Heddoko Joins Techstars Boston Spring 2016 Cohort

Heddoko Joins Techstars Boston Spring 2016 Cohort

We are excited to announce that Heddoko has been selected as one of 14 companies to join Techstars, one of the leading startup accelerators in the world. The three-month mentorship-driven accelerator program is geared towards helping tech entrepreneurs build great businesses and bring new technologies to market.

We kicked things off this week south of the border as part of the Boston-based cohort, with a diverse group of startups hailing from Canada, the UK, the US, and Germany, who are focused on everything from making it easier to fund indie films, to giving consumers the power to make awesome, customized high-tech tools and products, to scientifically measuring interest in events before they’re booked.

The program will be capped off with a Demo Day on May 25.

Here’s a look at the TechStars Boston Spring 2016 companies:

AirFox: We dramatically reduce the cost of mobile service for carriers and consumers around the world
@_airfox

Daily Pnut: A daily email on international news that informs and entertains you
@dailypnut

Danger!Awesome: Retail makerspaces bringing high tech tools and creative education to consumers
@dangerawesome

Grapevine: Our platform connects consumer brands with the most relevant and influential social media stars
@grapevinelogic

Heddoko: The first smart compression suit that tracks full-body movement in 3D and gives you real-time feedback
@heddoko

Navut: Marketplace that connects people planning to relocate with local experts
@realnavut

Polis: Easy and scalable door-to-door outreach software for campaigns and organizations
@polis_app

Rare Pink: A bespoke engagement ring retailer helping clients across the globe design unique and meaningful engagement rings
@rare_pink

RocketBook: Magical pen-and-paper notebooks designed for our digital world
@rocketinno

Seed&Spark: Crowdfunding and distribution platform for indie films
@seedandspark

Spoiler Alert: An online marketplace and brokerage tool for discounted food sales, food donations, and organic waste opportunities
@myspoileralert

Strobe: We build technology that enables event organizers to create live experiences for the 21st century
@strobelabs

TapGlue: A platform that easily turns every app into a social network
@tapglue

YayPay: Fast invoice collections and accounts receivables management
@goyaypay

In total, 762 accelerator companies have gone through the Techstars program. Of those, 90% are active or have been acquired. Notable Techstars alumni companies include ClassPass, Digital Ocean, Localytics, SendGrid, Contently, Occipital, Next Big Sound, Kapost, Synack, Ginger.io, Sphero, FullContact, Simple Energy, Mocavo, GrabCAD, Kinvey, Placester, Crowdtwist, OnSwipe, Everymove, Remitly, Romotive, Cloudability, Distil Networks, DataRobot, DoubleDub, Pivotdesk, Revolv, Coachup, Pillpack, Keen.io and Plated.

To learn more, visit the Techstars website.

5 éléments essentiels pour créer une équipe

5 ÉLÉMENTS ESSENTIELS POUR CRÉER UNE ÉQUIPE

(French translation by Andrea Horqque and Louis Roux. An English version follows.)

Un des aspects les plus importants en termes de croissance de votre entreprise est de ne pas le faire tout seul. Créer et bâtir votre équipe est un des éléments les plus importants lorsque vous démarrez une startup. Dans l’épisode de cette semaine de la série-documentaire à huit chapitre « Alexandre et les Conquérants », actuellement diffusé sur ICI Explora, le célèbre entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer explore un des défis auquel toutes startups doit sans doute faire face – ressources humaines.

Taillefer suit de près Heddoko, PlayHybrid, et Montréal Frais pendant le processus de recrutement des employés, les entrevues des nouvelles recrues potentielles, et l’équipe d’administration – le tout fait à partir de zéro, sans aucune aide d’un service de ressources humaines.

Grâce à l’aide des équipes de tournage qui nous permettent de voir directement dans la vie des personnes qui s’occupent de ces entreprises, voici les cinq éléments essentiels à créer une équipe que l’on rencontre dans cet épisode :

1. Passion

Notre COO, Alexandre Fainberg, Vincent Lachance de Montréal Frais et Dominic Bilodeau de PlayHybrid’s ont dit que la première qualité qu’ils recherchent dans un employé potentiel est la passion – être passionné par l’idée de l’entreprise, partager la même vision, et comprendre le pourquoi du travail qui est fait. Pour Heddoko, passer d’une idée intangible qui existait seulement en papier à créer cinq prototypes tangibles  en huit mois a été largement attribuable par la conviction partagée et la passion derrière la vision.

2. Ramener du savoir-être unique et des connaissances techniques uniques

Alors que Lachance est encadré par Taillefer et passe son collègue Richard de Taxi Hochelaga par une entrevue à questions rafales simulée pour être un livreur de Montréal Frais, Taillefer souligne qu’une des questions que Lachance a oublié de poser était comment était la connaissance de Richard des rues de Montréal. Pendant que Bilodeau et son partenaire Sean Chang regardent les projets personnels d’employés potentiels, ils sont impressionnés par les compétences d’un candidat qui a fait des fraises animées avoir l’air incroyablement réelles. En ajoutant de la valeur à une équipe implique avoir une combinaison unique de savoir-être et connaissance technique qui vont plus loin de ce qu’une personne a appris à l’école ou a fait dans un ancien emploi. Les questions que les fondateurs des compagnies présentées se demandent souvent sont quels sont les intérêts du candidat? Combien ont-ils pris l’initiative dans leurs projets personnels?  Qu’est-ce qui les motivent? Est-ce qu’ils ont des bonnes compétences de communication? Est-ce qu’ils sont capables de prendre des décisions rapidement?

3. Efficacité

Pourquoi embaucher deux employés si le travail peut être fait par un seul? Chez PlayHybrid, Bilodeau et Chang font face à un ‘challenge’ unique dans le recrutement de talents car l’animation qu’ils utilisent requiert un différent niveau de compétence –alors que Montréal possède une industrie du jeux vidéo en plein essor, la plupart des gens se spécialise dans l’animation spécifique aux jeux plutôt qu’aux longs métrages.

Les caméras les suivent alors qu’ils embauchent leur premier employé, un programmeur ayant commencé à coder à l’âge de 14 ans et si rapide qu’ils n’ont pas besoin d’embaucher un second programmeur. Leur deuxième embauche, un concepteur de jeu vidéo, ayant précédemment étudié les énergies renouvelables et qui amène un certaine « énergie » au sein de l’entreprise. Dans une startup, chaque membre de l’équipe possède l’habilité d’avoir un impact direct sur l’entreprise. Pour optimiser la croissance, il est préférable de se concentrer sur une petite mais puissante équipe –embaucher des gens qui sont polyvalents et efficaces.

4. Embaucher des gens avec une exceptionnelle habilité à travailler avec les autres

Travailler dans une startup c’est comme faire partie d’une famille –embaucher des gens qui peuvent s’adapter facilement, qui ont une bonne valeur ajoutée à l’équipe et qui travaille bien avec les autres est absolument essentiel. Lachance fait une visite chez Frank and Oak –un magasin de vêtements pour hommes en ligne basé à Montréal et fondé en 2012 par Ethan Song et Hicham Ratnani, des amis d’enfance. L’entreprise a depuis explosé et a grandi, passant d’une équipe de 2 à une équipe de 120 personnes (et ouvrent un magasin grand de 485m2 à Montréal le 10 octobre prochain). Avec la croissance fulgurante de leur entreprise, il était important pour les deux fondateurs de garder un groupe soudé –dans leurs bureaux ils essayent de maintenir une bonne ambiance, avec un espace de travail ouvert, des tables de foosball, et meme une ligue de Ping Pong qui encourage l’esprit d’équipe and ouvre les lignes de communication sur tous les fronts.

5. Avoir un bon système de support

Demandez conseil, cherchez d’autres personnes ayant été dans vos chaussures, et utilisez les ressources disponibles afin de faire le mieux que vous puissiez avec ce que vous avez. L’épisode explique l’importance qu’avait Heddoko à faire partie du centre d’Innovation District 3 –être capable de rencontrer des étudiants prometteurs qui possèdent une attitude qui traduit l’impact positif qu’ils peuvent avoir sur une startup. Taillefer souligne à quel point il est crucial pour Lachance de rencontrer des entrepreneurs à succès pour créer un véritable système de support au sein de Montréal Frais et forger une équipe. Alors que l’épisode bat son pleins, on nous donne un avant-goût système de support personnel de certains des fondateurs pour avoir une meilleure idée de ce qui les pousse à aller de l’avant.

Qu’avez vous pensé de cet épisode?  Laissez-le nous savoir dans la section commentaire !

Restez à l’affut de l’épisode 5, « Marketing », diffusé ce soir à 21h sur ICI Explora.

Pour plus d’informations sur PlayHybrid et Montréal Frais, visitez leur site Internet et suivez-les sur Twitter (@PlayHybrid), (@MontrealFrais).

Pour en savoir d’avantage sur notre entreprise, et pour vous inscrire à notre liste exclusive d’emails pour recevoir les dernières nouvelles, cliquez ici.

 


 

One of the most important aspects in terms of growing a business is not to go at it alone. Creating and building a team is one of the most important elements when you own a startup. In this week’s episode of the 8-part documentary series “Alexandre et les Conquérants” currently airing on ICI Explora, renowned entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer explores one of the greatest challenges startups are bound to face as they grow – human resources.

Taillefer follows startups Heddoko, PlayHybrid, and Montréal Frais during the process of recruiting employees, interviewing potential new recruits, and team management– all from the ground-up without the help of a human resources department.

With the camera crews providing a backstage pass into the lives of the people behind these companies, here are 5 essential elements in building a team that are unpacked in the episode:

1. Passion

Our COO, Alexandre Fainberg, Montréal Frais’ Vincent Lachance, and PlayHybrid’s Dominic Bilodeau say the number one thing they look for in a potential new employee is passion – being passionate about the business idea, sharing the same vision, and understanding the why behind the work being done. For Heddoko, going from an intangible idea that existed only on paper, to creating 5 tangible iterations of prototypes in 8 months was largely driven by the shared belief in, and the passion behind the vision.

2. Bringing in unique “soft” and “hard” skills

As Lachance is mentored by Taillefer and puts his Taxi Hochelega colleague Richard through a mock rapid-fire interview to be a delivery person at Montréal Frais, Taillefer points out that one of the questions Lachance forgot to ask was how well Richard knew the streets of Montreal. While Bilodeau and his partner Sean Chang look at some of the personal projects of prospective employees, they are impressed by the skills of one applicant, who made animated strawberries look unbelievably realistic. Adding value to a team means having a unique combination of both “soft” and “hard” skills that go beyond what a person did in school or at a previous job. Questions the featured company founders say they ask themselves are what are some of the things that interest the prospective employee? How much initiative have they taken in their personal endeavours? What motivates them? Do they have good communication skills? Can they make decisions quickly?

3. Efficiency

Why hire two employees if one can get the job done? At PlayHybrid, Bilodeau and Chang are faced with a unique challenge in recruiting talent in that the type of animation they’re doing requires a different level of skill – while Montreal has a booming gaming industry, most people specialize in animation specific to games rather than feature films. The cameras follow them as they hire their first employee, a programmer who started coding at the age of 14 and is so fast they don’t need to hire a second programmer. Their second hire, a game designer, studied renewable energy before going into game design and brings a very special “energy” to the company. At a startup, each member has the ability to have a direct impact on the business. To optimize growth, it’s better to focus on having a small but powerful team – hiring people who are multi-disciplinary and effective.

4. Hiring people with an outstanding ability to work with others

Working at a startup is like being part of a family – hiring people that can adapt easily, are a good fit with the team, and work well with others is absolutely essential. Lachance makes a visit to Frank and Oak – an online clothing store for men based in Montreal that was founded by childhood friends Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani in 2012. The company has since exploded and has grown from a team of 2 to a team of 120 (and are opening a 5,200 square-foot flagship store in Montreal on October 10th). With the dramatic growth they have seen in all aspects of the business, it was important for the two founders to keep the group tight-knit – in the office they try to maintain a fun and communal vibe, with an open workspace, foosball tables, and even a Ping-Pong league that encourages teamwork and open lines of communication on all fronts.

5. Having a good support system

Ask for advice, seek out others who have been in your shoes, and use the resources available to you to do the best you can with what you’ve got. The episode delves into how important it has been for Heddoko to be part of District 3 Innovation Center — being able to connect with up-and-coming students who have skills and attitudes that translate well into contributing positively at a startup. Taillefer emphasizes how crucial it is for Lachance to reach out and connect with successful entrepreneurs as a support system as, in his case going at it alone at Montréal Frais, it is the next best thing to having a team. As the episode wraps up, we’re given a sneak peak at the personal support systems of some of the founders to get a better idea of what helps them keep forging ahead.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments section!

Stay tuned for Episode 5, “Marketing” airing tonight at 9:00 PM on ICI Explora.

For more information on PlayHybrid and Montréal Frais, check out their websites and follow them on Twitter (@Playhybrid), (@MontrealFrais).

To learn more about us, and to sign up for our exclusive mailing list to receive the latest news, click here.

4 Conseils pour réaliser vos idées d’entreprise

4 conseils pour réaliser vos idées d'entreprise

(French translation by Johanna Baës. An English version follows.)

Dans les premiers épisodes d’Alexandre et les Conquérants, le gourou des affaires, Alexandre Taillefer, nous a présenté 3 startups montréalaises : PlayHybrid, Montréal Frais et Heddoko. Il nous a également suivi lors de nos aventures, c’est-à-dire : partir d’une idée d’affaires, croire en cette idée, et la concrétiser en recherche et développement.

Cette semaine, l’épisode 3, « Les moyens de ses ambitions » explore en profondeur les mesures à prendre pour qu’une idée se concrétise. Du financement aux ressources nécessaires pour conjuguer vies personnelle, familiale et professionnelle, on vous offre un regard global sur le travail a effectué en amont pour construire les fondations d’une entreprise.

Plutôt que de faire un résumé de l’épisode, voici quatre conseils qui sont ressortis lors de l’émission de cette semaine pour vous aider à transformer votre idée en entreprise :

1. Maitrisez votre argumentaire de vente

Être en mesure d’obtenir du financement pour soutenir votre idée signifie convaincre les autres à croire en vous et à adhérer à votre vision. Alexandre Taillefer aide notre chef de la direction, Mazen Elbawab, et notre chef des opérations, Alexandre Fainberg, à travailler sur leur « pitch d’ascenseur » … littéralement ! Dans un ascenseur du bâtiment EV de l’Université Concordia, ils ont chacun 14 étages pour tenter de convaincre Taillefer qui joue le rôle d’un investisseur potentiel, a) pourquoi il devrait investir; b) pourquoi ils sont différents; c) quelle est leur vision à long terme; d) pourquoi il passerait à côté d’une aventure incroyable s’il ne les rappelle pas. L’exercice met l’accent sur l’impact immédiat et permet de mettre en valeur, de façon précise et concise, la raison pour laquelle votre idée est une excellente solution.

2. Adaptez-vous rapidement et de manière efficace

Démarrer son entreprise et avoir un emploi traditionnel (de 9 à 5) sont deux exacts opposés. Répondre sur le vif et trouver rapidement des solutions créatives aux problèmes urgents est une condition essentielle pour aller de l’avant. Vincent Lachance, de Montréal Frais, a été confronté à la croissance de son entreprise et est arrivé à court de temps et d’argent, c’est pourquoi il a embauché et formé son colocataire du Lac Saint-Jean pour effectuer des livraisons. Dominic Bilodeau, de PlayHybrid, a crée une garderie dans son bureau afin d’équilibrer sa vie professionnelle et sa vie familiale. Ainsi il peut passer plus de temps avec sa fille (âgée de 14 mois). Ces histoires montrent l’importance de s’adapter rapidement et de trouver des solutions optimales pour pouvoir continuer à mettre un pied devant l’autre et faites de vos idées une réalité.

3. Entourez-vous d’experts et de personnes qui partagent vos passions

Travailler dans son sous-sol, seul, sur son idée pourrait être une bonne façon de démarrer une entreprise, cependant ça pourrait ne pas être la meilleure façonSylvain Carle, directeur général de FounderFuel (et un ancien employé de Twitter), raconte comment c’était d’avoir une startup à Montréal il y a quelques années – sentir des sentiers battus et rencontrer d’autres entrepreneurs eux-mêmes confrontés à des problématiques similaires, aller dans des cafés et aux évènements de réseautage types 5 à 7, etc. Il oppose d’ailleurs cette réalité avec la culture de travail que l’on retrouve sur la côte ouest, plus communautaire. Aujourd’hui, les gens ayant de bonnes idées peuvent se diriger vers FounderFuel et District 3 Centre d’Innovation, deux accélérateurs d’innovation basés à Montréal. Ils y ont la possibilité de suivre divers programmes, de travailler avec d’autres personnes qui partagent les mêmes passions qu’eux, d’avoir accès à des ressources et des outils, et de recevoir du mentorat d’entrepreneurs établis.

4. Relevez chaque défi

Comme Chang l’a mentionné dans l’épisode de la semaine dernière : “Vous êtes toujours frustré. Voilà ce que cela signifie de posséder une entreprise.” Plutôt que de vous perdre dans les nombreux obstacles qui surgissent constamment vous devez y faire face, vous devez voir chaque défi comme une opportunité pour s’améliorer. Diana Horqque, notre Lead Designer, parle des petits défis auxquels elle fait face chaque semaine, qui la force à pousser sa réflexion et à améliorer ses concepts de design. Lachance explique les défis géographiques et logistiques auxquels il est confronté dans la croissance de Montréal Frais. Chang et Bilodeau ont, quant à eux, un défi différent – après avoir obtenu des fonds considérables à travers le Fonds des médias du Canada (FMC), Taillefer, insiste sur l’importance de garder le feu allumé avec la belle métaphore suivante : “Vous devez avoir le couteau dans votre bouche, ramper sur le sol, et aller les chercher – garder le feu – vous allez créer quelque chose d’incroyable”

Restez à l’affut pour l’épisode 4, “Ressources humaines” diffusé ce soir à 21h00 sur ICI Explora.

(Nous serons de retour avec un récapitulatif vendredi prochain.)

Pour plus d’informations sur PlayHybrid et Montréal Frais, consultez leurs sites internet et suivez les surTwitter (@Playhybrid), (@MontrealFrais).

Pour en savoir plus sur nous, et inscrivez-vous à notre liste exclusive de diffusion pour recevoir les dernières nouvelles, cliquez-ici.

 


 

In the first episodes of Alexandre et les Conquérants, business mogul Alexandre Taillefer introduced Montreal startups PlayHybrid, Montréal Frais and Heddoko and began to follow us on our collective journeys, starting from our initial business ideas, to putting the wheels into motion in terms of research and development.

This week, Episode 3, “Having the means to achieve one’s goals”, delved deeper into what it actually takes to make an idea come to fruition. From financing and resources to juggling family and time, we’re given a behind-the-scenes look at the pieces that need to come into place in order to build the foundation for a business.

Rather than recapping the episode, here are four tips from this week’s show to help turn your business idea into a reality:

1. Master your sales pitch

Being able to get funding to back your idea means convincing others to believe in you and get on board with your vision. Alexandre Taillefer helps our CEO Mazen Elbawab and COO Alexandre Fainberg work on their elevator pitch…literally. In an elevator at Concordia University’s EV building, they each have 14 floors to try and convince Taillefer, acting as a potential investor, a) why he should invest; b) why they are different; c) what their long-term vision is; d) that he would be missing out on embarking on an incredible adventure if he doesn’t back them. The exercise emphasises having an immediate impact and getting across why your idea is a great solution while being short, concise, and to the point.

2. Become a master of rapid adaptation and efficiency

Starting a business is the exact opposite of a meticulous 9-5 job. Thinking on your feet and coming up with quick, creative solutions to immediate problems is absolutely essential to keep moving forward. Vincent Lachance of Montréal Frais is faced with growing his business and reach while strapped for time and cash, so he hires and trains his roommate from Lac St. Jean to do deliveries. PlayHybrid’s Dominic Bilodeau creates a daycare in his office so he can balance his work and personal life and spend more time with his 14-month old daughter. These storylines focus on adapting quickly and finding solutions that work for you in order to keep putting one foot in front of the other to make your idea come to life.

3. Surround yourself with experts and people that share the share similar passions

Working on your idea alone in your basement might be a good way to start a business, but it might not be the best way. Sylvain Carle, General Manager of FounderFuel (and former Twitter employee), talks about what it was like to have a startup in Montreal a few years ago – having to go out of your way to connect with others in the startup community facing similar issues, going to coffee shops and 5 à 7 events, etc. and contrasts it with the communal working culture on the west coast. Thanks to two local innovation accelerators/incubators, Founderfuel and District 3 Innovation Center, people with great ideas can join these programs, work closely with others who share similar passions, have access to resources and tools, and receive mentorship from established entrepreneurs.

4. Embrace each challenge

As Chang mentioned in last week’s episode, “You’re always frustrated. That’s what it means to own a business.” Rather than getting bogged down by the steady stream of obstacles you are bound to face, view each challenge as an opportunity to make things better. Diana Horqque, our Lead Designer, talks about the small challenges she faces every week that force her to keep iterating and improving her design concepts. Lachance discusses the geographic and logistical challenges he faces in growing Montréal Frais. Chang and Bilodeau have a different challenge – after already obtaining considerable funding through the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Taillefer creatively iterates how important it is for them to keep the fire burning. “You need to have the knife in your mouth, crawl on the floor, and go get them – keep the fire – you are going to create something amazing.”

Stay tuned for Episode 4, “Human Resources” airing tonight at 9:00 PM on ICI Explora.

(We’ll be back with another blog post next Friday.)

For more information on PlayHybrid and Montréal Frais, check out their websites and follow them on Twitter (@Playhybrid), (@MontrealFrais).

To learn more about us, and to sign up for our exclusive mailing list to receive the latest news, click here.

5 Conseils de startups émergentes

5 Conseils de startups émergentes

(French translation by Andrea Horqque. An English version follows.)

Dans le premier épisode de la série «Alexandre et les conquérants» sur Ici Explora, on a rencontré le gourou des affaires Alexandre Taillefer et les fondateurs de trois startups à Montréal – anciens employés de DreamWorks Dominic Bilodeau et Sean X. Chang qui ont commencé le développeur des jeux mobile PlayHybrid, Vincent Lachance, propriétaire du service de livraison d’épiceries, Montréal Frais (qui a fait une apparition sur «Dans l’œil du dragon» et a fait affaire avec Taillefer, et Mazen Elbawab et Alexandre Fainberg d’Heddoko.

Dans le deuxième épisode, Taillefer s’est mis au travail, il a fait la recherche et le développement que l’on doit faire quand on démarre une entreprise. Voici notre top cinq conseils de la série jusqu’à maintenant:

1. Le besoin c’est ce qui conduit l’innovation

N’inventez pas une solution à un problème inexistant. «Prenez-vous en main», créez ce que vous voulez utiliser et ce dont vous avez besoin. Peu importe si c’est des jeux mobiles de qualité cinématique, un système des livraisons d’épicerie de votre boucher, fromagerie, ou boulangerie préférée directement chez vous, ou une technologie portable qui capture vos mouvements dans n’importe quel environnement et vous donne de la rétroaction immédiate.

2. Commencer une entreprise c’est plus qu’être inspiré – ça prend un plan solide de réalisation.

Bien que croire en son idée est le premier pas, le pas le plus important est de faire quelque chose – commencez à créer. Votre idée n’est pas d’une grande valeur tant qu’elle reste une idée. Utilisez votre inspiration comme motivation pour aller plus loin que votre «moment de révélation» et commencez. Dominic Audet, cofondatrice du Moment Factory, explique dans le premier épisode, leur équipe est toujours en train de penser à des nouvelles idées pour multimédia interactive; ils visent à se réinventer souvent dans leur exécution pour rester à pointe.

3. Préparez-vous à être frustré

Pour citer Sean Chang de PlayHybrid, «Vous êtes toujours frustré. C’est ça que ça veut dire d’avoir ta propre entreprise.» Faire quelque chose de nouveau et innovant que personne n’a jamais fait auparavant veut dire que vous devez être préparé à faire face à des défis uniques auxquels personne n’a jamais fait face. Bien que ceci peut entraîner à une tension constante (Chang et Bilodeau parle de comment leur partenariat ressemble beaucoup à un mariage), il est important de prendre du recul et garder l’élément de plaisir et d’excitation en vous rappelant pourquoi vous avez commencé et en se concentrant sur où vous voulez vous diriger.

4. N’essayez pas d’être parfait

Dans une startup dynamique, viser à la perfection implique prendre longtemps pour prendre une décision. À la place de viser à être parfait, visez à avoir un produit ou un service d’haute qualité, ou comme Jason Fried et David Heinemeier Hansson (les fondateurs de 37Signals, créateurs de Basecamp, et auteurs de best-seller du livre «Rework») ont dit «trouvez une solution judo» – efficacité maximale avec un effort minimal. La version beta de votre produit ne sera pas parfaite, mais ça vous mettra en marche dans la bonne direction et peut être amélioré plus tard. Comme Antoine Azar de Mobilogie* explique dans l’épisode 2, faites une première version aussitôt que possible et apprenez de celle-ci.

*Mobilogie a été acquis par Logient après le tournage. Azar est maintenant un conseiller de Mobilogie et aussi le cofondateur et CTO de Thirdshelf.

5. N’ayez pas peur de poser des questions au début

Comment est-ce que l’information biomécanique en 3D peut être représentée? Qu’est-ce qui arriverait si 50 personnes commandent leur épicerie sur notre site en même temps? Si on a X nombre des joueurs qui interagissent virtuellement dans notre jeu, comment est-ce qu’on pourrait faire le design de l’infrastructure du back-end pour être capable de soutenir cela? Se rendre à la source des questions comme celles-ci aux étapes initiales peut être payant à long terme. En tant que startup, vous êtes dans la meilleure position pour faire des changements rapidement. Visez à poser des questions qui guideront votre produit à être aussi fonctionnel et convivial que possible.

 

Pour en savoir plus, regardez l’épisode ce soir, « Les moyens de ses ambitions/Having the means to fulfil one’s ambitions» à 21heures; cet épisode se concentre sur le financement, le pitching, et deux accélérateurs d’innovation à Montréal – District 3 Innovation Center et Founder Fuel.

Pour plus d’information sur PlayHybrid, Montreal Frais, allez sur leur site web et suivez-les sur Twitter (@Playhybrid, @MontrealFrais).

Pour en savoir plus sur nous et pour vous inscrire à notre liste de diffusion exclusive pour recevoir les nouvelles les plus récentes, cliquez ici.

 

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In the premiere episode of the series, “Alexandre et les Conquérants” on ICI Explora, we met business guru Alexandre Taillefer and the founders of three Montreal Startups –  former DreamWorks employees Dominic Bilodeau and Sean X. Chang who started mobile game developer PlayHybrid Vincent Lachance of online local grocery delivery service Montréal Frais (who previously appeared on “Dans l’oeil du dragon” and struck a deal with Taillefer), and Mazen Elbawab and Alexandre Fainberg of Heddoko.

In the second episode, Taillefer got down to business, looking into the research and development that goes into a startup in its first stages of life. Here are our top 5 pieces of advice from the series so far:

1. Needs are the driver of innovation

Don’t invent a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. In other words, “scratch your own itch” – make something that you want to use and you need to use. Whether it’s cinematic quality mobile video games, an online local grocery service that bring foods from your favourite butcher, cheese shop, or pastry spot directly to your door, or wearable tech that captures your movement in any setting and gives you real-time feedback.

2. Starting a business goes beyond inspiration – it requires a solid plan for execution

While the first step may be believing in your idea, the most important step is to do something – start creating. Your idea is not valuable if it remains an idea. Use your inspiration as fuel to push beyond your “light bulb moment” and execute. As Dominic Audet, Cofounder of Moment Factory, talked about in the first episode of the series, their team is continuously coming up with ideas for interactive multi-media and constantly aiming to reinvent themselves in their execution to remain at the cutting edge.

3. Be prepared to be frustrated

To quote Sean Chang from PlayHybrid, “You’re always frustrated. That’s what it means to own a business.” Doing something new and innovative that nobody has done before means you need to be prepared to face specific challenges that nobody has faced before. While this can result in continuous tension (Chang and Bilodeau talk about how their business partnership is a lot like a marriage), it’s important to look at the big picture, keeping the element of fun and excitement, remembering why you started in the first place, and focusing on where you’re heading.

4. Do not aim to be perfect

In a fast-paced startup, aiming for perfection means taking too long to make decisions. Rather than aiming for perfection, aim for high quality, or, as Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (the founders of 37Signals, the creators of Basecamp, and bestselling authors of the book, “Rework”) put it, “Find a judo solution” – maximum efficiency with minimum effort. The beta version of your product won’t be perfect, but it’ll get the ball rolling in the right direction and can be improved upon later. As Antoine Azar of Mobilogie* said in episode 2,  get the first version out as fast as possible and learn from it.

(*Mobilogie was acquired by Logient after the episode was filmed, and Azar is now an advisor for Logient and also the Cofounder and CTO of Thirdshelf)

5. Don’t shy away from questions in the early stages

How can 3D biomechanical information best be displayed? What happens if 50 people order groceries from our site at the same time? If we have X number of players virtually interacting in our game, how should we design our backend infrastructure to support that? Getting to the root of questions like these in the early stages can pay off huge dividends in the long-run. As a startup, you’re in the best position to make changes quickly. Aim to ask questions that will guide your product to be as functional and user-friendly as possible.

 

To learn more, watch tonight’s episode, <<Les moyens de ses ambitions/Having the means to fulfil one’s ambitions>>  at 9 pm that focuses on financing, pitching, and two Montreal innovation accelerators – District 3 Innovation Center and Founder Fuel.

For more information on PlayHybrid and Montreal Frais, check out their websites and follow them on Twitter (@Playhybrid), (@MontrealFrais).

To learn more about us, and to sign up for our exclusive mailing list to receive the latest news, click here.

 

Premiere of “Alexandre et les Conquérants” Documentary Series

The 8-part documentary series focusing on 3 Quebec startups, hosted by Alexandre Taiifeller from "Dragon's Den"

(PHOTO CREDIT: ICI EXPLORA)

For the past several months, the Trio Orange film crew has been following us while we work, documenting our progress as part of a new documentary series on Quebec startups hosted by business mogul and “Dragon” from Radio-Canada’s “Dans l’oeil du dragon”, Alexandre Taillefer.

The 8-part series, “Alexandre et les Conquérants”, follows Heddoko, mobile and VR game developers Playhybrid, and Montreal Frais, a local company revamping online grocery shopping. The show focuses on our business journeys, charting our progress amidst the challenges we face in turning our ideas into reality.

Here’s a sneak peak of the first episode, airing next Friday, September 4th, at 9:00 PM on ICI Explora, where the three startups meet Mr. Taillefer for the first time.

For more information, check out this blog post by La Presse, this article on Showbizz.net, and the ICI Explora landing page for the series.

 

Ubisoft Opens its Doors to Heddoko

Heddoko athlete with headphones sitting on bench

This March, we told you about our collaboration with video game giants Ubisoft through Fondation Montréal inc.’s Je fais Montreal program, designed to mobilize the Montreal business community and breathe new life into the city.

Through this program, accomplished entrepreneurs support startup businesses in the creative sector by offering tailored coaching services and support in order to help maximize chances of success, and transform projects from ideas into reality.

We are extremely grateful that Ubisoft selected Heddoko to mentor as part of this project.

It’s been a few months since our collaboration was announced, and we’d like to give you a sneak peak in the form of a discussion between Ubisoft’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Francis Baillet, and our Founder and CEO, Mazen Elbawab.

Mazen: Why did you choose to start the project, “Les créatifs ♥ le futur Montréal inc.” in collaboration with Fondation Montréal inc.?

Francis: It is important to Ubisoft Montréal to support startups because they ensure our economy of knowledge will be passed on; they also contribute to the development of our collective wealth. In the context of Je fais Montreal, Ubisoft wished to get involved in the vibrancy of the industry by supporting young, talented entrepreneurs. To date, about ten companies from Montreal’s techno-creative sector mentor one young company each over a period of 18 months and provide it with resources to help it get on the road to success rapidly.

Mazen: Why did you choose Heddoko?

Francis: We chose to sponsor Heddoko because it is a startup with incredible potential, but also because of the many similarities between our two industries. First of all, Mazen, you are a former Ubisoft employee. Furthermore, you were inspired by the Xbox Kinect game Your Shape – that was the foundation to develop the technology behind the Heddoko suit. The technology is also inspired by capturing the movements of the human body that we integrate into our games.

We believe that Heddoko and its products are really good examples of the wide range of possibilities that the world of video games offers when we apply these concepts to other industries outside of the world of entertainment.

Mazen: How do you perceive the collaboration between Heddoko and Ubisoft Montreal in the mentoring project?

Francis: Heddoko will enjoy privileged access to our employees who will be able to support your startup in marketing, communication, finance, distribution and programming. We have already provided advice on community management, marketing, and soon will begin programming workshops.

Mazen: As a large, well-known company, what does it mean for Ubisoft to be involved in the startup community?

Francis: For us, our association with Je fais Montreal is a way of doing our part to promote the growth of creative content, and in doing so, to participate in putting Montreal on the map as the creative capital of the world. The city is overflowing with artists that simply want to create projects that will change the world, but sometimes they lack the support that would make all the difference.

Mazen: What do you think the future of Montreal’s startup community looks like?

Francis: We think that the economy of knowledge is the future of Montreal. We feel a major transformation in the attitude of young entrepreneurs. Startups are an integral part of the creative and technological city of Montreal.

Entrepreneurs have more and more support available to them to help them be successful. We are assisting in the establishment of innovation incubators, allowing young companies to take advantage of support, specifically in terms of location, consulting and financing.

Mazen: What is on the horizon for Ubisoft Montreal?

Francis: In mid-June, the major event of the video-game industry, E3, took place in Los Angeles. We made several announcements, including a new intellectual property, For Honor, and two highly anticipated games, Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Ubisoft firmly believes that the future is in open-world video games, which allow players to live a unique and memorable experiences. In the future, video games will be even more immersive, interactive and connected.

Other than that, you are aware that research and development are key in innovation industries such as the video game industry. We are actually experimenting with virtual reality and who knows where that will take us.

Francis: My turn! What is the history behind founding Heddoko?

Mazen: Ever since I was child, I had a curiosity for technical know-how and practical problem solving. The obvious career path for me was engineering, and I followed it to work as an engineer at Ubisoft in Montreal. My second passion was sports. I used to spend endless hours playing soccer, volleyball and many other sports. What I loved most was martial arts, which I still practice today. It was only a matter of time before those two passions collided. Combining my passion for sports with my skills in engineering and motion capture, Heddoko was born.

Francis: In your eyes, how can Heddoko’s smart garment revolutionize the way athletes train?

Mazen: We’ve created the first mobile 3D motion-capture system in the form of a smart garment that tracks an athlete’s movement and provides real-time feedback. By measuring how athletes move, identifying inefficient movement patterns and giving feedback, we’re working to increase their understanding of their own body and reduce their risk of injury. The technology also takes traditional motion capture out of the lab, and out of enclosed environments with complicated camera set-ups to the environments athletes actually train and compete in. Heddoko can be used to by coaches, trainers, and instructors to conduct movement screens to identify asymmetries or any “red flags” in terms of how people are moving.

Francis: Within the “Les créatifs ♥ le futur Mtl inc.” program, how do you believe Ubisoft can help Heddoko?

Mazen: For any startup, it is extremely beneficial to be mentored by experts – working with such an established company with expertise in different fields really helps streamline almost every aspect of our business – from the tech side of things, to communications and marketing, and selling and distributing our product. Ubisoft has been incredibly supportive, and learning from you is an invaluable experience we are fortunate to have.

Francis: What is the biggest challenge you’ll face in the years to come?

Mazen: The biggest challenge will be on the user-experience side of things – creating the right experience for the right people. As the technology evolves and more and more data comes in, people will know less and less what to do with it. We’ll have to be very smart about sifting through all the noise, picking out the most important information, and displaying it in a way that makes it useful for people.

In terms of the technology, fully integrating multiple types of “fitness trackers” in one suit that provides biometric and biomechanical analysis and feedback is a big challenge, but also an incredible opportunity.

Francis: Where do you see Heddoko in 10 years?

Mazen: We’re putting a lot of effort into research and development in the medical and sports therapy fields, and also entertainment – we can’t really disclose them yet, but there are many specialized applications we’re working on that will be part of our roadmap for many years to come.

Francis: Can you tell us a little bit about the strength of your team?

Mazen: Our foundation must be even stronger than the technology and business we are developing, and that foundation is, without a doubt, our team. We’re fairly young, but we’re a group with incredible diversity and a wide range of expertise. We’ve got engineers, designers, marketers, biomechanics experts, software developers, etc. – everyone brings something completely unique to the table, but at the end of the day we’re a cohesive unit of adaptable, quick learners and incredibly motivated individuals who are unbelievably passionate about what we’re creating.

 

For the French version of this article on Ubisoft’s website, click here.

Heddoko’s Alex Fainberg Selected to Represent Canada at the G20 YEA Summit in Istanbul

We are excited to announce that our co-founder and COO, Alex Fainberg, has been selected to represent Canada at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20 YEA) Summit in Istanbul, Turkey this September.

A panel of judges from Futurpreneur Canada, the official G20 YEA member for Canada, selected Alex as one of 22 Canadian entrepreneurs to represent our country on the international stage. Additionally, he was chosen to participate on a panel to discuss entrepreneurship culture and his experience in the biotechnology industry.

Alexandre Fainberg, COO of Heddoko

Convening each year prior to the G-20 Summit, the G20 YEA is a global network of young entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them. Officially created in Toronto in 2010, the YEA was established with the goal of championing the importance of young entrepreneurs to the G20 member nations and to share examples and practices.

Alex will join nine other representatives from Quebec, four from British Columbia, two from Ontario, two from Manitoba, two from Saskatchewan, one from New Brunswick, and one from Nova Scotia in engaging with G20 youth entrepreneurship leaders and policymakers and networking with over 600 entrepreneurs from around the world.

For more information on the G20 YEA Summit, visit the organization’s website here.

You can also read Futurpreneur’s blog post  about the event and selected entrepreneurs, and media coverage on the chosen Quebec representatives from Les Affaires.

 

 

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5 Things We Learned From Startupfest

As you approach the Jardins des Ecluses in Montreal’s Old Port, fuchsia ribbons line the bridges overlooking the water, light bulbs hang upside-down illuminating the trees, and apples that read “Ce n’est pas une pomme” are visible on the horizon of the industrial haven. Welcome to the International Startup Festival – a different kind of conference where hammocks replace office chairs, a panel of grandmothers (rather than traditional entrepreneurs) act as pitching judges, and intriguing conversations happen over slushies and freezies instead of wine and cheese.

Heddoko employees sit outside the Maker Tent at the International Startup FestivalAn illuminated tent village at the International Startup Festival at Montreal's Old Port Man rides through the tent village at the International Startup Festival on an electric bicycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an unbelievable time last year, and were excited to be back this year (the festival’s fifth year running) championing a tent. Proudly representing Montreal’s startup community of “makers”, we were joined by Revols, Stefanka, and MakerBloks.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our tent, participated in our 3D Fitness Challenge, took some epic finishing line photos and set some personal bests in our photo booth, and won some great prizes!

Woman crossing the finish line of a race

A man stands on a balance board while his movement is captured in 3D in real-timePhil Porier stands holding a Heddoko gym bag that he won as a prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After an exciting and jam-packed four days, we’ve put together this list of…

 

5 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM STARTUPFEST:

 

1. The INTERNATIONAL STARTUP festival is an innovation epicentRE comprised of some of the most interesting, passionate people you’ll ever meet

While San Francisco has 12,000 emerging startups and 600 investors, Montreal is making a name for itself north of the border. As single-wheel self-balancing electric bicycles breeze by, a walk through the festival grounds will probably be the most interesting eavesdropping you’ll have done in a while – a collision of open-minds and great ideas, plus the chutzpah to make them happen.

 

2. It’s never too early or too late to innovate

As the festival’s Grandmother’s Choice Awards (or more affectionately called “The Granny Panel”) proved, listen to your grandma’s instincts! Famous for choosing Onavo in 2012 (who went on to be acquired by Facebook for $150+ million), this year, the grandmothers chose our Maker Tent and District 3 Innovation Center colleagues Revols – stay tuned for big things from this Montreal startup!

On the other end of the spectrum, Family Day brought a new demographic to the festival – from young robiticists, to teen entrepreneurs looking for business advice, the next generation is truly a generation of innovators.

The Revols team poses for a picture after winning the Grandmother's Choice Award

 

3. Some of the best startup ideas are born from crossing disciplines

From the intersection of science and sport that links video game technology and biomechanics, to 3D scanning tech that allows for custom-fitted tailor-made suits, some amazing ideas come out of making interdisciplinary connections.

 

4. The Startup Festival organizing committee and volunteers are REALLY on the ball

A unique combination of knowledge, kindness, and attention to detail, the organizing committee for this year’s festival was outstanding (not to mention strong). Thanks for helping our tent run smoothly and ensuring we had a great time!

Katherine Johnsen and Alex Fainberg pose for a photo at the International Startup FestivalA mannequin wearing the Heddoko smart suit and pants gets a ride into the International Startup Festival on a golf cart An International Startup Festival volunteer flexes his muscles for the camera

 

5. Entrepreneurs are great dancers

Check out this video. (No explanation needed).

A breakdancer does a freeze in the middle of a cypher at the International Startup Festival

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our mentors, Ubisoft, our sponsors Kruger, Jant Ventures, Again Faster, Layton Audio, The Wallrus, and Born On A Board, and to everyone who bought tickets to the festival using our discount code.

For more information, you can visit the festival’s website, and watch CBC behind-the-scenes at the International Startup Festival.

 

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Chris ‘Stouty’ Stoutenburg: The Definition of a Champion

Wheelchair athlete Chris Stoutenberg races around a curve outside CrossFit Industri in Collingwood, Ontario.

Growing up in Collingwood, Ontario, Chris Stoutenburg spent his life in sport – everything from track and field, to basketball, to BMX-ing. When he decided to narrow in on football, the star wide receiver began, like most teenagers, to prepare for university.

Choosing to attend the University of Guelph in Ontario and play football for the Gryphons, the 19-year-old was eager to start school and extend his football career that fall.

But fate intervened on June 18th , 1997 – a day that would change the trajectory of Stoutenburg’s life forever.

As a party was winding down at his friend’s apartment, Stoutenburg stepped outside to the balcony. He sat up against the railing, and suddenly heard a loud snap. The next thing he knew, he was looking at the ground rapidly approaching until everything went black.

Landing on a 6’ x 4’ strip of grass between a cement staircase and a metal bike rack, Stoutenburg was flown to the hospital in critical condition – he had fractured two thoracic vertebrae – T6 and T7 – and was paralyzed from the waist down.

When he woke up three days later with metal rods inserted in his spine and more than 70 staples in his back, doctors told him he would never walk again.

The next day, Stoutenburg decided to take his fate into his own hands.

Released from the hospital two weeks after the accident and out of rehabilitation within a month, he returned to school in September without skipping a beat. In rapid succession, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball, made the Canadian junior team, earned a Division 1 scholarship to the University of Illinois, made the Canadian men’s national team, and became a two-time Paralympic gold medalist, nine-time Canadian all-star and world champion.

Along the way, he met and married his wife, Sara, had a son, Quintyn, became a CrossFit athlete, coach, and gym owner and full-time events coordinator for the Town of Collingwood, started an international following for adaptive CrossFit athletes called WheelWOD, became the coach of an able-bodied basketball team, and partnered with MaraFun Canada to bring a running program to every elementary school student in Collingwood.

We touched base with ‘Stouty’ this week for our Athlete Spotlight series to ask him some questions about his mindset, facing challenges, his experiences with basketball and CrossFit, and embodying leadership.

 

CrossFit athlete Chris Stoutenberg does a pull-up in his wheelchair with chains around his neck at CrossFit Indestri in Collingwood, Ontario

(PHOTO CREDIT: JENNIFER NICHOL)

Heddoko: Can you tell me a little bit about what life was like growing up for you and as a teenager?

 

Chris: My father owned a sports store so I had a natural association with sports right off the bat and played pretty much every sport through high school – from track and field to BMX biking, to badminton and golf, football, basketball, and was on the snowboarding team. It was pretty much, if there was a sport there, I’d play whatever I could. I was really focused on football for most of my high school career. I really like competition, and football was the goal for me. Grades were always second (he said, laughing). I passed – I never failed anything, but it was never my focal point – it was always, ‘Just get enough school in so I can go play football somewhere.’

 

 

 

Heddoko: Can you tell me about what happened after you were selected to play football at Guelph?

 

Chris: I was in football summer camp at Guelph and came home to Collingwood for the weekend – the railing from a balcony collapsed out from behind me and I fell two stories down and broke T6 and T7 of my spinal column. From there I was into emergency, flown down to Toronto and then within a few weeks basically I wanted out and so they sent me directly into rehab which was fantastic – that was like a month an a half and I was out of that and back in school.

 

Heddoko: Immediately after your injury, I know you took one day to feel sorry for yourself and then you flipped the switch and immediately changed your mindset. How did you do that?

 

Chris: For me, I think it’s just in my personality. I’ve come across different situations where it can be easy to cry and not want to keep moving forward, but I haven’t encountered something large enough yet to make me want to do that.

 

Heddoko: What does an injury to T6-T7 usually result in, in terms of functionality?

CrossFit wheelchair athlete Chris Stoutenberg completes clean and jerks while competing in the 2013 CrossFit Open alongside able-bodied athletes.

Chris: The T6-T7 level is basically just above the bottom of your ribcage, right at your sternum. They actually identified my injury in my medical records as complete, which means cutting right through the spinal cord, but there were some pieces of my spine still attached because of the way my back broke – usually your back breaks and it’s severed, but my spinal column exploded from the impact and there were thousands of pieces of bone that they had to take out. As they were taking them out, the spinal cord kind of fell apart. In terms of functionality, you’re basically paralyzed from your sternum down. There are two different capacities that get affected – your movement vs. your feeling. I can feel more than I can function, and have since, in the last few years, been able to develop a lot more function.

 

 

Heddoko: After your accident, you climbed the basketball ranks and were at the top of your game and then lost your mother, and more recently, your father?

 

Chris: We won the World Championships in Amsterdam in 2006 and she passed away in early 2007 from cancer. Just over two years ago now, my dad – he was a super athletic, very fit guy, and he had a one-in-a-couple-hundred-thousand thing go wrong – the doctors figured even if it had happened on an operating table it would have been hard to save him. One of the valves in his heart ripped open. He was out golfing, he laughed, felt a sharp pain in his chest, and that was it.

 

Heddoko: With everything that has happened to you that has been out of your control, how did take all of this external stuff going on and channel it internally in a positive way, focusing it to do all of the things that you want to get done?

 

Chris: You don’t know anybody’s story until you actually talk to them, but very rarely do you ever come across somebody that hasn’t had to deal with anything tragic in their life. For me, I realized that these are things that I can’t control, but the things I can control have a very positive effect. I can take this situation that’s been given to me and I can give up, or use it to show people that there’s life beyond a tragic moment. You can recover, you can prevail, you can push, and you can control these aspects by keeping a positive mindset and wanting to share. Why would I not try things because someone said I couldn’t do it? I’ll figure it out on my own, and if I can’t I find ways to do things similarly, or adapt the situation so I can do them – like finding a piece of equipment I can build or buy. Life’s too short to hang around worrying about all the things that have gone bad. Once that situation has occurred, it’s ‘What’s the next step?’ not, ‘Oh, I wish that didn’t happen.’ You can wish all you want, but as far as I know, there’s no way to travel back in time.

 

Chris Stoutenberg passes the ball during a wheelchair basketball game at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

(PHOTO CREDIT: WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL CANADA)

Heddoko: You went from the injury to a D1 scholarship at the University of Illinois, to making the senior national wheelchair basketball team, becoming a nine-time Canadian all-star, six-time national champion, Paralympic gold and silver medalist, to being voted the MVP at the World Championships in Amsterdam. What do you attribute all of this success to?

Chris: That’s a really tough question – I love the game of basketball, so for me it never really felt like work. I had a lot of fun doing it, which made it easy to train for. I’d just keep working on getting better. I’ve always been very, very competitive and have a drive to win so I tend to find myself in situations where if I have a chance in a game to positively affect the outcome I have a pretty good track record of being able to do that.

 

Heddoko: What is your best sports moment and why?

 

Chris: One of the ones that sticks in my head all the time when I think back is the gold medal game at the Paralympics in Sydney in 2000, being a rookie, and coming into what was a two-point game. I just came in and it was that very first shot in front of 10-15,000 people – everything went silent for me. That’s where I used to go in football – the ball would be thrown to me, the crowd would be screaming, and all of sudden the ball would be in the air and everything was blocked out – like, I could hear the laces turn on the ball. Everything would kind of slow down for me. That was the first time I had that same feeling since being hurt. You’re at the pinnacle. The ball came over to the top of the key, they kicked it over to me, everything went silent and all I could see was the basket. I couldn’t hear anybody, I couldn’t see anybody. I hit the shot and then heard the crowd roar and I was back in the game. It kind of opened my eyes to the fact that it didn’t matter if I was standing or sitting – I still had the ability to control the game.

 

Heddoko: You’re still involved with the national basketball program, but have also gotten really into CrossFit – how did that happen and where are you at now?

 

Chris: It’s been close to four years now – Scott Thornton (a former NHL-player who opened CrossFit Indestri in Collingwood) and Tyson Hornby (a former football player at the University of Guelph and CrossFit coach) gave me a chance to come work out at Indestri and I fell in love with it right away. We’ve been adapting it ever since. I did a couple of the Open workouts (a series of competitive CrossFit workouts that are videotaped and validated by judges), and people kind of noticed that so I realized I had a bit of a channel to take what I’m learning and help other people. Since then, Scott and I had been discussing him selling the gym to me – he had retired and opened a small gym that exploded into what Indestri is now. I definitely was into it and I bought Indestri from him and Tyson and I now run it.

 

Heddoko: Can you tell me a little bit about WheelWOD?

CrossFit athlete Chris Stoutenberg climbs a rope in his wheelchair at CrossFit Industry in Collingwood, Ontario

Chris: From the minute I had the gym, I knew I had my platform because I had been working on WheelWOD basically since I started CrossFit, not knowing that’s what I was doing – adapting movements, keeping a journal and recording successes, failures, trials, and errors. I realized once I had Indestri that I had a place that I could now use as a home base to teach this and pass on what I’ve learned. I created WheelWOD in Januaray of this year and it blew up very fast! We have quite a few people hitting the workouts we post daily.

 

Heddoko: In basketball, you’re known as an outstanding shooter and ball-handler, and in CrossFit you keep setting new PRs and keep getting better and better. In both sports, how important is technique?

 

Chris: Oh, it’s HUGE! I’ll stay at a lower weight in CrossFit until my technique is flawless. Within three years my clean and jerk has only jumped about 20-lbs. (considering where I started in the beginning, it would be 60-lbs. but from where I hit a good spot about three years ago, I’ve only jumped 20-lbs) because I refuse to pull the weight and reverse curl it. I want to unweight that bar. If I can’t unweight the bar enough to snap through then I don’t do that weight. I could reverse curl 140-lbs., but what’s the point? That’s not a clean. For me to clean it, I want to be able to pull the bar with a really aggressive shrug and then snap my elbows underneath it, so I need to be able to pull that bar high and then have the speed to come through. For me, the technique is more important than anything.

 

Heddoko: You’re such a leader in everything that you’re doing – what are some of your goals for the future?

 

Chris: We’re looking at a competition that we’ll do online for WheelWOD, so that’s a big goal of mine right now – an online series that will happen in five competitions over the next year, coming through into 2016 around this time again. We want to take the top-10 males and females and have them actually compete in person. There’s lots of, “Hey we’ve got an adaptive division in our competition”, but no one I don’t think has the ability yet to isolate it for different physical abilities. We can change the workouts, but we need to get it to a point where we want it to be competitive and fair – we have to come up with a classification system by injury and what that affords you – is it time, is it a different rep count? We’ve been working hard on this for the past year. We haven’t released anything yet, but I think what we have is going to be enough. We’ll test it through this online series and then hopefully be able to take that and put it into an actual face-to-face competition. If we’re able to do that, then we can get some of these guys and girls that really want to compete in CrossFit to start training across the board to compete.

If you’d like to learn more about Chris, you can follow him on YouTube and Twitter, and learn more about his story from Dai Manuel, SweatRX Magazine and the CrossFit Games.

 

 

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We’re Back From Collision!

It’s been a jam-packed week, and we’re fresh off the plane (literally) from Las Vegas after Collision Conference.

Heddoko Team on airplane

Heddoko Team sleeping on the plane

Named one of “the best technology conferences on the planet” (and the North American sister event of Dublin’s renowned Web Summit) we were among 7,500 attendees from 89 countries — from Fortune 500 companies to some of the most exciting startups in the world.

Engineer adjusting sensors on motion capture suitEngineer rolling up to Collision Conference on green carpet

Heddoko booth, video demo, award, stickers, television, motion capture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selected as one of the Canadian startups to exhibit as part of the Collide program, we (and our smart suit) were at the epicenter of tech knowledge sharing, listening to likes of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, and Urs Hölzle, Google’s eighth employee and Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure.

Centre stage at Collision Conference with Tony Hsieh

Mazen Elbawab on "Wearables 2.0" panel on the future of wearable fitness technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Founder and CEO, Mazen, was invited to speak on a panel about the future of wearable fitness technology – “The Era of Wearables 2.0: Understanding Connected Devices for a Personalized Wellness and Fitness Experience” with Davide Vigano, Co-Founder and CEO of Sensoria, and Sohaib Zahid, Co-Founder and CEO of Vanhawks.

Gregg Stebben of Men's Health Magazine interviews Heddoko Founder and CEO Mazen ElbawabMazen Elbawab is interviewed by Gregg Stebben of Men's Health MagazineMazen Elbawab, Gregg Stebben, and Kevin Hart shake hands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hung out with Gregg Stebben of Men’s Health Magazine in the Men’s Health Live Broadcast Booth (actor and comedian Kevin Hart made a brief cameo appearance), did a live demo of our suit and app with the PLuGHiTz Live crew, and demoed our brand new Apple Watch app (thanks to our partners at Mobilogie).

Mazen Elbawab and Apple WatchJuan Carlos Gonzalez, CrossFit athlete and coach, wears motion capture suit at Collision ConferenceCrossFit athlete wearing motion capture suit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to all the organizers of the event, everyone who stopped by our booth, and a HUGE thank you to CrossFit athlete and coach Juan Carlos Gonzalez of Las Vegas’ CrossFit Max Effort who hung out with us for the day and modeled our motion capture suit in fighting form!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Yours in motion,

The Heddoko Team

 

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