Canadian Startup Zighra Makes Your Phone Even Smarter


smartphone passwords

Admit it. You’ve turned the lock screen off on your phone and all of your apps are still open.

If your phone were stolen right now, all of your personal data would be available to the thief, including your bank account and credit card number. You know this isn’t a good idea, but it just takes so damn long to do all the signing in!

Canadian startup Zighra is solving your problem with biometrics. They are training your phone to respond only to you by measuring your body movements, voice, even the way you hold the phone.

Read more about Zighra in our Q&A below.

What is your startup called?


Zighra is a  Sanskrit word that stands for speed/acceleration/velocity/quick. Zighra’s mission is to accelerate transactions by providing convenient, frictionless mobile authentication and fraud prevention without compromising security

What’s the story behind your idea?

The founders are a bunch of security scientists and they were frustrated with entering their PINs and passwords every time they used their phones and logged into their apps – from Facebook and Twitter to mobile payments and banking. Like more than 60% of smartphone users, their inclination was to disable screen locks and leave their apps perpetually logged in! But this would be a huge security and privacy nightmare – considering that every 3.5 seconds a phone is either lost or stolen. A lot of smartphone users are now shopping on their phones (storing credit card details), banking on their phones and  connecting to corporate networks using these same phones.

The founders figured out that when it came to smartphones/tablets – users preferred convenience over security.

So our founder Deepak Dutt had this crazy idea to train phones and apps to uniquely recognize him based on his habits and interaction patterns – including the way he holds his phone, the angle in which he held it, hand/finger size, touch screen pressure among many other device sensorial data points (essentially creating his unique Kinetic signature). Deepak wanted the entire process to be frictionless, and effortless that the technology was designed to be built in implicitly into existing mobile apps. Along with the rest of the team this experiment has been successfully implemented.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Deepak Dutt – CEO/CTO

•             Over 14 years of technical and entrepreneurial expertise in bridging the technology and business worlds.

•             Prior startup experiences include NeST Technologies, Intsyx, and InLearning labs

•             Held various roles in new venture development, R&D, marketing, field support, consulting, and management at Nortel, Siemens, and Newbridge Networks

•             Awarded the Ottawa business journal 40 under 40 award for business excellence in 2012

•             Named one of Ottawa’s top rising stars in 2012

•             Holds a Masters degree in computer science from the University of Ottawa

Deepti Menon – COO

•             Over 9 years of experience in Telecom research and development

•             Prior startup experiences include InLearning labs an online tutoring firm

•             Held various roles in the CTO organization at Nortel

•             Extensive research in the areas of mobile wireless networks and network security

•             Holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from the Univ of Ottawa

Where are you based?

Zighra is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada.

Zighra was selected as one of the top 3 globalizers in Canada, a TiE50 finalist in Silicon Valley and more recently selected as the top Canadian Startup in Canada-Brasil 3.0 conference.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

The startup scene in Ottawa is pretty dynamic. Shopify is probably one of the more well-known startup in town having recently closed $100 M round with a valuation of $1 Billion.

What problem do you solve?

Users do not like to enter PINS/PASSWORDS on their phone. Smartphones now days are used for various activities requiring the need for storing sensitive data on smartphones. But, nearly 60% of mobile phone users disable screen locks and leave their mobile applications perpetually logged in. They don’t realize the risk they may entail given the data stored on their mobile device considering that a phone is lost or stolen every 3.5 seconds. Users need a solution which is convenient to use without compromising security.

Why now?

With the introduction of the iPhone 5S in September 2013, Apple, the iconic human factors company that reconceived the mobile phone experience, and made tablet computing cool, gave the identity marketplace and the biometrics industry in particular, a big hug.

Device makers are now poised to make a run on the commercial side of the biometrics market where convenience, authentication to a personal device, and a “frictionless” user experience trump security. The market makers of Silicon Valley are descending on the biometrics business with a relentless focus on massive consumer adoption and convenience driven human factors investments.

This market attack will be fast, bold, and take the biometrics industry by storm. Goode Intelligence predicts the consumer biometric market to reach $8B by 2018.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

•             Raised $1M in non-dilutive funds

•             Securing over $80M in financial transactions

•             Relationship with IBM to target the enterprise space

What are your next milestones?

Integrate KineticID with social media and payments apps and reach 40M users by end of 2014.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

More info on KineticID:

•    – Infograph

•    – deck

•    – video demo

Twitter handles –@zfraudshield, @nanvivek, @dcdutt


Toronto-Based Slyce Raises $6 Million To Help You Shop


Does this ever happen to you:

You see someone with something you’d like to own, but when you get online to search for it, you can’t quite articulate what it was?

With the new Slyce platform, you can just snap a picture of the item and find out where to purchase it. In a lot of cases, you’ll also be able to buy it right away.

While this sounds cool from a consumer standpoint, think about what this could mean for retailers. Suddenly, shoppers can find you more easily than ever before, right when they are in the mood to buy what you’re selling. For the niche, unique retailers, a platform like Slyce could mean a huge boost in business.

We’ve talked about the Big Instincts Group before. If even one of their most recent bets pan out, they’ll definitely be a company to watch.

Our Q&A with the Slyce team is below:

What does your company do?

Slyce is a visual search platform that allows Users to instantly purchase items in the real world simply by taking a picture with their smartphone.

Slyce will exist as both an independent consumer application, and a white label solution which can be integrated with existing retailer technologies. Using advanced visual recognition on smartphones as well as through a desktop application, Slyce is enabling retailers to be there at a consumers exact point of interest and ultimately changing the way retailers and consumers search and purchase items.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Cameron Chell and Erika Racicot are Co-founders of Slyce and are also co-founders of venture-creation firm, Business Instincts Group . The pair have been working together for over 5 years. Cameron is considered one of the original founders of the Application Service Provider industry, and founded the original cloud computing company, FutureLink. Erika is the operational driver at Slyce and has a background in operations and marketing, working in industries ranging from technology to hospitality to politics.

Where are you based?

Slyce’s headquarters is located in Toronto, but they also have offices in Minneapolis and Calgary.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

The Toronto startup scene is arguably the largest in Canada. There is a strong, supportive community with incubators, accelerators, events, meetups and genuinely smart and innovative people. There are a numerous great startups which call Toronto home, and we’re excited to be involved in that community.

What problem do you solve?

For any consumer who has seen something they love and then struggled to clearly articulate that item in a search query, Slyce visual product search is the multi-dimensional and intuitive answer to their prayers. For retailers, the Slyce image recognition technology can be adapted in innumerable ways to facilitate all kinds of innovative functionality.  For the first time, Slyce enables retailers to engage and transact with consumers at their very point of interest.

Why now?

Smartphones are becoming our most trusted and adored possession and taking pictures with them, part of our daily life. Approximately 350 million photographs are uploaded just to Facebook every day! People take pictures of items they want, or clothes they like, and with the Slyce platform we help them discover where exactly they can purchase that item and enable them to do so almost instantaneously. The way the offering is structured means Slyce competes both in the visual search arena, and the social shopping sector. With mobile shopping accounting for 39% of all online traffic during this holiday season, there is a clear opportunity to get deeply involved and grow the shopping experience.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

Over the past 12 months Slyce has raised just over $6 Million in financing and just last week announced the acquisition of another visual search tech startup,

What are your next milestones?  

Upcoming milestones will be in customer acquisition and product development. We will be closing another round of financing early in 2014 and are currently looking to expand our Toronto team in order to scale quickly and effectively.

Play It Raises $700k To Bring Mobile Games To Emerging Markets

Mobile games for feature phonesDid you know there are 5 billion (yup, with a “b”) feature phones in the world? Oh, you remember feature phones. They were the things we had before our phones got “smart” just a few years ago.

In fact those good ol’ flip phones outnumber smartphones by 5:1, and most of those feature phones are in emerging markets. When we remember our old phones, we probably don’t think of gaming, but users around the world actually do play games on those phones.

Well, think 1990s desktop solitaire, not so much Candy Crush. At the moment most of those phones aren’t capable of mobile social gaming.

So, 5 billion feature phones. No mobile social or wagered gaming. Sound like an open market to you?

It certainly does to Calgary-based Play It Gaming.

The startup–a product of the Big Instincts Group–has raised $700 thousand to bring smartphone-like gaming to feature phones.


Along with the raise, which was oversubscribed, Play It Gaming also announced a partnership with biNu, an Australian company that already has a platform to bringInternet services and apps to feature phones.

“We’re excited to be working with the Play It team,” biNu CEO Gour Lentell said in a statement. “The opportunity to bring social gaming experiences to mobile consumers in emerging markets is massive, and the combination of biNu’s mobile technology platform with Play It’s content, focus, and industry expertise is a sure winner.”

In 2014 Play It will launch the Game Center, a first of its kind social hub for gaming on feature phones. The Game Center will boast a leaderboard, a virtual currency, and a place for some good ol’ fashioned peer-to-peer smack talking. From the Game Center, users will be able to access cloud-based games.

Still, don’t envision Candy Crush. There are limitations to what can be developed, and the 200 different kinds of feature phones don’t help.

Instead, Play It Gaming has a few simple games in the works. Chess and checkers, trivia, and poker (wagered or social, depending on the country) all translate well to feature phones. The startup will also introduce local games to the mix. For example, mancala is huge in Africa, and before long people will be able to play it on their phones.

There are no plans to sell the games; they’ll be free like most smartphone games. However, the Game Center platform allows for in-app purchases.

Let’s be honest. Western companies often forget the emerging markets in favor of wealthier American and European ones. But, based on population size alone, companies seeking to serve emerging markets like Play It and biNu may be the big winners in the long run.

Could This Waterloo Startup Change Digital Advertising The Way Blackberry Originally Changed The Smartphone

Linkett, WestonExpressions, Canadian startup, startup interview

People in Waterloo come up with some amazing ideas. Although we often joke about RIM/Blackberry these days, back when they first came out they created an entirely new industry, one that still has renewing legacy customers. By putting customers’ messaging abilities, calendars, and digital lives in the palm of their hands and making it all sync wirelessly with the office, things were easy and efficient.

Although RIM has stopped innovating, Waterloo has not.

Enter WestonExpressions, a Waterloo-based startup behind a new wireless digital, interactive advertising platform called Linkett. Now I’m definitely not a fan of big buzz words, but Linkett is really all of those things. It may be what the world has been looking for in the form of new advertising.

Linkett allows you to let your phone interact with many different types of digital advertising platforms. It can be an ad on your computer screen, a bus stop sign or even at the mall. You can use Linkett to walk through an exhibit and download the music playing. Users can use Linkett to download an author’s book while at the bookstore. You can even use Linkett to get a mall directory by just swiping your phone in front of a display. Really, the possibilities for this new advertising platform are limitless.

“The attention span of the average consumer in today’s world is at an all-time low due to “media clutter.” People can’t remember things that were advertised to them on a TV or a billboard like they once could and therefore traditional digital signage ads are less efficient. We solve this problem by making all content interactive and easily accessible for consumers while providing key analytics to promoters. Online ads provide analytics to advertisers so they can boost ad effectiveness, so we want to provide the same type of data and service but in the real world,” the team told us in an interview.

To get an idea of this new level of interaction check out the video.

What is your startup called?


What does your company do?

WestonExpressions is a technology corporation providing hardware and software innovations for the out-of-home advertisement industry.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Douglas Lusted is the CEO and co-Founder of WestonExpressions. Douglas founded the company in 2012 after winning the University of Waterloo’s Innovation Showcase and Velocity Venture Fund in his second year of business studies; leading to the development of Linkett Technology.

Ashok Patel is the COO and co-Founder of WestonExpressions. Ashok is a computer scientist that graduated from the University of Waterloo and currently handles hardware engineering and operations. Ashok is a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded Softart MicroSystems which was acquired by BlackBerry, where he was team lead for the GSM/GPRS radio protocol stack implementation team.

Vlad Pisanov is the CTO and co-founder of WestonExpressions. Vlad finished Hon.B.Sc in Physics from the University of Toronto and obtained his Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. Vlad’s previous work experience includes outdoor advertisement agencies and developed the core backend system of Linkett.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Kitchener is very tech intensive, and has a common theme of new mobile technologies especially at the Communitech Hub and Velocity Garage which serves as our incubator. There are a lot of software companies, and great engineers from the University of Waterloo. There is a much more “west-coast” vibe around a lot of the companies compared to New York or Toronto for example. After BufferBox was acquired, Vidyard and Thalmic raised high series A rounds of funding, it really attracted some talent and investors in the area.

Why now?

Digital marketing is the fastest growing channel of marketing and the technology in mobile devices is rapidly innovating. There is a critical shift in how consumers shop, obtain information and are entertained and it is being reflected in how they engage with brands, and with digital screens. We think it is the perfect time to improve digital screen technology so it can keep up with consumers and their mobile devices.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

In our first week we have reached many milestones. We closed our first round of funding from VC Firms and angel investors and also reached over 50,000 hits on YouTube. We have two international protected Patent applications and sold units internationally in the United States, Canada, Peru, New Zealand and Ireland.

What are your next milestones?

Our next milestones to reach include continuing to drive sales in North America and penetrating the retail market. We will finish product development and ship Linketts to those who have pre-ordered as well as launch our next generation Linkett that offers payment not only through mobile devices, but also through loyalty and credit cards.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

Even Canadian startups are welcome at this huge startup conference “everywhere else” 

Canadian Startup: YourExtraLife Is The Game Of Real Life

MyExtraLife, Canadian startup, startup interview

Imagine if you lived in a game. No, not virtual reality or something you could play on Google Glass, but if you had a game to complement your real life? That’s what Canadian entrepreneur Philip Barclay is doing with his latest startup, appropriately called “YourExtraLife.

“YourExtraLife is a game for real life. It’s all about venturing out of your comfort zone and trying new things, inspiring your friends, and discovering inventive people. You complete creative real-life challenges by taking pictures, and you unlock harder and harder ones as the community validates your photos,” Barclay told Nibletz.

YourExtraLife essentially takes a mobile online game and brings it offline, which seems to be a popular trend with startups these days.

We got a chance to talk with Barclay about YourExtraLife. Check out our interview below.

What is your startup called?


What does your company do?

YourExtraLife is a game for real life. It’s all about venturing out of your comfort zone and trying new things, inspiring your friends and discovering inventive people. You complete creative real-life challenges by taking pictures, and you unlock harder and harder ones as the community validates your photos. We already released a total of 125 challenges for 5 different themes: romance, culture, nightlife, altruism and gourmet.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Philip Barclay – CEO – Studied Advertising, had a blog with 200k+ readers. Takes care of the growth and marketing strategies.

Gheorghita Catalin Bordianu – CTO – M.Sc. in Computer science from McGill. 4 years of experience in startups, used to be the Platform Director at Silentale. Takes care of our platform.

Samuel Dion-Girardeau – CCO -Currently doing his M.Sc. in Linguistics. Takes care of the content creation (he is behind all these awesome challenges!)

Samuel Chenard – CFO / Designer – Studied accountancy (yes!) – Takes care of the design and the video production.

Where are you based?

We’re in Quebec City right now.

What problem do you solve?

The routine and the passivity. We realized a lot of people needed more incentives to try new things and get out of their comfort zone.

Why now?

It was the perfect moment: mobile phones are powerful (and intelligent), millennials get bored easily and they are looking to be mind blown, brands are looking for new ways to reach/connect with people on their phone, social medias made a lot of people passive.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

-We raised seed money.

-We launched a kickass product.

-We made it to the front page of the App Store in several countries, including Canada, U.S.A., UK, etc.

-We reached 10k users in under a week.

-We have a major partnership with one of the biggest music festival in the world: Le Festival d’été de Québec.

-Some major blogs (The Next Web, TechVibes) covered our story.

What are your next milestones?

-Raise Series A


-Partner with more major brands

-Release 5 more challenge trees

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

This Boston startup gamified the asthma inhaler for kids.


Canadian Startup Thalmic Labs Has Quite Possibly The Coolest Wearable Tech Out There

EECincyBannerMyo,Thalmic Labs, Canadian startup, startup interview

Wearable technology and “the internet of things” may be the hottest startup segments out there in 2013. There are sensors, gadgets, bracelets, bands, watches, and other technology that captures just about everything. There’s even wearable, sensor-based technology for dogs.

Most people have seen fitness monitors, sleep monitors, and smart watches, but from what I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot), Myo, the flagship product from Canadian startup Thalmic Labs, takes the cake.

Myo is a bracelet that has sensors built into it that allows you to gesture control just about anything using the motion in your hand. With Myo you can easily scroll through a presentation deck, navigate a website, or pinpoint a place on a map.

Then there’s the even cooler stuff. Myo can also help you control video games and even fly smartphone- or computer-based helicopters and airplanes.

When I first watched their demo video below I thought it looked kind of silly, but really it’s one of the awesomest things I’ve ever seen. Myo eliminates the need for so many different remote controls and controllers. It’s also intuitive and the gestures (from watching the video) are natural, the gestures you would be doing on a smartphone or tablet anyway.

Sure the Wii Remote, XBox Kinect, and even Roku’s latest remote control are all about motion, but they are also tied directly to their device. Myo makes your hand the motion controller, I know awesome right.

We got a chance to talk with the team behind Myo. Check out the interview right below their video.

What is your startup called?

Thalmic Labs

What does your company do?

Thalmic Labs is a rapidly growing company that is dedicated to the development of gesture control, wearable technology and human-computer interaction. Our flagship product, MYO, has already received 30,000 pre-orders, and continues to generate a massive amount of excitement about the future of wearable computing.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Stephen Lake – Founder, CEO

Matthew Bailey – Founder

Aaron Grant – Founder

At the University of Waterloo, Stephen, Matthew and Aaron graduated with degrees in Mechatronics Engineering.

Stephen was named one of Canada’s Top 20 under 20 in 2007 and one of the Next 36 entrepreneurial leaders of Canada in 2011. Stephen graduated with an additional certificate in Entrepreneurship from the University of Toronto, and studied as a visiting scholar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.  He became an entrepreneur from a young age, attaching LED lights to radio-controlled trucks and selling them at age 13.

Matthew studied pattern recognition, which drove the development of the underlying machine learning magic behind Thalmic’s products. He studied as a visiting scholar at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

Aaron has an extensive software engineering background, having spent time in Silicon Valley working for Zynga. His passion for software engineering has even led him to create his own embedded microprocessor operating system.

Where are you based?

Waterloo, Ontario

What problem do you solve?

How do we connect the real and the digital worlds as we move towards wearable and ubiquitous computing?

Why does it matter?

MYO provides a way for us to interact with and control computers and other digital devices directly using our hands. Fundamentally, Thalmic is attempting to close the gap between humans and technology. The applications are endless, including gaming and entertainment, industrial, healthcare, education, business, and general user applications.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

The video that we launched MYO with has millions of views on YouTube and gave us immediate reach when getting our product out there initially. More recently, our company announced the closing of a Series A funding round at $14.5 million – the largest round of funding that any post-Y Combinator company has received to date. This funding will be used to fuel continued growth, further product development of MYO, and develop future products and technologies from Thalmic Labs.

What are your next milestones?

The most important milestone for us is to get our final product into the hands of thousands of waiting customers. This includes taking our time going to production to ensure the quality of our product and finding the best partners to do this with. Another big milestone is to get early units and documentation to developers late this summer and see how they can help rethink human-computer interaction. Beyond that, we’re excited for the future of technology. For us, MYO is a first step down a long path in this direction.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share? 

The best way to understand Thalmic Labs and MYO is by watching the video on our homepage (  As you explore, feel free to “get updates” and pre-order MYO at You can follow Thalmic Labs on twitter at @Thalmic.

Back in October Kara Swisher said sensors were the big thing for this year, she was right.

Montreal Startup Gets Sobersmart About Drunk Driving, Wins Grandma’s Award

Sobersmart, Montreal startup, Canadian startup,startups

Drunk driving is a serious problem. Over the past five years or so, various companies have been able to put breathalyzers in the hands of those drinking alcohol. People can even purchase retail breathalyzers as a fail-safe way to make sure they are “ok” to drive home and not impaired. In other cases the justice system hands out breathalyzers to those convicted of drunk driving. Often times those breathalyzers are tied into the cars ignition system to make sure the vehicle can not be driven if the driver is intoxicated.

A Montreal startup called Sobersmart has incorporated the use of a smartphone with a breathalyzer to make it even smarter. Sobersmart is part hardware in a fob-sized breathalyzer (pictured above) and part app readily available from the App Store. The app can function as a standalone without the breathalyzer component.

Together the system has three modes: parents/kid, driver, and taxi:

-PARENTS / KID: In a parent / kid setup, the kids use Sobersmart wherever they are before driving and the parent app gets a notification and a variety of options for their safe return. You can even get your car’s location if you have to pick it up later!

-DRIVER: The driver setup is the classic breathalyzer mode. It measures your blood alcohol level and provide you with alternatives to get back home safely if it’s elevated.

-TAXI: Under the TAXI configuration, a taxi driver is hailed automatically by the Sobersmart app. It accepts payments straight through the app, draws funds from the prepaid taxi account, or allows a parent or friend to sponsor a cab ride if someone is short on cash after a long night.

Sobersmart is currently crowdfunding $75,000 for their first production run. The team has already won several accolades including winning “The Grandmother Judges Panel” at the International Startup Festival. They also ranked top 3 overall at the ISF.

Check out their crowdfunding link here and for more information visit their website here.

Here are three ways to improve your startup pitch from a founder who’s raised $1 million dollars.


Canadian Startup SpotSquad: Crowdsourced Parking Vigilantes

SpotSquad, Canadian startup,startup

The “crowd” has been used for a variety of things in the startup world lately. There are startups utilizing the crowd to find the best restaurants, events, websites, and even parking spaces.

We got the chance to talk with Berlin startup ParkTag in May during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013. Their company uses the crowd, or rather a peer-to-peer platform, to help people police themselves and find parking spots.

Now we’ve heard about Canadian startup SpotSquad that is using the crowd to snitch on people who are illegally parked. Of course it’s frustrating to find someone double parked outside the mall or the local WalMart. It can even be frustrating seeing someone with a nice car, and two perfectly working legs, park in a handicapped parking spot.

SpotSquad, developed by a 10 person team in Winnipeg Canada, is an app that allows vigilantes with a smartphone to report people who are illegally parked. What’s in it for these good Samaritans? Well, according to the Daily Mail, the people  who report these traffic violators will receive a portion of the fines collected.

How does it work?

The DailyMail reports that users with the SpotSquad app installed will take a picture of the violating car. The picture is then tagged with a GPS location. The reporter then assigns the picture a violation, and it’s uploaded to authorities. The reporter and SpotSquad will get a portion of the fee collected. As reporters report more and more violators, their cut of the fees will increase and their ranking will increase within the system from Private to General.

The company plans to begin a beta test of the app next month in Winnipeg.

Find out more here at SpotSquad’s website


This Canadian startup has a new way to display brands for marketers.

serious is the Slideshare for Lists

Listly, Canadian startup,startup, startup interviewHave you ever read a “Top 10…” list and thought, “Hmm, they missed something”?

Now, with Listly, brands and content companies can make lists interactive and embeddable. Communities love it because they can share a whole list or just part of one. They can even contribute to a list by interacting with it right in blog posts. No more scrolling through comments to find out if people agree with your list.

Listly is also great for brands. As we all know, these days, content is king, and the more content a brand can produce, the more opportunities they have to reach their audience. Lists are easily the most popular content on the web, and Listly makes it easy for brands to create and use those lists.

What is your startup, what does it do?

We take the most effective form of content marketing, the numbered list post, and we make it collaborative, interactive, and embedable. Human beings simply love to consume information in the form of numbered lists. This explains who 30% of posts are in the familiar form of “10 ways to..” “17 tips to…” “27 things you must not …”. We simply bring life these blog posts by letting people vote and contribute directly on the list. We make it easier to share and embed these interactive lists. You can share the whole list or just an item. You can embed the whole list or just an item. We track where and when your lists are seen and we also track who and how people interact with each list.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Shyam Subramanyan  & Nick Kellet

We’ve both got a background in startups and building brands. We make a great team. We complement each other.

Where are you based?

We’re based out of California in the Bay Area.  I live in Canada.

What is the startup culture like where you are based?

San Fran is about a tech as it gets. I live in Kelowna in BC, which has an aspiring tech culture. Exits like Club Penguin, Vineyard Networks, and Workfire put Kelowna on the map. Plus there’s an event called Metabridge that is really working to connect Kelowna to Silicon Valley.

What problem does your startup solve?

 We help brands get found and we help them foster engagement with the community.


What is the greatest challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

The list hasn’t evolved since the invention of HTML. That is the opportunity we are creating. We are to lists what slideshare is to slides. You put your lists on Listly and embed them back on your blog. The model has been proven for static content like slides, videos and audio. Were just taking that model one step further as lists evolve over time and can be contributed to by many. People are always skeptical when a new type of data is created. The challenge we have overcome building the credibility needed for people to place their lists with Listly.

 To this point with have lists embedded on 5000+ blogs. We have thousands of publishers who’ve signed up and used the platform. 


What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?

 Lots of iterations along the way, but three major:

V1 – Simple social embeddable lists

V2 – Scaling / cachable lists and synchronizing the experience between listly and blogs

V3 – Responsive Listly – A simpler, consistent experience across smart phones, tablets and desktops.

All these build on Listly as a publishing platform and a serious piece of internet infrastructure.


What are your next milestones?

We’re focused on small incremental steps right now and in driving our adoption metrics and our monthly active user count. Our core focus is to get more embeds. We’re also building out our API so people can build the use of Listly lists into their applications and workflows.

What’s next for your startup?

More of the same. Were focused on removing friction, driving up the number of embeds, and on building brand awareness so people are happy to jump in and vote or contribute to a list. We’ll also be putting more focus on our premium product to cater to the needs of bigger brands and publishers.

Where can people find out more, and what is your Twitter username?

@listly, @nickkellet @shyamster

Canadian Startup TagMyDoc Releases Sweet Infographic! [no really]

Last month we got the chance to talk with the founders behind New York startup Docurated. They were pitching on the battlefield stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY.  Their idea is to provide enterprise with a way to easily search and find content within volumes and volumes of files, information, and presentations wherever it’s located.

Last October, we interviewed the team behind Canadian startup TagMyDoc. Their simple, easy to understand platform does almost the same thing, but they’re positioning it for everybody.

In looking at the two products side by side Docurated seems perfect for what it’s designed for. I’d say their best use cases would be big PR Firms and marketing units within big enterprise companies where multiple people are collaborating on projects and need to be able to quickly search through excerpted content.

TagMyDoc lets you organize your content, wherever it lives, whatever way you want. I like this for a lot of reasons too, customization being the number one reason. From a user like me though, this can be overwhelming at times because sometimes I forget how I organize stuff. Take my mess of Gmail folders for instance.

At any rate, TagMyDoc has come a long way in the last 7 months since we interviewed them and just in time for summer they’ve released this really “sweet” infographic on how far they’ve come.


TagMyDoc, Canadian startup,infographic
































See I told you it was sweet.

You know what we like for organizing, this is the startup we like for mobile email.


Canadian Startup Quibl Is Hot Or Not For The Latest Issues

Quibl,Canadian startup,startupsA Canadian startup has taking a format as simple as Hot Or Not and put it online for people to debate the hottest current event issues.

After a year in the making, the site officially launched on Monday and so far there seems to be some interest bubbling.

The founders took to reddit to describe their two main objectives behind Quibl

  • It aggregates arguments on a specific topic (like gun control for example)
  • It’s a tool to find debates (we have a location for each debate), allowing you to find what’s going on in your area with google map api. (

Right now the hottest debates seem to be on gun control, Have We Reached Peak Oil and Google Glass.

“For comparison sake, a debate is a bit like a subreddit but you have two columns, one for each side. Debates are always polarized like that. People post their opinion, links to articles, blogs, tweets and just pictures as argument on one or the other side. Behind each argument, you have a comment section where people still pick a side when commenting. Therefore, if you see a “red” argument that seems quite good, you can go check in the comment for “red” or “green” opinions below it. Everything is sorted by number of votes so you can “filter” the content and show what’s best in a certain amount of time. We use exponential decay formulas to depreciate argument after a while, depending on filter selection. This keeps the debate interesting by showing more new content. We have no downvotes, because it makes no sense for people arguing.” one of the founders explained.

They are hoping to scale the site so that it becomes the platform of choice for discussing hot button issues.

What we like?

The ease of voting
Their mission is clearly defined in the presentation and the UI

Check out Quibl for yourself here at


500 Startups And More Back Philippines Startup Payroll Hero

Payrollhero,Philippines startup,Canadian startup,funding500 Startups, LX Ventures, the Futura Corporation, 8capita Partners, Ryan Holmes (founder of Hootsuite), Dan Martell (CEO of Clarity), Benjamin Joffee and other angels have all backed Philippines/Canadian startup Payroll Hero to the tune of $1 million.

Payroll Hero was dubbed the IT Startup Of The Year in the Philippines for their back end HR platform that provides payroll, attendance and scheduling services for companies both large and small. Tech In Asia says that the company is software that makes sure “people actually work”.

The company currently has customers in the USA, Philippines, Canada, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. They plan on using part of this investment to expand across South East Asia.

Payroll Hero was one of 16 international startups to participate in Startup Arena, a pitch contest held over the summer. Ben Joffee, who is sometimes referred to as “Mr. Asia” was one of the judges at that contest and then put his money where his mouth is by investing in this round.

More available at the source.

Holografyx A New Way To Display For Brands And Marketers

A few weeks back when we were at CES 2013 we saw a nifty new startup from Canada called Holografyx.

Earlier this month we brought you an interview we did with Russian startup Displair. Their technology created a multi touch display in thin air, which could be the wave of the future.

Holografyx is also doing something cool with display. They’ve created a way to holographically super impose text and other graphics on top of wares that are being displayed in a show case. Towards the end of the video you can see exactly what I mean.  While it’s definitely not as earth shattering as Displair the technology provides yet another way for marketers to show off to customers.

They also have an interesting franchise model to push their “360 cube” show case system to market.

Check out the video below. For more info visit

Fitness Startup PumpUp Picks Up The Pace Again With iOS App

Pumpup, Canadian startup,Waterloo startup,startup,startupsBack in May when the high princess of startups inside the valley Sarah Lacey suggested there were no good fitness startups we found out about Waterloo startup PumpUp.

What makes so great are a number of things. For starters the three founders behind know their roles and do them well. In an industry that can run a little top heavy on the ego side they have the entrepreneurial founder, the sales, marketing and bizdev founder and of course the athletic trainer founder. You couldn’t have a fitness startup without one.

The UI is intuitive and it’s made for the average person, not the overly buff set that don’t need the gym as much as us normal folks.

Now, to make things much easier to manage PumpUp on the go, they’ve released an iOS app for iPhones and iPod Touch, both devices that make it into the gym while you’re working out.

With over 40% of new gym memberships cancelled in less than a year, people are looking for an easy-to-use solution that gives them the guidance and motivation needed to get fit. By asking a few simple questions about people’s fitness goals, where they want to work out and the equipment they love to use, PumpUp automatically builds a highquality workout designed specifically for each user.

PumpUp is meant for people who want to get started with a fitness routine but don’t know what to do, or those who want to take their fitness to the next level. PumpUp shows users what to do, how to do it,and over time, adapts their plans to ensure they continue to improve.

“People aspire to be fit and live a healthy life but most people find difficulty in reaching their goals,” says Phil Jacobson, co-founder & CEO of PumpUp. “We’re simplifying the experience by asking you what you want and taking care of the rest. Getting fit doesn’t have to be tough; people just need to be shown what to do. With PumpUp, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

The PumpUp App is available as a free download on the Apple App Store on iPhone or iPod Touch at PumpUp is free to try for 30 days and costs $4.99/month on an annual subscription. To celebrate the launch and New Year, an annual subscription for PumpUp is only $2.99/month for the rest of January 2013.

Pumpup your startup everywhere else at The startup Conference, details here!