Kitchener-based bitHound has raised a seed round of more than $2 million led by Michael Wekerle, the flamboyant investor and newest addition to CBC’s Dragons’ Den.The round comes 11 months after the software company, which helps developers create cleaner code, was founded. bitHound was accepted into Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE program shortly after that.
“This round now is really to help propel and accelerate us into the market,” said Dan Silivestru, co-founder and CEO. “We are going to be focusing on building out the team and essentially customer acquisition.”
In addition to Wekerle, who is CEO of Toronto-based Difference Capital, the round includes BDC Capital and some undisclosed angel investors.
“We are thrilled with the momentum the company is demonstrating and believe that bitHound...
Good things come in threes – in this case, two regions and one country sharing talent, working together to create opportunities, and foster a world-class technology ecosystem.
During his keynote talk at the Series 401 event at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto last Wednesday, John Ruffolo emphasized the importance of recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit and technical talent that exist between Waterloo Region and Toronto, where an effort is under way to build a supercluster of national significance.
“If you want to drive a national strategy, you have to get the Toronto-K-W cluster right,” Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures, said.
With 97 investors and 15 tech startup teams from all over Canada in attendance, including Communitech HYPERDRIVE cohort 4 graduate Structur3d Printing and...
In order to better serve the community with a focus on key strengths, there is a new basis for companies looking to apply to Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE accelerator.
HYPERDRIVE’s goal as an accelerator is to invest in high-potential startups with scalable businesses at the customer/user acquisition stage. HYPERDRIVE is now working with a new investment thesis that we believe will best support and grow the Waterloo Region ecosystem by tapping into our community’s strengths.
HYPERDRIVE is focusing on technology verticals that promise strong growth and match the strengths of the Waterloo Region tech ecosystem. For this year, the core verticals are education, advertising, finance and web-enabled hardware. We will consider other exciting technologies, but will give priority to...
I signed on as Communitech HYPERDRIVE Managing Director for the start of Cohort 2, and with three cohorts under our belt I feel like we have a pretty clear idea of what it takes to select and accelerate early-stage tech companies.
It might not be perfect, but the way we have iterated and adjusted the program has, in my opinion, improved the program with each cohort.
I’ve seen big improvements in the following areas:
Company selection – one consistent pair of eyes throughout, many different viewpoints at each stage
Accountability and focus – It’s hard not to progress when you look at your situation every week, especially when the focus is on revenue or scale-oriented validation
All tech companies need help in sales and marketing – once...
I wasn’t really sure what I’d get out of the Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp.
Would I be laughed out of the room? Would the mentors be interested in my idea? Would I be able to pitch my company in three minutes?
After surviving, nay thriving, through the first round of the bootcamp in late August, I was pumped but nervous for Round 2 this past week.
We spent three days talking about financing, venture capital and data analytics. And we pitched. A lot. I practised in front of my co-founder, my mum, strangers. A stuffed teddy bear I unearthed from my closet.
Like all good bootcamps, or reality TV shows, there was a twist during the final session. Instead of having all 22 companies pitch for the top prizes in front of a live audience, only the top 10 would. And, oh yes, we would be...
Communitech HYPERDRIVE Cohort 4 startups celebrated graduating from the accelerator program last Thursday at Centre Stage. The sold-out event at the Tannery Event Centre provided a different take on the traditional “demo day” that accompanies an accelerator grad.
The event, much like its name suggests, focused on the companies spotlighted on stage in the middle of the room, surrounded by a diverse audience of co-workers, community members and potential investors.
“We get to have a little bit more fun this way,” said Shrad Rao, CEO of Wagepoint, a Cohort 4 company. With traditional demo days, “people get bored by the seventh one, but this way we get to move around a little bit,” Rao said, joking that he felt a little like a rapper. “I might drop the microphone for a bit of a dramatic...
I spent an intensive three days with 24 other women in the Communitech Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp – not as a staff member supporting the event, as I normally would, but as a participant.
When you work at Communitech, it’s sort of inevitable to be seduced by the siren song of the pursuit of a great idea.
I’d had an idea rattling around in my head for the last year, and was intrigued by one of our program offerings this summer: six days of intensive lectures, workshops and networking culminating in a pitch competition. Oh yeah, and the program, supported by Google for Entrepreneurs, was for women only.
I applied, but told no one.
There were 96 applicants for 25 spots, and the applications came from all over the world.
Samuel Legge joins the HD team as our newest Program Manager
Sam was most recently a Startup Services Manager at Communitech. During that time, Sam worked with more than 100 startups advising on fundraising, business development and product strategy. Sam has experience working on two startups -- most recently, Shield Diagnostics.
As a University of Waterloo graduate in nanotechnology engineering, he has a varied background in research and development that includes two years’ experience at institutions such as the University of Utah’s Nanotechnology Institute.
We’re excited to see what the future holds and are happy to have Sam on board.
Cohort 4 has been an interesting ride. Five companies, each with different goals and serving different markets, are halfway through the six-month HYPERDRIVE program and have faced astonishingly similar challenges.
One thing all the companies have in common is the need to create a sustainable, scalable business. From where we sit now, all five have validated that they solve a customer need to varying degrees.
bitHound signed up 60 pilot users at JS Conf and now has a pipeline of 200-plus developers in the queue.
Wagepoint has launched in the U.S. and is seeing strong market interest and good media pickup.
Weston Expressions (now Linkett) had a strong showing out of the gate with large agency client promotions, hitting its revenue goal of...