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WATCH Issue 1 - 2013



“At Desire2Learn, we hire superstars – enthusiastic, independent, dedicated, entrepreneurial co-op students. Many of our co-op students have become full-time employees as our company has grown. These students bring fresh ideas and are integral to our success. University of Waterloo co-op students represent an excellent talent pool.” John McLeod Sr. Director, Marketing & Alliances Desire2Learn Incorporated


for all your talent needs. A one-stop shop for employee recruitment: » Skilled students are available for year-round co-op, part-time, and summer work » Talented graduating students at the undergraduate, master’s, and PhD levels are eager for full-time positions » Experienced alumni are available year-round, equipped with the knowledge and skills to fill more senior roles

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WATCH Issue 1 - 2013



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Innovation is the cornerstone of Waterloo Region. Characterized by our start-up culture, Waterloo’s tech sector is in constant motion and change, with companies small and large finding new ways to work, build, and create. As the settling ground of great minds, Waterloo is recognized for its broad spectrum of knowledge and rich mathematical/ technology heritage. These elements, brought together, have brought the world the Fortran compiler, the Blackberry, the Perimeter Institute, and Christie’s micro tiles, among other innovations.

Mad Love Sweet Tooth’s innovative ecommerce solutions help online merchants grow closer to their customers

What’s Holding You Back? Nothing.

Design thinking is a conceptualization process popular within Silicon Valley that it is now taking root here in Waterloo.

SAP Labs Canada and WatHaus Bring Design Thinking to Waterloo

The key to design thinking: no barriers. A highly collaborative, empathetic, and intuitive problem-solving approach, design thinking is based on finding innovative solutions by understanding others through observation, and by building off the ideas of people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. It requires looking through the eyes of the end user to discover new opportunities and solve problems.

Cool and Relevant New International Business Centre

Business Directory Research + Technology Park University of Waterloo tenants directory

Dr. Ian Goulden, Dean of Mathematics A 41 year relationship with uWaterloo

The concept is not new. It was design thinking that allowed Thomas Edison to first light up the world. Envisioning a society based upon his creation, Edison was able to go beyond the usual solution-based philosophy to approach innovation with a more human-centered way of thinking. By imagining the ways people might want to use his inventions, and building upon that vision, Edison was able to create breakthrough technology advancements. This issue of WATCH features stories of how design thinking is finding a home among students at the University of Waterloo; and among the synergetic workplaces within the David Johnston Research + Technology Park; and the innovative solutions being developed behind a start-up’s doors. Visit with Waterloo’s Dean of Mathematics. Read about SAP’s WatHaus where teams come together to use design thinking to bring down barriers and develop innovative apps. And learn how tech start-up Sweet Tooth is creating new ways for merchants to make customers happy. Enjoy.

DESIGN: BLUEGIRL, WRITER: IGNITION, PHOTOGRAPHY: ONE FOR THE WALL © 2013 Watch Magazine is an annual publication of the David Johnston Research + Technology Park. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission from the David Johnston Research + Technology Park is strictly forbidden.

WATCH Issue 1 - 2013




Mad Love

Sweet Tooth’s innovative ecommerce solutions help online merchants grow closer to their customers

I strongly believe that honest, authentic communication is the best way to build customer loyalty and brand.

Sweet Tooth founder and CEO Jay El-Kaake has pretty much always been a technology entrepreneur. He built his first web site at the age of 10, and by 12 had set up his first online store. By the time he hit university, entering the University of Waterloo’s computer science program, his future path -- to build a start-up focused on making the ecommerce world a better place for online merchants -- was pretty much pre-destined.


“Because of my early start in selling stuff online, by 20 I already had a decade of ecommerce experience under my belt,” admits Jay. “I truly understood the day to day issues, and frustrations facing ecommerce merchants. I had walked in their shoes. I’ve always had a passion for sales. Then I got into computer science at uWaterloo, and fell in love with programming, and began looking for a way to combine the two.” The founding of Sweet Tooth in 2009 was for Jay a perfect storm. “The company is a perfect merge of ecommerce and technology,” says El-Kaake. “I mean, how much better can it get?” Sweet Tooth’s first product, also released in 2009 was a loyalty program designed to plug into Magento, one of the world’s leading ecommerce platforms. Sweet Tooth Rewards -- a top selling extension for Magento -- helps online merchants drive additional customer sales by rewarding customer’s expressions of loyalty (liking a product on Facebook for instance) with points they can use for follow on purchases. “One of the things that always baffled me and formed the kernel of the idea for Sweet Tooth was the fact that ecommerce really has never reached its true potential,” says Jay. “More people are online than ever before, and are more willing to provide merchants with information about themselves, and yet online merchants have never really been able to put it together and capitalize on that data.” Jay and his team plan to change all that, building

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WATCH Issue 1 - 2013

on their early successes in the loyalty space with additional product offerings to broaden and extend a retailer’s knowledge of their customer. Jay’s early experience as an online merchant infuses the Sweet Tooth team with a strong sense of the customer in every move they make. “I personally understand the day to day impediments of an online merchant, but not everyone on the team has walked that road. So we work hard to keep the customer at the centre of our culture and in every decision we make.” Our mantra on the team is “we love our merchants” and everyone on our team is charged with making our customers succeed. Experience has shown me that if we keep that focus, then our customers are more than happy to buy from us because we get their world.” Staying closely connected to retailers around the world is not quite as easy as it seems for Sweet Tooth. The company sells its products through a partner network so has to work extra hard to build direct relationships with its retail end users. But this clever start-up has continued to find ways to make that happen. “We heavily leverage social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter and we work really hard at engaging with our merchants and their ecommerce developers to build a strong community online. Even though we are still a small team, one of the most influential roles we have within the company is that of our community manager,” says Jay. “Through this community, we let our followers know that we want to know what they think, that we want their input and their opinions – even if they are negative – because that way, we can fix problems and make things better for our merchants. I strongly believe that honest, authentic communication is the best way to build customer loyalty and brand. I mean, it would be weird if we weren’t all about our customers. We are in the business of customer loyalty after all.”


What’s Holding You Back?

Nothing. SAP Labs Canada and WatHaus Bring Design Thinking to Waterloo Carved out of the SAP building in the David Johnston Research + Technology Park in Waterloo is a unique open space with no barriers or office cubicles. Desks are wheeled together for a team discussion. Random thoughts, ideas and to-do lists are written on walls, pillars – even the tops of desks coated with transparent whiteboard paint. It’s SAP WatHaus – one of six such creative environments established by SAP worldwide for its engineering teams to build next generation apps and technology using design thinking, a creative and user-centered approach to problem solving. In the fall of 2012, 12 co-op students took residence at WatHaus for a special project. The students’ mission? Develop three mobile apps from start to finish within a window of 90 days using SAP’s HANA in-memory database technology.

A Different Way of Thinking “None of the 12 co-ops hired knew each other previously, but despite having no previous connection, within about two to three weeks the group was acting as a cohesive team,” observed Sarah McMullin, Emerging Technologies, SAP Labs Canada, who managed the project locally. “It’s incredibly important in design thinking to have a team that has bought in, and our group was – they really wanted to succeed.” Delivering three fully baked apps in just 90 days is an aggressive goal for any engineering team, but the uWaterloo co-ops were up for the challenge. “They were so incredibly fearless. They brought with them this amazing energy, and a fresh set of eyes that had us all – even the most mature employees – rethinking our business processes,” says Sarah. “It opened our eyes to a different type of collaboration with the students who come into our organization.”

“We’re now actively looking at ways to evolve design thinking into our day to day life here in the Labs,” says Sarah. “We’re going to take maximum advantage of this awesome creative space to work with emerging technologies and innovations and bubble them up through the SAP organization.”

A Place with No Barriers Not only did the SAP Labs team find the WatHaus space broke down barriers between members of the team, it also broke through layers of seniority in the company. “You might walk into WatHaus and find Terry Stepien (Senior Vice President, Emerging Technologies, SAP Labs Canada) hanging out on the couch checking his email,” says Sarah. “The students just thought of him as one of the guys – and a really good developer at that.” The WatHaus team of 12 succeeded in their mission to build three mobile apps in 90 days, contributing to a global launch for SAP into the sports marketplace.

“We’re now actively looking at ways to evolve design thinking into our day to day life here in the Labs,” says Sarah. “We’re going to take maximum advantage of this awesome creative space then work with emerging technologies and innovations and bubble them up through the SAP organization.” VIST: for an extended version of this article.

WATCH Issue 1 - 2013



INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CENTRE, ACCELERATOR PROGRAM & CORA DEVELOPMENTS NEW INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CENTRE TO OFFER SOFT LANDING FOR GRADUATING START-UPS AND FOREIGN COMPANIES When start-ups graduate from the Accelerator Centre or the Communitech Hub, they are deemed “ready” for the commercial marketplace. But when it comes to setting up office space in the outside world, graduates are never “quite ready” for the harsh realities facing them. “Start-ups in residence with the Accelerator Program love the turn-key nature of our facilities – it is a major attraction for young companies as they can simply move in and get right to business without the daily distractions of setting up an office space,” says Tim Ellis, CEO, Waterloo Accelerator Centre. “It is show up, plug in, and get to work.”

But it’s a very different scenario when companies graduate and move out, explains Ellis. One of the things that graduating CEO’s immediately experience is the inflexibility of the commercial leasing world. Where at the Accelerator Centre they can make changes with just 60 days’ notice, in the outside commercial world, they must enter into multi-year lease deals, requiring a significant upfront financial commitment. They also face additional capital costs, installing phone systems, office furniture, photocopiers, and often have to add administrative staff to manage day-to-day office needs. For a start-up that has only begun generating

revenue, the costs of moving out and growing up can mount quickly. “We looked everywhere in the tri-cities for a stepping stone location after leaving the AC, but there was nothing. Instead of a soft landing, we had to start from scratch and fend for ourselves. I don’t doubt that we’d be a larger company if a soft landing had existed.” Matthew Rendall, CEO, Clearpath Robotics. To stretch their dollar, start-ups often end up moving outside of the technology corridor into industrial condos and offbeat office locations, says Ellis. As a result, they end up losing touch with the Accelerator Program team and their fellow start-ups. “Early stage companies

Cool and

This building promises to be the coolest and most relevant building in Waterloo.


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WATCH Issue 1 - 2013

It is show up, plug in, and get to work. TIM ELLIS CEO, WATERLOO ACCELERATOR CENTRE

Relevant residing under the same roof become an incredibly close-knit community of colleagues and friends,” says Ellis. “A new Accelerator Program graduate still needs that support network. We don’t want to lose touch or see those bonds broken.” But life is about to change for the better for the graduating technology start-ups in Waterloo Region. In 2013, Cora Developments will break ground on a new three-story, 110,000 square foot “International Business Centre” in the David Johnston Research + Technology Park. Designed by local architecture firm Robertson Simmons Architects Inc., the building will be purpose-built to offer haven and home to graduating start-ups, and provide a soft-landing for international companies

seeking to establish a presence in Waterloo. Like the Accelerator Centre and the Communitech Hub, the new facility will offer the flexibility and turnkey office and administration services young companies need, coupled with private, dedicated office suites for companies ranging from 1,500 to 7,500 square feet. Within the building, CEOs and their staff can take advantage of shared spaces designed to encourage innovative design thinking, radical collaboration and continuous networking with additional space allocated for prototyping & assembly, hoteling, fitness, games room and pub. And there are no restrictive lease agreements. Companies will be able to make changes or upgrade to bigger office surroundings with just 60 days’ notice.

“This building promises to be the coolest and most relevant building in Waterloo,” says Adrian Conrad, President of Cora Developments. “We want no barriers to entry with respect to this new facility, and are developing a building to offer premium space at a very attractive price point. The decision to graduate from the Accelerator Centre or Communitech Hub into the International Business Centre is going to be a complete no brainer.” Ellis says word on the street is already spreading about the imminent arrival of this cool new facility. “Folks are coming up to me saying, ‘where do I sign?’” The International Business Centre is expected to open its doors to graduating technology start-ups in 2015.

WATCH Issue 1 - 2013



Introducing the latest member of The Cora Group’s industry leading sustainable buildings in the University of Waterloo’s Research and Technology Park. We continue our long tradition of creating unique office environments that provide leading-edge features and unmatched floor plan customization. TECH park IV is another LEED-certification candidate, key features include: • Raised flooring with convenient access to cabling • Unsurpassed control of workspace climates with in-floor ventilation systems • Advanced automated electrical and HVAC systems • Motion-activated indirect lighting to promote energy conservation • Exceptional energy efficient building • Rainwater harvesting systems plus so many other features The Cora Group is Waterloo Region’s leading, multi-tenant “Smart-Green” building developer providing space for today’s technology and office industry.

Preleasing for 2014

The innoTECH BuildingTM is Southwestern Ontario’s first multi-tenant building to receive LEED Gold for New Construction certification.

TECH Park IV Research and Technology Park, Waterloo

2,000 10,000blsf e

Availa ly Immediate

The Cora Building Research and Technology Park, Waterloo

Accelerator Building Research and Technology Park, Waterloo

smart•green revolution

Leasing inquiries for the TECH Park IV, please contact: John Whitney at DTZ Barnicke • Tel: 519-746-6300 ext 224 • E-mail: For more information on The Cora Group and this building, please contact: Adrian Conrad • Tel: 519-589-6533 • E-mail:

“With the guidance and support of the Accelerator Program, we were able to grow our business 350%+ and created 20 new jobs within 12 months. The ability to tap into the experience and knowledge of the Accelerator Centre ecosystem has set us up for the future.” Adam Belsher CEO, Magnet Forensics

Serving the Accelerator Centre and the Communitech Hub, the award-winning Waterloo Accelerator Program supports technology start-up companies, allowing them to move to market faster, create jobs and stimulate economic activity. Accelerator Program Clients benefit from coaching and mentoring, education, connections to capital, networking, R&D support and outreach, talent recruitment, technology transfer assistance, seamless support services including access to office facilities, and commercialization expertise. Visit us at

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WATCH Issue 1 - 2013

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WATCH Issue 1 - 2013




Accelerator Centre AGFA Healthcare AIM Health Group ANTVibes Avenir Medical Inc. BigRoad Incorporated Blackberry Canadian Water Network Capacity Waterloo Region CineClick Inc. CISCO Communitech CBET-Conrad Centre of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Deep Trekker Inc. Education Credit Union Enflick Inc. Giftopia Inc. iNotForProfit (iN4P) I Think Security Ltd. Institute for Quantum Computing Kids & Company Knowledge in Development LiveAdvisors Miller Thomson LLP Monstercat Media Mozzaz Inc. MXM Nation Inc. Nanotechnology Engineering Navtech, Inc. Nicoya Lifesciences NRC-IRAP OCE OpenText Corporation Organimi Inc. Pervasive Dynamics PRIME QuantumWorks Qwalify Inc. Rose Athena SAP Security Governance Group

Silicon W Sober Steering Sensors Social Venture Partners Waterloo Region Sweet Tooth Inc. TechTown Dentistry TeTechS Inc. The Smile Epidemic The Water Institute TrustPoint Innovation Technologies Ltd. Tyromer Inc. uIntuition Universal Quantum Devices UW Alumni Affairs UW Office of Development

WATCH Issue 1 - 2013

With three locations, in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, the Education Credit Union (ECU) is a full-service financial institution including a comprehensive Wealth Management program. The primary difference between ECU and other banks is the personal approach that focuses on putting members first and the provision of cost-effective products and services.


Dr. Ian Goulden, Dean of Mathematics talks with WATCH about his 41 year relationship with uWaterloo, the changing academic landscape, and attracting math’s best and brightest. Q: You are entering your 41st year at uWaterloo. What attracted you to uWaterloo as an undergrad, and what’s kept you here your entire career? A: I was fortunate to earn a faculty position in the 80’s and I’ve been here ever since. Q: Talk to me about the changes you’ve seen in your career here, and also, some of the things that have remained constant over that time. A: When I first came here in 1972, there was no real computer industry. The notion of start-ups, and of people making their career in information technology was simply unheard of. When I was a kid in school, you went into math to be a math teacher, or an actuary. Today, our students are as likely to go out and build web based applications for software companies, or high speed trading applications for banks, as they are to practice as an actuary. Q: This issue of WATCH is built around the concept of design thinking. Tell me how this form of thinking plays out among uWaterloo Mathematics faculty and students? We are increasingly implementing programs such as our double BMath and BBA program with Laurier that bring a more multi-disciplinary, collaborative flavor to the mathematics program. Students in this program are exceptionally strong in both solving formulas and command significant respect in the business world. We can’t produce students who are cookie cutter identical. We need to produce a lot of different versions of students with strong mathematical skills and equip them to be adept at problem solving. VIST: for an extended version of this article.

WATCH Issue 1 - 2013





2004 20 k

90 k


120 k





ONE-STOP Destinations

of Waterloo YKF Region International Airport






Vancouver Las Vegas Montreal New York Halifax

6 7 8 9 10

Orlando Edmonton London, U.K. Winnipeg San Francisco

PUNTA CANA Dominican Republic


Commute Time

Daily Parking Rate

YKF (Waterloo)

14 min.

YHM (Hamilton)

61 min.


YXU (London)

73 min.


YYZ (Toronto)

62 min.

BUF (Buffalo)


$28 139 min.


*Commute time calculated from Kitchener City Centre Source Mapquest



2013 Watch Magazine - Issue 1  
2013 Watch Magazine - Issue 1  

A publication of the David Johnston Research + Technology Park.