THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE KANATA NORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
BUSINESS ASSOCIA Spring 2019
WHAT WEâ€™RE GEEKING OUT ON MASV accelerates file transfer technology Page 12
WHERE WE LIVE Tech workers help construct homes for deserving families Page 14
Where Kanata companies find skilled workers in a tight labour market Page 10
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1100 Canadian Shield Ave, Kanata
for gender diversity are respectively 35 per cent and 15 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.” This report, among others, shines light on the evidence that diversity drives innovation, and innovation helps drive bottom-line results. My conclusion? Diversity + inclusion = better business outcomes. Period. Business leaders and companies in Kanata North increasingly regard inclusion and diversity in their workforce as a source of competitive advantage and a key enabler of growth. The Kanata North workforce is comprised of individuals with many different mental and physical abilities, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and perspectives. (Stay tuned, the Kanata North Business Association will have more to share on this!) Attracting, nurturing and retaining diverse talent is a source of opportunity for Kanata North. As Canada’s largest technology park, Kanata North is all about unprecedented growth and opportunity. Contributing $13 billion to Canada’s GDP and with more than 33,000 workers and in excess of 540 companies, we are Canada’s capital of technology and innovation. #SuccessHappensHere because our engine is our people, and their innovation (and diversity) is our strength.
DIVERSITY + INCLUSION = BETTER BUSINESS OUTCOMES A
I am putting a challenge out to our Kanata North business community to engage in and continue the conversation on how your organization can attract and hire diverse talent and foster diversity. C-suite and HR leaders set the tone at the top. Make diversity, inclusion and equity part of your core values. I also strongly encourage you all to share your successes and lessons learned. I look forward to exploring the topic of diversity and inclusion, creating more space for these conversations and, helping connect diverse bright minds to the many opportunities that are abundant in the Tech Park. Veronica Farmer Director of Operations, Kanata North Business Association
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fter a whirlwind start to the year and the culmination of a successful week of International Women’s Day events, I took a moment to reflect on several recent conversations with individuals from the Ottawa and Kanata North business community – particularly those on diversity and, more specifically, how diversity positively affects business outcomes. We all know that having different perspectives at the table is good for lively after-dinner conversations. More importantly, we all intuitively know that diversity is good for innovation. At this point, most of you will say “show me the data.” Well, now there is more data to demonstrate that companies with more diverse, or inclusive, workforces see greater financial returns. In a 2018 report titled Diversity Matters, McKinsey researchers found “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity and those in the top quartile
CONTENTS “Work hard, be fair (and) kind, contribute, join in, hate no one.” – TEDxKanata speaker Amy MacLeod, reflecting on the career advice she would give to teenagers preparing to enter a new world of work.
WHAT’S NEW, WHAT’S NEXT Upcoming events and key dates
KANATA’S TECH HISTORY New mural celebrates 60 years of innovation
8 PROFILE David Ritonja takes on global responsibilities from Nokia’s Kanata base 10 WHERE WE WORK Overcoming the talent shortage 12 WHAT WE’RE GEEKING OUT ON MASV takes on tech giants by accelerating file transfers 14 WHERE WE LIVE Kanata Tech Build looks to raise $100,000 16 BUSINESS BRIEFING News from Canada’s largest tech park
4 KANATA NETWORKER SPRING 2019
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE KANATA NORTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Spring 2019
WHAT WE’RE GEEKING OUT ON MASV accelerates file transfer technology Page 12
WHERE WE LIVE Tech workers help construct homes for deserving families Page 14
Where Kanata companies find skilled workers in a tight labour market Page 10
The Kanata Networker is the official publication of the Kanata North Business Association. Learn more at kanatanorthbia.ca
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what’s new - what’s next?
DISCOVER TECHNATA TECH EXPO & CAREER FAIR April 2, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kanata’s fourth annual Tech Expo & Talent Hunt job fair is the largest of its kind in the area with more than 80 exhibitors and in excess of 2,500 attendees. As Canada’s Largest Technology Park and a vibrant tech hub, Kanata North has thousands of exciting job opportunities. Discover TechNATA connects talent with opportunity, providing a platform to spotlight those career opportunities and allow job seekers to meet with employers and recruiters all under one roof. Register at http://www.discovertechnata.com.
DISCOVER TECHNATA BREAKFAST
KANATA NORTH KITCHEN PARTIES
A brand-new networking series, the Kanata North Kitchen Parties series was initially launched as a winter escape to get together with our tech-park pals. It’s a casual no-frills networking opportunity to meet neighbours and fellow employees in our business community. If your company is interested in hosting a Kitchen Party, get in touch with Alycia Douglass at KNBA and head over to our blog to read more about Kitchen Parties and why you should host one.
INNOVATORS OF KANATA NORTH TECH MURAL
The Kanata North Business Association worked with the Wesley Clover Group to track down companies in the area to contribute some historic timelines, photos and memorabilia to be featured on the new technology mural on display in the Brookstreet Hotel lobby. The KNBA donated an updated version of its famous tech map to be part of the display showcasing the many technology firms in the area. The new mural presents a history of tech in the Kanata North business park spanning from the 1960s to today. Read more about it in the article featured in this issue.
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The University of Ottawa has launched a new educational event series titled “uOttawa Innovates,” hosted in its new training facility in Kanata North. The events are a networking opportunity to connect the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering with its alumni, industry partners, co-op employers and friends from the technology and innovation industry. Each event will bring in industry experts and professors specializing in different fields of study to present research and ethical engineering principles. Watch for more events in the upcoming months in our events calendar.
CROSS-CULTURAL COMPETENCY TRAINING
March 27, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Hire Immigrants Ottawa and the Kanata North Business Association invite you to a complimentary professional development opportunity on March 27. The HIO crosscultural competency training is designed to equip employers, HR professionals and people managers with practical skills, strategies and tools needed to increase cultural competencies and prepare workplaces for a culturally diverse employee base. Check our events calendar for details.
April 2, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Carleton University’s READ initiative, KNBA and the Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) will host a breakfast with the theme “Talent, Diversity and Inclusion” at Discover TechNATA at the Brookstreet Hotel. The breakfast will include panel discussions and networking opportunities with our business community. Watch for details in our events calendar.
NOKIA POWERING THE INSIDE RIDE
May 9, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Nokia Powering the Inside Ride is a partnership between Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation and Nokia committed to making a difference in the lives of kids and families living with childhood cancer in the Ottawa region. Businesses in the Kanata North tech park are invited to put together a team and participate in this celebration of fundraising, an excellent team-building exercise for your employees. The Inside Ride is a one-hour, team-based indoor cycling challenge that raises money for Candlelighters Ottawa, a grassroots charity that provides support to young Children fighting cancer in Ottawa and their families. The event takes place under the big top on the Nokia Campus in Kanata North. For more details about registration and participation check our events calendar.
ISPIM CONNECTS OTTAWA
April 8 to April 10 The International Society for Professional Innovation Management will host a threeday event that will bring together world-renowned innovation managers, researchers and business thought leaders to share insights on specific local and global innovation challenges and management. Check our events calendar for details.
ANNUAL RE$EARCH MONEY CONFERENCE
April 17, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 18th Annual RE$EARCH MONEY conference will shed a spotlight on how Canada can maintain its research and talent strength while adding new policies and programs to accelerate business growth and increase the number of large Canadianowned multinationals. See our events calendar for details.
PHOTOS BY MARK HOLLERON
Innovators of Kanata North: New mural celebrates local tech history By Elizabeth Howell
The mural is designed to accommodate additional companies in years to come. At the end is space reserved for the 2020s that is currently blank, except for a quote by Matthews that reads: “Opportunities are through the roof for those who get it right, and if you think that the opportunities have ended, you’d be very much mistaken.” The aim of the mural is to provide visitors to Kanata a broad sense of the history and diversity of the region’s tech companies. The story of many of these Kanata tech firms is far from linear. Ownership changes, pivots and M&As are part of
the corporate histories of many of the region’s most well-known tech firms, such as Mitel and Newbridge Networks. Matthews says these are all signs of a healthy tech ecosystem. “Some (companies) are sold, some combined, some are started up. The important thing is to keep (the industry) active,” he said.
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rom the early days of Northern Electric to current rising stars such as Martello, a new installation inside the Brookstreet Hotel is documenting Kanata’s rich tech history and showcasing the region’s innovation and achievements. Serial entrepreneur Terry Matthews helped unveil a new mural honouring the past 60 years of Kanata’s tech industry at a ceremony attended by some 75 people in early March. The multi-panel mural – titled Innovators of Kanata North – stretches more than 25 feet across the hotel’s
main floor, on the way to a Starbucks that companies in the local tech hub often use for meetings. The mural is broken up by decade between the 1960s and the 2010s, listing milestones of nearly 50 Ottawa tech firms including Mitel, DragonWave-X and Wind River. The first mural has a single entry about Northern Electric, which would later become Nortel and a central part of Ottawa’s tech ecosystem for decades. As visitors reach the 2010s, they read milestones achieved by Kanata’s current generation of tech stars, such as BlackBerry QNX’s 2017 on-road test of an autonomous vehicle – a Canadian first.
NOKIA EXPANDS KANATA OPERATIONS IN 5G PUSH
David Ritonja served as co-chair of Invest Ottawa for four years, during which time the organization moved into its current home at Bayview Yards. PHOTO COURTESY OF INVEST OTTAWA
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Community builder David Ritonja takes on new global role at Nokia Former Invest Ottawa co-chair sees stronger ties between Kanata and downtown tech communities By Rosa Saba
avid Ritonja, a well-known leader in Ottawa’s tech community who has spent years helping the sector grow and diversify, has landed a new
job at Nokia that will see him take on new global responsibilities from the company’s Kanata base. Ritonja says the skills he developed at OCRI, Invest Ottawa and other organizations will be instrumental in
his new role as vice-president of market development in the Finnish telecom firm’s fixed networks division. Ritonja joined Alcatel-Lucent, which was acquired by Nokia in 2016, some 18 years ago. However, his career started as an air force engineer after studying at the Royal Military College of Canada. He went on to spend two years with a software startup before joining defence giant Lockheed Martin to work on mobile technology as the company diversified. “I started getting my feet wet into the whole networking side of the house,” explains Ritonja, adding that this was “during the crazy days of dot-com.” Knowing Lockheed Martin likely wouldn’t go as far in the networking space as other network-focused companies, he started looking around for opportunities and found one when
Nokia plans to add 237 new Canadian jobs – the vast majority of which will be located in Kanata North – as it develops 5G technology for mobile networks. The Finnish telecom giant made the announcement at its March Road offices earlier this year. The federal government will contribute $40 million alongside $12.4 million from Ontario’s provincial government. Additionally, Nokia said it is bringing its Bell Labs research division to Kanata to capitalize on work being done in artificial intelligence and other areas.
Alcatel offered him a position running research and development for the company’s DSL business. It turned out to be the right move. “As time went by, the business that we had for that type of product set in North America kept growing in status,” says Ritonja. A few years later, he took over leadership in Ottawa and has been there ever since. As technology continued to evolve, the company began working with bigger customers across North America.
“My responsibility grew beyond just the DSL business to effectively all our access technologies in North America,” says Ritonja. “It became very, very interesting.”
“THERE’S AN ENTREPRENEURIAL NATURE IN OUR COMMUNITY.”
Even throughout the dot-com downturn, Ritonja says business was stable. He says the company culture at Alcatel, and now Nokia, suits him and has allowed him to stay with his family in Ottawa despite taking on increased responsibility. “The bosses that I’ve had have actually given me the opportunity and the autonomy to grow and do what I want,” he says. “There’s a lot of flexibility to grow into other roles in a large company without actually having to move.” That includes plenty of opportunities for development and growth, including in his new market development position. “I was at that point in my career where I was actually getting a bit restless,” admits Ritonja. “Maybe my boss sensed it. It was actually a timing that worked well on both sides.”
– David Ritonja, who was recently named vice-president of market development in Nokia’s fixed networks division. In his new role, Ritonja will be helping Nokia expand and diversify globally, identifying new markets and key sectors. “One of the strengths that I ... feel I brought to the table is truly understanding business development and understanding where markets are evolving,” says Ritonja. “It’s going quite well.” Ritonja is no stranger to the importance of diversification, not just for a company but for the tech sector itself. He joined the board of OCRI – the predecessor of Invest Ottawa – approximately eight years ago, and says the change in the tech sector post-boom took him by surprise.
“It was an immense eye opener for me to realize how our city had diversified already,” he says. “There’s an entrepreneurial nature in our community.” His belief in the importance of tech’s contribution to economic development in Ottawa led him to help facilitate the first-ever federal development grant to the city, which was used to encourage students to develop apps. The next step was for OCRI to transition into an organization with more of a focus: Invest Ottawa. “I think that was a good step for the city,” he says of the initiative. “What Invest Ottawa really allowed was a refocusing of what we needed to do.”
With Bruce Lazenby as Invest Ottawa’s first CEO – a “startup kind of guy,” Ritonja says – the Nokia executive served more than four years as the economic development organization’s co-chair. During that period, he says Invest Ottawa put itself on the map and helped build connections in Ottawa tech between downtown and Kanata North. “I believe that relationship has maintained itself,” he says. “I feel quite strongly about the progress that we’ve made and proud of it.” Looking back, Ritonja says he has seen Ottawa’s tech sector not only diversify, but also come together. “We weren’t as unified as we needed to be,” he says. “And I honestly believe as time has gone on, a lot of those barriers have come down.” Though Ritonja’s new role at Nokia has him thinking globally, he plans to stay connected in Ottawa as he uses the leadership and networking skills he gained here abroad. “I have just incredibly fond memories of ... contributing and feeling like I made a difference,” he says.
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Tight talent market no barrier to growth for creative Kanata companies Tech employers use co-ops, international recruiting and a new approach to workplace culture to find skilled staff
By Rosa Saba
10 KANATA NETWORKER SPRING 2019
n a winter day in Kanata North, red signs outside You.i TV’s office proclaim, “We’re hiring!” You.i TV isn’t the only Kanata North company with big growth plans. But many tech firms are finding it harder than it used to be to find the talent they need. STEM jobs are growing faster than any other sector in Canada, with demand increasing by 4.6 per cent compared to 1.8 per cent overall, according to the latest census data. But less than a quarter of students are graduating with STEM degrees, and the gap between need and talent is growing. According to a 2017 study by the Information and Communications Technology Council, by 2021 the demand for new tech workers will have reached 216,000 nationally. This means companies across Canada are vying for the talent they need to grow. Real estate services firm CBRE reported that Ottawa had the highest concentration of tech talent in the country in 2017, beating even Toronto. Ottawa’s talent is educated, but expensive, even though the city boasts lower rent and home ownership costs than Toronto or Vancouver. “It’s a highly competitive, day-to-day fight for talent. Not only in Ottawa, but in tech in general,” says Amy MacLeod, corporate diversity officer and vicepresident of strategic communications at Mitel. “You must constantly look and assess to make sure that you have those next-gen skills.” Despite the challenges, companies
Syntronic president Hans Molin says his firm has grown from 30 employees to 260 since 2016 and expects the company’s headcount to double in the next three years. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON in Canada’s largest technology park are hiring, often with great success.
Beyond prompting hiring managers to think internationally, Molin says the talent shortage is affecting workplaces in another way: “We can see headhunters are more aggressive in approaching our people,” he says. But rather than taking a defensive posture in response, Molin says it’s an opportunity to think more about how to keep employees engaged – a process that can even start before an employee’s first day of work. Molin says it’s important to keep the hiring process efficient, while allowing candidates to meet as many people as possible and really get a feel for the
“YOU’RE NOT JUST INTERVIEWING CANDIDATES ANYMORE. THE CANDIDATES ARE INTERVIEWING YOU.” – Steve Stanley, founder and managing partner, Newfound Recruiting
Tech companies also increasingly have diversity on the radar: Ottawa’s tech talent pool is less than a quarter female, according to the CBRE report. Skilled immigrants can also face obstacles in getting themselves into the job market. For example, Henry Akanko, director of Hire Immigrants Ottawa, says that many companies have “a lack of awareness
of the changing demographics and the labour market.” “This is usually shown in the type of recruitment processes and practices that (companies) have,” he says, adding that some of these practices are now falling short. Hire Immigrants Ottawa helps employers address the barriers they face in hiring and integrating immigrants into their workforce. “It’s hard for somebody who is new to the city to know all the employers,” he adds, recommending that firms review their policies and practices to identify gaps. Beyond more tech talent, a diverse talent pool brings a wide range of ideas and perspectives, as well as nuanced skill sets, says Akanko. “These are people you can tap into from all parts of the world.” MacLeod says one of the ways Mitel is trying to widen its hiring net is by closely examining the language of their job descriptions, as well as making a diverse set of employees part of the hiring process. “There are subtle things you can do that make people feel included,” she says, adding the company has “just scratched the surface.” MacLeod says it’s also important to explore different avenues for job advertising, and adds the company is exploring the possibility of partnerships with organizations that help new immigrants. As a global company, she says diversity is inherent in Mitel and an asset to the firm. “We’re used to working across cultures,” she says. Molin agrees, adding that any tech company can benefit from a workforce that represents its clients. “Tech is global,” he says. “Tech in Canada would not be where it is if we didn’t have that foreign talent.” Despite the competitive nature of the tech talent world, Molin says Syntronic puts a lot of effort into supporting organizations such as Invest Ottawa, and the Kanata North Business Association in the hopes of building up a robust community of tech talent from which all companies can benefit. “What we’re trying to do is to also get ourselves involved with customers, competitors (and) other companies to make Ottawa more attractive,” he says. “The more companies we can bring in to Ottawa, the more attractive Ottawa will be for high tech.”
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Research and consulting firm Syntronic opened its Kanata location in 2014 with just 20 people, says president Hans Molin, who was responsible for launching the location. Between 2016 and today, the firm has grown from under 30 employees to 260, and they’re still hiring – Molin says he expects the headcount to double in the next three years. With an extra 6,000 square feet recently added to the firm’s previous 22,000, and another 12,000 available for fitting up, Molin is confident in Syntronic’s growth trajectory. “We are very good at hiring people and keeping people,” he says. But before a company can even think about extending a job offer and working to retain that employee for the long term, hiring managers need to find those skilled professionals. And, in a tight labour market here at home, that has many looking to recruit talent from not only outside Ottawa, but beyond Canada’s borders. One tool that Syntronic has
successfully leveraged is the Global Talent Stream, a federal pilot program aimed at helping Canadian companies recruit international talent faster. It’s specifically targeted at those companies that need highly skilled foreign nationals for unique and specialized skills in order to scale up and grow. Molin says the Global Talent Stream has been “very successful” for Syntronic, reducing hiring times from months to weeks.
company’s workplace culture. “Competence attracts competence,” he says. “We’re hiring our people full-time and we keep them busy.” Steve Stanley, founder and managing partner of Kanata firm Newfound Recruiting, agrees that in a competitive market, tech firms need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Stanley says his firm has been much busier as companies look for help finding employees. He finds himself advising companies to do more to differentiate themselves – workplace culture is key, and social media is the best tool to advertise your company’s culture. “You’re not just interviewing candidates anymore,” explains Stanley. “The candidates are interviewing you.” Stanley says it’s also important for companies to connect with local postsecondary institutions, piquing the interest of STEM students before they graduate with co-op placements and job fairs. Policymakers and major Kanata employers are paying more attention to developing and nurturing this pool of future job-seekers. In February, BlackBerry QNX said the company will receive $40 million in federal funding to support close to 1,000 co-op placements over the next decade, as well as to add 800 jobs.
what we’re geeking out on
Small startup, big files: MASV accelerates data transfer technology Competing against Dropbox and IBM, Kanata firm makes inroads with media and entertainment customers By Rosa Saba
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nside the offices of LiveQoS, a small team is working away at a service that could make transferring large files over the internet a whole lot faster – and cheaper. MASV is a browser-based service originally intended for media and entertainment creatives that is giving the biggest names in file transferring a run for their money. David Horne, the vice-president of marketing for MASV, is the son of a well-known Ottawa tech leader. His father Martin is the CEO of LiveQoS, a network acceleration company. Though the younger Horne has a tech background himself, his main focus lies in digital marketing and strategy. After working at a startup called Blaze in Ottawa, he spent more than three years with Boston-based Akamai before Ottawa pulled him back. “I kind of cut my teeth in the startup scene,” says Horne. “With my dad being who he is ... I’ve always been drawn to the startup stuff.” Horne found himself at LiveQoS, where the company had started taking the technology they normally sold to large manufacturers and providing it
to end users. However, they quickly realized that though they had the technology, end users needed a product – and there was a whole client base waiting. “The media and entertainment space just kind of popped up as somebody who’s moving very large files on very tight deadlines,” explains Horne. “They really need to use the most out of their internet connections to be able to hit their deadlines.”
TESTING THE WATERS
MASV was born out of that need: a browser-based, pay-as-you-go transfer service able to send hundreds of gigabytes of video files in a matter of hours. The first version, released almost two years ago, was simple: just a service clients used to send their files over an accelerated network. The second version had a new cloud provider, Microsoft’s Azure, as well as a portal function – essentially, the receiving end of the service. The third version, released in February, offers significantly more. Horne says he hopes 3.0 will be the version of MASV that really allows the product to take off.
“(MEDIA COMPANIES) NEED TO USE THE MOST OUT OF THEIR INTERNET CONNECTIONS TO BE ABLE TO HIT THEIR DEADLINES.” – David Horne, vice-president of marketing, MASV. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
“The two first versions were kind of testing the waters, figuring out what people wanted,” he says. The biggest change is that MASV 3.0 is built on an API, which means the service can integrate with programs
such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Slack. Deliveries can now be tracked in more detail, which is critical for the timesensitive nature of many media projects. The service is also customizable – media companies can upload their own
art to the mobile-friendly site, making the service professionally branded. MASV 3.0 also upgrades a previous 10 servers to a total of 160 around the world, making file delivery faster, and adds Amazon cloud servers to the mix. The service makes a big difference for small and medium-sized companies, as well as freelancers, explains Horne. One example he gives is a customer in Los Angeles on a 10-day shoot whose post-production company is in the U.K. The customer has to send around 400 gigabytes of data every single day. Their options before MASV were slim: they could ship a hard drive daily at a cost of about US$250, which can take a couple of days and isn’t always reliable. “There’s no customs on the internet,” notes Horne. They could use DropBox or Google Drive, but that takes time, too. (MASV is eight times faster than DropBox and three times faster than Google Drive.) Or, they could use one of the programs that offers a comparable service to MASV – but with a couple of caveats. The first is that any service comparable in speed to MASV (Horne
The MASV team developed technology to send hundreds of gigabytes in a matter of hours. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON mentions IBM’s Aspera and Signiant) is expensive. Until recently, both competitors were subscription-based, though soon after MASV was released, Aspera began to offer a pay-as-you-go solution as well, albeit at four times the cost of MASV. For larger enterprise customers such as broadcasters, this may not be a problem. But for small
companies and freelancers, the cost is prohibitive. Second, both Aspera and Signiant are UDP-based, meaning they operate much like a torrenting program. Both the sender and the receiver must have the program installed, which makes them less user-friendly. Furthermore, network firewalls often block UDP traffic.
“They have a really fast solution that works well, so long as they control both the networks that are using it,” explains Horne. This is fine for large networks, but not for freelancers or small companies filming all over the world. MASV’s solution is to be based in the browser instead, more like Google Drive or Dropbox. “We’ve taken kind of the best of both worlds,” says Horne. “We’re able to transfer really fast. But we’re highly compatible with whatever destination you’re trying to transfer from.” Horne is confident the third version of MASV will accelerate the product’s growth, especially since 3.0 will be easy to update regularly. Updates after 3.0 will include an app (currently being developed in partnership with Algonquin College), integrations with video editing software and other options such as pay-as-you-go cloud storage. The growth of MASV’s consumer base, Horne says, is likely to come from the clients themselves. “I’m a firm believer that the only way to build a really successful SaaS business is through word of mouth,” he says.
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14 KANATA NETWORKER SPRING 2019
Members of Kanata’s tech community will be teaming up to help construct a home for a deserving Ottawa family later this year. SUBMITTED PHOTO.
From hardware to home construction T By Rosa Saba
Kanata Tech Build looks to raise $100K for Habitat for Humanity
ech workers across Kanata North are rolling up their sleeves in preparation for the 2019 Tech Build, with a $100,000 fundraising goal in mind and an opportunity to give back to their community. Habitat for Humanity is a charitable
organization that helps deserving families own their own homes by engaging corporate sponsors, teams of volunteer workers and donors to build houses. To date, Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa has constructed 76 homes, and plans to finish another four and start another eight this year. “Companies love it. I think it’s a great equalizer,” says Alexis Ashworth, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa. “You’ve got everybody from executives to support staff, all swinging a hammer side by side.” Though this is Habitat for
Humanity’s first-ever tech build, it’s not the first time the tech community has participated in the organization’s work. In fact, Ashworth says the idea for a tech build came from the enthusiasm of two corporate sponsors, Cisco and IFS, over the past couple of years. “We thought, OK, we’ve got these tech companies that are sponsoring – why not make this into … a collaborative effort with the tech industry in Ottawa?” she says. “They have a great team-building experience with their colleagues.”
Both Marisia Campbell of Entrust Datacard and Jennifer Ross-Carriere of IFS participated in a build around 25 years ago, and are now on the advisory board for the 2019 tech build. Ross-Carriere first got IFS involved in a build two years ago. She says the team enjoyed the experience so much that the next year, they did two builds. Now, as part of the team making the tech build happen, she’s excited for more teams from the tech community to experience the same.
Alexis Ashworth is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa. SUBMITTED PHOTO. “One of our core values at IFS is to give back to the community,” she says. “Our people just loved it.” Unlike more traditional teambuilding events, Ross-Carriere says
the opportunity to work alongside colleagues on a meaningful project is something memorable and rewarding. “It gets people out of the office, which I think is really important to the community and exposes them to something they may not have seen,” she says. “You really do get a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.” Ross-Carriere has fond memories of build days with IFS teams, and says she’s looking forward to the 2019 build. “It’s a great, great way to just get out of your day-to-day space, and have fun doing something completely different,” she says. For Campbell, the memory of participating in a build years ago still stands out: “It was an excellent experience,” she says. Now, as part of the advisory board alongside other Kanata tech leaders, she hopes to get tech firms big and small involved. Corporate sponsors put together teams of 10 who spend a day onsite doing everything from installing insulation to laying down the lawn. Employees from smaller companies can put together their own peer-to-peer
teams, with a fundraising goal of $5,000. Ross-Carriere says she hopes to see tech workers from different companies working together on the build, since the tech community in Ottawa is already tightly knit. “We think it’s a great way to get the tech community together,” she says. “Similar to having different groups in our office work alongside each other, it’d be really fun to have lots of tech companies work together.” Both Campbell and Ross-Carriere say that the build days, where teams work on the construction site alongside the family that will live in the house, are often eye-opening. “You never know where people are coming from or what’s going on in their lives,” says Ross-Carriere. “It’s opened up a lot of good conversations in the office.” Campbell adds that many people aren’t aware of how much help is needed in their own community. “We always think outside the community, not always within,” she says. “Tech build is an exciting opportunity for the community to give back.”
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Kanata North tech panel explains why it’s not just about women in business
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More than 100 people turned out to Mitel’s offices at 350 Legget Dr. on International Women’s Day in March for a special panel discussing the importance of gender equity. Stratford Managers’ Louise Reid moderated a panel featuring Mitel’s corporate diversity officer and vicepresident of strategic communications Amy MacLeod, Martello Technologies CEO John Proctor, Magnet Forensics engineering manager Thusha Agampodi and Qlik development evangelist Tamimi Ahmad. The hour-long discussion was focused entirely on business – not just
Solink’s Cory Michalyshyn and Mike Matta.
women in business. Reid and the panelists broke down data that showed how valuable having a more diverse company can be in building a company. Proctor, who acknowledged that he perhaps stood out on a panel showcasing diversity, noted the importance of different skills and approaches to conflict resolution. MacLeod put it succinctly: men’s and women’s styles may be different, but the substance is the same. Ahmad, who spends many of his days at trade shows looking for feedback on Qlik’s products, said
having a diverse representation at public exhibitions draws people to the company. In turn, being more welcoming to a multitude of people means the company receives a wider range of feedback. Since launching Magnet Forensics’ Kanata R&D offices a few years ago, Agampodi has built the engineering team to more than 20, some 40 per cent of which are female. She noted the importance of hiring women leaders in an organization to show prospective candidates that there’s a place for people who look like them. Once they’re in the organization, she added, elevate them – employees who feel like they belong will stick around and become role models for the next generation.
Nanometrics named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies Nanometrics was recently recognized for its overall business performance and sustained growth by being named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. The recognition honours companies that demonstrate strategy, capability and commitment to achieve sustainable growth. “We are proud of what we have achieved together, so it’s both humbling and exciting for us to be recognized in this way,” said Nanometrics CEO Neil Spriggs. The Kanata company has evolved from an engineering and manufacturing firm specializing in seismic instrumentation to a vertically-integrated service provider with geophysical data products based on scientific research and technologies such as artificial intelligence and cloud-based automation.
Solink raises $16M
Purecolo strikes IXP deal
Kanata company Solink, which develops surveillance video software, recently raised $16.3 million in series-A funding. The round was led by Valor Equity Partners. Also contributing were Generation Ventures, ScaleUp Ventures and the Business Development Bank of Canada’s IT Venture fund. All investors already had stakes in Solink, which currently counts around 60 people on its team. The funding will be used to “continue growing and developing the Solink platform,” according to the company’s press release. Solink’s software uses artificial intelligence to analyse video surveillance data and flag areas of concern in businesses’ daily operations. Customers include national brands such as Tim Hortons and Five Guys Burgers & Fries as well as financial institutions.
Data centre Purecolo has made an agreement with the Ottawa-Gatineau Internet Exchange (OGIX) to house an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the nation’s capital. An IXP is a hub that helps companies, service providers and other stakeholders improve internet speeds and keep traffic local. Ottawa doesn’t have one – but soon, it could have two. OGIX, which includes representatives from Invest Ottawa, the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN), local ISPs and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, has been lobbying for an Ottawa IXP, which stakeholders say will be necessary for enabling smart-city technology and, eventually, autonomous vehicles. OGIX is also in talks with Fibre Centre to develop another IXP location in Ottawa.
accepted at the national competition, and received the award for best editorial image in the Ontario competition. Cain also recently became the vicechair of the Eastern Ontario Branch of the Professional Photographers of Canada.
Mitel laces up deal with L.A. Kings Mitel’s software will be at the heart of the Los Angeles Kings’ new cloud-based communications services. The Kanata company is using a platform from Frontier Communications to provide analytics to the hockey team’s sales department as well as facilitate communication between coaches, scouts and management. “When you’re competing, on and off the ice, you want to be ahead of the curve,” said LA Kings president and Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille in the press release.
KARMAN INTERACTIVE GROWS WITH KINDLY BEAST
Photographer wins national awards Kanata-based photographer Steve Cain of South March Studio recently won two awards for his work from the Professional Photographers of Canada. One award was for best portrait in the Ontario competition, and the other was for out-of-province photographer of the year in the Atlantic competition. Last year Cain had four submissions
Kanata North company Karman Interactive will soon have a boost to their 12-person team, as an acquisition by Ottawa studio Kindly Beast will see
the two firms join forces. Kindly Beast is the studio behind “Bendy and the Ink Machine,” a popular game series that propelled the company to success. Kindly Beast co-founder and CEO Mike Mood actually got his start in the industry at Karman Interactive, and later the two firms partnered on Bendy’s mobile spinoff. Karman co-founder Jon Keon told Ottawa Business Journal that he and the company are excited to be joining forces, combining the creativity of Kindly Beast with Karman’s business acumen.
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TEDxKanata speakers imagine bright futures for Kanata, Canada and the world Fifth edition of annual gathering aims to spark new ideas among 500 attendees
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By Haley Ritchie
rom personalized medicine to artificial intelligence, today’s cutting-edge technology was nearly impossible to predict a generation ago. How do you navigate that? One strategy: take very detailed notes at TEDxKanata, where this year’s theme was “Imagine.” Eli Fathi, CEO of MindBridge Analytics, was one of eight speakers to take the stage, sharing his story of growing up with nine family members in a one-room apartment. No television,
no internet – and no way to imagine the AI tech that would someday become the foundation for his own successful company. “When I grew up, the world was different. There was no cellphone. There was no social media. Today each one of you has this at your fingertips,” said Fathi. “If you can imagine it, you can accomplish it.” The focus of the evening was the importance of looking ahead to the future, however unpredictable it may sometimes seem.
Dr. Phil Wells, head of the Department of Medicine at the Ottawa Hospital, shared the crystal ball potential of new technology in healthcare. Military veteran-turnedCEO John Proctor, of Martello Technologies, shared his insights from two different career worlds. Amy MacLeod, Mitel’s first corporate diversity officer, framed her talk as a question: what career advice would she give to a teenager facing an unknown future? Travelling back in time for an answer, MacLeod reflected on how her mother – who had no career outside the home – was still able to guide her children to success. “Change is going to happen. We have
no way of knowing what that will be. I’m no more qualified to offer advice than my mother was,” she said. “Work hard, be fair (and) kind, contribute, join in, hate no one. Value your values.” For some, including Shopify’s Anna Lambert and SocialRise CEO Connor Larocque, the theme focused on the challenge of maintaining values alongside emerging technology and social media. Lambert described how tracking her daily cellphone usage brought a change in perspective. In one week, she tracked five hours spent on Instagram – calculating that over time, those numbers would accumulate to 574 days of her life on the platform. “Are you kidding me?” she asked the audience. “I would never actively choose to give up those days. The thing that leaves me feeling most alive is real human connection.” Lambert emphasized that while social media can be an amazing tool, too much screen time can leave us feeling disconnected. As individuals and companies trend towards algorithms and online interaction, Lambert encouraged audience members to “put your phone down, use your brain and slow down” to remain “as human as humanly possible.” Katherine Cooligan, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, encouraged women in leadership positions to make bolder moves. Jim Perkins, founder of the Capital City Condors adaptive hockey program, shared his lessons on finding contentment. TEDxKanata organizer Roxanna Grecco said all 400 tickets sold out for the event, but the demand didn’t stop there. After sponsors and other lastminute attendees, the total number of attendees rose to more than 500. This year marked the fifth edition of TEDxKanata. Since it began in 2015, several other TEDx spinoffs have launched within neighbouring communities, but according to Grecco, TEDxKanata remains unique. “In Kanata North we have a wide variety of businesses. We have great speakers, and we have amazing leaders,” said Grecco. “We want people to be inspired, but we also want people to leave here thinking a little bit differently.”
Ottawa Senators Foundation launch online 50/50 draws Expansion of popular raffle will help Ottawa youth
oping to boost funding for youth programming, the Ottawa Senators Foundation 50/50 draw, which was previously restricted to fans attending live hockey games at the Canadian Tire Centre, is now available online. The 50/50 draw, which is conducted and managed by the Ottawa Senators Foundation, can now be played from anywhere in Ontario. “We want to enable fans to have that quintessential game experience while watching the game at home,” says Jonathan Bodden, the vice-president of corporate relations and fundraising partnerships at the Ottawa Senators Foundation. “By raising more funds, we’ll be able to support our programs in social recreation, education and healthcare.” Participants must be 18 years or older and by in the province of Ontario at the time of purchase in order to play. Winners are drawn at the start of the third period during Ottawa Senators home games. The addition of online tickets is part of the
Ottawa Senators Foundation’s efforts to raise funds for its youth initiatives. The Sens Summer Campership program sends 3,000 children to summer and day camps each year, free of charge. Funding also supports the Senators Sport and Leadership League, the only year-round sports league with no registration fee.
The foundation worked with Ottawa companies Shopify and the Canadian Bank Note Co. to create a website that would comply with strict provincial regulations and be user-friendly. A random generator is used to determine the winner. For more information about the 50/50 draw, please visit https://senators5050.com/.
Telethon raises $88,276 for Ottawa children
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One in five Ottawa children live in poverty and don’t have access to sports or after-school programming. The Ottawa Senators Foundation is working to change that. On Feb. 28, the foundation partnered with TSN and Mitel to host a telethon supporting youth programming in recreational activities and mental health awareness. Through the telethon, the foundation raised $88,276. Besides youth and recreational activities, the foundation also supports mental health awareness. Project step – which stands for support, treatment, education and prevention – provides counselling resources to youth for drug and alcohol addictions in local high schools. Last year, the Foundation supported 53,800 children through its sports, mental health and recreational programming. To make a donation to the Ottawa Senators Foundation, please visit https://www.sensfoundation.com/.
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2019-02-26 2:24 PM
The Kanata Networker is a publication available in both print and online, that highlights news and events from the Kanata North business com...
Published on Mar 26, 2019
The Kanata Networker is a publication available in both print and online, that highlights news and events from the Kanata North business com...