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How an Alberta-based startup hired 5 student interns for free using Pocketed

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Newsletter published on:
November 29, 2021
Company Spotlight

When Zak Biggs, Director of Public Affairs at Goodlawyer, attended an ‘Ask Me Anything’ webinar hosted by Pocketed’s CEO and Co-Founder, Brianna Blaney, he would have never imagined that two days later he would receive over $7,000 in non-dilutive grant funding.


Like almost every start-up team, Zak and the folks at Goodlawyer were cash-strapped and limited in their ability to scale. This was a problem he had previously remedied with the utilization of grant funding, but this source of capital opened a brand-new challenge. Zak said that before he found Pocketed, he would waste hours navigating government websites, and overall, the entire process was a ‘slog’.

Pocketed, a Canadian-based tech start-up aiming to make the world of non-dilutive funding accessible to all, was the solution that Zak needed to propel Goodlawyer’s growth through the COVID-19 pandemic.


Leveraging their free-to-use platform, he was able to connect with a list of eligible funding programs for his business and had the opportunity to connect with the support needed to secure these funds (think grant writers!). What Zak liked most about the Pocketed platform was that it made grants ‘more millennial’ and easier to understand. When initially creating his account, he noticed many similarities to Goodlawyer’s approach to business in the way that Pocketed was modernizing a dated industry and helping small businesses succeed. This user-focused approach was something that truly resonated with him.


The program he had discovered through the service provider’s AMA webinar was the TECHNATION Career Ready Program, which provides $7,500 to cover 75% of a student intern’s wage salary. Leveraging the Pocketed platform, Zak was able to directly apply and received approval in 48 hours. That’s right -
$7,500 in only 48 hours.


‘In the absence of Pocketed, I would never have been able to secure this $7,500. Just weeks after learning about the program, we had an intern in our office making valuable contributions to our team.” said Zak.

Since the initial approval, his team was approved for four more student interns, bringing the total amount of grant funding successfully secured through Pocketed to $37,500. That’s no small sum.


Before COVID-19, Goodlawyer had three full-time employees. Now, their team is home to more than 15 full-time employees and a handful of part-timers as well. Some of these hires were of course made possible because of Pocketed and grant funding! Zak said they are prepared to continue their rapid growth. He said the key to continuing that growth is to keep leveraging student internship programs that allow them to hire with low financial risk, and access to these programs is made possible by Pocketed!


If you are interested in exploring what non-dilutive funding is available to your business, create a free account with Pocketed today using this link. We encourage you to use the referral code TECHTO to access exclusive access to Pocketed+, the service provider’s premium tier.

*This is sponsored content

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Speaker Profile: Serge Salager, CEO of Visualping

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Newsletter published on:
November 29, 2021
Community Spotlight
Insider  Community Profile
Meet Serge Salager, CEO at Visualping. Serge is joining us as a speaker for our December 8th event in Vancouver. We asked Serge to share a bit more about himself so you could get to know him before we meet.

How did you get started in your career?

I started my career as a product manager at Procter & Gamble after finishing my engineering degree and then switched to marketing. I became a VC after graduating from business school and then came to Vancouver as a hired CEO of a TSX legal tech company where I negotiated the sale of the company after taking it private. After finding myself out of a job, I started two companies: RetargetLinks (a short link service that retargets with your ads anyone that clicks on your short links) and Visualping (that alerts you whenever something changes on a page of your choice). Today, Visualping is thriving with close to 2 million users and having raised $8m so far.

Why did you decide to join us as a speaker at our upcoming event?

I am a huge fan of TechTO and can't support the initiative more for building the same community here in Vancouver. I wanted to support TechTO in building the community out here. I  am also in the process of filling some vacancies for next year, so I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves to help get the word out.

What is something you wish more people knew about the tech community in Canada?

Capital is flowing South to North as never before and creating job opportunities here in Canada. Same goes for job opportunities as more and more US based tech companies are hiring remotely here. This creates more experienced talent here and more opportunities for companies to thrive in Canada. The unicorns breeder in Canada are making this obvious.

What advice would you give yourself when you were first starting out?

Go to more tech events... they really helped me get inspired to start a company.

Don't miss your chance to hear more from Serge at our upcoming Vancouver Meet Up on December 8th! See you there!

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Alex's Must Reads: November 26, 2021

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Newsletter published on:
November 26, 2021
Must Reads
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Quick Takes: Top Trends to Watch

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Newsletter published on:
November 26, 2021
Quick Takes

Quick Takes was back, with Alex Norman and Jason Goldlist chatting through the latest trends and stories from the past week.

On Thursday, Jason and Alex focused on 'Return to Work' and how companies can succeed in building a proper work strategy for their teams.

Talent: In-Person, Distributed or Hybrid Work?

I've asked the question - "how many start-ups have a truly distributed team?"

Most founders said that it's something they are "trying" to do, but it hasn't really worked out yet. The biggest issues seem to be that the war for talent is making it harder to recruit talent far away from HQ, and there are challenges in creating a distributed culture and work processes.  

The companies that are succeeding with a distributed workforce are the one's that were either born distributed (e.g. Zapier), have a globally recognized brand (e.g. AngelList) or are forced to recruit from a specific geographic area that have the talent and experience that they require (e.g. Toronto and Machine Learning).

What I've been hearing from Founders and Leaders is that they are open to being distributed, but the struggle is that prior to Covid most of their team and network is local. It's a challenge for local Canadian companies to have globally distributed talent look at their jobs as the talent does not know who they are. For most companies, inbound inquiries come from their home country and they have to make an outbound effort to go distributed. Building an international talent pipeline is proving to be tough.

What does the future look like?

Companies will choose between distributed, in-person centralized or hub and spoke models. Each of these models have different advantages and challenges and need specific employer branding and work styles to succeed.

Being a hybrid of one of these models will not work and startups that don't choose a strategy will struggle. You're going to see more companies take a stake in what their culture is, and what's going to be true is that you're going to see companies building a culture with a certain job model in mind.

The one commonality among all of these models will be more flexibility in work style than prior to the pandemic. In-person centralized startups will allow employees to come in fewer days per week. Distributed companies will allow team members to choose the hours they work. My recommendation is to understand your workforce, and build a strategy accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  • Create and execute a strategy
  • Build a model around that strategy
  • Ensure flexibility is part of that model
  • Employer branding is more important than ever

Catch up on the full episode and learn about other trending topics here.

You can also check out past episodes on our Spotify and YouTube.

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Forum Ventures

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Newsletter published on:
November 26, 2021
Great Opportunities
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Forum Ventures is an early-stage fund, program and community designed to take founders from pre-seed to seed.

Forum is on a mission to make the B2B SaaS journey easier, more accessible and successful for early-stage founders. They back companies across all SaaS verticals with a $100k investment and a dedicated MD, hand picked mentors and a growing community of SaaS founders.

Forum understands that every company has a unique set of needs. They’ll meet you where you’re at with a customized program that will get you to your next phase, with next level support along the journey.

You’ll also have access to inspiring and actionable SaaS expert talks, curated customer introductions, guidance raising your seed, and a huge network of top SaaS investors.  

Forum founders have gone on to raise from funds like Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Uncork Capital, 8VC, Founders Fund, Menlo Ventures, Canaan, Bowery Capital, Susa Ventures, SV Angel, and more.

Applications are now open for their winter 2022 program. If you’re a dedicated, hard-working and humble founder building something game-changing, check out the Forum program here.

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Hiring Company of the Week: APOLLO

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Newsletter published on:
November 24, 2021
Company Spotlight

Each week, we feature an innovative company that's hiring. This week, we are featuring APOLLO, a company that's taking the work out of insurance so people can focus on building relationships instead.

Company Logo

Why was it founded?
APOLLO was founded in 2019 by Jeff McCann, after leaving his job as a VP at a large BC Brokerage. Jeff saw an opportunity to digitize insurance and was fortunate to find mentors in the industry on hand. When it was time to start the APOLLO journey, he was supported by leaders in the BC tech community, many of whom now sit on APOLLO’s advisory board. APOLLO is now Canada’s largest digitally-enabled insurance marketplace, empowering brokers, consumers, and underwriters to apply for, quote, and purchase insurance policies in real-time.

How are you innovating?
APOLLO was launched to solve multiple problems in the insurance industry from the
paperwork, the back and forth, the frustration customers and brokers would go through, to the entire process when it comes to binding and purchasing insurance. APOLLO wanted to solve those issues while still providing incredible advice and counsel. APOLLO took the original vision and created a vision where computers do the work, for people can focus on building relationships.


By the numbers
APOLLO Exchange platform currently has over 4,000 individual broker users, representing nearly 12% of Canada’s total broker force. We continue to launch new products to meet market demand. This past year, APOLLO has added several new products and will continue to build and deploy products that their users are asking for.


What are the long-term goals?
APOLLO’s plans for 2021 consist of listening closely to their customers, developing a strong team that is empowered to serve and delight their users. APOLLO will continue to release significant products and technology updates by adding new products to their platform all the time - truly creating a one-stop for all things insurance.


What is your company culture?
Our top priority as a team is to build and strengthen our internal and external community - welcoming and respecting everyone’s opinions and contributions, regardless of differences. We strive in creating a safe space so each and every person can be their best selves. APOLLO has continuously been investing in building a strong company culture where our employees feel connected to their peers while being equipped to be effective and well supported in their roles.

To learn more about APOLLO, and their opportunities, visit their careers page.

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Intuit Prosperity Accelerator: Cohort Spotlight

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Newsletter published on:
November 24, 2021
Community Spotlight
Intuit Prosperity Accelerator - Startup Profiles

Since the announcement of the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator: AI program, we are taking a closer look at the startups that are leading the 2021 cohort!
Today we are profiling Stamped AI, an organization that streamlines and automates accounting data certification, making small businesses year-end ready, all year round.

How is Stamped AI innovating?

Based out of Quebec City, Stamped AI is changing the way year-end financial statements and audits are done by using automation and AI. Year-end financial statements and financial audits are costly, inefficient, really not fun to do, and nobody was trying to change that. That's why we started this company.

What is the long-term vision?

We want to be the #1 source of continuously audited financial data for companies
(including real time analysis and dashboards), and provide the best year-end and
automated financial audit software in the world. We want to change year-end audits by not doing year-end audits, but instead keep the companies in an audited
state at all times.

By the numbers

Our company is doubling its revenues every year since inception with no signs of slowing down while being mostly bootstrapped. We are now serving 400 customers through a network of 40 channel partners and counting.

How are you making a difference?

Our customers are small and medium businesses owners, accounting and bookkeeping firms. We help them by making it easy, efficient and fast to do year-end financial statements, get certified and receive in-depth insights about what is happening in their accounting and bank systems.

Learn more about Stamped AI and the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator here

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Company to Watch: Toronto Womxn in Data Science

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Newsletter published on:
November 22, 2021
Company Spotlight
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Every Monday, we profile a new company we think you should care about. Today we are profiling Toronto Womxn in Data Science , an organization that's empowering women in the Data Science space. Here's why you should care:

What is the vision?

Our vision is to inspire and empower 1 million data-literate womxn, increase the recruitment and retention of womxn in data professions, and encourage innovation in this space. Our enterprise strategy is to provide programming that celebrates womxn in data, educates those interested in the field through events, mentorship, and data product co-creation, and partner with organizations that are committed to inclusive cultures where womxn can thrive. We're here to encourage the diversification of the talent pipeline for data science and other data careers.

What is the long-term vision?

We're currently building out an inclusive data fellowship program. Our goal with this program is to encourage womxn to not only pursue data careers but become creators of data products.

Who can participate?

Our programs are open to anyone interested in becoming more data literate. We have a focus on womxn and minoritized folks. Our ideal corporate partners have company cultures where womxn can thrive and are taking actionable steps towards their Diversity and Inclusion commitments.

To learn more about their important work, visit their website.

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Speaker Profile: William Johnson, Founder of The Vancouver Tech Journal

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Newsletter published on:
November 22, 2021
Community Spotlight
Insider  Community Profile Photos-6
Meet William Johnson, Founder and Managing Editor of the Vancouver Tech Journal. William is joining us as a speaker for our December 8th event in Vancouver. We asked William to share a bit more about himself so you could get to know him before we meet.

What do you do?

I am the Founder and Managing Editor of the Vancouver Tech Journal. My goal is to is to deliver the most complete coverage of all the stories, issues and insights from the Vancouver Tech community. I started writing it as a bi-weekly newsletter that was sent out to just 5 people - we've come a long way.

What is something you wish more people knew about tech in Canada?

The Canadian tech community really touches everyone and every industry. I'm excited to be part of this event to continue to connect the tech community.

What is the best way for our community to connect with you?

People can connect with me on Twitter at @notionport or at william@vantechjournal

Don't miss your chance to hear more from William at our upcoming Vancouver Meet Up on December 8th! See you there!

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Alex's Must Reads: November 19, 2021

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Newsletter published on:
November 19, 2021
Must Reads
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Spotlight: Treefrog Accelerator

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Newsletter published on:
November 19, 2021
Company Spotlight
Treefrog logo
Today, we are profiling Treefrog, an accelerator thats helping entrepreneurs learn and build new skills.

What does Treefrog do?

The Treefrog Accelerator helps entrepreneurs continuously learn and develop new skills in order to stay relevant in tomorrow's world. Through professionally delivered lectures and workshops, curated mentorship, pitch practice and access to investors, the Treefrog Accelerator is the perfect way to take your startup to the next level.

Why did you start Treefrog?

The Treefrog Accelerator was started when we identified a gap in the startup support ecosystem in the Northern York Regional. While places like Toronto and Waterloo are littered with accelerators, incubators and other programs, there weren't a lot of opportunities for founders north of the GTA. While many identify areas like Toronto and Waterloo to be the startups hubs, York Region is Canada's second largest tech hub with over 4300 ICT companies and 60,000 tech-related jobs.

What is the long-term vision?

Our long term vision is to bring more and more startups and founders to Northern York Region through a regional and international program. The regional program will support entrepreneurs already living in the area to ensure their startups are successful and the international program aims to bring over startups from other countries that are looking to come to Canada and show them that York Region is a viable and ideal spot to land.

Who do you work with?

We work with startup founders who have scalable products and solutions to interesting problems. Our sweet spot is the early stage founder who is past the MVP stage but pre-seed investment. Our participants are Ontario wide and come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and industries.

Key metrics

In just 6 months of operations, we have worked with 77 entrepreneurs from 53 startups that have raised over $10M in funding. We've delivered close to 5000 minutes of content from 43 speakers and 15 mentors. Thus far, our program satisfaction rate is 100%.

When is your next cohort?

We're recruiting new startups for our next cohort beginning January 31st. The program is completely free and involves partners such as Schulich School of Business, Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, YSpace and #REALTALK.

For more information on The Treefrog Accelerator, and their important work, you can learn more at www.treefrog.biz

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Hiring Company of the Week: Beam.city

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Newsletter published on:
November 17, 2021
Company Spotlight

Each week, we feature an innovative company that's hiring. This week, we are featuring Beam.city, a company that's helping to make your advertising budget more profitable through AI.

Beam.city logo

What is the long-term vision?

We have automated 13 of the 17 key steps advertisers go through on every advertising channel. As we automate more, businesses and advertisers will be able to speak to the AI about their advertising goals and content, and it will setup, publish, monitor, optimize and provide insights immediately so that business owners have to say Yes or No to achieve their goals with highly predictable outcomes across all channels.

By the numbers:

  • 10x growth in FY2021
  • 3x Growth this month
  • 160 clients served
  • 21 channel integrations

Who are your customers?

We serve Online advertisers of eCommerce, B2B and Consumer products who currently spend online.

What are the highlights of working at Beam.city?

We are a high empathy team, working with fast energetic innovation that's helping millions of new advertisers succeed online.

Beam.city is currently hiring Technical Account Managers, a B2B Sales Manager and an Operations Manager. To see all their opportunities and learn more about what they do, visit their website.

Want to showcase your company and jobs to over 50,000 subscribers? Reach out to jared@techto.org for more information on how you can leverage our community for your hiring!

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