2008 Start-ups to watchGraham-45X64.jpg
Posted by Ian Graham

It's that time of year again. Time to reflect on all of the start-ups I have meet over the past year and highlight three Ottawa area start-ups which, in my opinion, have some real potential and the right stuff. Each year this task gets more challenging because Ottawa really has a rich and vibrant start-up community and as a rule of thumb I learn of a new start-up every business day. Since this is my third year picking the ones to watch the talent pool is progressively becoming richer and deeper.
Ottawa area Start-up veteran and a company that provides excellent leadership in the community is TravelPod. TravelPod is founded by Luc Levesque. TravelPod is perhaps one of the most Internet savvy companies in the world and an excellent example of the sort of latent talent that exists in the Ottawa area. TravelPod was the first company in the world to develop a facebook application and when Facebook announced on a Friday they would be opening their interface TravelPod had an application available on the Monday. The TravelPod website comes in at roughly 7,333 in Alexa ranking and has a Technorati authority of 3,591 incredibly impressive. What I like most about TravelPod is their ability to innovate and the exceptional people and culture of the organization.
Lavablast is a company I have had the opportunity to get to know very well and use their product at TheCodeFactory. I am continually impressed by their "can do" attitude and the strong team that they have assembled. We originally met after Start-up Ottawa did a post for the Start-up directory introducing them to the Ottawa community. I went on their website, submitted an information request and within a week we had a signed agreement. One TheCodeFactory member indicated that our member profiles were missing Twitter and wouldn't it be neat if each time a member signed in we could issue a tweet. Sent a note to Jason Kealy and within two hours the feature had been added. Lavablast has a good understanding of their target market, strong technical capabilities and excellent people. Definitely a company to watch.
Exocortex led by Ben Houston and have a remarkable world leading product in the area of fluid simulations. With patents pending a growing team and exceptional technology they are a most awesome company in the making. What I like most about Exocortex is the founder. If you have ever seen the movie Good Will Hunting, Ben is Will Hunting, one of the most brilliant mathematical minds in the world. However, there is much more to Ben than exceptional intelligence. Ben is also a very pragmatic individual and going about building his business in all the right ways; by adding to his body of knowledge, seeking advice from numerous sources and adding good people with complimentary skill sets to his team. Exocortex is an Ottawa area Start-up to watch.

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