3 Tips for Protecting Your Website

You have a certain skill set, which has brought you to where you are now — on the way to launching your breakthrough new business. Your skills, however, likely won’t include everything you need (except if you happen to be a genius, which is cool too). Somewhere along the way, you’re going to find you need to outsource talent, to find someone who can help in areas where you’re not quite as strong in. Now, that might be in marketing, finance, or writing — but today, we’re going to be focussing on developing your website.

Developers hold a lot of power — they literally have the power to change anything and everything on your website. So in order to protect your baby (and lessen worry), here are some things you can do to hedge your risks and protect your hard work.

1. Create an email just for your new website and its development.

This ensures that everything to do with your website is in one spot. It won’t be jumbled with the emails pertaining to other aspects of your business, and you can easily find what you want. After you’ve got that, use it as the primary email when setting up your website. Make yourself “administrator” and your developer “collaborator”. For Github, check it out here and Heroku here. That way you always have the final say!

2. Create an IP agreement with your developer

An intellectual property (IP) agreement, even if you don’t have the money to enforce (and most of us don’t, that’s okay!), it’s still worth establishing. It does say that you mean business and clearly lays out the dos and don’ts of the employment relationship. Make sure to include a line saying that at the end of the work relationship, they’ll hand over all the code and work property. Here is an example you can use for reference, (note: KahootsHQ, does not accept liability for any errors or omission in the contents of this document or which arise from it’s use).

3. Download a copy of the code and database

Try to do this weekly, or on some sort of regular basis. You definitely want a copy of your website, after all! If you’re using Github, this is super simple to configure. Just go to the repository you want to download, and on the right side-bar menu you will find a “Download ZIP” button. (Don’t forget to title the download with that day’s date!) Here’s how for reference.

And there you have it! Now, we’re not trying to point a sign reading “BE WARY OF ALL DEVELOPERS!” It’s just that sometimes when we haven’t shared our vision clearly or if there’s some sort of communication issue, things might not turn out the way you’d thought. Ensuring you’ve covered your basis during the initial website setup will help you keep calm during times of turmoil knowing your hard work and time is not at risk.

So there you have it! If you have any other tips, feel free to drop us a tweet!


Elizabeth Ching - KahootsHQElizabeth Ching | Guest Writer

Elizabeth is a spirited reader and writer, with an insatiable curiosity for technology and innovation. She enjoys blogging, tweeting, and slowly making her mark in the digital space.

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5 Must-Read Books for the Entrepreneur or Wantrepreneur

If you’re starting your own company, you know that there are a ton of risks. You may have an amazing idea, but so do so many other people whose companies haven’t made it. What sets a good idea apart from a great company? How do you do it, and where do you go now that you’ve taken this leap of faith? These books are must-reads for every entrepreneur or future entrepreneur. They will help shape your business plans, ideas, and growth for every stage you encounter.

Book 11. Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job by Sean Wise and Brad Feld You’ve got an idea, you’ve got a roadmap, and you’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit to create a startup. But there are more than five million entrepreneurs who will launch a new project each year, and only a fraction succeed. How do you know that yours will? Startup Opportunities is a practical book that guides you in evaluating your business plan and calculating your opportunity. Wise and Feld are two experienced entrepreneurs as well as investors, and they have an excess of experience and knowledge for starting a company from both points of view.

Why it’s a must-read: There is no way to guarantee your success in the market, but the knowledge and practical advice given in this book will allow you to definitely increase your chances.

BOOK 2

2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel Peter Thiel is the co-founder of Paypal and Palantir, with a net-worth of 2.2 billion. In other words, this man is an entrepreneurial genius. Going down the route of a startup includes a great number of risks – especially with establishing yourself in the market. Thiel’s idea of a zero to one company is to create a space in the market – a niche – so that you’ve got a monopoly. Instead of doing something that someone else is doing, which is starting from 1, do something without precedent, starting from 0. Zero to One is all about innovation and creation.

Why it’s a must-read: Thiel’s tone is optimistic, his successes inspiring, and his ideas applicable. This book will make you feel like you can succeed and gives you the recipe for it.

BOOK 3

3. Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull Starting with a dream of creating a computer-animated movie, thus launched the idea of the now giant that is Pixar Animation Studios. Ed Catmull is the co-founder and his book, Creativity Inc. is all about effective management and maintenance of your creativity. The book chronicles Catmull’s years of experience and wisdom told through the history and realization of Pixar.

Why it’s a must-read: Startups are founded on a base of innovation. This book tells you how to manage that innovation and effectively establish a creative organization.

BOOK 44. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday With the incredible rise of technology, the web, and social media, there are now so many different ways to go about marketing and growing your brand without the traditional expenses. In other words, marketing hacks. Ryan Holiday, a media and business strategist, teaches you how to use media and create campaigns that help promote your brand.

Why it’s a must-read: When you’re starting your own company, you likely don’t have that much money. There are better (read: cheaper) ways to market yourself besides the traditional commercials and billboards. Holiday gives you the knowledge and the know-how to growth hack your way to success.

BOOK 55. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by James Collins So you’ve established your startup, you’re doing well and turning it into a relatively stable company. Now what? You’re good… but how to you become great? John Collins, a business consultant and lecturer at Stanford, shares the results of research and data from a five-year project, on how and why some companies boom and others plateau. He takes real examples and analyzes them – what did the successful companies do differently? Good to Great gives you the what to do and what not to do from actual companies, so that you may shape a strategy that guides your own.

Why this is a must read: Collins gives you case studies of successes and failures. We all learn from mistakes, but they don’t always have to be our own. Each one of these books was personally suggested by one of the KahootsHQ team members.


Elizabeth Ching - KahootsHQElizabeth Ching | Guest Writer

Elizabeth is a spirited reader and writer, with an insatiable curiosity for technology and innovation. She enjoys blogging, tweeting, and slowly making her mark in the digital space.

Your Event Recap: KahootsHQ Networking @ the Ryerson Launch Zone Grand Opening

What do you get when you combine a dynamic crew of Kahooties and fellow Ryerson students, a host of experienced professors and industry professionals, a fantastic display of student success, and more free food than a starving student can eat?!

We’ll tell you what: one fantastic afternoon of networking hosted by KathootsHQ at the Grand Opening of Ryerson’s brand new Launch Zone!

KahootsHQ Founders
Your humble KahootsHQ founders were delighted to take part in the Grand Opening of Ryerson’s Launch Zone.

Friday, April 10, saw a fantastic turnout of students and staff to celebrate the opening of the new student centre, while taking advantage of a unique opportunity to shake hands with potential creative colleagues.

Networking opportunities abound… as do mini cupcakes!
Networking opportunities abound… as do mini cupcakes!

Highlights of the afternoon included a showcase of over 15 Ryerson projects, with the project owners in attendance. KahootsHQ facilitated live introductions between these project owners seeking fantastic talent and talented Kahooties seeking experience. An all-round exciting opportunity to meet new people and create new connections!

Who says networking isn’t all fun and games?
Who says networking isn’t all fun and games?

Check out all the photos from the event on our Flickr page!

Miss out on the fun? You still have the chance to get in on the action by checking out projects looking for talent on the KahootsHQ project board.

And as if we didn’t have enough this time round, we’re already planning our next Social Matchup event. Stay tuned for more details!


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Sara Menuck | Guest Writer

Armed with an honours degree in Professional Writing and a personal vendetta against the misplaced apostrophe, Sara is a creative writer, meticulous editor, and self-professed Netflix addict.

 

10 Motivational Toronto Startup Stories

Ask any Torontonian entrepreneur: there’s a reason our city made it into Startup Genome’s 20 most active startup cities back in 2013. We have an incredible, tight-knit community of entrepreneurs, self-starters and go-getters supported by a wealth of institutions and incubators—such as our own DMZ at Ryerson. Just skim through KahootHQ’s Project Board and you’ll get a sense of the talent and innovation brimming within Toronto’s city limits!

Want to get a sense of some of the exciting new ideas being born in this city? We’ve compiled just a slice of the vibrant startup scene with 10 companies and products that got us excited. Let us know in the comments below about any motivational Toronto startups you think should make the list!

500px

Launched in 2009, 500px is one of the best known success stories from Toronto. Co-founders Oleg Gutsol and Evgeny Tchebotarey, both acclaimed photographers and entrepreneurs, created an online community for aspiring and professional photographers alike to share, buy, and sell their work. Within a few years, the site and its associated mobile app skyrocketed to become the premier photographers’ platform acknowledged to hold the highest quality photography worldwide.

Shoutout to our home base: 500px graduated from our very own DMZ back in 2011. Since that time, they’ve acquired over $9 million in funding, over 2 million registered users, and a mobile app that consistently sits as one of iTune’s top photography apps.

Bitstrips

Maybe you remember the 2013 Facebook frenzy when all your friends were posting endless streams of Bitstrips: the mobile app that lets you create and share customizable comics featuring you and your friends in strange fictitious situations. You have Toronto co-founders Jacob Blackstock and Shahan Panth to thank for these viral little cartoons. The concept began back in their high school days, when they traded humorous hand drawn comics back and forth during English class. The mobile app released in 2013 hit Internet fame, rated the trendiest app of the year by Google and garnering over 30 million users across 90 countries.

TeamStory

Here’s one for our fellow startups! Co-founders Kevin Kim, Tobok Lee and Freddy Hidalgo-Monchez teamed up to create a burgeoning social network for startups and entrepreneurs. The picture-based platform addresses a perceived communications gap: sites like AngelList and Gust were great resources, but they felt there was a lack of “real” communication between members of the community. Enter TeamStory, a platform for entrepreneurs to capture and share moments of the day-to-day grind of running a startup: the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. Still in their early days, the community has already amassed 200 beta signups, shared over 3,000 moments across 63 countries.

Wattpad

Another big name in the tech startup community, Wattpad is self-described as a kind of YouTube for books, an online community of self-publishers and readers. They use a Netflix-style algorithm to track users’ personal tastes and filter through the site’s prolific literary output. The company launched in 2006, but it shot to fame with the release of its mobile app in 2007, reaching 5 million downloads by 2009. 32 million users and 70 million stories later, the site is considered a viable contender against traditional book publishers. In fact, a number of Wattpad’s most successful writers, garnering millions of views each, secured book publishing deals through their Internet fame.

Top Hat

Did you ever get caught texting in class? Now, thanks to this Toronto-based tech startup, mobile technology has a respectable place in class. Teachers run Top Hat on their mobile devices, while the same material is streamed on students’ tablets and phones as they engage directly with learning material, from answering questions to completing quizzes. Free for teachers, the app provides seamless integration and easy-to-use tools for teachers to create quizzes, questions and educational resources. Top Hat is currently used by over 500 institutions and over 500,000 students across the globe, including at the University of Toronto.

Chematria

Based out of the University of Toronto, Chematria represents an innovative and potentially industry-altering piece of software that analyzes the effectiveness of both existing and hypothetical drugs. The technology’s artificial intelligence allows the program to evaluate in a matter of days masses of data that would take the human brain years to analyze. It’s an impressive program that takes an equally impressive supercomputer to run—the largest supercomputer in Canada, loaded with millions of data points designed to pinpoint the most effective drugs against diseases such as multiple sclerosis, leukaemia, and, most recently, ebola.

InteraXon

One of the biggest names in Toronto’s tech community, InteraXon is making waves in technology controlled by brainpower alone. Supported by a diverse team headed by Ariel Garten—neuroscientist, psychotherapist, and fashion designer—the company produces a nifty piece called the Muse, a headset that senses brainwaves and converts them into digital signals that can influence everything from electronics to brain-powered beer taps. Garnering interest and support from a wide range of industries (including Ashton Kutcher?!), InteraXon recently signed a deal with Indigo and has sold upwards of 5,000 Muse headsets since its launch in May 2014.

Nymi

Formerly known as Bionym, Nymi is another wearable-tech company boasting big potential with over $14 million in funding for its namesake product: a wristwatch that taps into its wearer’s unique cardiac rhythm as an alternative to traditional passwords and PINs—keeping your personal information close to your heart, so to speak. In an age of identity theft and security breaches, the wristwatch presents some interesting implications for how we interact with our everyday devices, and how we can access the information stored in them. RBC agrees: in late 2014, they partnered with Nymi to roll out their PayBand pilot project allowing clients and staff to charge purchases to their credit card using their heartbeat as their PIN.

PumpUp

Imagine a remix of Instagram and MyFitnessPal. Well, co-founders Garret Gottlieb and Phil Jacobson did, and named it PumpUp. Latching onto the health and fitness trend, the app is a photo-based social network designed to motivate users to maintain an active lifestyle. In addition to posting and commenting on progress photos, users can also access custom workouts, track progress and activities, and receive fitness coaching. Winning over $2.4 million in funding and gathering over a million users within six months, PumpUp shows no sign of slowing as it secures big-name industry partners and continues expanding its team.

Freshbooks

Balancing books, organizing receipts, invoicing clients… It’s a tedious but necessary part of running a business. Founded in 2003, Freshbooks is an innovative tool that seamlessly micromanages small business finances, from creating timesheets to tracking profits and losses. Since its launch, the app has spread across over 120 countries and attracted over five million users with its user-friendly interface and efficient service. Another reason to like Freshbooks? Co-founder and CEO Mike McDerment is a stout supporter of the Canadian startup industry: every week, he has dinner with a different aspiring entrepreneur he wants to help achieve their goals.


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Sara Menuck | Guest Writer

Armed with an honours degree in Professional Writing and a personal vendetta against the misplaced apostrophe, Sara is a creative writer, meticulous editor, and self-professed Netflix addict.

Win Your Startup Funding in 2015

Startup Contests in 2015

If you are the owner of a startup who’s cash flow isn’t yet in the positive, you have likely turned to bootstrapping to keep your company afloat. We know it is tough, we’ve been there too. That’s why we have put together this list of startup contests.

Put your idea to the test with these low risk, high reward opportunities and take a crack at some really great prizes. Here are just a few Canadian and American competitions to get you started. Get pitching experience, test out your business model, and gain valuable feedback from some top notch mentors.

1. Mastercard Women In Entrepreneurship (Runs March to April)

  • Open to female entrepreneurs who are the current founder, co-founder or CEO of a startup.
  • Six winners awarded $10,000 worth of prizes. A $5,000 pre-paid MasterCard and admission to the DMZ.

The $60,000 program will fuel the success of six women-led startups through cash prizes and placement at the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ), the top-ranked university-based incubator in Canada and one of the largest co-working spaces for entrepreneurs.

2. USASBE Launch! (Runs November to March)

  • This is a FOUR STAGE competition, drop-in to any stage before its deadline.
    • 1. Launch’s Top Idea Ninja
    • 2. Launch’s Best Business Model
    • 3. Launch’s Best Crowdfunding Campaign
    • 4. Launch’s Big Traction Challenge
  • Presented by the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, but open to students from any school, discipline, and country.
  • Students can win coaching from some of the world’s best entrepreneurship mentors and coaches, valuable prize packages, and considerable bragging rights!

The goal is to provoke and reward students from any discipline for great ideas, beautiful business models, and evidence of traction. Oh ya, and it’s FREE!

3. The Next Big Idea in Sport Competition (Runs February to May)

  • Open to Canadian Startups solving sport and sport industry problems through innovative applications of technology.
  • Up to 10 companies will receive four months of incubation at the DMZ.
  • At the end of the incubation period, the top three startups — as selected by a panel of judges — will receive cash prizes of $50,000, $30,000 and $20,000.

The Next Big Idea in Sport competition will encourage and support startup companies to explore innovation opportunities within the sports industry, ranging from the use of biometric wearable sensors for the collection and analysis of in-game data, to delivering unprecedented fan experiences, to advancing the business of sport management, to driving social innovation — and more.

4. The Hult Prize (Runs March to May)

  • Open to MBA candidates and college students looking to pursue startups with a focus on social good.
  • Competition involves four stages, including the “Hult Accelerator,” a six-week program during which finalists attend intensive entrepreneurial seminars.
  • A chance to win the top prize of $1,000,000.

The online edition of the Hult Prize serves as a wildcard round, granting the winning team a coveted spot in the Hult Prize Accelerator and Global Finals – joining the regional champions from Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. 

Finding startup capital is one of the most common roadblocks to getting your project up and running. Competitions are one of the quickest ways to get that small chunk of change you need to help you take the first big step in launching your project. Best of all- they happen all the time.


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Allison Rhodes | Director of Creative Innovation at KahootsHQ

Allison is a graduate of the Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University, is a Masters of Digital Media candidate and one of the co-founders of KahootsHQ.com.

Your Northern Entrepreneurs: 10 Canadian Startup Facts

Canada is home to many first-rate entrepreneurial ideas. Poutine, a treasured classic, is a culinary masterpiece of cheese curds, gravy and fries. The snowmobile, snowblower and ice hockey are clearly Canadian inventions born out of necessity. The most recent cult favourite is the Canada Goose jacket which helps you stay warm in below zero temperatures while simultaneously remaining in fashion. These ideas are all uniquely Canadian, but the majority of ideas are not so obviously Canadian. What then makes entrepreneurship in Canada distinctly, well… Canadian?

To help answer this question I am looking at Canadian Entrepreneurship, an article, which lists 10 stats about entrepreneurs in Canada that may help explain our northern entrepreneurial landscape.

1) Every year in Canada, an average of 130,000 new small businesses are created – but only 35% survive five years.

2) Small businesses account for between 60 and 80% of all jobs created in Canada.

3) Ninety-eight percent of Canadian businesses have fewer than 100 employees, 55% have fewer than four, and 75% of all businesses in the country have fewer than 10.

4) On average, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees contribute about 51% to Canada’s GDP.

5) There are over 900,000 female entrepreneurs in Canada, making up a larger share of the self-employed than in any other country.

6) Over 40% of Canadians say that starting a company or being self-employed would be the most rewarding career path for them.

7) Almost 60% of all small business owners in Canada consider themselves “lifestyle entrepreneurs” who use their business as a means of generating income to support other commitments or lifestyle choices.

8) The number of immigrants active in starting or running a company is some 60% higher compared to first- or second-generation Canadians.

9) Canadian small and medium enterprises invest in Research and Development (R&D) proportionally on a greater scale than big corporations.

10) Studies show that entrepreneurs with education in entrepreneurship, or previous entrepreneurship experience, have an 80–90% chance of success with a new business.

So now you have a better understanding of the entrepreneurial landscape in Canada. What does a Canadian entrepreneur look like to you? Because, let’s be honest, when I picture an entrepreneur, I see jeans and a plaid shirt. And if the founder started apologizing, you would definitely know that I was envisioning a Canadian entrepreneur.


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Allison Rhodes | Director of Creative Innovation at KahootsHQ

Allison is a graduate of the Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University, is a Masters of Digital Media candidate and one of the co-founders of KahootsHQ.com.