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Zoommate's competition analysis at the Founders Institute, photo courtesy of the Founders Institute.

Local tech incubator celebrates the launch of 9 new startups that solve your most irritating problems

By Colin Noden on January 30, 2017


Does your job suck? Did your #RoommateFromHell just have a break-the-lease party… and your name is on the lease? The Founder Institute is busy training people to help you out of problems like these.

Silicon Valley is reaching out to Ottawa through Shawna Tregunna and Nolan Beanlands. They are the local directors of the Founder Institute. They’re on the hunt for Ottawa locals who are tech savvy in either software or hardware, and who have an idea on how to make life better.

How much better? Not “peace in our time” better. More like, “This drives me nuts! Why hasn’t someone come up with an answer for this?” better. And good news Ottawa, there are now nine companies who are ready to make your life easier.

Students know that a roommate can make or break a year. Landlords hold their breath each fall. Moktar Yusef has the answer at You can now find someone who has shared interests and values to share a place with. This means a chance for a successful and happy year, and the potential for a friend for life. Moktar’s business is starting up its beta version, and is open to students for free.

Congratulations, you have a job! Oh, not that thrilled?  David Watson is building an escape route for you at My Next Job Hunt using proven guerilla marketing tactics. He claims the career path has been destroyed, and that today’s smart employees should use a rock climbing strategy.

These are just two examples from the recent class of nine graduating companies, with concepts ranging from reclaiming your music authority to keeping your home life sane. All these companies have gone through viability and scalability evaluation. Most important, these graduates have gone through testing to see if they’ve got what it takes to thrive as tech entrepreneurs.

If you think you have what it takes to start a business on your own, and you have a problem-solving concept, then the Founder Institute has a test for you. If you pass that test, then you are set up with mentors who have start-up business success. Step by step business building classes are also included. It isn’t a guarantee of success, but a track record of 81% is impressive.

I have one other lingering impression from my recent encounter with the Founders Institute. It came from their graduate showcase evening. There was the expected mix of proud friends and relatives, supportive mentors, and nervous presenters. However, I noticed a few silent poker-faced types around the perimeter. They had that battle-scarred, alpha dog look. When I asked one of them why he was there, he said he was hunting. Interesting.

The Founder Institute is preparing for a new cohort of successful tech start-ups. You can begin your journey of self evaluation for free if you apply before Feb 5th, 2017. Follow them @OttawaFI for updates on special events and lectures.