So last night was StartupCampWaterloo5 – the Original Startup Camp with the Best Format(tm). We had on the order of 60-80 people in attendance. We didn’t do formal count of startups this time, but there were 12 proposed demos on the whiteboard, and I know of at least 3 other groups that were represented. As usual we had a keynote speaker: Mark Evans, who among other things runs the mesh conference in Toronto. He usually talks about social media, but he focused for us on communication, highlighting good and poor first impressions and public communications strategies of various websites.

Twelve people/groups put themselves up for doing a session, and gave 30 second pitches about what they wanted to discuss on the theme of starting up. We did our approval voting, ate food (thanks sponsors!) and had time for the top 4:

  • Kareem Shehata showed us his new Aeryon Labs Unmanned Aerial Vehicle -- sadly he did not yet have government clearance to fly it, but it's a serious piece of kit and he had some kick ass videos. It's controlled via a Google Maps style interface. We talked about business models.
  • I led a discussion on the subject of where to get Free Money from the government. Suggestions included SR&ED, NSERC USRA, Various OCE programs, Youth Employment Strategy, Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, MS BizSpark, - $15K for employee < 30, OMDC, Ontario Interactive Tax Credit, Services Canada (summer jobs)... and to look at the recent techcapital blog post.
  • Avery Pennarun "eql=data" a project he's working on to make MS Access databases web accessible. Business model was a bit of a question mark but interesting technology and Avery gives good talks.
  • Grigory Kruglov -- a UBC student current on co-op at RIM - talked about his business venture It's aimed at collecting information about events like concerts, cultural events, public parties etc. and making it easy for people to find events at the time & place of their choosing using data mining, tagging etc. Very interesting, and we had a cool talk about viability, how to commercialize, etc.

We also ran a live twitter stream on the main display using #watcmp. Afterwards many of us adjourned to Molly Blooms to imbibe the beverages of our choice.

Thanks to my co-instigators Jesse Rodgers and Mic Berman, and to our sponsors: Accelerator Centre, WatStart, Sun Microsystems, and Tech Capital Partners who provided space, support, and food!

PS And I almost forgot – Graham Hardie shot video and promises to put it online!