Saif Altimimi has been busy since his appearance on Dragons' Den, shortly after launching tech startup NoteWagon, a note-sharing social network where students can buy and sell course material. Although all five Dragons stepped up with $250,000 in exchange for nearly a one-third ownership, it turned out the deal wasn't the right fit. Last summer, Mr. Altimimi headed to Silicon Valley, where he felt NoteWagon would attract greater funding.
He was right. After a healthy round of angel investment, he launched Coursemodo, which targets teachers and institutions - extending its reach, adding a revenue stream and increasing the company's potential.
Coursemodo, which will be launched as a pilot project in colleges and universities including Harvard and Berkeley in September, is an interactive platform designed to engage students and provide real-time feedback for instructors using SMS, tablets, smartphones and laptops. "We think it will be a game-changer," Mr. Altimimi says.
"We knew we had to adopt the culture of innovation that Silicon Valley is known for. They understand the execution element of an Internet business," he says.
The timing could not have been better, says Sunil Mistry, partner, KPMG Enterprise in Toronto. Mr. Mistry has just returned from C100's 48 Hours in the Valley, a networking event that connects Canadian startups with private equity firms in Silicon Valley. KPMG sponsors C100, a group of Canadian expats who did well in Silicon Valley and who now want to create a similar environment in Canada.
"In the past 12 to 18 months, there has been a significant amount of U.S. private equity and banks focusing on Canadian startups because there is a lot happening here," he says. "U.S. investors are hearing about these great Canadian ideas and want to be part of their growth. It's a good time to be a tech startup in Canada."