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Roundup for March 2024 – Communitech

(DJ Khaled voice) …and another one!

Miovision continued its acquisition streak by purchasing Beaverton, Oregon-based Traffic Technology Services (TTS). The company is Miovision’s second acquisition in 2024, following the purchase of traffic data collection company CJ Hensch & Associates in January.

“TTS adds an exciting new dimension to Miovision’s array of solutions and we look forward to scaling this critical service to all automotive OEM’s and fleet operators across all signalized traffic intersections in Canada, US, Europe, and other places,” Miovision CFO Joe Custer said in a statement.

Putting community first

We kicked March off with an early-morning fireside chat at our Communitech Breakfast on March 5. Kurtis McBride, CEO of Miovision, and Michael Litt, CEO of Vidyard, joined Chris on stage for a conversation on the importance of building a thriving community.

“There's an inherent strength within our community,” Litt said. “My experiences — from my upbringing in McLennan Park to witnessing my wife's journey as an entrepreneur — have fuelled my desire to learn, grow and contribute to the community that shaped me.”

The Communitech Breakfast also had Joe Mancini, Executive Director of The Working Centre, on stage to share the organization’s impact on our community. Over 40 years, The Working Centre has initiated more than 30 projects, addressing needs from food and shelter to housing.

“One notable example is our 80-year-old endeavour, 97 Victoria St., currently undergoing renovations to provide 44 new housing units and comprehensive support services. It shows the importance of collaboration and meticulous planning in community development. Each step taken contributes to creating meaningful change, not just aesthetically but in the lives of 44 individuals,” Mancini said.

Good things happen when we get together

On Tuesday, March 5, the Walper Hotel in downtown Kitchener was the place to be, as over 100 founders joined us for our Communitech CEO Dinner. ​​The event is one of our favourite annual traditions, fostering connections and strengthening bonds among C-suite leaders in the local tech ecosystem.

“This was our first CEO Dinner post-pandemic and the turnout was amazing,” said Alison Vreeswyk, Senior VP of Marketing and Business Development at Communitech. “This shows how excited everyone is to reunite and mingle. These gatherings reaffirm our commitment to providing valuable networking opportunities and support for our members' growth.”

In addition to networking and great conversations, the evening featured a keynote presentation from Ramy Nassar, founder of 1000 Days Out, Olive Fintech Group and the AI Leadership Institute. Nassar shared his insights on how AI is growing to better understand human interactions, the democratization of AI, and how organizations are being held accountable for the outputs of their AI systems.

“It's truly inspiring to witness leaders from diverse organizations and industries, all immersed in technology, come together around common questions,” Nassar said. “Despite our varied backgrounds, we're discovering remarkably similar perspectives and uncovering common themes.”

Providing moms with the support they need

Momwell founder Erica Djossa sat down with our team to share how her personal experiences as a new mom inspired her entrepreneurial journey. Djossa participated in the Fierce Founders Bootcamp program, a six-week program that supports early-stage companies in understanding business models and market opportunities.

Today, Momwell is approaching CDN$1 million in revenue this year, and Djossa is heading out on a book tour to support the launch of Releasing the Mother Load. The book is a guide for moms to help them reshape their internalized ideals, expectations, and beliefs around motherhood. 

“I’m a clinician. I don't have an MBA, so all of the business language was new to me. The Fierce Founders Bootcamp was a high-speed intro into everything that I needed to have in place to be a business. It was everything I needed to build out a roadmap and structure for the company,” Djossa said.

Opening up procurement opportunities in Canada

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, visited the Communitech Hub on March 14 to learn about the procurement barriers founders face. Minister Duclos was joined by Procurement Assistance Canada (PAC) representatives, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, and Kitchener South-Hespeler MP Valerie Bradford for a tour and meeting with founders. 

“We’re mindful of the challenges of small and medium-sized enterprises, enterprises from under-represented communities, leaders, and entrepreneurs,” Duclos said. “This is an opportunity for dialogue, an important one.”

Helping connect renters and properties with AI

Kitchener-based QuickCasa has developed an AI-powered platform they call a Conversational AI Support Agent. The platform provides automated lead engagement and pre-qualification for real estate and multifamily housing professionals through a human-like conversational virtual agent.

Co-founder Dayna Voisin is an experienced property tech leader, but she wanted to develop herself as a founder. That’s where the Fierce Founders Bootcamp came in to help

“I’ve worked with startups and scale-ups, but I've never been through an accelerator program as a founder myself,” Voisin said. “I’m a huge advocate of women supporting other women, so Fierce Founders seemed like a great way to build my network — and confidence as a woman founder! We're already a Communitech member, too, so this was a chance to get additional resources on top of what we already have available,” Voisin said.

Other news

"Communitech helps tech-driven companies start, grow and succeed. Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players. Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways: - Communitech is a place – the center of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool shit and great companies. - Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate. - Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant."

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