Thanks to the popularity of our Digital Media People to watch in BC in 2009 list, we’re expanding the concept for 2009 and publishing lists for Alberta and Ontario. Here are our picks for Alberta:
Derek Ball – Tynt – Prior to founding Tynt, Ball served as Entrepreneur-In-Residence for Calgary Technologies Inc. coaching early stage tech ventures. The position suited the serial entrepreneur well with his experience raising capital and building strategic partnerships. Now he has another startup of his own. Tynt is building software that empowers people to share the web as they see it by marking it up with graffiti-like tools. Tynt’s browser based app looks to leverage existing social network relationships and has impressed to date – Ball struck an important proof-of-concept partnership with Canada’s largest youth social network, Nexopia. Look out for Ball to raise more capital and continue building Tynt’s network in ’09.
Stephen King – Mob4Hire – One year ago King profiled Mob4hire here on Techvibes after interviewing Founder Paul Poutanen. After a stint with Calgary dental practice SaaS provider Curve Dental, King finds himself at the helm of mobile application testing crowdsourcer and interviewed himself in December. King has been tasked with raising capital to invest into recruiting testers and making technology improvements. Thanks to their win with the UK O2 Litmus developer network, Mob4hire will continue to pursue developer networks to private label Mob4hire for their own developer relationships. I like King’s chances in 2009 – Mob4hire has proof of concept, paying customers, and contracts in hand.
Jon Lam – Ph03nix New Media – Lam heads up Calgary-based game developer Ph03nix New Media. Lam’s education background fuels his quest to become the “Club Penguin of Learning” and redefine homework through the use of multiplayer video gaming and the Internet. Existing revenue from games sales is jumpstarting his plans – Ph03nix’s Curse of the Pharaoh title for sale on Big Fish Games has over 750,000 downloads – and fundraising has begun for TRZZonline.com, a hip hop online universe. Lam is looking for a $1-$2 Million round to go to market with their new online game.
Patrick Lor – Entrepreneur in Action – Lor was a key figure in one of the biggest dot.com exits in Alberta history. As iStockphoto.com’s lead in finance, IT, and business development, Lor’s gamble to take an equity stake in lieu of salary in 2001 paid off in 2006 when the company sold over 12 million images annually and then itself to Getty Images for US $50 Million. Lor has been evaluating opportunities since the mammoth exit while providing much needed guidance and support to local Calgary startups through the STIRR networking community. Look out for Lor to put on his Angel hat in 2009 and/or find his next great entrepreneurial idea.
MJ Sikorsky – Cambrian House – 2008 had Sikorsky fighting off reports in May and again in October that Cambrian House was in the dreaded Deadpool. The first report turned out to be an incorrect conclusion around the successful sale of VenCorps to Spencer Trask and October’s rumour was quickly dispelled humorously with a statement from Cambrian’s legal counsel. 2009 is bound to be a better year for the crowdsourcing evangelist and it’s looking up so far. Vancouver-based Corporate Social Responsibility trustmark MakeGood licensed Cambrian’s Chaordix crowdsourcing platform last summer and launched this week – Sikorsky is an technology advisor to MakeGood and likely has other projects in the works for ’09.
For this inaugural list for Alberta, we decided to keep it short and limit the number of call-outs to five. Obviously this list could go on and on as there is a tonne of talent and cool projects going on in Alberta. So if you think we’ve missed someone that deserves some attention, please add them to the comments.