All posts in Technology

Why aren’t there more women in tech start-ups?

At an industry conference held last month in Las Vegas, Alyssa Richard stood out so much she felt as though she was “walking around with flashing yellow lights” stuck to her head.

Ms. Richard, the Toronto-based founder of mortgage comparison website, wasn’t doing anything in particular to attract attention at LeadsCon, a networking conference for online lead generation companies. She was simply being herself: a woman who runs a successful, 18-month-old technology company.

Continue Reading →

Facebook scam steals Ottawa company’s business

Ottawa’s largest window and door retailer says a fraudulent Facebook knock-off was using its name to make money by stealing its customers.

Comfort King Windows and Doors said it recently signed up for a company Facebook page to help market its business and attract new clients.

But when owner Paul Hunter looked on the social networking site, he said he found a group of people already had created a fraudulent Facebook page in Ottawa under the Comfort King name.

Continue Reading →

Top 3 Reasons Your Product Description Sucks

Most product descriptions suck, especially when they’re written by marketing people who have never sold anything. Here are the three major reasons that product descriptions suck, along with examples of how to write ones that don’t.

Continue Reading →

Small is beautiful in Ottawa’s tech sector

Thank you to the Citizen for the recent three-part series on the city’s prospects as an ongoing magnet for knowledge-based industries. Now I’d like to take the opportunity to engage Ottawa’s business community and Citizen readers on where we have to focus our efforts.

A hint: It’s not on a game-changing boost in government programs or procurement policies. Our game changes with a laserlike focus on Ottawa’s entrepreneurs, their startups, and our ability to rapidly accelerate the success of those young companies.

Continue Reading →

Easy targets: top firms now in play. Why Ottawa is losing control of its high-tech destiny

You could feel his frustration building. In a quiet corner of his company’s cafeteria last week, Zarlink Semiconductor chairman Adam Chowaniec was reflecting on the extraordinary developments of the previous few days.

The British-trained entrepreneur and engineer, who began his career here at Bell Northern Research in 1976, had just finished presiding over Zarlink’s annual shareholders meeting. What should have been a straightforward presentation of the company’s long-heralded turnaround, had instead been overshadowed by a hostile takeover proposal by a little-known California firm, Microsemi.

Continue Reading →

Fight for Ottawa semiconductor firm goes public

A bidding war is likely to break out for a small Ottawa semiconductor design company whose products are used by leading wireless network equipment makers.

After the board of Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. rejected another quiet takeover offer from Microsemi Corp. of Irvine, Calif., the U.S company made a public appeal Wednesday to the Canadian’s board of directors with an offer of $3.35 cents a share totalling US$445 million – a 40 per cent premium over the share price the day before — and a challenge to put the offer before shareholders at its annual meeting meeting July 27.

Continue Reading →

Gridiron enters the cloud market

Ottawa’s Gridiron Software has received an estimated $5 million in new funding to help the company begin marketing a product targeted at cloud computing.

This newly emerging market features networked computers that use the Internet to deliver software, storage and other technologies, as needed, in the form of a service.

Udo Eberlein, chief executive of the firm, said the money will also allow the company to complete the development of software that will let businesses track, audit, manage and instantly update files stored on cloud servers.

Continue Reading →

Remaking Mitel–one more time

The first time Mitel’s headhunters approached him last fall to become CEO, Rich McBee turned them down flat. “I wasn’t interested,” he said.

McBee was quite happy where he was running the communications unit of Danaher Corp., a U.S. conglomerate with a market value in excess of $30 billion (all figures U.S.). McBee, then 47, had a home and family in Texas — Kanata just wasn’t on his radar. But Mitel’s headhunters returned a few weeks later with a suggestion to at least think about it. McBee did.

Because he did, because he became intrigued by what he found in Kanata, Mitel — which reports its annual financial results June 30 — may have a decent shot at recovery.

McBee took over as Mitel’s chief executive last Jan. 17. Little more than three months later, on May 2, he was done with the forensics, and laid out the company’s new strategies. Mitel, which makes telephone systems for small and medium-sized businesses, would narrow its focus and, more crucially, stop competing with its own resellers — the independent businesses that market and install Mitel phone systems.

Continue Reading →

Ottawa tech agency helps nations develop digitally

For nearly a decade now, a small agency in Ottawa has been reaching out in a big way to many nations. They are working to get their young people using technology and making a difference where they live.

The founder of Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) thinks the concept is ready for a big expansion.

Technology 101 exists in many nations courtesy of DOT. The teachers are young interns working with DOT, teaching others in their community the basics of technology and how it can be used to create economic development.

Continue Reading →

Why March Networks is on auction block

On the face of it, the timing looks odd. Kanatabased March Networks revealed late Wednesday that it was up for sale. This, while announcing record annual revenues of $102.8 million for fiscal 2011, which ended April 30.

In fact, it’s smart to test the market from a position of relative strength. Peter Strom, company chief executive for the past seven years, noted the strategic review was “exploratory in nature”. He added that the idea is to see what kinds potential offers or deals are out there.

The specialist in video surveillance technology could merge with another firm for economies of scale. It could be acquired by one of its much bigger rivals such as Bosch Security Systems, Cisco Systems or General Electric, presumably at a rich premium over its $75-million-plus market value.

Or it could continue eking out slim profits as a standalone firm on sales growth of 10 per cent plus per year – to cite its projection for the current fiscal year.

Continue Reading →