Kevin Browne

The Silhouette

 

Web and mobile startups are Hamilton’s hot new industry, and there are some great opportunities coming up for students to join in on the fun.

Sounds like a faux pas, doesn’t it?

Isn’t Hamilton the city of smoke stacks and steel? Well, not anymore. Now we’re becoming a software city, a digital media city, an art city… an innovation city.  If you need evidence, look no further than the story of Weever Apps.

Andrew Holden and Robert Porter started Weever Apps by taking a walk on the Bruce Trail and discussing the future of the mobile web.  They saw app stores that locked out small businesses and non-profits with high app development costs. Weever Apps was built to take your website and for a few dollars a month, painlessly turn it into a mobile web app that looks and feels like a native app across all different mobile platforms.

Last March at DemoCampHamilton1, a tech startup event, Weever Apps was demoed; it’s basically show-and-tell with software.  Andrew and Robert had 5 minutes to demo in front of 100 people at Slainte Irish pub, at the time the biggest gathering of Hamilton’s software community. Since then Weever Apps have moved into the McMaster Innovation Park and they have been hiring new people – including students.

But the most exciting thing happened just a few weeks ago on Sept. 14 at an event called Lion’s Lair, where ten startups competed for cash in front of a judging panel of Hamilton’s finest entrepreneurs. Andrew and Rob won the top prize of $50,000 in front of over 500 Hamilton innovators.

A lot of local tech workers have left for greener pastures in Silicon Valley. It hurts a lot when the city you love can’t provide opportunities for the people who deserve jobs and development.  Seeing Weever Apps win was a statement that we are headed in a new direction as a city.

It’s not just a story about Weever Apps – everything is changing now.  Startups are expanding, incubators are being created and people are realizing something special is happening here. Mark Elliot at VA partners has deemed Hamilton the ‘next startup hotspot.’

Students can be creating these startups themselves.  They can be like Waterloo’s Ted Livingston who created Kik Messenger, his software hit one million users in just 15 days, and he donated one million dollars back to his VeloCity incubator at the age of 23.

On the weekend of Oct 21-23, Hamilton will have its first Startup Weekend, a non-profit event taking place around the world.  The event is based around business people, designers and developers coming together to create web or mobile startups in one weekend; the weekend’s winners get an automatic spot at DemoCampHamilton4.

 

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