Silicon Halton Proud to Sponsor Angel One’s 2014 Founders and Funders Celebration

June2014-FoundersAndFunders

We’re honoured and proud to be a sponsor and supporter of Angel One’s Founders and Funders Celebration taking place June 18th at the Ron Joyce Centre located at McMaster University’s Degroote School of Business in Burlington, Ontario.

The evening is an opportunity to meet with and learn more about Angel One's members and their investee companies. This year will mark a special milestone for Angel One Network with the recognition of two successful exits in 2013.

Silicon Halton members are invited to come out and help us celebrate the winners of the Pauli Awards for Founder of the Year, Funder of the Year and Contributor of the Year.  Last years winners are depicted below. Members can register here.

2013FoundersAndFundersCelebrants

2013 Founders and Funders Celbrants (left to right):  Dan Lawrie - Funder of the Year; Paul Subject - Contributor of the Year; Larry Innanen - Chair; Karen Grant - Executive Director; Stefano Plati - Founder of the Year.

About Angel One

Since incorporating in September 2011, Angel One members have invested over $12 million into 45 investments.  According to the National Angel Capital Organization's surveys on angel group activity, Angel One has ranked as one of the top angel groups in Canada for 2012 and 2013.

Additional facts:

  • Syndication investments with: Golden Triangle Angelnet, Niagara Angel Network, York Angel Investors, Georgian Angel Network, Capital Angel Network, Maple Leaf Angels, Boston Harbor Angels and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund
  • Members are accredited investors who live, work or have strong interests in Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton and other communities in Southern Ontario.
  • Close to have of their investments are in technology companies
  • Network works with the following RIC Centres: Innovation Factory (Hamilton), HalTech Regional Centre (Halton Region); Innovation Guelph, The RIC Centre (Mississauga), VentureLab (Markham), and Innovate Niagara (St. Catharines)

[Sources: 2013 Founders and Funding Program Guide; Karen Grant, Executive Director of Angel One]

You can check out Angel One member investments and follow them on my unofficial investees Twitter list. Better yet, come and meet some of the founders and funders June 18th! Remember to register, there's limited seats!

 

Silicon Halton Hits 1000 Members

We are thrilled to announce that Silicon Halton has reached 1000 members, with our 1000th member joining the LinkedIn Group last week. This milestone puts us well on the way to our BHAG goal of 2500 members this year and shows that our three pillars of Technology, Community, and Growth are really resonating with high-tech professionals living or working in Halton Region.

alan-montgomery-200hMeet Our 1000th Member!

Our 1000th member is Alan Montgomery (LinkedIn profile), a telecom tech serial entrepreneur based in Burlington. His latest venture is ModTel Installations, a telecom service company. Alan lists his title on LinkedIn as "CEO, shipping clerk and janitor", so we had a feeling he would be an interesting person to talk to.

So this intrepid reporter caught up with Alan on the Internet and asked him a few questions.

Alan Montgomery on Entrepreneurial Beginnings

Q: Can you tell us about how you got started and your current company? 

A: Voicetouch (my first venture) was created in 1991 as an entirely different venture than what it became. It began as a part time venture with my dad here in Burlington providing telecom based check-ins on seniors on behalf of their children (think of a proactive alternative to "I've fallen and I can't get up"). That didn't really develop as well as we had hoped, and the company lay dormant for a couple of years while I worked in sales and marketing for several industrial control firms.

I've loved finding deals and buying/selling ever since I was a kid, and an opportunity presented itself where I could do that all day, every day and get paid for it and I've been at it ever since. The nice thing about being a small company is that it's very fluid and responsive to opportunities. There are no huge bureaucratic hoops to jump through to get approval for a new product or market. I've pursued several of these over the years, and subsequently sold off that part of the business. As examples, we supplied PDA parts to the North American repair centers of major retailers for 6 years, as well as sold large quantities of surplus computers and blackberries to eastern Europe and Africa. Every day was different and exciting - what every job should be! For the last 8 years or so, VoiceTouch has been focused mainly on the wholesale space in the telecom sector as a telecom equipment broker.

A little over a year ago, I acquired ModTel Installations (http://www.modtel.ca/), which was a good customer of mine. ModTel focused on installing and maintaining telephone systems for retail clients (such as Dr.'s offices and school boards). Since then, I've spent most of my time growing that business, and now have 5 technicians serving customers across the GTA. Being more vertically integrated than our competitors, we have a distinct price advantage as well as a substantial inventory (with warehouse space in Burlington as well as Niagara Falls, NY). In the past year, we've ramped up the VoIP and networking side of the business as well as entering into a couple of strategic partnerships to better serve our customers.

 

Q: Are you facing any business challenges at the moment?

A: I face the same ones that most (all) small businesses face: finding good people, cash flow and finding a balance between traditional marketing and online/social media... all while trying to run and grow a successful business!

 

No Place Like Halton for Home, Work, and Community

Q: Do you live or work in Halton (or both)?

A: I live and work in Halton, and have my whole life. I went to school at Nelson and Sheridan College, and now my kids are going to the same elementary school that I did. I've traveled a fair bit, but have never found a place I'd rather live (other than an island off the coast of Australia, but the telecom opportunities were pretty thin!).

 

Q: How did you hear about Silicon Halton?

A: I found you through LinkedIn and also through a friend who works out of the Burlington HiVE.

 

Q: Why did you decide to join Silicon Halton?

A: I wanted to join because I've found that being around innovative people spawns, well, innovation and creativity. I think I can both contribute to, and benefit from, that dynamic.

 

Q: What can you help other members with? 

A: A lot of people find the whole VoIP topic quite daunting and confusing. Hopefully, I can distill some of the cacophony down and help people decide if VoIP is something they should be considering... it's not for everyone.


Welcome to Silicon Halton, Alan, along with everyone else who has joined in the last few months! 


Author Bio:
dave-headshot-100hDave Truman writes about technology and makes technical information easier to find and use. He has done information architecture, marketing writing, and technical writing for companies ranging from Dell to lean software startups. Learn more and contact Dave at <http://davetruman.com> .

Will CASL cure the SPAM problem?

By Richard Bolton of Centricity360

It’s a world filled with email SPAM, phishing schemes and malicious software attacks. We see it in our inbox every day and watch it on the nightly news as more and more Canadians and being taken advantage of. To combat these unwanted attacks, Canada has developed a new piece of legislation that comes into effect on July 1st, 2014, Canada Day. Its called the Canadian Anti-Spam legislation or affectionately known as CASL. Although we are one of the last of the G8 nations to adopt legislation against SPAM, it is one of the most aggressive anti-spam laws in the world. But, is it enough to stop the global dilemma of SPAM.

So what are the facts?

As business owners or leaders in organizations, what do we need to know? CASL is based on consent. Call it permission marketing if you will. As of July 1, 2014 you will need to obtain proper consent from the recipients of a commercial electronic message or CEM. A CEM is really any electronic message that is sent for the purpose encouraging action in a commercial activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit. Emails, SMS text, instant messaging and social media messages (e.g. Twitter) are all forms of electronic messages. After July 1, 2014 you will be required to obtain consent, either express or implied, to send an electronic message. Express consent meaning someone actively gave you permission to send them a CEM, like an email opt in on your website. Implied consent meaning you have their consent based on a prior relationship, i.e. a customer from a business transaction. There are some exemptions that you will need to be aware of, like you will not be required to receive consent to send a quotation. Once you have received consent it is good for a 2 year period. Is your head spinning yet?

What can we do to prepare for CASL?

What I am recommending to my clients is that they first complete a CEM audit and process review. Make certain that everyone in your organization that communicates through CEM with clients, prospects, partners and suppliers know about the extent of the new law. Complete the audit and review of all your electronic communications methods, as an example review existing email lists and online data capture forms. Make certain that you have some systems in place for tracking consent from your clients and prospects, like an email marketing solution or a CRM customer database. Now is the time to reconfirm your consents with your existing clients. Why you ask? Because after July 1, 2014 you can’t send an email to get consent. Also, you’ll need to change some process by adding what they are calling “prescribed information” to all your outgoing electronic messages identifying yourself and providing an unsubscribe mechanism. Sound like a lot of work? It is, but it’s the new law and we will all need to comply.

Remember, the penalties for each violation can be up to $1-million for an individual and up to $10-million for companies. Yes, steep!

If you interested in a bit more background on CASL I have deliver presentations on the subject and they are posted on Slideshare and of course there is the government site for more details.

Richard Bolton 100x100Richard Bolton, Centricity360. As President of Centricity360, Richard Bolton is an independent consultant specializing in small business growth. Focusing on internet marketing strategies, online selling techniques, increasing customer value and implementing value added technologies. He works with business owners, professionals, and organizations as a trusted advisor producing dynamic results.  

From Technology to Taxes - Manage for Advantage

TechnologyTaxes

The ever-changing technology field has resulted in tremendous opportunity, growth and profitability for business owners quick to identify and meet marketplace demands.

Fundamental to financial success is maximizing profit and minimizing operating expenses. Yet equally important, is managing your after-tax cash flow through smart tax planning to ensure you take full advantage of the tools available. Here’s a sample of the tax areas that should be reviewed to maximize profits:

Corporate Taxes

For 2014, corporate tax rates remain unchanged, calculated at 15.5% of the first $500,000 of associated company income and 26.0% on any remaining balance of income. If your corporate income is above $500,000, then there may be opportunities to restructure the operations to use multiple companies to reduce the corporate tax burden.

Personal Income Taxes

There are many tax planning options that can be considered. Although some options are more complex, the tax advantage can be significant:

  1. Tax Integration– our tax system considers the integration of taxation involving corporations and individuals. Some business owners receive a salary from their companies, others may take dividends and some may be a mix of both salary and dividends. Due to increases in the dividend tax rates for 2014, it is important to review your compensation strategy early to determine the best compensation strategy and avoid paying too much in tax.
  2. Registered Retirement Savings Plans – make your RRSP contributions early in 2014 (rather than February 2015), the long-term power of investment compounding is significant. Your contribution limit for 2014 is noted by CRA on your 2013 notice of assessment.
  3. Tax-free Savings Account – ensure you have TFSA in place for all family members, the maximum contribution for 2014 is $5,500 and the cumulative limit since inception is now $31,000.
  4. Registered Education Savings Plan – consider contributing the standard $ 2,500 for each eligible child now, this will generate the standard government grant of $500.
  5. Individual Pension Plans (IPP) – consider the possibility of an IPP for owner/managers. Although there are both advantages and disadvantages to the establishment of an IPP, these plans can be highly effective in the right circumstances to save/defer both corporate and personal income taxes.
  6. Spousal Loans – consider documented personal loan to your spouse, established at the current CRA prescribed rate of 2%. Presumably, your spouse can invest funds to earn in excess of 2% per annum.
  7. Family Trust - the implementation of a Family Trust to own shares in your Company can be a very powerful vehicle for tax planning, estate planning and business planning purposes. Tax planning advantages can involve the splitting of company dividends with adult family members and access to multiple $800,000 lifetime capital gains exemptions applicable to all family members and reduce tax on the eventual sale of the company.

Attention to the above points early in 2014 should be of assistance to help identify and understand tax planning options. However, in the end, tax planning strategies that are implemented should be customized around the specific facts of your corporate and personal financial situation.

If you'd like to learn more about tax planning strategies for your business, or have any questions about the information above - please feel free to contact me.

 

GregClarke

Greg Clarke is a Partner with SB Partners, a client focused accounting, tax and business advisory services firm.  He can be reached at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via their website at www.sbpartners.com.

Silicon Halton Sponsors

Silicon Halton is a grassroots high tech community focused on Technology, Community, and Growth