5 Canadians to watch in digital technology in 2015

If you’re wondering who are going to be the movers and shakers in 2015 in digital technology in Canada you’ve arrived at the correct spot! 2014 was a year that saw many developments in Canada’s tech scene. Uber landed in Canada amidst much hype only to be embroiled in battles with media and local governments; BlackBerry seemed to rise from the dead with the positive reception to new CEO John Chen; and Canada’s wearables space continued to grow.

What will 2015 look like for the Canadian tech scene? Here are my six Canadians to watch in digital technology in 2015.

Gallop Labs Cofounder Alkarim Nasser

Gallop Labs | Alkarim Nasser
Alkarim Nasser is a founder of both Bnotions and Gallop Labs.

2014 was a coming out party of sorts for this Toronto-based startup. Incubated inside digital agency BNOTIONS (also founded by Nasser), Gallop Labs has already caught the eyes of both investors and the Canadian digital industry. To end 2014, Gallop Labs announced $2 million in seed funding from notable investors such as Golden Venture Partners and Mantella Venture Partners. Individual investors include Albert Lai (from Big Viking Games, who was featured in last year’s list) and Allen Lau from Wattpad. Gallop Labs has also won a Facebook Innovation Award and the 2014 Canadian Innovation Exchange Audience Choice Award.

EVP Ventures MaRS Discovery District Salim Teja

Salim Teja climbed his way up the corporate ladder at MaRS in 2014.
Salim Teja climbed his way up the corporate ladder at MaRS in 2014.

We first introduced readers to Salim Teja in the spring of 2013 when he was hired to lead the MaRS ICE (information, communications, entertainment) division. Today, Teja is the Executive VP of Ventures at MaRS. In his new role Teja now leads the overall strategic direction of all three of MaRS’ venture services areas: Health, ICT and Cleantech. 2014 was not a year that was kind to MaRS. At least from a public perception. There was some disagreement on how important MaRS was and is to the success of startup success which we discussed here on Suffice it to say that one of Teja’s main goals will be to change how the public (and media) sees MaRS’ role in the startup ecosystem in Ontario.

Dive Networks Cofounder Deborah Hall

Deborah Hall previously founded web2mobile and is now heading up Dive Networks.

Deborah Hall is no stranger to both startups and winning awards for her work as a pioneer in the digital space. Hall has won multiple awards including Cannes Lions and the NYC Smarties Mobile Awards for her innovative work in mobile technology and social media. In 2010, Hall sold her startup, web2mobile, to Torstar Digital. Now, Hall is building Dive Networks to provide SaaS content solutions for brands. What sets Hall’s company apart from the competition is Dive’s reliance on data-driven solutions. Hall has already received funding to develop its software product by the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.

What does 2015 have in store for Hall? Well, if content is truly king, then Hall may be its queen.

Senior VP Corporate Affairs and Chief Marketing Officer (Canadian Tire and FGL Sports respectively) Duncan Fulton

Duncan Fulton, the CMO of Canadian Tire and FGL Sports.
Duncan Fulton, the CMO of Canadian Tire and FGL Sports.

Whether in politics, the agency world or Canadian retail, Duncan Fulton has a winner’s pedigree. Most recently, Fulton has guided SportChek to the pinnacle of Canadian retail success. Its Edmonton flagship store is a case study of digital disruption meets consumer experience. In the spring of 2014, Canadian Tire opened it’s Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre in Winnipeg. Cloud Nine aims to be the digital hub for all of the company’s digital offering including mobile apps and other products and services. Watch for Fulton and his brands to continue to push the digital envelope in 2015.

Stephen Harper, Joe Oliver, Ed Holder and the Conservative Party of Canada

2015 will see a federal election in Canada. As a result, expect lots (and lots) of campaign promises from all the parties and pre-election goodies from the Conservatives. As Minister of State for Science and Technology, Ed Holder will be the face of any promises from the current Canadian government. As Minister of Finance, Joe Oliver will be in charge of the purse strings. However, Canadians have come to expect that nothing actually gets announced or done without the blessings of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Entrepreneurs and those in digital technology will be closely watching the upcoming federal election. Parties of all political stripes should be looking to put the Canadian economy and future generations in the drivers seat for future success in tomorrow’s digital economy.

Karim Kanji
Karim Kanji
Karim Kanji is the Canadian Director of Social Media Strategy at iNvolved Media. iNvolved Media was purchased by Active International in 2015. Clients include popular food brands, technology brands and other CPG companies. Prior to joining iNvolved Media, Karim led the paid social media strategy for some of Canada's most popular CPG and confectionery brands for Catalyst/GroupM. Karim started in the social media space when he co-founded and was the President of THIRDOCEAN where he led the creation of digital content for companies including Scotiabank, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Microsoft, Wild Water Kingdom, Palomino Systems Inc. and Techvibes. Karim has also been recognized as a pioneer in podcasting having interviewed people such as such as federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, former MLSE boss Richard Peddie, TVO's Steve Paikin, Canadian serial angel investor Dr. Boris Wertz, HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes, Mathew Ingram, Mitch Joel from Mirium and many, many others. As a demonstration of thought leadership, Karim led the development and execution of reports discussing how technology and digital media have impacted industries such as retail, education, health, gaming, sports and banking.

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