As athletes from around the world gathered in London this month to compete at the Olympics, so too did Canadian technology companies hoping to bring home new contracts and business opportunities instead of medals.
Dinesh Kandanchatha, vice-president of sales at Macadamian Technologies Inc.
Information and communications technology companies from this country set up shop at Canada Olympic House in Trafalgar Square on Aug. 6 for a showcase organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Consider Canada Alliance and local economic development agency Invest Ottawa.
The event aimed to use the global focus on London as an opportunity to do business.
Firms from Waterloo, Vancouver and Montreal attended the showcase, but the strongest showing came from Ottawa. Five of the 13 companies were Ottawa-based, and an additional two had offices in Ottawa.
Dinesh Kandanchatha travelled to London to represent Macadamian Technologies Inc., a local software company that showcased various applications developed by the company including an app to help dentists place fillings more efficiently.
While many tech companies focus on functionality, Macadamian hones in on interaction design, and “making the technology invisible,” as Mr. Kandanchatha put it.
“We came to the conclusion that there’s a lot of creative design agencies in the U.K. and they don’t have the interaction design capabilities that we have here,” he said.
A poignant moment happened during an event hosted by TechCity, a U.K tech cluster that was discussing how proud it was to have 1,000 companies in the area.
“We were all sitting listening to this thinking, “One thousand? That’s nothing, we have way more than that,’” he said. “They’re the largest tech cluster in the U.K. and Canada has half the (population) of the U.K. and we have far more technology companies in Ottawa alone.”
Ted Burnett, vice-president of business development for local tech company bitHeads Inc., was also at the showcase to display various innovations from telephony to mobile applications.
Approximately 150 London-based companies and tourists came to visit, including some Canadian athletes competing at the games.
Mr. Burnett met with Olympic sponsor Samsung, and said he has many opportunities to follow up on.
Mr. Kandanchatha also looks forward to formalizing some of the connections he made during the trip by linking up with the British High Commission, which will assist in establishing business partnerships.
“We’ve traditionally stayed away from the U.K. We didn’t know a lot about it,” he said. “We discovered there’s a niche for us on the design side.”
Companies appearing at the Canadian showcase included (headquarters):
OpenText Corp. (Waterloo, Ottawa office)
Mitel Networks Corp. (Kanata)
Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. (Kitchener)
Layer 7 Technologies Inc. (Vancouver, B.C.)
Anthony Maccauley Associates (Victoria) Inc. (Victoria, B.C., Ottawa office)
bitHeads Inc. (Ottawa)
FreeBalance Inc. (Kanata)
Playbrains Inc. (Ottawa)
Macadamian Technologies Inc. (Gatineau)
PNI Digital Media Inc. (Vancouver, B.C.)
Toon Boom Animation Inc. (Montreal, Que.)
Xomo Digital Inc. (Vancouver, B.C.)
Float4 Interactive (Montreal, Que.)