Engineers connected to growing Web firms at ‘Extreme’ dinners

Entrepreneurs are often told they have to be committed to their business 24/7 to succeed these days, but hey, you have to eat some time.

That may be the theory that Extreme Startups is taking with its ongoing dinner series. The new downtown Toronto-based technology startup accelerator has held several dinners featuring engineers from emerging tech businesses as featured guests.

It’s a way to give back to the mentors at the accelerator, says Sunil Sharma, the chief connector at Extreme Startups. They come from the more established Internet firms with offices in Toronto, and are capable of hiring very quickly.

“We’re coming across a lot of entrepreneurs,” he says. “In many cases they have the exact skill sets that these companies are looking for.”

Getting a seat at these dinners requires a bit more than an RSVP. Interested attendees are asked to submit a resume, a link to a LinkedIn profile or personal portfolio Web site, and a link to their GitHub repository (a Web site that allows software engineers to collaborate on code).

So far, Extreme Startups have featured Zynga Inc., 500px, and Uken Games at the dinners. Zynga is a casual and social gaming firm made famous by titles like FarmVille and Draw Something. 500px is a Web site and mobile app for photographers, which encourages the sharing of high-quality portfolio images with an online community. Uken Games is a mobile games developer based in Toronto.

The Uken Games dinner saw a great turnout, says Chris Ye, CEO and co-founder of that firm.

“We had over 25 interested candidates come out (mostly engineers at various level),” he writes in an e-mail. “We’ve interviewed a few candidates who directly came out and we’ve kept in touch with a few select others.”

The next dinner will feature Wattpad, a Toronto-based startup that’s created a Web and mobile platform that allows users to read e-books, share them with others, and also share their own creative writing.

There will also be an open house component to the dinner event.

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