The Two Sides of Innovation in PEI

When an old friend saw Rory Francis breakfasting at a Charlottetown restaurant recently and noted that the venerable civil-servant-turned-industry-mentor hadn’t retired yet, Francis just smiled. “I’m having too much fun,” said the Executive Director of the PEI BioAlliance.

In May I spent a few days on P.E.I. researching a series of stories that will appear in Progress in September. The theme of the innovation series, and what I heard over and over again, was that innovation isn’t just what takes place in a lab. Those of us who spend each day in the start-up space would do well to remember

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Compilr: 1 Year after SeedCamp NY

A lot has happened to Patrick Hankinson’s company Compilr since he took it to SeedCamp New York last summer, and he’s now hoping other Atlantic Canadian tech entrepreneurs can relive that experience.

As I wrote in one of the first blogs in Entrevestor last autumn, the active investor Permjot Valia took Hankinson and Compilr to New York last June to compete in SeedCamp New York.  There were 20 competitors from around the globe.

Compilr allows computer programmers to write codes from their browser, or rather to use the cloud for developing programs instead of relying on their own PC. The

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Startups and Higher Education

I received an interesting blog Thursday from Peter Halpin, Executive Director of the Association of Atlantic Universities, extolling the impact the region’s post-secondary institutions have had on innovation and R&D in the region.

Yes, it’s been said before, but it gives me an opportunity to bring out some research that I’ve been conducting that I hope will one day flesh out this concept a bit more.

In particular, Halpin notes that three of the big innovation stories in the region came about because of the active participation of universities. Radian6 and Ocean Nutrition Canada, two of

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DemoCamp Seeking IT Startups

Milan Vrekic, the CEO of TitanFile, is looking for IT startups to present their technology at the second annual DemoCamp Halifax at Dalhousie University on the evening of Sunday, September 23.

DemoCamp is an opportunity for the tech community to witness what’s being developed by entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia, and other parts of Atlantic Canada. It is not a pitching event. It is not a contest. It is a chance for the tech community – including investors – to get together and learn what the best technological minds in the region are creating, and listen to the wisdom of a few seasoned

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Media Badger Nears $2M Raise

In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the team at Media Badger took a break from its $2 million fundraising effort to analyze Canadians’ sentiment toward the leading Royals, as revealed by online comments in Canada.

Her Majesty will no doubt be tickled pink to know her positive sentiment reading has more than doubled in the last four years. Prince Charles has a lower profile, but his positive sentiment performance doubled in just two years, whereas his handsome eldest son draws the most commentary, almost all of it steadily favourable.

This survey reveals the type of creativity that

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The Digital Debutantes of Launch36

In the immortal words of the Bugs Bunny theme song, June 26 at the Dieppe Arts & Cultural Centre will be the “night of nights.”

Beginning at 5 p.m. at the suburban Moncton theatre, Propel ICT will raise the curtain on the 11 start-ups that have been toiling in the Launch36 accelerator since January, knocking their businesses into shape, taking on clients, and planning to raise capital.

Having spoken with few of them, I know that they’re looking at June 26 as the deadline to have everything in order to present to the rarefied crowd. No more rehearsing or nursing the part, you might say.

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17 Named to WMI Leaders Program

The Wallace McCain Institute for Business Leadership at the University of New Brunswick on Friday announced the 17 participants in its fifth annual Entrepreneurial Leaders Program, including three from outside the province.

The program helps growing businesses, typically five to eight years old, to advance successfully beyond the high-growth stage, so their earnings are sustainable, income streams are defined and their founders blossom into business leaders.

“After three years as a judge, it thrills me to see the quality and quantity of the high growth potential entrepreneurs we have in

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Soricimed Phase 1 Trials to Proceed

Sackville, N.B.-based biotech Soricimed Biopharma Inc. said this week that the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. and Health Canada have given it the green light to proceed with Phase 1 trials for its main drug candidate, an anti-cancer agent called SOR-C13.

“Acceptance by the FDA and Health Canada of this application, along with the advancement of SOR-C13 to clinical testing, are two major milestones for Soricimed and key steps along the path to the drug's development and commercialization,” Jack Stewart, Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of the company, said in a press

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Forcier Joins Espresso Capital

In a further sign that the ecosystem for startups in the region is continuing to evolve, Espresso Capital of Vancouver has hired Ben Forcier, Innovacorp’s former Vice-President of Investments, with primary responsibility for Atlantic Canada.

Differing from standard VC funds, Espresso issues short-term loans to tech and cleantech startups, especially those receiving support from the federal government’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program, commonly known as SR&ED. Espresso takes no equity and the loans of $100,000 to $1.5 million are customarily repaid in less than two

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Afinin Labs to Begin Zenquant Tests

Afinin Labs Inc. of St. John’s is quickly becoming one of the stars of the tech community in Newfoundland and Labrador, largely because of the commercial potential of its stock-price prediction software, Zenquant. Recently, the company announced that it’s in the final stages of negotiations with a large financial institution to test Zenquant in a six-month trial.

The company was founded in 2009 by Memorial University researchers Garnett Wilson and Wolfgang Banzhaf. Zenquent applies algorithms based on minute-by-minute stock feed from the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange; then alerts

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