DemoCamp returns to Toronto

The DemoCamp series has long been a staple of the Toronto tech community and many of the city’s most successful startups have used these events as a launching pad.

A typical night features a combination of technical demos and short presentations, given in front of crowd of developers, entrepreneurs, and investors. But after DemoCamp17 took place last summer, seven months went by without another one scheduled and many secretly worried if the series had reached its end.

In late Februrary, the Toronto tech community breathed a collective sign of relief when DemoCamp19 was announced. Yesterday’s DemoCamp was the followup and was held once again at the extremely low-key Imperial Pub — a stark contrast to the suit-friendly Toronto Board Of Trade venue that has been used in the past.

A few of yesterday’s presentations stood out:



Brian McCaw didn’t hold back any hesitation when declaring his goal: “I’m hoping to become the dominant wine social networking site in Canada.”

WineAlign enables consumers to swap wine ratings amongst themselves and read professional wine critics. They’re using the “freemium” business model as well as hyper-local advertising.

Although most Canadians consider the provincial alcohol monopolies to be an inconvenience, McCaw explained that they’re happy to leverage this situation — gathering and reporting on wine data is simpler when there are fewer inventory systems to deal with.

McCaw also brought an interesting marketing lesson: For WineAlign, a two paragraph blog post had more of an impact on traffic than $10,000 spent on PR. As a result of this experience, they’ve hired a community manager and switched to focusing on using Social Media for promotions.

More information can be found at



Ilya Grigorik, founder and CEO of PostRank (formerly AideRSS) began his presentation with a shocker: “people now spend more time on social networks than on porn.”

Content that hits the social web gets consumed rapidly and most activity happens almost immediately after publication.

“For publishers, this is insane. Writers slave to write a story and they only have 50 minutes to make an impact.”

In talking with industry leaders, Grigorik discovered that there is a large demand for access to real-time metrics which are vital for enabling rapid audience interaction.

“We already solved this problem internally,” says Grigorik. Their technology already produced an abstract measure of engagement that let blog readers find the hottest content. Now they’re taking this technology directly to publishers.

PostRank Engagement Analytics service is currently accepting beta testers


The Montreal-based WhereCloud began their demo of Reportage with a pronunciation lesson – Anglophiles have been incorrectly saying it as “report age”, “but that’s fine with me as well,” said Founder Martin Dufort.

Reportage is a Twitter client for the iPhone with a twist: it uses a radio tuner metaphor to let users choose which updates to read.

Most Twitter clients display updates in a linear timeline but this stream of tweets is not suitable for mobile use, Dufort argued. When you’re on the run, you want to read selectively.

Reportage groups updates behind a grid of user icons. A tuner at the bottom lets users quickly jump around between the timelines of other friends.

WhereCloud is setting the introductory price at $2.99 — much too low, according to many in the room.

Conveniently, the program got approved for the App Store two hours after the demo. More information and screenshots are available.

The full schedule of presentations can be found on DemoCamp returns to Toronto on July 27.