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As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked serial entrepreneur Jason Flick to share some of his insights. This is his next commentary and we welcome your feedback

By Jason Flick

According to Statistics Canada, expenditures by Canadian universities on research and development totaled $11 billion in 2009-2010, up about 0.8 percent from the year before. Spending by Canada’s top 100 R&D companies, meanwhile, fell 9.4 percent in 2010 to $9.4 billion. Compare that university R&D figure to total VC funding for Canadian companies in 2010, which was less than $1 billion.

If these numbers are a surprise to you then I hope I have your interest. What I will talk about here are the successful adventures I have had with my companies levering this vast pool of IP and perhaps suggest a way for you to see some alternate funding options for your venture.

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New OCRI CEO shares his vision: Part 1

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

It’s fairly safe to say that I struck a loud chord with my post of a few weeks ago that took Ottawa’s major economic development agency to task for preferring cheerleading from the sidelines to playmaking that would actually move the ball down the field. It wasn’t quite the best-read post of all time; it ran on American Thanksgiving, a day that saw our blog lose most of our south-of-the-border readers who typically account for about one-third of our daily visitors. But it did garner one of the highest PostRank scores of all time, a yardstick that measures levels of engagement — comments, tweets and the like — around posts. With the exception of comments from the new OCRI CEO and from the head of OCRI’s marketing agency of record — neither of whom is exactly what you might call a dispassionate observer — every comment, tweet and other reaction I received applauded my characterisation and concurred with it. Some went even further with my analogy, with, for example, one widely involved local angel investor telling me yesterday that far from simply standing on the sidelines cheering, OCRI has often stepped onto the field to take the ball away and out of play from entrepreneurs and others who are trying to score real goals for the technology sector in this community.

In a long telephone chat the day after my post ran, new OCRI CEO Bruce Lazenby didn’t argue with much of what I had written. Indeed, he told me, in the two weeks between the time he knew he was taking on the job and the time it was publicly announced, he conducted what he called some “mystery shopping,” asking people far and wide in the community what they thought of OCRI. “You must have been just appalled by what you heard,” I said, and he didn’t disagree. Nor did he disagree with my statement that OCRI was “a terribly tarnished brand.”

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What’s new at Canadian universities may surprise you

In November, we featured a guest post by serial entrepreneur Jason Flick on the complexities startups face working with universities and attempting to commercialize university IP. In today’s guest post, University of Ottawa’s Sean P. Flanigan shares his perspectives from the viewpoint of a university tech transfer office (TTO). This is his first commentary and we welcome your feedback.

By Sean P. Flanigan

There are many networking events and receptions this time of year and I love to take the opportunity to chat with entrepreneurs about their ventures and experts about trends in the markets. The question I hear the most is “What’s new?” Given the number of surprised looks that I get when I answer this question one-on-one, I thought I would spread the word a little further. So here is what’s new.

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OMG! There’s an entrepreneur on campus

This is the 17th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

Over the past couple of weeks, we have explored where and how government can facilitate the process of commercialization to help technology entrepreneurs get their products to market. Throughout this series, we have talked about the entrepreneurial right stuff and the value of those soft skills collectively referred to as emotional intelligence.

But where does good old-fashioned formal education fit into all of this? What role does, and should, a person’s alma mater play in the formation of the next generation of entrepreneurs?

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Recent Comments

  • Final Fling in the news and media : [...] 10: Canadian marketing experts blog on Fling taking on the ultimate marketing [...]

  • The best of the web | How to Be Creative (and Why it’s Necessary) : [...] Moran recently likened the current state of content marketing to the early state of radio. Anyone with access to the tools could claim expertise in radio, but as it evolved, it was apparent [...]

  • Francis Moran : Glad you liked the piece, Paul. I don't think you've ever been a client, so you are not directly referenced in any of my examples. But these shortcomings are common afflictions among marketing companies, so the shoe probably fits. :) As for your question about the Ottawa tech community being more marketing savvy? Yes, I believe it is.

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