This Week in Canadian Startups

canada startupsIt was a busy week in the Canadian startup landscape, highlighted by a high-profile investment and changes to Canada’s highly regarded R&D credit regime. If you have feedback or want me to add an item, leave a comment or send an email.

- The big news was a $20-million investment by OMERS in HootSuite, one of the world’s most popular social media services. OMERS bought its stake from existing shareholders, which is a bit of a head-scratcher given HootSuite has aggressive growth plans, including the hiring of more than 100 employees. It suggests HootSuite is generating significant revenue from selling premium services.

- In the federal budget, the Conservative government tweaked the SR&ED tax credit program by eliminating $500-million from it, while committing $400 million for early-stage risk capital and to support the creation of large-scale venture capital funds. TechVibes has more details on how the R&D credit system will work going forward. Here’s a clip of Round13′s Scott Pelton talking on BNN about the federal government’s new support for venture capital.

- The early-stage investment landscape for Canadian clean-tech companies got a huge boost when MaRS unveiled a new $30-million fund led by Tom Rand and Murray McCaig. The news was welcomed by Tyler Hamilton, one of Canada’s leading clean-tech bloggers.

- Do you know Boris Wertz? He’s one of Canada’s leading angels with a track record that includes investments in Edmodo, Empire Avenue, GrowLab, GoInstant, Tynt and Unbounce. TechVibes has a story on how many Vancouver startups approach Wertz, who was named B.C.’s angel investor of the year in 2011.

- Who’s the most innovative startup in the world. It’s Calgary-based eThor – at least that’s the TechVibes headline. The company, which has built a platform that connects point-of-sale systems to any Website or mobile app, picked up the kudos after beating 2,000 startups to win 2012’s most innovative startup on the planet at the Global Technology Symposium in Silicon Valley.

- There are five pitfalls that founders make, according to TechCocktails, while OnStartups offers 26 tips to avoid founder failure.

- Tara Hunt has a good piece in Inc. on how startups should be careful about prematurely seeking media and blog coverage.

- ConversionXL, which has become a must-read for me, has a great post on the 10 principles of creating effective pricing pages.

- In my Globe & Mail “Start” column this week, I looked at the value of mentors in an interview with Devon Brooks, as well as a profile of Floggia, a phot0-sharing service started by 19-year-old Miguel Kudry.

(Cartoon credit: Hugh MacLeod, Gaping Void)


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