIn post. She thanked the friends
a hit since United suspended its Chicago service. While transborder passenger volumes were largely on the rise in the first half of the 2019, total traffic in the U.S. travel segment was 299,887 for the second half of 2019, a drop of 13 per cent from the same period in 2018. YOW’s spokesperson told OBJ the loss of Chicago flights was a “contributing factor” to the local airport’s traffic turbulence this year. She also pointed to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft, which had a “system-wide effect” on travel networks and forced airlines to shift their fleets to address the void. As a result, routes through YOW lost some capacity. Barring a dramatic change in market dynamics, local officials are expecting the YOW-ORD service to be restored permanently.
Bayshore owner plans apartment towers near mall The owner of Bayshore Shopping Centre says it wants to build two new apartment highrises next to the west-end mall, a proposal that would add 500 more units to the city’s growing inventory of rental housing located near existing or future light-rail stations. In a development application filed at City Hall, Bayshore owner Ivanhoe Cambridge says it’s partnering with Toronto-based investment fund KingSett Capital on a plan to construct a 27-storey
tower with 234 rental suites and a 30-storey highrise with 266 units. Located just west of the 47-year-old shopping centre, the two buildings would be linked by a three-storey podium that would include 210 parking spaces for residents and 50 spots for visitors as well as room for 272 bicycles. The site plan provides few other details about the development. According to the application, the proposal calls for “an amenity pavilion” located on the fourth floor between the two towers and a rooftop terrace above the podium that will feature trees and other greenery, seating and “flexible social spaces” for tenants. A pedestrian walkway will link the highrises with the future LRT station to the south. The developers also say they will consider setting aside some of the units for affordable housing, a proposal that “will be looked at further in the development process.” Currently Ottawa’s second-largest shopping mall, Bayshore attracts nearly eight million visitors a year. The retail hub will become home to an LRT stop as part of phase two of the Confederation Line, a project currently slated for completion in 2025. “The subject site is ideally located to capitalize on the existing and future infrastructure of the transit network,” the development application says. An Ivanhoe Cambridge spokesperson told OBJ in an email the company will provide more details about the proposal “in the coming months” and plans to host a public open house later in the application process. The developers are seeking amendments to current zoning bylaws that limit buildings on the site to 12 storeys.
$27 million in losses while it waits for its products to gain regulatory approval around the world – is already listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol VIV. In a statement, Avivagen CEO Kym Anthony said trading on the U.S. exchange “will provide additional liquidity and help us expand Avivagen’s investor presence in the
One of Ottawa’s publicly traded companies has shifted its headquarters from the capital after it struggled to find the talent it needed to grow locally. Ackroo, which develops customer loyalty solutions for brands such as Husky Energy and Landmark Cinemas, now calls Hamilton home after an official move at the end of 2019. CEO Steve Levely confirmed the move in an email to OBJ in midJanuary. The company has largely consolidated its Ottawa and Montreal offices in its new Hamilton HQ, Levely said. Four employees work for Ackroo now in Ottawa – compared with 20 at its apex – and the firm planned to formally close the local office by the end of January. Ackroo employs 25 people in Hamilton as the company gradually relocated and replaced employees with Steeltown talent over the past few years. Levely added there is “lots more hiring ahead of us.” Finding the necessary
United States.” The move comes as Avivagen continues to seek new sources of financing for its natural health products aimed at replacing the use of antibiotics in livestock feed. Last week, Avivagen said it raised $1.25 million in a private placement of shares and related warrants. The latest funding tops up a larger $5.26-million financing round that closed last March. The firm’s flagship product, OxC-beta, was approved for sale in the United States in early 2019 and is also sold in the Philippines, Taiwan, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, Mexico and Malaysia. Avivagen’s solution is a compound derived from carotenoids, organic pigments
talent it needed to grow was the company’s primary issue in Ottawa, Levely wrote in his email. Polls suggest most Ottawa business leaders agree with Levely’s assessment. Seventy per cent of respondents to the 2019 Ottawa Business Growth Survey said attracting and retaining skilled workers is one of the top five issues facing their companies. Sweetening the deal, Ackroo also received a $500,000 loan from the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) to make the move, Levely said. “Lots of reasons for the change and although I personally love Ottawa and my time there this was best for all,” he wrote. The past few years have seen Ackroo grow both organically and through a series of acquisitions. The company hit $5.2 million in annual revenues in 2019, up 18 per cent yearover-year.
produced by plants and algae that give fruits and vegetables such as bananas, carrots and tomatoes their bright colours. Various studies have suggested carotenoids can help reduce the risk of various types of cancers as well as conditions such as Parkinson’s disease in human beings, and Avivagen officials say they’ve conducted dozens of tests that prove the natural antioxidants boost the immune systems of livestock, warding off disease without needing to resort to antibiotics. In its latest fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2019, Avivagen reported a loss of more than $4.8 million on revenues of about $977,000.
An Ottawa-based firm that has landed millions of dollars in funding to develop an alternative to antibiotic-based livestock feed has begun trading on a U.S. stock exchange. Avivagen made its debut Jan. 8 on the OTCQB Venture Market under the symbol VIVXF. The company – which was founded in 2005 and has racked up more than
Ackroo leaves capital for Hamilton
Ottawa-based Avivagen lists shares on U.S. venture exchange
UP CLOSE Saying the words out loud, ‘I’m going to leave my job,’ was terrifying. – Former broadcaster Lianne Laing, on walking away from her longtime gig as host of CTV Morning Live Ottawa
Laing finds new lease on life in post-TV career
Left tired and ‘uninspired’ by broadcasting gig, former morning show host gains new sense of purpose with health- and wellnessfocused podcast BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS email@example.com
or Lianne Laing, her decision to step away from her coveted television hosting gig wasn’t easy. But, much like actor Bill Murray’s TV weatherman character in Groundhog Day, every workday was feeling exactly
the same as the last, until she knew it was time to roll the credits on her nearly 20-year career in traditional broadcasting. Never mind that her position came with a six-figure salary, free wardrobe and a high community profile. “I was unmotivated; I was uninspired,” she explains. “It’s like I was
stuck on repeat.” Laing was also tired. As host of CTV Morning Live Ottawa, she was up each morning at 3:30. Most days, her head didn’t hit the pillow again until 10:30 p.m. Toward the end of her TV career, she developed a severe case of shingles. The painful rash, she believes, was a sign that her demanding schedule was taking a toll on her health. “Saying the words out loud, ‘I’m going to leave my job,’ was terrifying,” recalls Laing, who hosted her final show on Nov. 10, 2017. Press fast-forward. Today, the 44-year-old married mother of two is happily hosting a podcast, Living Your Life with Lianne Laing, in an effort to educate, inspire and motivate listeners on topics relating to health and wellness. Laing has enjoyed a strong and steady growth in her listening audience since launching her show in January 2018 at Extension Marketing studio. She’s featured more than 100 highprofile guests and experts and is now looking to turn her passion project into a viable venture through advertising and public speaking engagements. The podcast, she adds proudly, “is a true reflection of the impact that I’m hoping to make.” Looking back, there are a few things Laing wishes she’d done differently to better prepare herself for her leap into entrepreneurship. The former elite gymnast says she approached her new career much like an individual athlete, when she should’ve taken a team-building approach. For example, she only recently became a member of the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa. “I should have joined it right away,” says Laing, who is very open to sharing the lessons that she’s learned. She also wasn’t prepared for the isolation that comes with working from home alone.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LIANNE LAING:
Laing’s maternal grandparents survived Nazi concentration camps and the Hungarian Revolution (escaping their homeland by foot) before immigrating to Canada, penniless.
Her mother Agnes Laing (née Klauber) has been a great source of inspiration. She founded Corona School of Gymnastics from humble beginnings in 1972. Today, the school has thousands of students and a staff of 70.
Laing and her husband, wellknown sport artist Tony Harris, first met at GoodLife Fitness on Queensview Drive. They shared a conversation while stretching on the mats. That chat left a lasting impression on them both. Harris, who lived in Montreal, finally managed to get a message to Laing three months later offering to return to Ottawa to take her for dinner. She agreed. They have two daughters: Andie, 14, and Jamie, 12.
Laing supports numerous charities. She’s an ambassador for Tremblant’s 24h and the Ottawa Senators Foundation and former board chair of the Snowsuit Fund.
She ascended Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2014 with the Dream Mountains Foundation while also reporting on her climb. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Laing, who suffered from altitude sickness.
“I was in my pajamas at a computer, trying to figure out what my job was and how to apply my skills and build my brand and my company.” After years of hosting a television show that everyone wanted to be on, she was now the one having to reach out to potential guests. She found her fear of rejection was holding her back. “My kryptonite has been making the ask and being prepared for 99 ‘no’s to get the ‘yes,’” she explains.
MEDITATION BRINGS BENEFITS One of the greatest tools she’s picked up along the way is meditation. She credits her daily 30-minute sessions for getting rid of anxiety and improving her sleep. “It really helps me to be more mindful and present,” she says. Laing was born and raised in Ottawa, graduating from Sir Robert Borden High School. Growing up, she trained more than 20 hours a week in gymnastics. Her hard work paid off; Laing competed nationally, won championships and earned herself a full scholarship to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she graduated with two business degrees. Laing was fresh out of school when she started working as a sports anchor for what was then CHRO-TV in Ottawa. She had first crossed paths with her future colleague, Ken Evraire, while helping her mom with media relations for the 25th anniversary of her business, Corona School of Gymnastics on Colonnade Road South. Evraire must have been impressed by Laing because he connected her to his TV
station boss, Richard Gray, who offered her a job. “Every day was a learning experience,” Laing recalls of those early years in sports reporting. Eventually, sweeping changes at the station meant Laing was reassigned to the morning show. She disliked waking up in the middle of the night, but for many years she enjoyed being part of the four-hour-long program. Healthy living has always been a priority to Laing, but she became even more motivated to inspire others after her father died of a heart attack two weeks before her wedding day. Jeffrey Laing, who had toiled away in the Ottawa restaurant industry, was 57. “I think that’s why I’m so passionate about getting people to realize that they need to wake up and take care of themselves, because my dad was constantly talking about what it was going to be like when he was able to golf every day and enjoy the life he’d been working for,” says Laing. “If you don’t take care of yourself now, you might not get there.”
Halpenny Insurance Brokers Ltd. Halpenny Insurance Brokers Ltd. is pleased to announce that Michael Oulahen has joined its ownership group as a Partner. Michael joins Halpenny from Marsh Canada where he most recently served as Senior Vice President and Client Executive in Marsh’s Ottawa office. Michael brings to Halpenny over 17 years of commercial insurance experience including program design and placement expertise for some of the largest and most recognized organizations domiciled in the Ottawa area. One of Michael’s areas of focus has been developing insurance and risk management solutions for large public entity and Canadian Crown corporation organizations. Richard Massie, President of Halpenny, said: “We are very happy to have Michael join our firm as Partner, he brings with him a tremendous reputation and has hands on experience negotiating complex transactions with some of the largest insurance companies globally. Bringing Mike into the fold at Halpenny is further testament that we will continue to remain the largest independent insurance broker for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. MICHAEL OULAHEN Vice-President, Partner firstname.lastname@example.org 613 722-7626 ext. 226
1550a Laperriere Ave, Suite 104 Ottawa, Ontario K1Z7T2, CA
PULVERMACHERKENNEDY & ASSOCIATES TRANSITIONING YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS IS MORE SCIENCE THAN ART
FAMILY BUSINESS DILEMMAS: Case Study #1
he is conservative in his style and won’t “bet the farm”, hands on, focused on results and a nice guy. She encourages him to stand his ground. The mother is unsure as to whether this son has the right skill set and attributes to take the business forward but is anxious about not causing a family rift. At the same time, she also wants to ensure the longevity of the business from which most of the family wealth is derived. How would you approach this real-life dilemma? PKA is confronted with these types of family business challenges on a recurring basis. This is our business. Stand by for more case studies. Feel free to call for a no-obligation interview (+1.647.290.1300) and visit our website at: www.pulvermacherkennedy.com • Ottawa • Toronto • New York City • South Florida •
“We Know a Thing or Two, Because We’ve seen a Thing or Two”
family business Patriarch has a business which she wishes to transition to 7 brothers, all of whom are active in the business. The business is situated in a major urban centre and has evolved to approximately $1.6B in annual revenues. It is profitable and in a highly competitive and complex industry. The brothers range in age from 33 to 51. All have undergraduate degrees in relevant areas and the two youngest have MBAs. The oldest brother believes he should be the successor to his mother given his tenure with the business and he is the eldest. His wife also believes that he is entitled to take on the leadership role given that his performance has been consistent,
World markets warm to Kanata firm’s high-tech ocean sensors
RBR carves out key niche with devices that help track Earth’s vital signs BY DAVID SALI
ith the earth’s temperature on the rise and global warming a hot topic the world over, a Kanata North company is quietly carving out a major market niche with high-tech products that help measure the planet’s vital signs.
“What was a small business now is getting larger,” says Eric Siegel, director of sales and marketing at RBR, which employs about 65 people at its headquarters on Hines Road and dozens more at offices around the world. Founded in 1973 by British-born
engineer Richard Brancker in his Glebe basement, RBR started out as an electronics consultant serving the federal government. After Brancker retired in the late 1990s, fellow Brit expat Frank Johnson took over and focused the company’s efforts on a sensor the firm had developed to measure water temperature. Since then, RBR has evolved into one of the world’s foremost producers of cutting-edge sensors that travel to the depths of the ocean, recording and
documenting data that not only includes the temperature of the water but other vital information such as water pressure, the amount of salt in the ocean and the levels of oxygen in the sea. Such variables provide invaluable data for scientists studying the long-term impact of global warming, and RBR’s growing list of customers today features major foreign agencies such as NASA, the U.S.-based National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. National Science Foundation. “The oceans are big, big indicators of climate change,” Siegel notes, adding that changing oxygen levels in the world’s seas threaten the long-term survival of fish, coral and plankton that are vital components of the food chain and, in the case of plankton, produce up
The entire market is growing because everyone’s realizing that the oceans are important. There’s a big push all around the world to really try to understand that more. – Eric Siegel, director of sales and marketing at RBR
Lufthansa will launch its OttawaFrankfurt service on May 16 with five weekly flights through to Oct. 24, 2020. Outbound flights will depart Ottawa at 5:55 p.m. and arrive in Frankfurt at 7:20 a.m. the following day. Inbound flights leave Frankfurt at 1:45 p.m. and land in Ottawa at 4:05 p.m.
cent in other parts of the world. In an effort to serve the rapidly growing response to its products in the world’s most populous country, RBR opened a wholly owned subsidiary in the Chinese port city of Qingdao in late 2018, where it now employs three sales and technical staff. The company also has salespeople on the ground in the U.S., France and New Zealand. RBR now has employees who speak seven languages, ranging from German and Portugese to Mandarin and Japanese. Siegel says it’s all part of the firm’s bid to better serve customers that come from a multitude of cultures and have different business customs. “We need to have people that speak those languages and understand those systems,” he explains. Although RBR has chosen to set up shop in a city that’s a full day’s drive from the nearest sea – Siegel jokes that it’s “equally inconvenient to all three of Canada’s oceans” – he says that’s not a drawback to becoming a global leader in its field. Developing and building RBR’s technology requires top-notch engineers, skilled manufacturing personnel and sharp technical minds, “and we can find lots of those in Ottawa,” he says. Noting the climate change is becoming a more pressing problem by the day, Siegel expects RBR to continue branching out into new markets and technologies. “The entire market is growing because everyone’s realizing that the oceans are important,” he says. “There’s a big push all around the world to really try to understand that more.”
Lufthansa readies for Ottawa-Frankfurt route G ermany’s flag carrier is preparing to make its local debut this spring by taking over Air Canada’s seasonal non-stop Ottawa-Frankfurt service – making this the first scheduled flight by a European carrier to Canada’s capital in 24 years. “More than ever, now is the time for locals to support the Frankfurt operation as Lufthansa is here to test the commercial viability of this non-stop service from YOW to its global hub,” said Mark Laroche, the president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority. “We’re doing everything we can to help Lufthansa as new stations require significant start up resources. Our team and other airport partners are well-engaged and preparing to provide curb-to-cabin ground support.” Lufthansa – Europe’s largest airline when its subsidiaries are included – will operate the route using an Airbus A340-300. The aircraft contains 279 seats, including 30 business class and 28 premium economy seats, and is larger than the 211-seat Boeing 767 previously used by Air Canada on the route. The German carrier is well-known for the quality of its onboard experience and staff service. Aviation consultancy Skytrax gives Lufthansa a five-star rating, with particularly high marks for its seat comfort, personal space and meals. Lufthansa also received accolades from Skytrax for the level of service at its Frankfurt hub – one of the world’s most connected airports. Lufthansa’s
flights are timed so that travellers starting or ending their journey in Ottawa can make smooth connections with flights servicing Beirut, Rome, Delhi, Tel Aviv and other cities.
Lufthansa operating the FrankfurtOttawa route is also poised to stimulate new local tourism opportunities. Historically, approximately 70 per cent of tickets on this route are purchased locally. That figure is expected to become more balanced as Lufthansa’s sophisticated global marketing channels and strong brand – as well as Ottawa Tourism support – attract additional leisure travellers from Germany and beyond to Canada’s capital. The route is also anticipated to remain popular with Air Canada frequent travellers, who can earn and redeem Aeroplan points on the Lufthansa network. Ottawa airport officials say Lufthansa’s service is an important test to see if the region can sustain nonstop service to a foreign carrier’s hub. If successful, it’s hoped that the route would be gradually expanded beyond summer. “Air service is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition,” Laroche said, noting that aircraft are portable assets and carriers are always looking to deploy their equipment where demand is strongest.
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As a result, the company is growing its revenues at an annual rate of 20 to 30 per cent and has boosted its global headcount from 50 three years ago to about 85 today. RBR is a truly global enterprise, generating about a third of its revenues in China and another 40 per
to half of the planet’s oxygen through photosynthesis. Johnson’s son Greg, an expert in X-ray instrumentation and material science, assumed control of the company in the early 2010s. Since then, the firm has expanded its range of products to include sensors for unmanned robotic devices that deliver its equipment as far as 2,000 metres deep in the ocean and transmit data to customers via satellite. RBR’s sensors are embedded in the earth’s crust in coastal areas of Japan and British Columbia, where they measure the tilt of the ocean floor as well as sea pressure and vibrations that can be early warning signs of tsunamis triggered by distant earthquakes. Its products are even buried in arctic permafrost. Though it’s still the “underdog” in a highly specialized industry – Siegel estimates that RBR accounts for around 20 per cent of global sales of tools that “take the pulse of the ocean” – he says it’s gaining on its competition. RBR’s products are versatile, he explains, and use very little power – the sensors run on AA batteries that generally don’t need to be replaced for several years.
Paul Lem, a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s medical school, started Spartan Bioscience 14 years ago and says the firm is finally poised to scale up in a big way. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
The art (and science) of building a healthy biotech sector Compared with their higher-profile cousins in software, Ottawa’s tech companies devoted to medical therapies and devices face an uphill battle for funding and market penetration. OBJ looks at how they’re trying to overcome those obstacles
You see software companies, within a few months, they’ll launch their project and start getting feedback from the market – whereas with us, it takes seven years and eight years to run these massive clinical trials. You’ve got to hold the team together, raise enough funding to persist until these trials are positive. – Spartan Bioscience founder and CEO Paul Lem
BY DAVID SALI
hundreds within the next few years as it aims to expand the use of its technology to help treat family pets and test water supplies for deadly bacteria. For 14 years, “we’ve been primarily more an R&D-focused company,” he explains. “Now we’re at that inflection point where we’re ready to really commercialize our products and ramp up sales.”
If Spartan hasn’t exactly been an overnight success, it’s hardly alone in the fledgling Ottawa biotech sector. Unlike their cousins in the software space, the National Capital Region’s biotech companies rarely make the headlines. They don’t generally boast gaudy, hockey-stick-type revenue trajectories, either, thanks to some significant roadblocks: the mountains of capital that must be poured into R&D; the long, the tortuous path to regulatory approval often required by agencies such as Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and the legal costs of safeguarding precious intellectual property chief among them. “There’s not the same types of shortcuts and ways to sort hack something together to get by, to mimic a solution … when you have things like FDA requirements and even some basic things like privacy and other things that apply in a regulatory environment,” explains Nick Quain, vice-president of venture development at Invest Ottawa, which hosts several biotech and medical device firms in its accelerator at Bayview Yards. “It really is a different path for those companies. It’s a longer, winding road with a lot of other elements to it.”
or someone who’s staking his business future on a device that can deliver accurate DNA tests in less than an hour, Paul Lem has shown admirable patience waiting for his entrepreneurial labours to bear serious fruit. It’s been nearly 14 years since Lem, a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s medical school, launched a tech venture called Spartan Bioscience. The company’s main product is the Spartan Cube, a small box-like device that collects and analyzes human DNA without having to send samples to a traditional lab. After more than a decade, Lem and Co.’s groundbreaking invention is finally gaining momentum. It really started a couple of years ago, when Spartan began marketing its high-tech cube as a rapid test for legionella bacteria, a deadly germ that can spread through heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Among the agencies now using the Spartan Cube to detect legionella are the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York City’s department of health. Meanwhile, the Ottawa firm says it’s soon about to finalize a partnership with one of the world’s largest water treatment companies. But Lem, who did research stints at the Harvard Medical School and the Stanford Genome Technology Centre while a student at UOttawa, believes the Spartan Cube also has the potential to revolutionize the way heart patients and
people suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s are treated. After years of clinical testing, the device could soon be poised for approval as a way to help doctors determine if cardiac patients will reject a commonly prescribed blood-thinner called clopidogrel, which is sold under the trade name Plavix and others, due to a genetic mutation – something Lems says occurs in 30 per cent of caucasian and about half of Asian patients. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study of the cube’s effectiveness in such situations based on eight years of data from 2,500 patents in European clinical trials. In an industry where many products must pass through a series of stringent regulatory gateways before being approved for widespread commercial use, the study was a godsend. “That really put us on the map,” says Lem. “That said we have a commercial product that is very useful for patients.” Now at about 70 employees, Spartan expects to announce a major new round of capital in the coming weeks. Over the past year, the firm has bolstered its executive team with high-profile recruits that include a pair of ex-Shopify staffers: new chief financial officer Blaine Fitzgerald, the e-commerce giant’s former vice-president of finance, and strategic adviser Russ Jones, Shopify’s first CFO. Lem says it’s all part of Spartan’s slow, methodical evolution from a scientific research enterprise to a bona fide, money-making business. He says he expects the company to have a payroll of
Finding investors willing to play the long game can be a challenge, a fact that Lem and others in the local biotech space know all too well. Spartan – which earmarks “many millions of dollars a year” for research, has been one of the luckier ones: it landed a key financial backer in Japanese camera-maker Canon, which has roots as a medical diagnostic company. The company has also received millions in funding from supportive local angels, including Shopify chief operating officer Harley Finkelstein. Last year, Finkelstein predicted Spartan would become “Canada’s next great business success story,” an endorsement that put a wide smile on its founder’s face. “You see software companies, within a few months, they’ll launch their project and start getting feedback from the market – whereas with us, it takes seven years and eight years to run these massive clinical trials,” Lem says. “You’ve got to hold the team together, raise enough funding to persist until these trials are positive.” A few other local biotech startups have also reeled in big bucks from venture capitalists looking to cash in on the next wave of medical treatments for diseases such as cancer. Turnstone Biologics, for example, has landed more than $50 million in funding over the past four years. The firm is a leader in the emerging field of immunotherapy, in which viruses that attack malignant tumours are administered to patients. Turnstone’s $41-million series-B round four years ago was the largest VC deal in Ottawa since Shopify received $100 million in 2013. Yet for every Turnstone, there are dozens of other startups that are scrambling to find funding angels. Biotechnology isn’t always easy to get your head around, many founders concede, which sometimes makes would-be angels and VCs leery about sinking cash into a business they might not completely understand. While just about everyone can grasp the appeal of an app that lets you instantly hail a cab from your phone, for example, treatments that use viruses to attack cancer cells aren’t easy to describe in a 30-second elevator pitch. Continued on next page
Continued from previous page “One of the challenges we have in Canada is that we don’t have a really welldeveloped medical device/biotechnology sector,” says Jason Acker, the co-founder of PanTHERA CryoSolutions, a biotech venture based in Ottawa and Edmonton. “That can make it challenging for us to find investors that are sophisticated and knowledgeable in this area to invest in a company like ours.” PanTHERA, which has developed a compound that helps preserve human cells used in next-generation medical research, has received grants from the federal government as well as agencies such as Canadian Blood Services to help it get off the ground. The firm is now in the midst of putting together a $250,000 seed round. “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get a prince,” says Acker, a researcher at the University of Alberta who co-founded the four-person company three years ago with the University of Ottawa’s Robert Ben. “We’re used to asking for money.”
DIVERSIFICATION A KEY
Biotech entrepreneurs say that forging multiple paths to commercialization can help young firms keep the lights on while their products are winding their way through the clinical trial and regulatory approval stages. For example, about a decade ago, Ottawa medical researcher Jean-Simon Diallo began working on a compound that helps cancer-fighting viruses used in therapeutic treatments bypass the human immune system’s defences. Diallo came up with the idea for his treatment while working alongside pioneering Ottawa Hospital cancer researcher Dr. John Bell, one of the founders of Turnstone Biologics. Diallo likens his solution – which is made of tiny molecules he understandably won’t reveal much about – to a home alarm system. “It’s great to keep robbers out, but sometimes you need to let the plumber in,” he says. “What we have really is the key to let in the plumber.” But Diallo faced a major problem trying to fund his research: The cuttingedge cancer therapies being devised by Bell’s team at the Ottawa Hospital were still in their early stages and not approved for widespread use. Consequently, Diallo
John Phillips of Kanata-based AusculSciences says it’s a long, expensive process to bring medical devices to market thanks to a raft of regulatory hurdles. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
says, financing for his complementary treatment was hard to come by. But when the researcher found another use for the compound that didn’t require the same stringent testing – as an additive to boost the effectiveness of vaccines – a viable revenue stream suddenly opened up and investors came knocking. “That’s what essentially triggered the formation of the company,” says Diallo, who launched his firm, Virica Biotech, in late 2018 and recently joined Invest Ottawa’s accelerator. Diallo, who now employs a handful of people in Ottawa and Toronto, has raised $800,000 in seed funding so far and is aiming for $2 million. He hopes to follow that up with a $5-million series-A raise in the near future. “Most drugs approved cost a billion dollars to get to market,” he explains. “That’s astronomical. Basically, you’re putting money in until it works. If it doesn’t work, then you’ve lost everything. In our case, we have that kind of safety net.” John Phillips, the director of product management at Kanata-based AusculSciences, agrees many potential investors are taken aback at the scope of the capital required to bring medical device technology to market. AusculSciences makes sensors that help detect coronary artery disease by listening for sounds of “turbulence” that can indicate blockages in the flow of blood from the heart. The high-tech equipment – which Phillips claims is far
more effective at detecting blockages than traditional treadmill “stress tests” and can be administered at clinics without a doctor present – has been tested on more than 1,000 patients at the Ottawa Heart Institute as well as the University of Calgary and the University of New Brunswick. The company has raised more than $10 million US from investors and employs 25 people, about three-quarters of them devoted to R&D. The firm is now applying to Health Canada to conduct blinded clinical trials in the hope of getting the device approved for sale by the end of the year. AusculSciences is also eyeing a move into Europe and, eventually, the United States, which conducts twice as many stress tests as Canada on a per capita basis, Phillips says. “It’s an incredibly attractive market, but it does have significant regulatory hurdles,” he adds, noting new medical inventions such as AusculSciences’ system tend to face tough scrutiny from the FDA.
FINE-TUNING PRODUCTS Local economic development agencies are doing their best to help give the city’s fledgling biotech and medical devices sector a leg up. Invest Ottawa, for example, recently teamed up with the Ottawa Hospital to launch a 10-week program aimed at giving digital health startups advice and mentorship on navigating their products to market.
The program’s first cohort of 16 startups – 11 of which were founded by women – is now learning the ins and outs of landing funding, feeling its way through the industry’s labyrinth of regulations and procurement requirements and finetuning its products. “Health-tech in Ottawa is not a super well-known sector,” says Julia Slanina, one of the entrepreneurs taking part in the program. The former medical student is the founder and CEO of Treehouse Digital Health, a platform launched last year that aims to connect patients with doctors and other medical professionals via mobile devices. The six-person Kanata company is aiming to bring its technology to market this summer, and Slanina says the new preaccelerator program has been a valuable source of inspiration and support. “For me, it was really about networking, about being with like-minded colleagues,” explains the Carleton University graduate, who is bootstrapping the venture herself. “It was just more of connecting with colleagues, connecting with community members and seeing how we can provide a really good solution for everyone.” Invest Ottawa has also tried to smooth the path for biotech entrepreneurs in other ways. In late 2018, the organization brought Janet Whitley, who spent nearly a decade working for the FDA as a regulatory review officer, on board to advise startups on what it takes to meet the federal agency’s strict standards for approving new products. “We’re reacting to the market,” Quain explains.
SUCCESS NOT ASSURED Whether any of these ventures morph into Canada’s next great biotech colossus remains to be seen. The sector’s biggest players have massive upsides, but success is never assured. Lem, for one, is hopeful. Thanks in part to the world-renowned knowledge incubators such as the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, he thinks the nation’s capital is well-positioned to develop the talent and commercial opportunities to become a force in biotech. He also says the city’s business community as a whole tends to warmly embrace its up-and-comers, a key catalyst to any fledgling firm’s growth. Continued on page 19
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Airbnb’s impact on rental housing shortage ignored
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whereby the host is not in the property while it is being rented. These units are commonly referred to as “ghost hotels.” Lowertown and the ByWard Market, on a relative basis, has been identified as the epicentre of commercialization of Airbnbs, overtaking the Toronto waterfront as the most prolific centre of commercial short-term rental activity. These units return a far greater payback to the host as a short-term rental property than they would if they were occupied by long-term renters. Short-term rentals are growing at a rapid pace each year, to the point that Airbnb is by far the largest transient accommodation company in Ottawa based on number of rooms available for rent. To not include this information in a market analysis on declining Ottawa housing inventory and affordability is irresponsible. CMHC says it has no way of measuring the impact short-term rentals have on communities; therefore, they ignore them. Certainly, Airbnb is not the only factor contributing to the housing crisis, but the media needs to present a more fulsome storyline when discussing our local housing issues. To solve the housing problem, your readers need to understand and appreciate all of the factors that are reducing available rental inventory and driving up the cost of housing in our community. K
It is with interest and frustration that I read your article concerning Ottawa’s housing crisis. Certainly, I agree the rental stock in Ottawa is at a premium and we do require more purpose-built housing in our community. But in their annual rental reports, CMHC either refuses or is unequipped to include facts around the influence short-term rental platforms (particularly Airbnb) are having on Ottawa’s inventory and other cities throughout Canada. Credible third-party, evidence-based research makes it possible to identify the number of Airbnb units advertised on any given day throughout the year. The City of Ottawa has reported that number was well over 6,000 units last year. Additional studies have determined the majority of Airbnb’s revenue (earned from commissions on sales) comes from commercial units, defined as non-principal residences
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Re ‘Room for a lot more buildings’ in booming Ottawa rental market (January 2020):
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City’s apartment vacancy rate rises, but so do rents: CMHC BY DAVID SALI
enants in Ottawa paid an average of $108 a month more for an apartment in 2019 compared with a year earlier, thanks to “robust demand” for rental accommodations in the capital, according to a new report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The average rent in the city stood at $1,281 in October, up 8.4 per cent from a year earlier, the national housing agency said in its latest rental market report released Tuesday.
CMHC said rising housing prices, stricter mortgage rules and steadily accelerating overall asking rents are pushing tenants to stay put in their current dwellings. As a result, the stock of vacant units dwindled in 2019, driving up rents even further. “Steady demand for rental apartments together with low vacancy rates encouraged the rise in market rents once a unit was vacant,” the report said, noting that asking rents on vacant twobedroom units were 18.4 per cent higher than rents on occupied units. The fixed sample average rent for a
two-bedroom apartment in Ottawa rose eight per cent to $1,410 in 2019, higher than the previous year’s increase of 5.8 per cent, with rents for one-bedroom units jumping by a similar percentage to an average of $1,178. The city’s overall vacancy rate ticked up slightly last year to 1.8 per cent, compared with 1.6 per cent in October 2018. However, the report said only bachelor apartments showed a “significant” jump in vacancy rates, which rose from 1.3 per cent to 2.2 per cent. Builders are scrambling to address pent-up demand in the city’s red-hot rental market, launching nearly 2,300 new apartment starts in 2019 through the end of November following a 2018 that saw them begin work on almost 2,500 new units. CMHC said about 1,230 new units were added to Ottawa’s rental stock in 2019, with 1,086 of those now occupied.
GROWING POPULATION The agency credited “strong population, employment and earnings growth” for fuelling that demand. Noting that
Ottawa is home to two universities and two major colleges, the agency also cited local and international students as a “key force” in a tight rental market. “Furthermore, strong employment growth for the key rental age groups, those 15-to-24 and 25-to-44, has supported their respective demand for rental accommodations,” the report added. “These two groups are key to the rental market as they are often students and young professionals who have yet to make the transition into homeownership.” Vacancy rates in Sandy Hill and Lowertown (2.7 per cent) jumped the most in 2019, followed by the downtown core, where 2.6 per cent of rental units were empty last October. On the Gatineau side of the river, the overall rental vacancy rate held steady at 1.5 per cent last year, despite more than 1,200 new units being added to the market. Average rents in Gatineau rose 4.5 per cent to $847 last year. Two-bedroom rents averaged $874, up 4.2 per cent year-over-year – the highest increase in more than 15 years.
EVENTS Forty Under 40 open for nominations The search is on again for the next cohort of young business leaders making a difference and building companies in the National Capital Region. Nominations are open now for the 2020 Forty Under 40 awards, an annual event sponsored by the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Board of Trade that recognizes young achievers. This year marks the 23rd edition of the prestigious honours, with more than 800 people now comprising an exclusive community of business leaders. Nominate yourself, a friend or a colleague for recognition at this year’s gala. Recipients also receive access to networking events and promotions reserved for the Forty Under 40 community. In order to be eligible, nominees must:
Be 39 years or younger on June 30 in the year the nomination is submitted; • Spend the majority of their work time in Ottawa-Gatineau; • Be an owner, executive, manager, professional or person with significant business decisionmaking authority. Preference is given to nominees who work in the private sector; however, nominees can also work for a public or non-profit organization. In all cases, nominees will be assessed on demonstrated business-related achievements that advance the goals and objectives of their organization. Nominations are open until March 27. To submit your nomination, go to fortyunder40.fluidreview.com.
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Biotech sector on rise Continued from page 14 “We nurture our entrepreneurs, and I’ve felt that,” the Toronto native says. “The community’s really gotten behind us. Over the last 20 years, Ottawa has nurtured me as an entrepreneur, and that’s what’s led to our success at Spartan.” Others say Ottawa needs to make a massive investment in its biotech R&D infrastructure if the city wants to truly shine on the global stage. “There’s not a lot of room for incubation of companies in the universities and research institutes,” says Diallo. He maintains a lab at the University of Ottawa but notes there’s always a tugof-war for resources between researchers who are doing purely academic work and those looking to commercialize their ideas. “Space is at a premium, and so if the institutes start favouring biotech space because they pay more overhead, then that’s a challenge for the academics,” he explains.
Still, he thinks all the elements are there for Ottawa to come into its own as a biotech hub – if it can continue to build up the resources, facilities and intellectual power the sector requires. “If the opportunity was there to stay in Ottawa, certainly I would love that,” Diallo says. “We want to grow a biotech industry in Ottawa, and there’s significant potential for that. It’s going to take some time, but I think in terms of the will, I think it’s really there.” Quain wholeheartedly agrees. “It’s amazing when you sort of look underneath the hood of this city to see how much firepower we have in terms of the researchers, the academics and the world-renowned experts,” he says. “If we can get more and more of them moving towards commercializing some of this groundbreaking research, it could really become an even bigger part of this city’s ecosystem.”
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BENEFITS OF GETTING IT RIGHT “The benefits of an effective data and AI strategy are far-reaching and profound,” said Carrie Gallo, BDO Partner and National Public Sector Leader. These include: t
Canada’s Data Strategy Roadmap is as much about the power of AI as it is about data. “Data and AI are on the leadership agenda,” Senick said. “More leaders are personally attaching themselves to data and AI programs as they understand the potential it can bring.” But statistics show that 77 per cent of businesses report that “business adoption” of big data and AI initiatives is a substantial challenge. That means
three quarters of data and AI programs are not yielding the type of outcomes previously anticipated. Public sector decision makers can learn from these challenges in the private sector – adoption challenges are well-documented and invariably revolve around issues with data maturity and quality. “The level of data maturity and quality is critically important in the world of AI,” Senick said. “The old saying of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ applies to the domain of business intelligence, but in the world of AI, it’s ‘garbage in, crazy out.’ The outcomes for an AI model with low maturity and poor-quality data are completely unpredictable.”
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DATA AND AI GO HAND IN HAND
Carrie Gallo, BDO Partner and National Public Sector Leader
Predicting the impact of government programs and objectives
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Establishing an advanced understanding of needs of Canadians “The world of data science and AI has matured to the point of providing the public sector with a new way of correlating data and drawing valuable insights that were difficult to achieve even just a few years ago,” Gallo said.
Daryl Senick, BDO Partner and Consulting—National Data and Technology Leader To learn more about how BDO can help with your data and AI journey, please contact: Carrie Gallo BDO Partner and National Public Sector Leader 613 780 6456 firstname.lastname@example.org Daryl Senick BDO Partner and Consulting— National Data and Technology Leader 647 291 0634 email@example.com
“Through the power of data, public servants can fundamentally transform governments by changing the way they operate, make decisions, and deliver services.” This statement comes from the Government of Canada’s Data Strategy Roadmap. The Roadmap outlines how data can be used in more effective ways to improve operations and service delivery to Canadians, while also ensuring citizens’ privacy is protected. This leaves public servants and public sector leaders in a position where they must now think of data as a corporate asset. Although this is not a new concept, for many, it is a challenging one to effectively implement in a practical way. “Corporate data contains so much potential for providing insights on how to provide better service to Canadians,” said Daryl Senick, BDO Partner and Consulting—National Data and Technology Leader. “But for years, data has not been prioritized as an asset and its full potential has not been realized.” Data by itself offers little value. What’s important is how that data is managed, analyzed, and correlated to yield actionable insight. In many scenarios the overwhelming volume of data means that artificial intelligence (AI) offers the only effective means to achieve this.
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Ottawa metal powdermaker Equispheres lands $8M in funding BY CRAIG LORD firstname.lastname@example.org
AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT ON THE OUTLOOK AND ATTITUDES OF OTTAWA’S BUSINESS LEADERS
OK AND ATTITUDES
T ON THE OUTLO AN EXCLUSIVE REPOR
We’ve got a really nice opportunity to get into the market, and we don’t want to take that for granted.
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– Equispheres CEO Kevin Nicholds
BROUGHT TO YOU
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on its unique powder, success isn’t settled. There are billions of dollars in investment pouring into the manufacturing industry today, and while Equispheres might be innovative, it’s by no means the only player clawing for market share. “I’m always concerned,” Nicholds says of competition around the corner. “We’ve got a really nice opportunity to get into the market, and we don’t want to take that for granted.” The company currently employs roughly 30 people, most of whom work in Ottawa. Nicholds says that with the fresh funding the company is starting up the hiring machine again, looking to add more engineering talent in the coming months.
2019 ACCESS THE REPORT
Nicholds explains. With widespread adoption, Equispheres could play a significant role in reducing the overall carbon footprint of the automotive industry. Marketing hasn’t been a concern for Equispheres. Nicholds says the Ottawa-based company already has the ears and eyes of leading automotive and aerospace firms in the “closely watched” manufacturing industry – many of which came running to the company when they heard what its powder could do. Now, it’s just a matter of testing the company’s technology to ensure it lines up with customer demand. Nicholds notes that while the company has strong IP protection
he makers of a unique metal powder developed in Ottawa are feeling light on their feet after an $8-million cash injection from a federal government fund this week. Equispheres, which develops an aluminum alloy powder for use in 3D printing and manufacturing, announced this week it’s receiving $8 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. The foundation, which has invested in Ottawa firms such as Giatec Scientific and GaN Systems, aims to support Canadian cleantech innovation. The SDTC cash brings Equispheres’ total funding haul to more than $50 million. That figure includes grants, loans and equity funding from some well-heeled angels and industry giants such as Lockheed Martin. The much ado is about a unique metal powder used in additive manufacturing – think of it as 3D printing but for fighter jets rather than plastic figurines. The powder is perfectly uniform and spherical, making it the ideal substance for manufacturing lightweight but sturdy metal objects. “The parts that are made from our powder are much more consistent and therefore they can be made lighter,” says Equispheres CEO Kevin Nicholds. This lightweight element gives the Equispheres powder its sustainable edge. Vehicles with parts made from this aluminum alloy will be much lighter on the road and more fuelefficient than their predecessors,
BUILDING BUSINESS CONFIDENCE
22 FEBRUARY 2020
OBJ.social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, Bruyère Foundation and Sparks Dental. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
Hockey 101: 67’s hope to make Indian students fans of Canada’s game University of Ottawa and Algonquin College here in the National Capital Region – are experiencing a surge in the number of international students from India, who now outnumber Chinese students across the country. Gaur said there are roughly 200,000 students from India studying in Canada right now. Only a few thousand of them are based in Ottawa, but Gaur said of those who are, many are pursuing professional fields. “These young people are the very best that India has to offer,” he said. “The Indo-Canadian community here has played a very active role in promoting Canada as a wonderful place to come and study and work.” Rahul Tomar, a third-year computer science student with a minor in business at Carleton University, left his hometown of Rohtak, located in the
The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is working with such community partners as Invest Ottawa, the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber, the Canadian Association of Students from India (CASI) and the High Commission of India among others. Think of it as hockey meets hightech, with a touch of Bollywood flair. That’s right – there will be live cultural dance performances during intermissions. “I think it’s absolutely a great initiative, and we’re glad to be supporting it,” said acting Indian High Commissioner Anshuman Gaur. “Hockey is such an iconic Canadian sport, and we’re so delighted that IndoCanadians are connecting with hockey.” Canada’s post-secondary institutions – including Carleton University, the
An upcoming game between the Ottawa 67’s and the Oshawa Generals has much more on the line than just bragging rights and league position – the crowd cheering on its howetown junior hockey team could well be the key to supporting the city’s talentstarved tech sector. Hundreds of international students, mostly from India, will be enthusiastically cheering on the 67’s in late February as they become more familiar with Canada’s most popular sport: hockey. The night will also feature a networking and recruitment mixer to potentially woo students graduating from the STEM disciplines to the city’s booming high-tech sector. The first-time event is taking place Friday, Feb. 28 at TD Place Arena at Lansdowne.
North Indian state of Haryana, to study in Ottawa as an international student. Tomar says he prefers Canada to the United States and would like to stick around and work here, at least for a few years, once he’s done school. “The Canadians are super-friendly and warm,” he said. Tomar, who serves as the president of CASI, has watched hockey on television but has yet to attend a game. “I’m really looking forward to it,” added Tomar, who said their goal is to attract 1,000 specators. A report from the Information and Communications Technology Council says Canada will be short nearly 220,000 skilled workers by 2021. Factors for this trend include an aging workforce and declining birthrate. Invest Ottawa has its own program to attract and retain the best talent to keep up with workforce demands in the local high-tech industry. “There are some really innovative game-changing solutions happening right here across the city, and that includes autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, 5G (and more),” said Natalie MacArthur, Invest Ottawa’s director of talent attraction. “There is such a great opportunity to link the co-op programs and the new grad opportunities with these organizations that combine the really interesting work that we’re doing across the city.” There will also be representatives in attendance from up to 20 companies. Hosting the India Night event is also a way to attract new hockey fans. OSEG says a recent study showed one in 10 people in Ottawa had gone or planned to go to an Ottawa 67’s game this season. “That means there are nine in 10 people who haven’t thought about going to a 67’s game, probably because we’re not relevant to their day-today lives,” said Mark Goudie, OSEG’s president and CEO. “This event gives us an opportunity to introduce part of our Canadian identity and our culture to a new group of students.”
OBJ.social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, Bruyère Foundation and Sparks Dental. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
Taste in the Glebe raises the bar for culinary connoisseurs Fundraising marketing and communications specialist Sarah Wilson worried about being isolated and alone when she became a first-time mom. Her family was back in England and her friends in Ottawa weren’t having babies yet. So the resident of the Glebe turned
to her local community centre, where she instantly found other moms to bond with through programs such as the Salsa Babies class (the babies don’t actually dance; they stay snuggled in carriers attached to their moms). “Within minutes, I created a parent
network,” Wilson told OBJ.social at the 22nd annual Taste in the Glebe held Jan. 16 in support of the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG) and its community outreach efforts, financial assistance for families in need and community projects. Wilson, who volunteers as a board member with GNAG, was one of nearly 400 attendees of the food- and drinktasting event featuring more than 30 Ottawa restaurants and food shops and at least a dozen vintners, brewers and distillers. The GNAG board is chaired by freelance web designer Elspeth Tory. Taste in the Glebe’s $70 tickets sold out in about 10 minutes this year. Organizers were hoping to raise $29,000. Several well-established restaurants, including Beckta, North & Navy, Fauna Food + Bar, Les Fougères and Pelican Seafood Market & Grill, also participated in a separate $115-a-ticket wine- and food-tasting experience for a crowd of 80.
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‘Magical’ Viennese ball set for 23rd season For those looking to waltz right through winter, do we have the event for you. The Viennese Winter Ball, now in its 23rd year, returns to the Trillium Ballroom of the Shaw Centre on Feb. 29. The evening has long been considered one of the most elegant galas in town with its fine dining and dancing to live orchestral music, played by the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra. The ball is being held under the patronage of Austrian Ambassador Stefan Pehringer, who, together with his wife, Debra Jean Pehringer, hosted a reception at their official residence in Rockcliffe Park on Jan. 22. One of the highlights of the night is the fairytale-like dancing of the debutantes. It harkens back to the days of the intricate courtship-ritual that saw well-bred young ladies, who were
coming of age, introduced to society while on the arms of their tuxedoed escorts. Charlotte Dietz, who joined this year’s organizing committee, has fond memories of the time she participated in the Viennese ball as a debutante 16 years ago. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she told OBJ.social at the embassy reception. “It’s a very magical night. You don’t forget it.” Five years ago, non-profit arts organization Music and Beyond picked up the ball and ran with it after the event was looking to hang up its dancing shoes. “Last year was without question the best event we had,” Chris Spiteri, board chair of Music and Beyond and senior law partner at corporate sponsor Spiteri & Ursulak, told OBJ.social. Last year, the ball raised a net total
of around $60,000. Proceeds were directed toward youth music education programs run by Music and Beyond, Thirteen Strings and OrKidstra. The Viennese Winter Ball is organized by a volunteer committee led by Spiteri and Micheline Saikaley, who’s also president of the Ashbury College Guild. Among the guests of the reception were Gowling WLG partner Rob MacDonald, who heads the board of the Thirteen String Chamber Orchestra, and Montreal businesswoman Elizabeth
Wirth, chair of Wirth Rail Corporation and past president of the Viennese Ball of Montreal. Guests also included Vadim Safonov and Alina Safonova from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio on Gladstone Avenue. Their studio is providing the ballroom dance training to this year’s group of young high school students participating in the Viennese Winter Ball as debutantes and cavaliers. For more information, see viennesewinterball.ca.
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OBJ.social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, Bruyère Foundation and Sparks Dental. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
Family keeps daughter’s spirit alive at Maddy’s Gala
Celebrating 125 years of serving the evolving needs of member dentists, dedicated to ongoing professional excellence in oral health for our community.
Maddy’s Gala was created by heartbroken parents to honour the memory of a lovely little girl who was taken way too soon. Over the years, the benefit dinner has grown into something so much bigger as the grieving family, along with their friends and the broader community, have rallied together to raise significant funds for Roger Neilson House, a pediatric respite and palliative care home located in Ottawa. This year’s 13th annual gala filled the ballroom of the Brookstreet Hotel on Jan. 17 with its largest crowd yet while raising the most money to date – roughly $148,000. Many of the 460 guests dressed up for this year’s Roaring ’20s theme, which was a nice fit with the arrival of the new decade. Attendees rose to their feet in admiring applause as Jeanine Otto and her husband Dean Otto, along with their 19-year-old daughter Hannah Otto, made their way to the stage. The Otto family lost Madison, affectionately known as Maddy, when she was five. The little girl passed away July 17, 2007, only 48 hours after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. Her final hours were spent at Roger Neilson House, located on the grounds of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The Ottos credit Roger Neilson House and its bereavement counselling
services with helping them to cope with the tremendous grief they faced. “After you lose a child, you don’t know which way to go or which way to turn,” Dean, who works as a purchasing manager at the Shaw Centre, told OBJ. social. “Lucky for us we live in Ottawa, where we have CHEO and Roger Neilson House.” Attendees included Jeff Clarke, president and CEO of gold-level sponsor Inflector Environmental Services, along with one of his business mentors, Paul McCarney, president and CEO of Clean Water Works and the 2019 recipient of AFP Ottawa’s award for Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser. Brian Henry, president of Quality Entertainment, and Steve Hanniman, owner of Creative Edge Studio, were also there. Roger Neilson House executive director Megan Wright was seen at the gala with her board chair, Mike Lupiano, a partner in executive search firm Morgan Leadership Search. As well, Danielle Robinson, president and CEO of the Ottawa Senators Foundation, was there with the head of her board, Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada. Spotted from the CHEO Foundation was Jacqueline Belsito, vice-president of philanthropy and community engagement, while the Ottawa Senators’ chief financial officer, Brian Crombie, was a returning attendee.
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“Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and they underestimate what they can do in a decade.” – Tony Robbins, Bill Gates and many other entrepreneurs with sufficient celebrity status to be quoted.
Empowering Ottawa entrepreneurs with bold ambitions
Numbercrunch co-founder Susan Richards challenges business owners to imagine the art of the possible
A decade ago, no one was hailing Ubers or booking Airbnb rooms on smartphones. There was no Snapchat, Stripe or Instagram. The rapid emergence of these platforms into nearubiquitous parts of our day-to-day lives is a result of bold entrepreneurial ambitions and goals that inspire greatness within teams. As a new year – and a new decade – kicks off, how much thought have you given to what you can accomplish over the next 10 years? Now is an ideal time to set lofty goals for your business. Many entrepreneurs fail to set their goals high enough – unless, that is, they’re brand new to the world of entrepreneurship, in which case they may be overestimating what they can achieve.
Seasoned entrepreneurs may shy away from aggressive growth targets as a defensive reaction to past experiences of missing previous targets. They may blame themselves for being naïve in the past and may resist articulating lofty ambitions to protect their ego. I’ve been privileged to work with countless entrepreneurs and business owners in my career. Seeing all the incredible talent, innovation and drive in our city makes one thing clear: We could all use a little more boldness in our ambitions.
FIRST STEPS Our thoughts and actions dictate where we are at any given moment. If you spend all your time focused on present-day realities, you’re unlikely to move to a greater future result. Instead, get thinking and start acting bigger! The first step is to remove limits on the amount of success you desire. Set your dreams at a level that requires daydreaming. You will soon find yourself feeling inspired and thinking about new and exciting OBJ360 CONTENT STUDIO
ways to grow your business beyond what you had thought possible. The typical alternative is growing accustomed to accomplishing someone else’s goals and dreams. Both scenarios require hard work. The difference is inspiration versus obligation. A business built on a foundation of obligation wears entrepreneurs down and is a drain on everyone else on a team. Conversely, one quickly sees productivity and creativity flourish when a team’s imagination is sparked with visions that are aligned to lofty growth goals. To my chagrin, most entrepreneurs do not set annual financial targets – a decision that can directly limit growth. What if we all grew our revenues by 10x this decade? What if you grew your staff by 10x? Consider also: • What if you dominated your category? • What if you bought your competition? • What if you structured a pricing model that had your customers happily funding your growth? • What if your customers are excited to tell their friends about your business? • What if your employees were passionate about their jobs? • What if you stopped worrying about pleasing everyone (clients, employees, family, friends, etc.) and instead redirected that focus towards accelerating your business goals? • What if you put most of your attention on what is working instead of what is not working? • What if you set all your goals 10x bigger than you think they should be? • What if you believed all of your employees were going to make amazing contributions towards your 10x growth? • What if you obsessed about chasing your dreams? Let’s not be mediocre. Let’s not cut costs by five or 10 per cent. Let’s not focus on problems. Instead, let’s remember why we were once inspired to make big things happen. Let’s get bold. Let’s go 10X. Let’s imagine the art of the possible. Susan Richards is the co-founder of numbercrunch, a one-stopshop for business financial services. The company offers cloud-based bookkeeping, and virtual CFO and controller services. To learn more or to request a quote, visit numbercrunch.ca.
CONNECTING TECH IN OTTAWA
Capital Angel Network’s 2019 investments BY CRAIG LORD
CAN’S 2019 INVESTMENTS (All companies Ottawa-based unless otherwise stated)
INITIAL: • Wavve (Kingston) • CybernetIQ • Genecis (Toronto) • Neurovine • Incuvers • Brokrete • Planetary Hydrogen • Click Armour • MasterpieceVR • MODU FOLLOW-ON:
TECHOPIA LIVE Click here on the digital edition to hear Techopia’s conversation with Capital Angel Network.
$3.3M $4.1M $5M
“People are really trying to look, not only for a good business opportunity and an investment opportunity, but where they can make a difference in the world beyond just making some money.” — CAN executive director Nolan Beanlands
“That’s really been a direct contributor to the growth of our innovation ecosystem over the past decade,” he said.
RVezy SnapClarity Cliniconex Transparent Kitchen BlackBox Plum (Toronto) Welbi GoFor Spiderwort
ttawa’s local network of angel investors cracked a significant milestone in 2019 as it heads towards a decade of supporting the capital’s up-and-coming startups. Capital Angel Network executive director Nolan Beanlands and chair Jennifer Francis joined the first Techopia Live of 2020 to break down the organization’s past year of activity. CAN’s angel investors collectively cut more than $5 million worth of cheques in 2019, the largest annual total in the company’s history, Beanlands told Techopia Live. That’s up from $4.1 million a year ago and $3.3 million in 2017. That money was spread across 19 companies in 2019, with all but three of those firms based out of Ottawa. The split was roughly 50-50 between initial and follow-on investments. The past year’s crop had its fair share of headline grabbers. Among the crowd was construction tech company GoFor Delivers, which secured its CAN investment by winning the AccelerateOTT pitchfest in May. Healthtech platform Welbi, which was named alongside GoFor as one of Techopia’s tech firms to watch in 2019, also found pitchfest success at the SoGal regional
CAN’S ANNUAL INVESTMENT TOTALS
• • • • • • • • •
competition in November. Capital Angel Network also joined OSEG partner Jeff Hunt to invest in a seed round for Neurovine, which develops AI-power technology for concussion recovery. Francis noted that some 30 per cent of the companies CAN invested in last year are female-led and a third of the 15 new angels that joined the organization last year were women. Boosting gender representation, both in CAN’s portfolio and in its crop of investors, is among the network’s biggest priorities, she said. Beanlands highlighted an emerging trend in the sector breakdown of CAN’s portfolio. A new interest from local angels on markets such as clean tech and health or bioscience-focused startups suggests members are looking to invest with their hearts as much as their heads. “People are really trying to look, not only for a good business opportunity and an investment opportunity, but where they can make a difference in the world beyond just making some money,” Beanlands said. The new year promises to be a memorable one for Capital Angel Network as the organization enters its 10th year in operation. With a total of 92 portfolio companies across its first nine years, CAN is on pace to hit No. 100 later in 2020. Over that time, CAN angels have invested a cumulative $30 million in those companies, 80 per cent of which have been Ottawa-based. Companies in CAN’s portfolio have collectively received $250 million in total investment, and nine of them have secured exits. Beanlands believes CAN’s efforts searching for Ottawa’s diamonds in the rough have paid off for the wider tech sector.
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the projected need,” says MacArthur. That need is especially acute in Ottawa’s tech sector, which represents a relatively high concentration of the city’s total employment. Few organizations in Ottawa have a better view on this demand than the city’s recruitment and staffing firms. The recruitment agencies Techopia spoke to say the need to find skilled tech talent reached a boiling point in 2019. “It is way more challenging today to identify … that top tech talent versus two years ago,” says Ron Palaczka, CEO of LRO Staffing. Despite the tight market, Palaczka says the level of demand in 2019 drove the company to its best year in business since launching in 2005. Of LRO’s nine distinct business segments, revenue from techfocused placements led the company. It’s a similar story at excelITR. Ameera Girgis, the company’s director of IT services, says 2019 was the company’s busiest year for permanent staffing needs, prompting excelITR to double its recruitment capacity for IT placements.
Putting Ottawa on the global talent map Invest Ottawa joins scale-up companies in hunt for hires BY CRAIG LORD
Capital Region has floated just above record-low levels of unemployment. Heading into 2020, the unemployment rate in Ottawa-Gatineau sat at 4.4 per cent. In last year’s Ottawa Business Growth Survey, local executives reported that finding top talent was among the biggest concerns they face in building their businesses, just behind attracting new customers. “Talent is always topic number one or two for any of these different organizations, whether it’s the current or
Canada and overseas, where she worked in the United Kingdom, Amsterdam and, mostly recently, for Scotiabank in Toronto. A year ago, when she moved back to the capital to become the director of Invest Ottawa’s talent strategy, she became an example of exactly what she’s trying to do: convince top-tier talent to move (back) to Ottawa. If she and her team are successful, the city’s tech sector could receive an influx of much-needed talent in an especially tight labour market. For the past few months, the National
MacArthur’s team at Invest Ottawa, the economic development agency tasked with supporting the growth of local businesses, hopes to alleviate the city’s talent crunch. Among the many initiatives Invest Ottawa runs, the latest push to help companies reach their potential is the Scale-Up Platform. As part of a program that was first announced last year, the organization will receive $16.85 million over five years from FedDev Ontario to support high-potential firms that are on the path to $100 million in annual revenue. So far, 41 companies ranging from 20 employees to 600 have signed up to receive support from Invest Ottawa. Much of that help falls under the HR banner, as finding and retaining talent becomes imperative when trying to hit scale. When a company joins the ScaleUp Platform, MacArthur says the first step is a “talent management audit” that gives Invest Ottawa a sense of where the companies need the most support. Oftentimes, that’s on the recruitment side of things. Invest Ottawa can act as a funnel for these firms to attract talent that they couldn’t reach on their own. Continued on next page
email@example.com or Natalie MacArthur, moving back to Ottawa for a new job also happened to prepare her for the position itself. MacArthur lived in the capital during many of her formative years, time that included doing a degree in marketing and communications at the University of Ottawa. Her journey then took her across
TEACHING OTTAWA TECH FIRMS TO ‘FISH’
Continued from previous page As an example, Invest Ottawa participates in the Destination Canada program hosted by the Canadian embassies in Paris and Brussels. The program puts out a call to Canadian expats or anyone else interested in moving to the country. This past year, some 4,000 people showed up to four-day job fair in Europe; roughly 1,000 of those prospects worked in the tech sector; Invest Ottawa’s team clocked 300 one-on-one conversations with interested applicants; and now 30 or so are engaged in a hiring process with local tech companies, MacArthur says. Invest Ottawa’s approach to recruitment is designed to avoid competition with local staffing agencies, MacArthur says, by avoiding executive placements and focusing efforts on international talent. Going back to the talent audit, she adds that the scale-up program’s effectiveness is not measured by the number of hires it yields. Rather, Invest Ottawa looks to help companies build their own HR and recruitment systems so that when they graduate from the
It is way more challenging today to identify … that top tech talent versus two years ago. — Ron Palaczka, CEO, LRO Staffing program they’re equipped to build their own teams. In other words, Invest Ottawa doesn’t plan to cast its net for talent each time a company needs a new hire. “We’re teaching them how to fish,” MacArthur says.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE CAPITAL Much of Invest Ottawa’s other work on the talent question revolves around making the capital itself more attractive to prospective talent. This means separating Ottawa from international markets such as San Francisco and closeby metropolises
such as Toronto and Montreal. Though Ottawa might still have a reputation as a government town, the local economic development agency believes a focus on the sectors where it could be a leader – health-tech and autonomous vehicle development, to name a couple – combined with the quality of life the city offers makes for an attractive package. “I think there’s certainly a great story that we can tell in terms of the innovation from a business perspective, but also the great quality of life, the great cost of living and just how our city is continuing to grow as a result of all of these things,”
MacArthur says. Amid Ottawa’s tight talent market, the city’s recruitment firms are also looking outside the capital for their hires. Palaczka notes that western provinces such as Alberta, where the turbulent oil and gas sector is leaving many searching for new opportunities, are prime targets to attract talent to Ottawa. He and MacArthur both highlight the importance of alumni networks from local colleges and universities as great resources for bringing graduates back to the city – turning a brain drain into a gain. “I find that people that are familiar with Ottawa, it’s easier to attract them to come back,” Palaczka says. But if Ottawa’s cold winters remain a limiting factor, Girgis argues that tech companies need not be constrained to geographical city limits. She says her team has found success encouraging clients to pursue remote working as an option, turning Ottawa’s modest talent pool into an ocean of global opportunities. “Maybe the resource doesn’t have to move from a different city,” she says. “It’s thinking outside the box.”
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34 FEBRUARY 2020
31 5 2 6 3
Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa 400-55 Metcalfe St. Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5 613-236-7777 / 613-236-5958 cwottawa.com
CBRE 333 Preston St., 7th floor, Preston Square Tower 1 Ottawa, ON K1S 5N4 613-782-2266 / 613-782-2296 cbre.ca Company/Address Phone/Fax/Web Royal Lepage Performance Realty Century 21 Explorer Realty 165 Pretoria Ave. 23-2525ON Carling Ottawa, K1S Ave. 1X1 Ottawa, ON K2B 7Z2 613-238-2801 / 613-238-4583 613-253-4253 / 613-257-2593 performancecommercial.ca century21explorer.ca Colliers International CushmanAlbert & Wakefield Ottawa 930-340 St. 400-55 ON Metcalfe St. Ottawa, K1R 7Y6 Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5 613-567-8050 / 613-567-8035 613-236-7777 / 613-236-5958 colliers.com/ottawa cwottawa.com Avison Young CBRE 800-45 Oâ€™Connor St. 333 Preston St., 7th Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4floor, Preston Square Tower 1 Ottawa, ON K1S 5N4 613-567-2680 / 613-567-2671 613-782-2266 / 613-782-2296 avisonyoung.com cbre.ca CLV Realty Corp. 485 Bank St. Royal Performance Realty Ottawa,Lepage ON K2P 1Z2 165 Pretoria Ave. 613-728-2000 / 613-728-1107 Ottawa, ON K1S 1X1 clvrealty.com 613-238-2801 / 613-238-4583 performancecommercial.ca Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty 2 Hobin St. Colliers International Ottawa, ON K2S 1C3 930-340 Albert St. 613-831-9628 / 613-831-9626 Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y6 firstottawarealty.com 613-567-8050 / 613-567-8035 colliers.com/ottawa Marcus & Millichap 301-275 Bank St. Avison Ottawa, Young ON K2P 2L6 800-45 Oâ€™Connor St. 613-364-2300 / 613-364-2310 Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4 marcusmillichap.ca 613-567-2680 / 613-567-2671 avisonyoung.com Cresa Ottawa 1000-130 Slater St. CLV Realty Ottawa, ON Corp. K1P 6E2 485 Bank St. / 613-688-7201 613-688-7200 Ottawa, ON K2P 1Z2 cresa.com/ottawa 613-728-2000 / 613-728-1107 clvrealty.com Decathlon Commercial Realty Corp. Brokerage 17 Saddlebrook St. Coldwell Banker Ottawa, ON K2G First 5N7 Ottawa Realty 2 Hobin St. 613-725-7170 Ottawa, ON K2S 1C3 decathloncommercial.com 613-831-9628 / 613-831-9626 firstottawarealty.com JLL 1004-275 Slater St. Marcus ON & Millichap Ottawa, K1P 5H9 301-275 Bank St. 613-656-0145 / 613-288-0109 Ottawa, ON K2P 2L6 jll.ca 613-364-2300 / 613-364-2310 marcusmillichap.ca Koble Commercial Real Estate & Brokerage 4 Foothills Dr. Cresa Ottawa Ottawa, ON K2H 6K3 1000-130 Slater St. 613-237-0123 Ottawa, koble.ca ON K1P 6E2 613-688-7200 / 613-688-7201 cresa.com/ottawa Capworth Commercial Realty Brokerage 204-240 Catherine St. Decathlon Ottawa, ONCommercial K2P 2G8 Realty Corp. Brokerage 17 Saddlebrook St. 613-601-1353 Ottawa, ON K2G 5N7 capworthrealty.com 613-725-7170 decathloncommercial.com Cancorp Realty* 5-2100 Thurston Dr. JLL ON K1G 4K8 Ottawa, 1004-275 Slater St. 613-233-3333 / 613-248-8131 Ottawa, ON K1P 5H9 cancorprealty.com 613-656-0145 / 613-288-0109 jll.ca Facilities Commercial Realty 210-720 Belfast Rd. Koble Commercial Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5Real Estate & Brokerage 4 Foothills Dr. / 613-723-5698 613-723-8944 Ottawa, ON K2H 6K3 facilitiescommercial.com 613-237-0123 koble.ca Commercial JJMcNeil Ottawa, ON K0G 1J0 Capworth Commercial Realty Brokerage 613-668-7738 204-240 Catherine St. jjmcneil.ca Ottawa, ON K2P 2G8 613-601-1353 Proveras Commercial Realty capworthrealty.com 1400-222 Queen St. Ottawa ON K1P 5V9 Cancorp Realty * 613-788-8275 5-2100 Thurston Dr. proveras.com Ottawa, ON K1G 4K8 613-233-3333 / 613-248-8131 cancorprealty.com
No. of brokers doing more than 50% (in dollar value) of their work in commercial real estate 16 19
No. of national commercial agents 348 0
Local offices / national offices 2 5 99 0
Full service: Retail and office leasing; land sales; commercial and industrial sales and leasing; agriculture; mortgage financing.
LARGEST COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE BROKERS 422
Nathan Smith executive vice-president and managing director
Full service: office, industrial and retail leasing; land, multi-family and investment sales; property tax consulting; appraisal; project management; lease administration; market research; advisory and consulting services
(RANKED BY NUMBER OF LOCAL COMMERCIAL AGENTS) 1999
Local support staff 6 5
Year established in Ottawa 2002 2004
1 1 37 22
Warren Wilkinson Nathan Smith managing director executive vice-president and managing director
Leasing (landlord and tenant representation); investment Full service: office,management industrial and retail leasing; land, sales; real estate services; valuation and multi-family and investment sales; property tax consulting; advisory services; project management; consulting appraisal; project management; lease administration; market research; advisory and consulting services
1 1 15 22
Michael Church Shawn Hamilton managing director and senior vice-president principal and managing director
1 0 2 99
Mike Kelly broker of record John Rogan broker of record
Full-service commercial: leasing; office/industrial/retail; Tenant representation; office; industrial and retail leasing multi-residential and apartments; asset management; and sales;management; investment and multi-residential sales; consulting/ property mortgage brokerage; investment client advisory services; project management; appraisal; sales; appraisal; project management; valuations property management; capital markets; hotel services; workplace strategy; global workplace solutions; facilities management Real estate sales and leasing; property management; financial services; construction and development Office sales and leasing, tenant representation, industrial sales and leasing, tenant representation, investment sales, multi-residential, seniors housing, non-profit sales and leasing, land and investment sales, retail sales and leasing Tenant representation; office, industrial, commercial, land and retail leasing; investment sales; advisory and consulting Leasing tenant representation); investment services;(landlord businessand sales sales; real estate management services; valuation and advisory services; project management; consulting
5 20 1 37
2 7 1 15
1 6 1 0
1 0 5 20
Shawn Hamilton senior vice-president and managing director
Tenant representation; office; industrial and retail leasing and sales; investment and multi-residential sales; consulting/ client advisory services; project management; appraisal; property management; capital markets; hotel services; workplace strategy; global workplace solutions; facilities management Services offered Office sales and leasing, tenant representation, industrial Full service: Retail tenant and office leasing; landinvestment sales; commercial sales and leasing, representation, sales, and industrial sales and leasing; agriculture; multi-residential, seniors housing, non-profitmortgage sales and financing. leasing, land and investment sales, retail sales and leasing
Local CEO or designated broker John Rogan Ralph Shaw broker of record CEO and broker of record
Ross Webley president and broker of Warren record Wilkinson managing director
Martin Aass managing principal and Mike Kelly broker of record broker of record
Commercial real estate broker and advisory firm serving institutional, public and multinational corporate investors, Full-service commercial: leasing; office/industrial/retail; private owners, major space users, developers and lenders multi-residential and apartments; asset management; property management; mortgage brokerage; investment sales; appraisal; project management; valuations Tenant representation; strategic planning; project management; portfolio/lease administration; capitalmarkets; Real estate and leasing; property management; supply chainsales management; sustainability; sublease and financial services; construction and development disposition
Philip Zunder president and broker of Ross Webley record president and broker of record
Commercial real estate sales and leasing including office, retail, industrial, hotels, apartment buildings, retirement Tenant representation; office, industrial, commercial, land homes, land and syndication. and retail leasing; investment sales; advisory and consulting services; business sales
Ransome DrCar vice-president and Mark Paterson practice lead vice-president and broker of record
Tenant representation; project and facility management; lease administration; national brokerage solutions; office/ Commercial real estate brokersales and advisory firm serving industrial leasing; investment and management; retail institutional, and multinational corporate investors, sales; leasingpublic and investments; land sales; multi-residential private owners, major space users, developers and lenders investment Commercial real estate advisory, acquisition and listing services. Tenant representation; strategic planning; project management; portfolio/lease administration; capitalmarkets; supply chain management; sustainability; sublease and disposition Tenant representation; buyer representation; ownership leasing Commercial real estate sales and leasing including office, representation. retail, industrial, hotels, apartment buildings, retirement homes, land and syndication.
Mark Paterson vice-president and Michael broker ofChurch record managing director and principal
1 8 2 7
Marc Morin Graeme Webster Martin Aass managing principal and broker of record
1 5 1 0
Philip Zunder president and broker of record Jason J. Kukk, president and broker of record Ransome DrCar vice-president and practice lead
1 0 1 8
1 0 1
1 0 1 5
1 0 1 0
Donald Hughes broker of record Marc Morin Graeme Webster
Sale and acquisition of investment properties (single buildings and portfolios); syndication; apartment buildings; Tenant project facility commercial management; sale andrepresentation; leasing of retail, office,and industrial, and lease administration; nationalmanagement; brokerage solutions; office/ institutional assets; property consulting. industrial leasing; investment sales and management; retail sales; leasing and investments; land sales; multi-residential investment Investment sales; industrial leasing; suburban office leasing; retail leasing; tenant mandate program; utility audit services; Commercial real estate advisory, acquisition and listing property management. services.
James McNeil managing principal and Denis brokerShank of record
Specializes in green buildings and low-carbon workplaces as well as accommodation strategies for tenants. Tenant representation; buyer representation; ownership leasing representation.
Nick Maiorino principal and broker of record J. Kukk, president Jason and broker of record
Tenant representation Sale and acquisition of investment properties (single buildings and portfolios); syndication; apartment buildings; sale and leasing of retail, office, industrial, commercial and institutional assets; property management; consulting.
Donald Hughes broker of record
Investment sales; industrial leasing; suburban office leasing; retail leasing; tenant mandate program; utility audit services; property management.
James McNeil managing principal and
Specializes in green buildings and low-carbon workplaces as well as accommodation strategies for tenants.
3 N/A 1 2 1994 Facilities Commercial Realty 0 representation to appear on this list. *These companies did210-720 not respond to this Belfast Rd. yearâ€™s survey in time for publication. This information is from previous years. Note: Firms must offer tenant Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z5 613-723-8944 / 613-723-5698 facilitiescommercial.com JJMcNeil Commercial Ottawa, ON K0G 1J0
Ralph Shaw CEO and broker of record
7 3 7 5 9 6 10 7 11 7 11 9 11 10 14 11 14 11 16 11 16 14 16 14
THE LIST 3 2
Century 21 Explorer Realty 23-2525 Carling Ave. Ottawa, ON K2B 7Z2 613-253-4253 / 613-257-2593 century21explorer.ca
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FEBRUARY 2020 OBJ.CA
Erin Blaskie, the director of marketing at L-Spark and a staple of the Kanata North tech community, is heading downtown for her next post with up-and-coming startup Fellow. When Blaskie announced her departure from the local SaaS accelerator in mid-January, she received an outpouring of well wishes. Among those bidding a fond farewell was L-Spark’s Leo Lax, who called Blaskie a “guiding light” over her three years with the organization. Amid the reminiscing was a healthy dose of curiosity as to where she would take her marketing expertise. “Can’t wait to hear who won the lottery with you!” wrote local entrepreneur Karla Briones. It remained a mystery to even this reporter as Blaskie arranged a meeting on the ground floor of the World Exchange Plaza for an interview with her and the CEO of her new company. It wasn’t until Blaskie knocked on an unmarked door in the downtown complex that the answer came as Aydin Mirzaee, Fellow’s CEO, welcomed us into the company’s new office space. Fellow, which develops software to help managers have better meetings and track employee progress, started subleasing space from dashboard developer Klipfolio at the tail end of 2019. Blaskie is hire No. 20 for the startup, which came out of beta testing last fall following an $8.75-million seed raise. The opportunity to join Fellow first arose at last year’s SaaS North conference. Local
PHOTO BY CRAIG LORD
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Erin Blaskie/Fellow entrepreneur Adrian Salamunovic, who’s a mutual friend of Blaskie and Mirzaee as well as an adviser to Fellow, suggested the two get together to discuss an opportunity to lead the startup’s marketing efforts. What made Blaskie so well-suited for the Fellow role was the community she had built at L-Spark, Mirazee says. A key pillar of Fellow’s growth will be building up a network of managers to share best practices through multimedia projects such as podcasts and other socialfocused initiatives – skills Blaskie has demonstrated not only at L-Spark but in her own brand and the business she ran
for 14 years before that. “I think Erin’s the best person in the city to do that. I don’t think there’s anyone that comes close,” Mirzaee says. While Blaskie is proud of the many projects she helped to build during her time at L-Spark – events such as the SaaS Showcase, a focus on founder mental health through unplugged activities and a venture into co-working, to name a few – she says she’s drawn to Fellow because she believes in the product. “Software is great, but if it can facilitate better conversations between a manager and their employee... that’s extremely exciting, because I think you
can actually create a bit of a manager movement,” she says. While her departure from L-Spark comes with “mixed emotions,” she says she doesn’t expect the jump from Kanata to downtown to have a substantial impact on her connections to the west-end tech community. “It’s geographically large, but it’s really a small city,” Blaskie says of Ottawa. “I fully expect to be networking with my peers all across the city and definitely trying to encourage them to check out Fellow – so they can expect that coming down the pipeline,” she says with a laugh. – Craig Lord
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Cameron Love has been appointed the next president and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital. Love has most recently served as the hospital’s executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Previously, he has held several leadership roles within the hospital, including overseeing the planning and building of the critical care wing at the General campus. He will replace Dr. Jack Kitts, who is retiring in June after nearly 19 years on the job. Kevin Radford has joined the financial advisory team in Deloitte’s Ottawa office as a strategic adviser. A graduate of Royal Military College, Radford was most recently assistant deputy minister of real property services at Public Services and Procurement Canada. Real estate lawyer Merredith MacLennan has joined Merovitz Potechin LLP. MacLennan has extensive experience in all aspects of real estate law, including freehold and
condominium land development, large commercial transactions and complex title matters. Sal Apuzzio is the new vice-president of sales at software firm Lemonade. Most recently, Apuzzio served as sales adviser for Scrimmage, following his role as VP of sales for Saba Software. In addition, he has held many sales leadership and account management positions with technology companies including IBM, Interwoven, Plumtree Software, Informatica, SilkRoad Technology and Findly. Chris Stevens and Matthew Westphalen have been named partners at Crowe BGK. Stevens joined Crowe in 2009 and has significant experience in tax preparation, planning and compliance as well as financial reporting and small business consulting. Westphalen, who joined Crowe in 2010, specializes in assurance and advisory services for clients. He also handles income tax planning and compliance, business accounting and consulting, financial reporting and
internal control and policy writing. Westphalen was previously acting controller at Allen Vanguard and did stints as senior auditor at the Big Four firms. Vision Critical has appointed Nicole Kealey to the role of chief strategy officer. Prior to joining Vision Critical, Kealey spent eight years at SAP, where her most recent position was global vice-president intelligent enterprise and industry marketing. Before that, she spent 13 years at Adobe, where she held a variety of senior marketing roles.
HATS OFF GaN Systems has been named a 2020 Global Cleantech 100 company by Cleantech Group. The 2020 Global Cleantech 100 features private, independent and for-profit companies best positioned to contribute to a more digitized, de-carbonized and resourceefficient industrial future. GaN System makes power semiconductors that use gallium nitride.
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Well, castings of them, but still, the cool factor is irrefutable. Research Casting International of Trenton accommodates museum exhibit projects and commissions of any size and complexity. The team has built more than 700 pieces over the past 30 years, with its work featured in exhibits from Japan to China, Australia to Belgium. Clients include the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Natural History Museum in London, U.K.
Seven megatrends that could change your business One of Ottawa’s leading entrepreneurs looks at several paradigm-shifting trends that could shake up the world – and particularly the world of business – as profoundly as the printing press did six centuries ago ALLAN WILLE
After I took on the role of chief innovation officer at Klipfolio, I wrote about how important it is for companies to build an internal culture of innovation, an article that appeared in OBJ last summer. As I explained, innovation is not about a mad scientist yelling “Eureka!” in a dingy lab; instead, it is the result of a deliberate, company-wide process involving collective and collaborative thought, planning and effort. Now I want to expand on that notion and show how awareness of megatrends can jumpstart the innovation process in a company of any size.
WHAT’S A MEGATREND? Megatrends are deep-rooted trends that a) are most often irreversible; and b) shift the paradigm in some aspect of life. For example, the invention and spread of the printing press catalyzed a megatrend of the 15th century. It changed the way information was distributed, and that change was permanent. There was no way to put the printed book genie back into the bottle. The paradigm had shifted.
The printing press changed all sorts of things. It created jobs for printers, papermakers and booksellers – and put the monks who transcribed texts out of work. It stimulated the development of vernacular languages, broke the power of elites to control information and was an important cause of the Protestant Reformation. There are seven megatrends evident in the world today, and each has the power to shake things up as profoundly as the invention of the printing press did six centuries ago. By shaking up the established order, each megatrend creates opportunities. For example, the invention of the printing press created work for printers, authors and booksellers. The trick is to identify opportunities on the horizon and act on them. Megatrends help you do that. Megatrends are paradigm shifts. They can point to the coming destruction of whole industries and tip you to where the opportunities are for growth.
THE SEVEN MEGATRENDS AND WHAT THEY MEAN There are right now seven megatrends I see as having a huge impact on the future. I’ve come to these seven by listening to talks about the future, such as annual addresses by Deloitte and the Business
Development Bank of Canada, by reading reports on the most important trends, such as those by Ernst & Young and the World Bank, and of course by talking with neighbours, friends and colleagues about where the world is headed.
CLIMATE CHANGE Climate change is already being felt around the world, and its effects will be felt even more strongly if carbon emissions are not lowered. There is going to be a massive amount of money invested in this area in the coming decades, and this is a huge opportunity for innovation in everything from dam-building to agriculture. Every company should be doing a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of what climate change means for them.
CHINA AND INDIA ARE THE NEW SUPERPOWERS It’s no secret that China’s economy – and its clout – have been growing, and many experts expect China’s economy to overtake the U.S. economy in terms of GDP within a few years. India’s economy is also growing at a staggering pace, and it’s likely to be the world’s third-biggest economy in short order. Think of the impact this will have on things like the demand for electricity, the amount of garbage each country generates and how industry will satisfy growing demand for consumer goods. What about language? Will Chinese become a dominant world language? What about the balance of trade or a shift in competitive threats? The point is, we have to look beyond our own country and our own culture when looking to the future. It doesn’t pay to be myopic. Things happening on the other side of the globe can create opportunities for us here.
INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT Extreme poverty is declining in every region of the globe. This is wonderful for all concerned, and it also means that people are no longer working just to subsist. As people’s incomes rise, so does their ability to contribute to the economy. This means a surge of new micro and small businesses. What will all these small businesses grow up to be as individuals become empowered to build their own economic
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future? What does it mean for things such as life expectancy, the demand for education or buying power? What technologies will further enable and protect this group, which counts in the tens of millions?
AN AGING, URBAN POPULATION Experts now believe the world population will top out and then begin to decline. Just when that will happen is a matter of conjecture. In their book Empty Planet, authors Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson think the decline will start by mid-century. A recent article in The Atlantic talks about it happening a few decades later. Either way, the shift will be profound. A declining population is an aging population. A report funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows, among many other things, that the global population of people aged 80 and older is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million. At the same time, more and more people will live in urban areas. What does all that mean? We’re already
starting to see labour shortages, and the Business Development Bank of Canada expects that trend to continue. This is likely one of the most easily understood and impactful trends. If there is less available labour, innovation will prevail – and it’s already beginning in automation and artificial intelligence.
FOOD, WATER AND ENERGY SECURITY As the climate changes, as poverty declines, as cities grow, as whole countries get richer, the demand for food, water and energy will grow. These resources are not unlimited and have to be husbanded. The consequences here are unimaginable. This is a massive area of opportunity. And it’s not optional: We have to solve this!
DATA IS THE NEW OIL Data isn’t just the new oil; it will be the new water, the new international currency, the lifeblood of everything our society will want and need. Data collection, management and especially security offer huge opportunities for innovation. Data is a
wonderful, almost unlimited, resource, useful for business and for life in our increasingly connected world. But as we are already seeing, it can be used for evil as easily as it can be used for good. It is therefore crucial for us to figure out how to protect it. Governments and private companies are taking an increasing interest in this area. Cybersecurity is the latest darling benefiting from huge VC cheques – an evergreen market that will continue to grow in a fight against evil.
NO GATEKEEPERS As recently as 20 or 25 years ago, just about everybody got their information from trusted, verifiable sources. If you wanted to find the population of England, you consulted an encyclopedia or went to a public library to look it up. If you wanted to know what was going on in the world around you, you bought a newspaper or watched the news on TV. Information was not at everyone’s fingertips. Instead, we had to rely on gatekeepers – journalists, librarians and other professionals – to find information and present it to us. Those
gatekeepers played a crucial role in separating the wheat from the chaff. If we read something in a newspaper or an encyclopedia, we could be fairly certain the information had been verified and was true. There are no gatekeepers anymore. Anyone can put anything out on the internet, no verification needed. And soon with advances in audio and video spoofing, your own voice and even recorded video can be hijacked. It’s a free-for-all out there, and it’s increasingly difficult to tell fact from fiction. This breakdown of authority is happening on a global scale, and is likely one of the things fuelling the growth of protectionism, populism and antiglobalization movements. No one knows who to trust anymore. Are there other megatrends out there? Probably. You may find one that affects your company directly. So my advice: Take in the big picture. Keep an ear to the ground and an eye on the future if you want to grow and thrive. Allan Wille is co-founder and chief innovation officer of Klipfolio.
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Merredith has extensive experience in all aspects of real estate law including freehold and condominium land development, completing large commercial transactions and resolving complex title matters. Direct Line: 613-563-6681 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.
Published on Jan 24, 2020
Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.