“A Weekend of Your Life That Could Change Your Life”– A Talk with Startup Weekend Toronto ’16s Winner

Summer is fast approaching and so is Startup Weekend Toronto 2018. A few days ago, I had the chance to chat with previous SW6ix winner, Jill Javier. In 2016, her team took home 1st place with an educational product for children. Jill’s most recent venture, BitCity Group, recently signed a multi-year power deal with TransAlta to build a cryptocurrency mining facility.

Jill and I had a quick Q&A session about her experience at Startup Weekend Toronto.

Jill, what made you want to go to Startup Weekend?

I grew up with an entrepreneurial mindset thanks to my parents, but had been working at large Fortune 500 companies for the past 15 years. I had built a solid brand in project management launching other people’s ideas. I was comfortable and it was fun, but I reached a point when I needed to break out of it. After completing my MBA, I was exploring doing my own venture.

Around the same time, one of my close mentors at Capital One had left to set-up his own start-up. Together with my business school buddies, I started attending the entrepreneurship program which they used to have every Wednesdays at MaRS.

I didn’t have an idea for a startup yet, but I wanted to be exposed to the community. I knew a lot of the “theory” by then, but going to Startup Weekend in April 2016 was the perfect opportunity for me to break out of my comfort zone and learn hands-on.

Tell me about your experience during the weekend.

I arrived early when the doors weren’t open yet, and while waiting outside, I struck a conversation with a programmer named Rob who was also early. He had a great idea for kids. Kids these days are always in front of a screen, but are not learning how to build things with their hands anymore. He wanted to build a subscription box called MakerCat focused on solving this problem – each box would give kids the materials and instructions to build their own wearable or own robot. I pitched an idea that weekend as well, but liked MakerCat so much I later decided to join his team. We went out and did customer interviews, then I led the creation of the storyline and pitch deck. We ended up winning that weekend.

After that weekend, I introduced Rob to my mentor, and they ended up working together on my mentor’s start-up. I took MakerCat through the Founder Institute program.

Startup Weekend exposed me to so many talented people from different careers, and you never know what could come out of the connections you make. It was definitely a turning point for me, and I decided to do my own venture a few months later.

How do you avoid the trap of building the next “Uber of…” or the “Tinder for…”?

Stay away from the obvious – start to really force yourself to look beyond your own world by talking to people you would otherwise never talk to. Adopt a problem solver mentality.

54 hours is a demanding time frame to build a startup within. What’s the first thing you tackle?

Focus on the Sunday pitch and forgo any other noise. For us, there were two things we needed: a kick-ass story and a kick-ass deck. You can take forever trying to build the perfect product. Don’t let this be you. Deliver something and learn to tell the story.

What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about going to Startup Weekend?

Ask yourself: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Go ahead and take that one weekend that could change the rest of your life. It’s an investment in yourself. Listen to that pull inside. You have to just take that risk and see for yourself.

– – –

Startup Weekend Toronto 2018 is going to be taking place at Ryerson’s DMZ. DMZ was just named the world’s #1 university business incubator. What better place to experiment with your startup idea?

Get your tickets for #SW6ix today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/techstars-startup-weekend-toronto-june-22-24-tickets-43404558202

Techstars Global Startup Weekend Local Prizes Announcement

Techstars will provide incredible growth opportunity to the Local winning teams through these great prize packages!

Local Prizes
All winning teams for any Techstars Startup Weekend during Techstars Global Startup Weekend will receive an Alpha Card from F6s.

• InVision – 6 months FREE – Value $90
• LiveChat – 1 Year Free of LiveChat – Value $1,400
• Hotjar – 90 Days of Hotjar Business Analytics – Value $270
• Zendesk – $1,000 in Zendesk Credit – Value $1,000
• 99designs – $30 Off + Free Upgrades – Value $97
• [BONUS for members in North America] American Airlines – 2,000 points (Free Flight)

Source:  http://global.startupweekend.org/prizes

Pangolin takes the 1st place in Techstars Startup Weekend Toronto, powered by INFINITI.

54 hours of action took place during the weekend of October 20-22, in Workhaus Commerce Court in downtown Toronto. Participants from all over the Greater Toronto Area got together to pitch their ideas, form teams and take the first steps to launch their startups. The event was possible thanks to the support of INFINITI Canada, a company that empowers entrepreneurs in different stages, previously with their INFINITI LAB for later stage companies and now through Techstars Startup Weekend, the event where entrepreneurs go to ‘get their start’.  

On Friday night more than 24 ideas were shared in front of the audience, and out of those, 7 were chosen to be worked on by teams during the weekend. On Saturday, the teams were coached by mentors from all over Ontario, including mentors from the Toronto startup community like Oksana Salamaszek from The Working Group, Tariq Haddadin from Techstars Toronto, and Grant Brigden from the startup Rover, which won 1st place in the past edition of Toronto INFINITI LAB. The teams got advice from mentors from the INFINITI Canada team, including Julie Daigle Raphael Huegli and Chris Little. You can see the full list of mentors here.

Some of our Coaches and Jen Riedel, facilitator of the event.

On Sunday the teams presented a 5-minute pitch in front of a panel of 3 judges: Theresa Humphrey, Brand Manager for INFINITI, Angelo Del Duca, Angel Investor, and Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program.

The top 3 places went to the following teams:

1st Place: Pangolin –  Pangolin helps lower the premium for retailers by mitigating risks for insurance companies using smart IoT devices

2nd Place: Hybernate – Hybernate helps businesses decrease the expenses related to HVAC through IoT

3rd Place: GEM – GEM helps millenials be congruent with how they spend their money and what their values are, using a ‘GEM’ reward system.

Besides taking the top 3 places in the contest, one member of each of the winning teams got a full scholarship to join the January cohort of Founders Institute Toronto, so they can continue developing the skills needed to be great founders.

Techstars Startup Weekend was a great success. Thanks to our signature sponsor INFINITI, Workhaus for being great hosts, and to all the mentors, coaches and judges that helped empower this amazing group of entrepreneurs.

Stay connected to the Techstars Toronto community by following us on our Facebook page here. 

Peel Startup Weekend Joins Global Startup 2017 Competition

Startup Weekend comes to Brampton City Hall November 17-19.  Don’t miss this Techstars Global celebration of entrepreneurship.

Startup Weekend is coming back to the Region of Peel!  We are excited to host the Techstars Global Weekend Edition at Brampton City Hall November 17-19.  Register today and join thousands of entrepreneurs around the world!  First prize package valued over $10,000.  You can submit your Startup Weekend product as an entry, it may be featured in their Worldwide Network Showcase.

You keep your IP!  It’s your idea and your potential success story!  Techstars, nor organizers will assume ownership. 

What is Techstars Startup Weekend?

Techstars Startup Weekend provides you with the space and resources to turn an idea into a product!  Have you ever seen a new product, business or an app and thought to yourself – “hey! I had that idea years ago!”  Well, a Startup Weekend can help you take your idea from thought to a minimum viable product, but you need to be committed!  A startup weekend provides you with a process to help you arrive at the creation stage.

Learn this process in a matter of days!  In 54 hours you will have been coached and mentored by industry experts.

*What’s in it for you?

This is your opportunity to learn how to take any idea from concept to creation within a matter of days! Whether you are looking to.

  • get introduced to the world of startups and entrepreneurship,
  • learn the process for going from concept to creation,
  • meet experienced, talented, and passionate entrepreneurs in the Region of Peel,
  • join or build an all-star team,
  • learn and practice new skills to take back to your job, or
  • take your own idea from concept to creation

*Who is Techstars Startup Weekend For?

It doesn’t matter what you do or where you come from, Techstars Startup Weekend is designed as an inclusive event and program that brings all sorts of people together including…

  • aspiring & experienced entrepreneurs,
  • developers and other tech-related professionals,
  • designers of all types,
  • non-technical talent (i.e. business, sales, finance, legal, etc.),
  • students from universities and even high schools,
  • professionals looking to switch careers or build new skills,
  • passionate visionaries,
  • and many more!


*Source:  Techstars website 2017

June 9th SWOttawa 2017 Canada150 Event: What’s Being Built this Weekend?

The following is the list of projects being worked on:

RestAssured: A tool to monitor in real time the medical treatment taken by patients after being prescribed by the specialist. This way it will tell the doctor or the specialist if the treatment is being effective or not.

SmartHat: it’s a sustainable digital apparel like a hat and/or a t-shirt that can be customized to any style for every different event.

21JumpScript: A business connection platform that leverage block-chain technology to establish and build trust between different parties.

AugMe: an augmented reality app that integrate with coupons to make them easier to find, scan and pay at different shopping markets.

Tanali: A shareable digital business card that contains all the professional related data including their social media presence.



What’s happening this weekend?

The 10th Startup Weekend in Ottawa is well under way! This is the largest startup weekend Ottawa has ever had with 110 participants and 17 teams. This event has worked several years to bridge enthusiastic and outspoken youth with resources such as developers, marketing specialists, and mentors to assist in actualizing their entrepreneurial goals. As you may know, four categories entitle these bright minds to what their idea may entail; assisting vulnerable communities, general, product making, and the internet of things. These categories asked a lot from the competitors, and the contestants sure did bring it!

Of the 110 participants, 17 groups were devised with the intention to create and develop an idea that would catapult their team into lateral success. From a program which would implement virtual reality audiences to assist people who have difficulty with public speaking, to databasing health records of those receiving medical treatment to facilitate the process of diagnosis and providing prescriptions, the ideas brought forth this weekend are quite impressive. Each having their own impassioned idea, a group of people determined to make a difference in the lives of others, and the support and advice of experienced startup attendees, our hope is that every initiative planted this weekend will bear fruit.

Below are details of the seventeen fantastic Startup initiatives:


Problem: “Many people fear the act of speaking in front of an audience. Some may consider this to be a huge  impediment to their success, but have no outlet to harbour this skill without risk of humiliation.”
Goal: “Using VR technology, we would like to provide a real audience experience for people to practice speaking in public without pressure. The program would also include speech analysis.”
Currently working on: Creating the MVP and business model.

Problem: “There is currently no way to conveniently link local florists and potential clients in order to interact for pleasant and convenient customer experience.”
Goal: “Allow florists to access a larger consumer base in an efficient manner while providing better access for customers who want flowers through our central platform.”
Currently working on: Researching this particular market, building web-application, validating idea, and formulating the pitch.
Colour Guru

Problem: “Individuals who are visually impaired are not able to independently distinguish objects by their colour. This may cause means for frustration in daily affairs, such as shopping.”
Goal: “Help the visually impaired distinguish between colours of objects, like clothes, or produce.”
Currently working on: Creating an app which can detect object colour and relay that information to an individual through audio.

Problem: “The amount of preventable deaths in emergency rooms due to staff neglect.”
Goal: “To develop an IOT-based smart service that passively monitors all patients waiting in the ER.”
Currently working on: Marketing strategy, developing the means for long-term sustainability.
Patient Outcome Measurement and Management (POMM)

Problem: “The inefficient, multidisciplinary care of complex patients.”
Goal: “To allow for rapid identification and prioritization of patient issues.”
Currently working on: Creating a collaborative e-health app.

Problem: “No means of acquiring immediate access to a tutor anywhere, at any time.”
Goal: “Create a mobile app that will deliver a nearby tutor to a student in need by request.”
Currently working on: Developing official prototype.

Problem: “Citizens and cities have poor dialogue when it comes to issues which affect everybody in the constituency.”
Goal: “Utilize citizen-created data to facilitate problem identification, location, and resolution while enhancing both civic engagement and bilateral communication.”
Currently working on: Designing an app to connect citizens and community stakeholders in order to implement changes in the city.

Problem: “Institutionalized education (reading textbooks, attending lectures) is boring.”
Goal: “Empower students by making learning fun, engaging, and conducive to an increased passion for knowledge.”
Currently working on: Market penetration.

Problem: “People who have experienced setbacks are not able to find meaningful employment”.
Goal: “Help low-income or marginalized people get back on their feet by teaching them valuable skills.”
Currently working on: Revamping business model after a recent pivot.

Problem: “Firms with wait lines that require a ticket/queue system force you to waste time in a waiting room, possibly while in adverse conditions to receive attention.”
Goal: “Implement a solution where you can track your queue online or the the convenience of a mobile app.”
Currently working on: Business model, prototype.

Problem: “Distracted, impaired, drunk or drowsy drivers.”
Goal: “Make roads safer for everyone through monitoring driver’s level of focus, with the feature of warning a driver when they are not remaining within lines, or becoming distracted.”
Currently working on: Customer validation & design.

Problem: “Skill development through formal means is costly, difficult to find, impersonable.”
Goal: “Building relationships through an exchange of skills.”
Currently working on: An application that matches skilled people willing to teach or hoping to learn.

Problem: “Mental health deficiencies cause people to stop seeking the help they need, not allowing them to receive proper emotional support.”
Goal: Connect patients with each other to harbour
Currently working on: building a strong business plan.
Nomadic Turk

Problem: ”Homeless and unemployed people lack access to proper employment.”
Goal: “Providing a platform for low-committment employment at easy
Currently working on: Building mvp and working on validation.
Personalized Medicine

Problem: “Current software to 3D print MRI scans is too difficult to use for doctors.”
Goal: “Build a better software product that simplifies the process.”
Currently working on: Customer Validation, software prototype.

Problem: “People with the most knowledge on a crisis situation are also those with the least opportunity to implement positive change for it.”
Goal: “Provide hope for people within conflict zones who may have a skillset that is unharboured or feel hopeless due to the condition of their environment through funding and sponsorship.”
Currently working on: seeking refugee entrepreneurs to put on our peer-to-peer mobile payment platform.

Problem: “Lack of available and sustainable fresh food in refugee camps.”
Goal: “Create a social enterprise that focuses on building a community around accessibility of fresh food through the means of hydroponics.”
Currently working on: Validating and looking for NGOs to partner with.


Hayan Imadi

Teaser of what's being built at Startup Weekend uOttawa!

Teams have been working for the last two days on their new startup ideas!  On Friday 20 students and alumni pitched their ideas to a packed house at uOttawa.  At this hour, ten teams are hacking away at their new startup ideas and getting ready for the Final Pitches tomorrow at 4pm at University of Ottawa.

This year we have introduced special streams for teams to compete in:

  1. General
  2. Syrian Refugee Crisis
  3. Maker
  4. Internet of Things

Check out what the teams are working on:

1. Locall | “Instant interpretation”

Locall provides immediate, Compassionate service that are culturally appropriate in your community.


Stream: Syrian Refugee Crisis


2. 3Dextra | “Sustain the Project

3Dextra provides prosthetic to Syrian refugees and empowering them to


Stream: Maker & Syrian Refugee Crisis


3. Indoor Nav | “You’re closer than you think”

Indoor Nav helps you navigate through indoor spaces


Stream: Internet of Things



 4. VitalTracer | “Your health in your hands”

VitalTracer is a sleek health band that tracks vital signs and shares them with your physician.


Stream: Internet of Things


5. U  app | “U for You”

U app is a consolidated student solution that unifies student life and academic information in one convenient mobile application.


Stream: General


6. SplitVille | “Sharing Made Easy”

End your meal on the right note! SplitVille takes the hassle out of splitting your bill


Stream: General


7. Bond | “Networking made easy”

Sharing basic contact information via smart watch.

Stream: General


8. Welbi.co | “wellness at it’s best!”

Convenient comfortable at home Health monitoring for the elderly.

Stream: General


9. Jewellerent | Renting Made City

Welcome to your new closet.



Stream: General


10. Swivet

A wearable device that allows the user to immediately connect with support.


Don’t forget to come tomorrow for Sunday’s Final Pitches. You can register here!  We have judges from the community coming out to give feedback to teams and determine the winners!

Startup Weekend Ottawa


Prix du Startup Weekend Ottawa-Gatineau 2015

*English follows*

Première place

  • Trois mois d’accès à l’incubateur de Startup du CRTL offerts par le CRTL, Export Outaouais et Exportation et développement Canada (EDC) (espace de bureau, salles de réunion, Internet et accompagnement)
  • Une session de consultation d’une heure pour bénéficier du programme IBM Global Entrepreneur
  • Deux adhésions individuelles d’un an au Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale (RGA)
  • Un abonnement d’un an à la Chambre de commerce de Gatineau
  • Une session de consultation d’une heure offerte par Welch LLP sur le modèle de coûts/revenus
  • Bourse de 250 $ pour un projet d’une valeur minimum de 1500 $ sur la plateforme de socio-financement Ecloid
  • Une rencontre avec le comité de sélection d’Anges Québec

Deuxième place

  • Atelier interactif offert par le CRTL, Export Outaouais et EDC pour raffiner la stratégie d’affaires et évaluer le potentiel à l’international du produit ou service
  • Trois heures de consultation en gestion financière et fiscalité de Raymond Chabot
  • Deux adhésions individuelles d’un an au RGA
  • Un abonnement d’un an à la Chambre de commerce de Gatineau
  • Certificat 20 heures de location de salle ou 10 accès d’une journée pour un bureau chez Créagora
  • Bourse de 250 $ pour un projet d’une valeur minimum de 1500 $ sur la plateforme de socio-financement Ecloid

Troisième place

  • Certificat 20 heures de location de salle ou 10 accès d’une journée pour un bureau chez Créagora
  • Trois heures de consultation en gestion de Samson & Associés CPA/consultation
  • Deux adhésions individuelles d’un an au RGA
  • Un abonnement d’un an à la Chambre de commerce de Gatineau
  • Bourse de 250 $ pour un projet d’une valeur minimum de 1500 $ sur la plateforme de socio-financement Ecloid

Autres prix

  • 15 heures de service de développement Web et mobile offert par Adelphatech
  • Cinq heures de coaching offertes par le Centre de la géomatique du Québec (CGQ) pour le développement d’une application utilisant la  géolocalisation
  • 10 heures de mentorat scientifique offert par le Centre d’accès à la technologie en bio-innovation de La Cité
  • Un mois gratuit d’espace de coworking et 5 heures pour utiliser la salle de conférence du Lab38
  • Cartable, porte-cartes et carnets de notes d’EDC


First Place

  • Three months access to the CRTL Startup incubator offered by the CRTL, Export Outaouais and Export Development Canada (EDC) (office space, meeting rooms, Internet and coaching) (value of $ 2,500)
  • One hour work session offered by IBM Global Entrepreneur program on how to join IBM’s Startup Ecosytem
  • 2 individual memberships for a year offered by RGA
  • 1 individual membership for a year offered by the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce
  • One hour session offered by Welch LPP for revenue/cost modelling
  • $ 250 toward a project worth a least $ 1,500 on the Ecloid crowdfunding platform
  • A meeting with the selection committee of Anges Québec

Second Place

  • An interactive work session offered by the CRTL, Export Outaouais and EDC to help define the business strategy and to assess the export potential of a product or a service
  • 3 hours of consultation in finance management and fiscality offered by Raymond Chabot
  • 2 individual memberships for a year offered by RGA
  • 1 individual membership for a year offered by the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce
  • 20 hours of free access to conference room or 10 one-day passes to the coworking space at Créagora
  • $ 250 toward a campaign worth a least $ 1,500 on the Ecloid crowdfunding platform

Third Place

  • 20 hours of free access to conference room or 10 one-day passes to the coworking space at Créagora
  • 3 hours of management consulting offered by Samson & Associates CPA/consulting
  • 2 individual memberships for a year offered by RGA
  • 1 year individual membership offered by the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce
  • $ 250 grant for a project worth a minimum of $ 1,500 on the crowdfunding platform Ecloid

Other prizes

  • 15 hours of web and mobile development services offered by Adelphatech
  • 5 hours of coaching offered by the Centre de la géomatique du Québec (CGQ) in the development of a geo-located application
  • 10 hours of scientific mentoring offered by the Technology Access Center in Bio-Innovation of La Cité
  • A free month access to the Lab 38 coworking space and 5 hours of use of their conference room
  • Binder, cardholder, notebook offered by EDC


Sneak peek at what’s being built this weekend


Startup weekend Ottawa-GatineauThe room here at the Maison du citoyen is buzzing, and teams are hyper-focused on validating their ideas, talking to customers, and hacking together prototypes and mock-ups.

We’ve got a sold-out event to see the pitches tomorrow evening, and we can’t wait to see how far these amazing, hard working teams have come since their initial pitches.

Here’s a sneak peek at the demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Ottawa-Gatineau.

1. Reverse Calendar
Instead of planning out what you want to do later today, or later this week, Reverse Calendar helps you track what you actually accomplished in the past hour. By the end of the week, you will have graphs and analytics that can help you make better decisions on how to spend your time. With Reverse Calendar, you won’t have to look at the clock and wonder “where did the day go!?” ever again.

2. Iceberg
“Making chilling easier”

The Icebrg platform takes you out of the usual routine with the usual friends. It makes hanging out and trying new things as easy as can be. The core features are providing ideas for activities, finding from your existing network who would be interested, and facilitating the logistics of setting a time and location. Gain a deeper connection with your friends while experiencing new things – it’s all possible through Icebrg.

3. Haggel One

Haggle is place for people to post and find local trades and help.

Team : Abdel, Issam Al-Dalati, Hamza Quresh, Nikhil, Ron Gagnier, Nayaelah Siddiqui, Dines Anandavel,

4. Baby Book

Baby Book is an app that allows parents to create, store and share all these first precious moments of their baby’s life. A baby album that you carry with you all the time to make sure you don’t miss anything.

5. Aggregate APIs

A better way for data scientists to interact with data.

6. Preferencia

Preferencia is an online platform for complementary medicine practitioners to easily refer patients to each other. / Preferencia est une plateforme web de référencement de patient pour les thérapeute de la médecine complémentaire.

7. Tummy
Tummy c’est une application mobile portée par une équipe chevronnée qui permet à un utilisateur d’avoir accès à des recettes selon les ingrédients qu’il à sa disposition.

8. FeelDapper
FeelDapper.co is an online platform that provides styling services for our clients at their doorstep. Our focus is on creating a great customer experience that makes our clients feel dapper.

SWO #7 UOttawa Edition: Sneak peek at what's being built this weekend


The room here at UOttawa is buzzing, and teams are hyper-focused on validating their ideas, talking to customers, and hacking together prototypes and mock-ups.

We’ve got a sold-out event to see the pitches tomorrow evening, and we can’t wait to see how far these amazing, hard working teams have come since their initial pitches.

Here’s a sneak peek at the demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Ottawa: UOttawa Edition

Final Reminder for teams* Fill Out Team Survey If You Want To Present.(survey.startupweekend.org).

1. Deanlist

Deanlist is a place for students to interact and collaborate without distractions of social media. It’s an online hub where you can get relevant and filtered information on courses and subjects.

2. BestYums.com

What do you want to eat today? Find the best version of your favourite dish near you.

3. RecruitMe

Find jobs, find people fast. Save time and swipe through your options. Narrow down candidates or draw positions from a large pool of potential partnerships.

4. Rate My Landlord

5. Social Tree – Rule Your Media

Social Tree allows you to filter and categorize your social media streams. You choose how you consume different types of content.

6. ClassMagnet.co

Anonymous question and answer platform where students interact with their classmates during a lecture. Ask and answer questions, up-vote and down-vote their quality.

7. Cutz

Online portfolio and booking system for barbershops. Connecting talented barbershops with stylish clients. Rate and review the service.

8. Give-Back.co

Fun and simple app that allows you to donate seamlessly to causes that you care about.