All posts for category: CFC Media Lab

indiegogo: Validating Your Product’s Market Potential

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Successfully crowdfunding your project on indiegogo will validate your project idea to VCs. The willingness of those to spend their hard earned money demonstrates the presence of a market. This was amongst one of the many teachings from Ayah Norris, Marketing & Community Management at indiegogo.

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Earlier this week, the CFC Media Lab hosted an indiegogo workshop for ideaBOOST cohort 3 companies. They were taken through a presentation about the platform’s various services and benefits, as a well as a rundown of what factors lead to a successful campaign.

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While talking at ideaBOOST, Ayah offered some of the following insights:

  • Your Networks: At the beginning of your campaign, most fundraising will take place within your own networks. Completed campaigns were successfully able to acquire contributors outside of their immediate associates.
  • Mitigate Risk: indiegogo can be utilized as a tool to gauge the market’s interest in your product. If your campaign fails to reach its goal, that can be a sign that your idea doesn’t have a substantial market at this time.
  • Cost Out Your Perks: Before launching your campaign, don’t forget to cost out the perks offered to contributors and incorporate it into your total ask. These are often accidentally overlooked, when they in fact require time and money to execute.
  • Be Realistic: Setting an ambitious goal doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll raise more money. Instead, it’s often the case that a modest amount is more surmountable. A large ask usually requires the campaigner to already have a substantial online profile.
  • Promotional Mistakes: Campaigners sometimes take part in rookie mistakes hindering their performance. This can include the following: Starting your campaign at $0, over-promoting too early on, spamming your networks, panhandling and only taking part in one-way communication.
  • The Three Ps: For an indiegogo campaign to be successful, the following three elements should be perfectly in-line: Pitch, perks and promotion. It is more difficulty to succeed if you lack in one area.

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The CFC Media Lab recently partnered with indiegogo to launch an ideaBOOST campaign page. Stay tuned, as in the near future we will begin populating this page with campaigns to assist cohort companies in their continued growth and development.

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Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify, Doesn’t Let Problems Fester

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Last week marked ideaBOOST’s first Entrepreneur Evening at the Spoke Club. Each month we invite serial entrepreneurs to join us for an intimate discussion, and to offer up advice on running (and selling) a successful technology company. This was also an opportunity for our community of ideaBOOST’s past and present to mingle with each other.

Our first speaker of the series was Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify, a Waterloo-based next generation eLearning company that combines gamification with brain science to revolutionize the way companies think about and deliver training to employees. She has an extensive history of taking in turmoil companies such as PostRank and RSS Solutions, and turning them around into successful exits.

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The overarching theme of the evening was based around Carol’s professional philosophy: If something doesn’t work. Just deal. Over the years, this wisdom has served her well. It forces Leaman to act on a problem when needed, whilst giving her the discretion to pull back when a realistic solution isn’t possible.

Here is a taste of the insights Carol had to offer new startups at the Entrepreneur Evening:

  • Marketing Matters: Don’t underestimate the value of marketing your product. Even at a grassroots level, its impact can be monumental. However, you should also balance out your marketing needs with the budgets you have available. As a small startup, you don’t want to spend on pricey services such as PR right away, as at your stage there won’t necessarily be a return on investment.
  • Cheap Ways To Market: There are several methods for new startups to market itself at low cost. Carol suggests applying for awards, competitions, speaking engagements, and conference appearances as often as you can, while also utilizing the capabilities of social media.
  • Transparency is the Best Policy: When interacting with investors, be confident about your product. But at the same time, don’t oversell yourself as it will present you as being naïve and will ultimately come back to bite you when you fail to deliver. Being transparent and natural is the best policy, as it demonstrates a good understanding of your company and the market.

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As an angel investor herself, Carol indicated that not all companies are salvageable and not all product ideas are good. When evaluating a company, she looks for the following four success factors:

  1. Does your product have an existing market?
  2. Is it a good fit for the market?
  3. Will the entrepreneur be an effective leader?
  4. Is the timing of your product right?

Over the next two months, CFC Media Lab will be hosting more ideasBOOST Entrepreneur Evenings. Stay tuned as we keep you up-to-date on these events.

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Hosts Are Successfully Implanted with PODS from BMC Labs

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“Developed by BMC Labs, POD is an emotional sensory learning and data-mining organism designed to enhance your life.  These biotech implants guarantees personalized recommendations which are 99.999% relevant at all times.” – BMC Labs

To mark the successful completion of Body/Mind/Change, BMC Labs recently hosted a POD Implantation Evening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. For the first time ever, POD hosts had the opportunity to meet their newly customized PODs and have it implanted for immediate use. After the installation procedure, they were then encouraged to mingle, enjoy drinks and oeur d’oeuvres, whilst taking part in the ceremonial serving of a POD-shaped cake representing the formation of their new bond with POD. BMC Labs reported that the hosts have experienced few side effects from the implantations, aside from a handful of nosebleeds and an isolated case of delirium.

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Lauren Auchinclos, Dr. Janna Sensum, Florent Appich and Danny Severi were all on-hand to enjoy the festivities and meet the hosts. As well, Ana Serrano, Lance Weiler, Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), along with others from the creative team, were also spotted at the event.

Surprising to many, Dr. Emily Grovenor was also present. Late last year, she was reported to have mysteriously disappeared and was much believed to be deceased. BMC Labs has not returned our request for comment.

CFC-BodyMindChange_2014Feb06_miketjioe-133About Body/Mind/Change
Body/Mind/Change is a co-production between TIFF and Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab), with creative direction and experience design by Lance Weiler. Presenting Partner for Body/Mind/Change is the department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Interactive Fund with support provided by the Government of Ontario. Executive producers are Noah Cowan, Ana Serrano and Shane Smith. Ana Serrano is the producer.
Register for a POD at bodymindchange.ca.
Body/Mind/Change is a digital extension of TIFF’s major exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution. For more information, please CLICK HERE.CFC-BodyMindChange_2014Feb06_miketjioe-25
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ideaBOOST Kicks Off with Value Proposition Canvas, Pitch Training and Network Mapping

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Having the mechanics of a strong business model can offer start-ups a significant competitive advantage. That was one of the many lessons learned this past weekend at the first set of workshops kicking off the third cohort of ideaBOOST.

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The three days encompassed an intense array of training sessions teaching the absolute must-knows for launching a successful digital business. Our stellar roster of ideaBOOST cohort 3 companies participated in the following programming designed to both sharpen their business acumen, and exercise their vast industry knowledge:

  • Virginia Lee Montgomery, expert graphic facilitator from New York-based ImageThink, mapped out the extensive ideaBOOST ecosystem, demonstrating its value to cohort 3 companies.
  • Alan Smith from Strategyzer broke down the basics of building a business model with the use of three simple tools: The Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas and Testing Canvas. Their uses were demonstrated through two case studies, one focused on the B2B sale of solar energy and the other discussing how Nespresso influenced Swiss consumers to spend more on coffee products.
  • Business Coach, Warren Coughlin, lectured on the art of delivering an effective business pitch to potential investors and corporate partners. At this time, ideaBOOST companies took their pitches out for a first test drive and were given tips on how to improve their performance.

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To wrap up the long weekend, cohort 3 was given the opportunity to test out early versions of their pitches to ideaBOOST Founding Partners. Over the next three months, these start-ups will continue to refine their presentations and business cases in preparation for April, where they will pitch to a large audience of 400+ at ideaBOOST Launch Pad.

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Join Us For ideaBOOST Cohort 4!
Are you a start-up looking to accelerate your technology platform or interactive application for the entertainment industry? The next cycle of the ideaBOOST program may be for you. The application process for the 4th cohort of ideaBOOST opens in mid-March 2014. Stay tuned for more details.

Photo Credits: Aida Da Silva & Mike Tjioe

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Welcome to the Glassroom of the Future

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Hot on the heels of CES, the wearable technology trend continues to be a heavily contested topic of conversation. Deloitte predicts that in 2014 consumers will be wearing more than $3 billion worth of newly purchased technology. With those in the world of fashion failing to buck the trend until wearable tech gets well, fashionable!

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The CFC Media Lab has been keeping a close eye on the wearable movement, particularly with the launch of ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab, the world’s first lab for the production of apps for smart glass.
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Recently, we hosted a user-testing weekend, where participants experienced the first six apps under development in the lab. On top of claiming bragging rights for hosting the largest collection of Canadian Google Glass owners, users were blown away with our teams’ apps for Google Glass and Epson Moverio, and discussed the implications of a world where smart glass prevails.
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Will AR or VR reign supreme in wearable computing? Our users were certainly blown away with the Epson’s fully immersive experience, and we encourage any fans of Oculus Rift (a modest $300 USD) to consider a purchase of Epson Moverio (mid-level $700 USD). unlike Oculus Rift, Google Glass (at the steeper end of the price range at $1,500 USD) is designed to keep users grounded in their physical space while complementing their field of view with relevant information/apps.
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We’ve yet to bet on a front runner, but we certainly did learn a few things about developing for glass:
  1. Colour/Contrast Hierarchy: When designing the overall aesthetic of the app, don’t forget to maintain a hierarchy both in colours and contrast. If not, you will just end up burning out your users’ retinas and I’m assuming that is something you wouldn’t want to do.
  2. Breaks: Don’t forget to include breaks in the play or you’ll tire out your users after a short time. And, keep them short so that they also don’t lose interest. From your users you want longevity and sanity, not short and unfocused.
  3. Focus Navigation: Keep the navigation controls focused on where the game’s action is. Don’t put navigation in the background or middle ground, as it will only confuse the user.
  4. Simplicity is King: Keep the mechanics of the interface clean and simple. It’s like fashion, you’ll eventually hit a point of diminishing returns when accessorizing your outfit.
  5.  Be Intuitive: Make sure the app controls are intuitive, as you can’t expect a user to be patient enough to learn how to use it. We suggest taking a look at popular apps and replicating their user flow. (Since, they’ve already invested the time and effort into figuring out all of this for themselves.) 

Don’t forget that this is just a teaser folks. Make sure you stay up to date with the lab by signing up for our newsletter.

Calling all Canadian glass users! If you’re the lucky owner of a pair of Google Glasses and wish to take part in the next workshop just email us at ahoy@cfccreates.com.

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All apps will be launched and announced in March 2014 in San Francisco! Attendees will get to experience and enjoy applications from:

May the Glass be with you…

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What is ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab?

ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab is a 3 month boot camp for developers and companies that want to navigate the incredible potential of games on the next consumer mega trend of wearable technology. Created in part by the Toronto-based CFC Media Lab and Silicon Valley-based Mind Pirate, the lab marks the first-ever program focused on developing games and consumer apps for the emerging smart glass consumer market. Visit us online.

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CFC Media Lab Alumni Nominated for Canadian Screen Awards

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This week, the Academy of Canadian Film & Television announced the nominations for the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. Much to our delight, several alumni and current program participants of the CFC Media Lab were included in this year’s crop of digital media nominations.

We congratulate the following on their nominations:

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Best Cross-Platform Project – Children’s and Youth 

  • The Next Step Interactive - Secret Location - James Milward

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Best Cross-Platform Project – Fiction 

  • Continuum Interactive - Secret Location - James Milward
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Nightmare on Queen St. - Shaftesbury Films - Christina Jennings, Jay Bennett

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Best Cross-Platform Project – Fiction 

  • The Republic of Doyle Ride-Along App - CBC - Eva Riinitze
  • The Amazing Race Canada Interactive - Secret Location - CJ Hervey, James Milward

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Best Cross-Platform Project – Non-Fiction 

  • Big Brother Canada - Secret Location - C.J. Hervey
  • Perfect Storms Interactive - Secret Location - James Milward
  • Over the Rainbow - CBC - Paul Mcgrath, Tessa Sproule

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Best Original Program or Series produced for Digital Media – Non-Fiction

  • The Real Backpackers - Smokebomb Entertainment - Jay Bennett

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Best Original Interactive Production Produced for Digital Media 

  • Ruby Skye P.I. - Jill Golick Enterprises LTD. - Jill Golick

We wish everyone the best of luck!

Winners of the digital media categories of the Canadian Screen Awards will be announced on March 4, 2014.

Photo Sources: Academy.ca, Secret Location, SmokeBomb Entertainment, RubySkyepi.com

CFC Media Lab Presents: Digital Futures Initiative Industry Day

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Showcasing the Work of Talented Students from The Digital Futures Program

This past Tuesday, the CFC Media Lab partnered with OCADU to host E-Leo: The Digital Futures Initiative’s Industry Day. Accompanied by good food and cool music, the evening featured work created by the talented students and alumni from the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) program at OCAD University.

About the program: The Digital Futures graduate program responds to the increasingly important and sophisticated role of digital technology as a magical catalyst for integrating societal, cultural and economic change. Candidates for the Graduate Diploma in Digital Futures are practising designers from a wide range of professions wishing to augment their skills and knowledge to play leadership roles within their industries and organizations. This program is offered in partnership with the CFC Media Lab.

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ideaBOOST Launch Pad Introduces 6 Start-Ups

SS2_0621 A standing-room only event at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto, Wednesday’s ideaBOOST Launch Pad event was an exciting night for Canadian entrepreneurs and investors to rub shoulders and wrap up months of intensive work. SS1_8450 Hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One and CBC TV, ideaBOOST participants from the Spring 2013 cohort took to the stage to make their pitch for investment and to entertain questions from the audience. SS1_8373 “ideaBOOST is the only niche accelerator for digital entertainment and I’m thrilled to say is growing from strength to strength since its launch last year,“ Ana Serrano, the CFC’s Chief Digital Officer said. “Tonight, we are here to view the six companies who have each participated in an intensive bootcamp helping prepare them to navigate the entertainment ecosystem and to build sustainable digital entertainment properties.” SS2_0774 In no particular order, here is a rundown of ideaBOOST’s Spring 2013 cohort:

  • Wondereuran app that brings storytelling to e-tailing, beginning with contemporary artists
  • BeMused Networka community-based discovery service for entertainment and events
  • Motion Panels+ – an authoring tool that animates graphic novels, cartoon strips and story books for mobile devices
  • ALERT-TV+an online system that enables producers to target and engage audiences using multi-platform strategies to measure success
  • Lightning Platform – a cloud-based platform that tracks and targets user actions to aid product and service development
  • Instaradio – a simple and powerful way to live stream and record audio that can be listened to on any device.

SS1_8661 “The IdeaBOOST program has been an amazing journey that provided Motion Panels with opportunities which was previously beyond our reach. Last night’s Launch Pad was a milestone for us that signifies the start of our new adventure as we move forward with the launch of our exciting products. We thank the CFC for their valued support and hope that ideaBOOST continues to live on to help out other start-ups with their endeavours.” Melch Valimento, Motion Panels+  SS1_8819 “ideaBOOST program is a fantastic way to introduce your business to the Canadian creative community. The network is not only resourceful but also responsive and willing to get behind your idea.” Kevin Kilman, Instaradio SS1_8583 “Participating in the ideaBOOST program gave us access to mentors and resources that accelerated the development of BeMused Network’s beta service. The assistance we received at the early stage of our knowledge network development will go a long way in allowing us to reach our next goal. Turning an idea into reality truly takes a village. The amazing team running the program gave us the support we needed, and advocated for us wherever we went. The colleagues and supporters that we worked and continue to work with will no doubt be the most valuable thing from this experience.” Margaret Lam, BeMused Network SS2_0810 ideaBOOST’s third Cohort was also officially announced at Wednesday’s event. This cohort includes:

  • Bublcam – a consumer ready camera that captures everything through spherical photos and videos.
  • L.A.R.G.E.  - a tool kit for the creation of location-based and augmented reality experiences.
  • RadioMogul – a platform to create, customize & curate your own monetizable Internet radio station.
  • ThinkDirty – a mobile app that makes reading beauty and body care product labels simple, easy and fun.
  • uMentioned - a location app that allows you to anonymously flirt and make new friends with people nearby.
  • WeirdWood Manor – a unique storytelling experience—a novel brought to life through interaction and animation.

Be sure to stay tuned for updates on these new companies, and on the ideaBOOST program as a whole. SS2_0381

Invitation to Attend E-Leo Industry Day Networking Event

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Will You Be the Next Leonardo da Vinci of the Digital World?

The CFC Media Lab is delighted to invite you to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at our upcoming E-Leo Industry Day Networking Event on Tuesday, December 3rd 2013 at The Open Gallery.

Hosted by the CFC Media Lab and OCAD University, the e-Leo exhibit is an interactive gallery showcase of student, alumni, and faculty work alongside some of the world’s top designers. You and other guests will explore multidisciplinary thinking in design and get a taste of our world class Digital Futures Program.

About the program: The Digital Futures graduate program responds to the increasingly important and sophisticated role of digital technology as a magical catalyst for integrating societal, cultural and economic change. Candidates for the Graduate Diploma in Digital Futures are practising designers and working professionals in fields such as IT, media and communications, entertainment and the cultural industries who wish to augment their skills and knowledge to play leadership roles within their industries and organizations.

On display: New and experimental smart products, augmented reality games, wearable technology, digital and hybrid games, cities of the future, video and sound installations. Also see Project e-Leo: a fascinating project about modern day Leonardo da Vinci created by Canada’s top design thinkers.

Show Date: Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Location: The Open Gallery, 49 McCaul Street (OCADU)
Times: 6:30PM-8:30PM

To RSVP click here.

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Graduate Recruitment Day
Date: Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

If you are interested in exploring the Digital Futures Initiative program further as a prospective student, please feel free to also attend the Graduate Recruitment Day. To register a time slot for an OCADU visit and workshop, please contact:

Sabrina Lindo – slindo@ocadu.ca and quote CFC Media Lab referral.

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ASTOUND Initiative at Buffer Festival

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Last weekend marked the inaugural Buffer Festival, which encompassed 3 days, 5 cinemas and 38 live screenings. We had some of YouTube’s biggest stars on-hand to host shows, including the likes of Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, Charlie McDonnell, Mitchell Davis, the Gregory Brothers, the Fine Bros, Prank vs. Prank and more.

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On Friday, the ASTOUND Initiative hosted Dialogue Session: The 4Ms – Messaging, Managing, Mobilizing & Monetizing Your Content, featuring a special panel of industry practitioners and audience-engagement pioneers to discuss ‘audience’ as an alternative form of financing, distribution and revenue generation. Panelists included YouTube’s Bing Chen (Global Creator Development), Graham Bennett (Strategic Partner Manager) and Andy Stack (Partner Product Manager), along with YouTuber entrepreneurs Corey Vidal, Founder, ApprenticeA/Buffer Festival and Alex Carpenter, musician, writer and vlogger. This panel was moderated by ASTOUND project manager Orla Garriques.

Caption: Pre-show Buffer Festival red carpet coverage courtesy of the Canadian Film Centre and ASTOUND Initiative. Despite the rain and cold, YouTube stars and fans came out to shine.

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On Saturday, Buffer Festival hosted a VIP gala at the Jane Mallett Theatre where our stars walked a red carpet, hosted by Tim Deegan from ApprenticeA Productions and Shira Lazar of What’s Trending. They were met by hundreds of screaming fans who camped outside of the venue to meet their favourite internet idols.

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The gala itself was hosted by Craig Benzine, also known as WheezyWaiter and Michael Buckley of the What The Buck Show. New never-before-seen content was showcased to our audience of YouTubers and industry delegates. Megan Tonjes and The Gregory Brothers both performed live onstage.

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Buffer Festival, produced by ApprenticeA Productions and co-presented by the Canadian Film Centre, showcased the best creative content on YouTube and offered insight into why a growing generation is consuming media online.

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Photo Credit: George Pimentel