I had coffee with Claudia Moore and Jennifer Aubin of Material Insight a little while ago. I met Jennifer initially while searching for my next career opportunity and on this second meeting, she remarkably remembered my coffee choice. MMMMmmmm … grande non-fat vanilla latte.
Material Insight was formed 5 years ago by Claudia, Todd Kuipers and Shelley Kuipers (you may recognize Shelley’s name as the President of Cambrian House, a crowd source idea incubator). Buoyed by the success of their involvement at Stormworks and Solium Capital, they saw the need in Calgary for a firm that can help small high-tech firms with their marketing, product development and recruiting efforts. Many see this need, but they decided to do something about it.
Today, Material Insight is helping over 50 small and medium size businesses to grow aggressively. Typically these companies founders have great product development expertise, but lack the time or skills to take their business to the next level. They also don’t have the money to hire high priced help on staff, or the business networking to make things happen … which is why Material Insight’s outsourcing model works so well.
As Claudia says, “high-tech businesses fall into three categories: start-up, scale-up and mature.” As serial entrepreneurs themselves, Material Insight focuses their efforts on the start-up to scale-up phase with:
- – Counseling (market opportunity assessment and competitive research),
– Sales-driven marketing (they’ve done a lot of start-up websites with great product and brand positioning, as well as Adword campaigns and the like, tradeshow help, u name it),
– Product management and
– Recruitment services (if you are looking for a high-tech job in Calgary and you haven’t included Material Insight in your search, you’re missing a huge area of opportunity! I can’t recommend Jennifer enough …).
Material Insight’s label as the “hub” of Calgary high-tech is fitting … their “Guy Kawasaki” event in December had approximately 300 attendees and was amazingly executed.
Calgary’s Bar Camp is one of the many other events that Material Insight supports. BarCamp is an international network of open, participatory workshop-events, focusing on early-stage innovations and open source technologies. This is the second year for BarCamp in Calgary … it’s on June 14, 2008.
Like their counterpart at the publicly funded Calgary Technologies Inc., Claudia says her private organization will be successful when it sees one of the many companies they help hit the big time.
That’s because Material Insight’s payment policy can include cash, or investment in the cash-strapped companies it helps … a savvy way to do business when all you see around you is opportunity!