Lo­ca­tion, Lo­ca­tion, Lo­ca­tion

Kanata North techies col­lab­o­rate to com­pete with the world

Ottawa Citizen - - CANADA - By Stephen thorne SPON­SORED by KANATA NORTH BIA

Lo­ca­tion’s one of the first things Bruce Lin­ton con­sid­ered when he launched Martello Tech­nolo­gies, a soft­ware-as-a-ser­vice (SaaS) com­pany that de­vel­ops and man­ages cloud-based com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems.

He put Martello in an of­fice right on the path be­tween the Mi­tel Tower and the cam­pus cafe­te­ria. Then he mounted a mon­i­tor out­side his com­pany of­fices with a sports ticker, a trivia-and-tech­nol­ogy roll, and Martello news bites.

Mi­tel em­ploy­ees, a fer­tile source of re­cruit­ment, headed for lunch couldn’t help but pause and, when they read the lat­est news on hov­er­boards, a Martello re­lease came right on its heels.

“You want fre­quency of touch, or fre­quency of vis­i­bil­ity to be high, not an an­nual event,” Lin­ton said. “So in Kanata North you can ac­tu­ally get that lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion to your tar­geted part­ner pretty di­aled in.”

Kanata North is home to more than 500 com­pa­nies em­ploy­ing 21,000 peo­ple. The tal­ent pool is huge, the op­por­tu­ni­ties for col­lab­o­ra­tion vir­tu­ally end­less, and the mar­ket base is world­wide.

Lin­ton’s a reg­u­lar at TEDx Talks, mod­elled on the renowned TED (Tech­nol­ogy, En­ter­tain­ment, De­sign) Con­fer­ences, and Tech Tues­days, a monthly meetup of the like­minded at the Marshes Golf Club.

“What ends up hap­pen­ing is that it’s a lay­er­ing on or the in­ter­ac­tion with the peo­ple you might have met the week prior or two weeks prior at a quar­terly busi­ness re­view or a prod­uct def­i­ni­tion re­view or a demo cy­cle,” Lin­ton said. “Now all of a sud­den you’re meet­ing them so­cially. The trust equa­tion starts to get higher and deeper and the ef­fect is, each quar­terly busi­ness re­view gets a lit­tle bit more pro­duc­tive.

“I think that whole ecosys­tem co­hab­i­tat­ing in a rea­son­ably tight kind of ge­o­graphic pocket re­ally does make a dif­fer­ence.”

The L-Spark in­cu­ba­tor and ac­cel­er­a­tor is close by, pro­vid­ing in­di­vid­u­al­ized men­tor­ship for SaaS providers, es­pe­cially, with tar­geted sup­port and ex­cep­tional ac­cess to part­ners, in­vestors and key con­tacts.

En­trepreneurs from across the coun­try ap­ply to get in for six­month in­cu­ba­tion pe­ri­ods, launch­ing ideas from de­vel­op­ment to mar­ket­ing and sales.

Among L-Spark’s alumni is Steve Cody, pres­i­dent and founder of the Bet­ter Soft­ware Co., which de­vel­ops com­pre­hen­sive soft­ware so­lu­tions for small busi­ness. In less than a year, his Kanata North­based com­pany has opened of­fices in seven world cities.

“We’ve found great em­ploy­ees at Tech Tues­days,” Cody said. “We’ve found great part­ners who want to sell our prod­uct. We’ve found cus­tomers and we build busi­ness re­la­tion­ships. They’re good, re­ally good.”

All his firm’s sup­port net­work is in Kanata North, in­clud­ing his lawyer and his ac­coun­tant. The Bet­ter Soft­ware Co. holds meet­ings at the Brook­street Ho­tel down the road and its off-site train­ing at the nearby Marshes.

Lin­ton said the tech in­dus­try has come a long way.

“With SaaS, you can take a great idea, find a few re­ally skilled de­vel­op­ers, and your cus­tomers can be de­ployed very quickly,” he ex­plained, not­ing its ef­fi­ciency, cost pre­dictabil­ity and ser­vice-and­sup­port re­li­a­bil­ity.

Kanata North is an ideal ecosys­tem for in­no­va­tion to take root and grow, he said. “You have a tal­ent pool that has come out of some of the big tele­com play­ers, and many of them have gone on to found star­tups and scale them.”

Mean­while, L-Spark cranks out suc­cess sto­ries. Nine­teen com­pa­nies have “grad­u­ated” in two years, en­hanc­ing Kanata North’s rep­u­ta­tion as a suc­cess­ful, re­source­ful and con­tin­u­ously grow­ing com­mu­nity where op­por­tu­nity is of­ten just steps away.

“We’re en­joy­ing a resur­gence right now,” said Steve Lang­ford, vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing at Wes­ley Clover In­ter­na­tional Corp., the in­vest­ment, man­age­ment and hold­ing com­pany that op­er­ates and ma­jor­i­ty­owns L- Spark.

The key go­ing for­ward, he said, is to mit­i­gate some of the cycli­cal na­ture of the tech busi­ness, nur­ture more sus­tain­able com­pa­nies, and de­velop a more tightly in­te­grated and re­silient ecosys­tem that can com­pete on the world stage.

Lang­ford said area com­pa­nies are con­stantly look­ing be­yond Canada’s borders for mar­kets and just around the cor­ner for col­lab­o­ra­tors. Martello has staff in Canada, the U.S. and France. It’s de­ployed on 5,000-plus net­works in 18 coun­tries.

“As tech­nolo­gies be­come more por­ta­ble, more mo­bile-cen­tric, more stan­dard­ized, there are greater op­por­tu­ni­ties to col­lab­o­rate and en­hance and share in­no­va­tion,” he said.

“I think the gen­eral sense of com­mu­nity and growth is re­ally strong right now. Your cus­tomer base, re­gard­less of your prod­uct, is out there. You don’t need to beat the guy up across the street.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit se­ri­oustech­liveshere.com

PHOTO BY STEPHEN THORNE

Tech com­pa­nies based in Kanata North are pro­duc­tive and in­no­va­tive.

PHOTO BY STEPHEN THORNE

The mes­sage on this screen demon­strates just how fast things move in Kanata North.

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