IIoT Symposium 2019: Interview with Remi Schmaltz, Agtech Entrepreneur

Each year we feature an interview with a key leader involved in the event. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview, Whitney Rockley and Scott McDonald in 2017 and 2018.

This year’s interview, is my first in my new series “The Leading Edge”. It’s with Remi Schmaltz, CEO and President of Decisive Farming. Our conversation covers emerging technologies being adopted by broadacre farms and farmers and why. You’ll learn about his company and the role it is playing in helping farmers be successful.

We also talk about Decisive Farming’s relationship with McRock Capital, their Canadian VC partner, and McRock’s IIoT Symposium taking place Jun 12, in Montreal, Canada.


Use the timeline to pick what you want to listen to 

00:00 Market: What is a broad acre farm and how big is the market? Where is Decisive Farming focusing today and in the near term?
02:50 Technology: How is technology solving key challenges for farmers and the agriculture market? What technologies are being used today? What challenges are farmers facing because of technologies?
07:50 Farmers: Are they innovators and early adopters of technology? What’s their mindset and approach to trying technology and eventually implementing it into their farm operations?
10:30 Decisive Farming: What’s the journey been like for you, your family and your company? Tell us more about your web platform My Farm Manager™ and the supportive mobile app Croptivity™ and the role they play in helping farmers be successful. How important is data and system integration.
16:43 Customers: What’s the typical farm client for Decisive Farmer? What are they like and how are you engaging with them to develop the market and acquire new customers? What are the key issues that you’re platform is addressing and delivering value to farmers?
24:00 McRock Capital & IIoT Symposium: How are they unique and what’s the relationship like with them as a funder? How are they different from other venture capital firms? What do you think about McRock’s IIoT Symposium? How is this annual event valuable to you and others that should attend?
30:18 Final Question: What advice would you give a new tech entrepreneur in order to improve her or his chances of success?  

Learn more about McRock Capital’s IIoT Symposium and take advantage of the early bird special before May 1/19.

Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert


Chris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Oct 14 to Oct 27/18

All Caught Up!

Updated: Nov 10/18 | By: Chris Herbert

It’s Saturday October 27th and this weekend finds me catching up on my Journal posts, playing in Squash Ontario’s Masters Tournament [Twitter thread] and wishing my youngest grandson a very, very happy fourth birthday. Some cool things happened this week in and around our community and here’s three things that came to mind. 

Technical Deep Dive at Silicon Halton Software Peer2Peer (P2P) on JSON Web Tokens

On Mon Oct 22 Chris Larsen [LinkedIn | Twitter] gave a presentation on JSON Web Tokens. 

Chris’ presentation is below and to learn more read his post “JWTs: More Than You Think“. Here’s a snip from his post:

JSON Web Tokens, or JWTs, are a very important aspect of internet technology, be it Internet of Things, or Internet of People. Knowing this makes it very confusing as to why there’s so little discussion about it, and so much misinformation about it. So I’m writing this blog post to share some information, and hopefully clear away the mists that surround this subject.


This software P2P group is one of our strongest with over 270 members led by David Ashton with support from my cofounder Rick Stomphorst, other P2P members and organizations like Indellient [Website | LinkedIn| Twitter], Apple Suites [Website | LinkedIn] and alternawork [Website | LinkedIn | Twitter] . The topics have been set for Nov and Jan. [Learn more].

Make in Halton App Emoggo Launches!

Congratulations to Lisa Denis on the launch of her new venture Emoggo [Website | LinkedIn | iOS | AndroidTwitter].  Emoggo is a mobile digital marketing channel developed to generate a community of customers who will support, through sales, local businesses. It’s an app that connects consumers with all the local businesses that are around them in Halton Region. Plans are to roll out Emoggo in other markets.

Halton is the pilot market. Download the app [iOS | Android] and if you own a business or know of someone that does make sure the claim the listing and find out how to use Emoggo to generate traffic and sales. I’d like to personally thank and acknowledge Mark Arteaga [LinkedIn | Twitter] , Hazel van der Werken-Small [LinkedIn | Twitter] and the RedBit Development team [Website | LinkedIn | Twitter] for the amazing work they’ve done working with Lisa to bring this app to life! A great example of Silicon Halton community members working together!

Thinking and Acting Beyond “Smart Cities”

As some of you may know Silicon Halton has held two smart cities meetup in 2018 including:  Silicon Halton Meetup #102 – IoT in Smart Cities and our Smart City Meetup with Silicon Halton and Town of Oakville. The IoT Peer2Peer group has presented on smart buildings and LP Wan as well. There’s a very important reason why we’ve been doing this and the video below illustrates this very well. It’s from the Intelligent Communities Forum who had a round table event earlier this week which I attended on behalf of the SH Community. Invest seven minutes of your time to learn why it’s important for the broader community to work with government and in some (many?) cases take a leadership role.


I tweeted the agenda below and this is what makes ICF THE organization to be involved with when it comes to Smart Cities. Case study after case study! Sharing lessons learned with each other! Awesomeness! intelligent communities! You can check out my full tweet thread from coverage of ICF Canada’s [Website | Twitter] Round Table Forum earlier this week here.


One of the best presentations was by the City of Hamilton which included this awesome video promoting Hamilton. The video is great, the tune is great and what makes this video very special to me is the City of Hamilton is using local artist’s Monster Truck [Website | Twitter] song “Not Enough” [Spotify]. This City gets what it takes to be an intellligent community. 


What’s Next in Our Community?

Lot’s of stuff happening in our community and there are two places on this site to refer to regularly. Places to check out are: our newsletter, events page and blog posts. And, remember to check out what our TU20 team is up to as well. 

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Week of Sep 23/18

We’re Here to Help Each Other

I don’t care what anyone tells you, business is personal and emotion does factor into what you do as a professional. Maybe not every waking minute of the day but often, very often! Last week, more than anything, was about helping people in our community. Whether it was helping a member get more experience in QA, initial planning for a diversity initiative or a member’s company giving the green light for next years TU20 fellowship program… it’s all about us helping each other. 

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups user experience has changed (again) and as far as I’m concerned it’s a major step in the wrong direction. Since 2010, LinkedIn, has taken away key features and functionality that made groups useful. I wrote about it eight years ago where I asked the question: “What Was LinkedIn Thinking” [read it here]. The same question applies today! I’ve posted a discussion in our LI group to get SH members thoughts [discuss it here].

Local Tech Matters and So Does Lower Power Wide Area Networks

Over the past year I’ve been recommending that local municipalities engage with the local tech community early and often when it comes to Smart Cities [read our series here] and the Internet of Things. Our local technology and entrepreneur ecosystem are leaders in this space and larger companies in the “smart cities” and IoT space like Siemens, Cisco and WPP should be more involved with the local tech scene and not compete against it. Silicon Halton member Lisa Denis [LinkedIn] recently covered McRock Capital’s IIoT Symposium and in her recap post “Wonder and the Importance of an Ecosystem” [read it here] she drives this point home. There is NOT ONE company that can make a city smart. There is NOT ONE company that is the answer to IoT. There are many!

One key company in our ecosystem that matters is, Oakville based, Quaenet [post and interview here] who are deploying Lower Power Wide Area Networks in North America and Italy. Their network is built off of LoRaWAN™ networking protocol [definition] which based on a recent LPWAN report is seeing widespread adoption.  

Reality Check on Alphabet and Blockchain

For those who know me I’m a huge fan and advocate of emerging technology and the professionals and companies that are working in and on bleeding edge technologies and business models. What I’m not a fan of is unproven and unchecked hype and a lack of understanding and dedication Canadian leaders have towards supporting made in Canada solutions. 

We need to keep an eye on the Quayside project, and Google to make sure that if the project proceeds that it’s very clear what Canadians are giving up in exchange for working with Alphabet. Municipalities are like Dominos. If one goes with a solution they tend to follow. Do you want Google to be your smart city partner in your city or town? 

It’s very early days when it comes to Blockchain and from what I can tell the only people making money are those putting on events about it! 

What’s Next in Our Community?

This week’s goings on include a bunch of stuff happening at MEVIC (Milton Education Village and Innovation Centre) including our Silicon Halton Day, an IoT Peer2Peer session and workshop on GDPR.  [Learn more and register here].

We’ll be back in Milton on October 9th for meetup 108: “Is Your AI Invention Patentable” presented by Bereskin & Parr [See who’s presenting here]. 

Chris’ Weekly Journal for Week of Sep 16/18

Where to Start? What a Week!

There wasn’t a lack of things to do last week! I continue to be amazed at what technology leaders and supporters are doing in the SH community. Here’s a quick run down of what happened. 

TU20 CE Conference

The leadership team for Silicon Halton’s TU20 program had their inaugural C3 conference on Saturday. Key speakers were recruited for this event by the TU20 team. The goal of this event was to bring key leaders in business together with U20s to cover a range of topics on careers, technology, fake news… and what’s next for the U20 crowd! This event was covered on Twitter using the #TU20C3 and #C3Conference hashtags.

TU20 Summer Fellowships

Another new initiative launched by the TU20 team this past summer was the Fellowships program. U20s submitted a technology solution idea they were passionate in creating. There were NO conditions on our part as to what they wanted to create. Three U20s were given a $1000 fellowship. Learn about these amazing U20s Fellowship experiences and the apps they built to help diagnose concussions, track the medication you’ve taken and a web tool for city planning using Geotab’s Data Platform.

Machine Learning Using ML.NET

The SH Software Peer2Peer group got together to dig deep (pun intended) into machine learning using ML.NET. Special thanks to members Dave Ashton [LinkedIn] and Chris Larson [LinkedIn] for their leadership in making this group a success! Thanks to partners sponsor Alternawork [website] for hosting the event. 

Nuvo Network Open House!

I met with the Nuvo Network team during their open house last week. The coworking facility and community is the next evolution the Halton Hive. It’s a very ambitious initiative and something we need to get behind and support. 

What’s Next in Our Community?

Tomorrow night the Women in Tech Peer2Peer are getting together to discuss: Kick-Starting Your Fall.  This month they are sliding into the new season with some brainstorming on upcoming sessions, hacking solutions to most pressing problems, pitching a project that they can collaborate on, updating some past sessions and getting ready for the best Fall ever! [More

The CEO Peer2Peer group meets on Wednesday. [More]

‘Smart parking’: The Future of Parking

The cities and towns we live in are in endless evolution, designed by the infinite activities that take place in their edges and nodes. Driving and parking are among the vital happenings that have shaped North American cities since the rise of automobile ownership in the 1950’s.

Although there have been progressive benefits, the challenges that have culminated from the boom of driving outweigh the pros. From increased traffic congestion, increase in air-polluting emissions (affecting the environment and human health: climate change & the rise in asthma) and lastly – a problem not often thought of – parking.

Probing the topic of parking and its challenges makes room to explore the future of parking. There are cities pushing for sustainability and smart city growth that may be exemplary for big solutions on the horizon. The use of existing technology and creative data innovation has brought forth concepts like “smart parking”.

A Car Governed Society

Automobile ownership had evolved from a luxury to a necessity for commuting to and from work as a result of suburbanization – a product of the transportation revolution. Because of the car, cities became more spread out and less walk-able than they had once been. When we think about the effect cars have had on the way we utilize land, we might often forget about the impact parking has also had on the planning process.

The demand for parking spaces goes hand-in-hand with the boom in driving. Early on, cities and towns began requiring developers to include parking with the construction of new buildings. These policies required builders to include mandatory parking minimums, which varied by building type but included a corresponding amount of parking needed for approval.

In some places, many parking spaces do not get used and it appears to be an excessive amount of spaces but in other cases, parking is few and far between and can be pricey. Dense areas with limited space for expansion become challenging for city planners and developers to account for these parking minimums, especially when parking spaces increase the overall cost of development.

We pay for the free parking we demand as a taxpayer, as a resident, as a shopper and these rules are constricting the planning and design process as well as hurting the growth of our cities. How we utilize land is fundamental to the development of cities, so encouraging smart applications and efficient use for more livable spaces should be at the top of municipal to-dos.

What IS “Smart Parking”?

Well, it’s not as the picture above suggests. Cars cannot really drive up a wall to fit into a parking spot! Watch the video below and you’ll see what we mean. Although, it’s a great ad developed by Oakville Audi.

As we know it, the car is not going to be phased out of existence any time soon, based on the current climate of the gasoline industry and the continued heavy reliance on cars. A push in the right direction is unraveling thanks to the realization of climate change’s environmental, social and economic impacts. Electric cars and self-driving cars are some of the innovations on the rise in metropolitan areas like Japan, etc.

There can be such lure for residents and newcomers for cities to establish futuristic and efficient applications of technology for sustainability and smart growth.

Smart parking uses sensors to deliver real time monitoring of parking occupancy data which improves the livability of a community and the municipality’s management of their parking assets. Residents and out of town visitors can use an app to quickly locate and navigate to available parking spaces. This eliminates the need to circle the block reducing traffic congestion and emissions.

A municipality will be able to dynamically manage their parking assets. They will understand the usage patterns of each spot individually to ensure the number of available spots is meeting the demand for an area and that the occupancy of them is permissible.

As mentioned, this innovation aids with traffic congestion and helps residents plan their routes smarter and more efficiently. Through the use of innovative technologies like this, municipalities can stay more connected and organized which provides a valuable social experience???

What is a “Smart City”?

The word “smart city” has been a buzzword within the urban development and technology industries for over a decade and although it doesn’t have an exact definition, it is an idealistic development concept with socio-economic benefits.

A smart city can be characterized by the use of technology and innovation to create efficiencies, improve sustainability and economic growth to enhance the general life of those living and working in a city landscape. Smart parking can provide municipalities reliable information to make informed decisions with existing technology.

Special thanks to Sam Reid from QuaeNet.

(Image and video source: Oakville Audi)

Kayla M. Furlone

Kayla M. Furlone

Kayla M. Furlone is a Ryerson alumni with a passion for geography, technology and smart cities. She volunteers with Toronto Cat Rescue and enjoys practicing mindfulness and other wellness activities.

Wonder and The Importance of an Ecosystem

Updated:  Aug 7/18  | By: Chris Herbert  

While taking in Old Montreal on the evening before the McRock IIoT Symposium, we passed by a lot of historical sites with less than thorough stories on bronze plaques about the importance of people and places from the past, so we would whip out our phones and get the details.  There is even an app you can download to give you more detailed accounts as you move around.

The question was asked – what did we do before?  What did we do before all of this information was made readily available if we wanted to have a deeper understanding of something?  The answer: we would wonder. And then – unless we were willing to spend a few hours in a library scouring microfiche searching for the answers – we would remain in wonder.  Which begs the question… Is there nothing left to wonder about?

Wondering has driven humanity to every corner of the globe and into space.  It has created cures for diseases and rules for societies. If we have all of the answers, and they are so easily accessible, we don’t need to be curious.  So, what will drive humanity forward when we know everything there is to know – if we no longer need to wonder?

Wondering and the Industrial Internet of Things

While covering the 2018 McRock IIoT Symposium, I learned that wonder is taking a new direction when it comes to the Industrial Internet of Things. IIoT is no longer just about the accumulation of data and knowledge, the shift is now to wondering what kind of world we can create when all of that data and knowledge are connected and combined to solve what was considered the unsolvable.  To eliminate the silos, to try different lenses, to find new levels of symbiosis.

To build a robust ecosystem that embraces diversity and pushes for inclusion from all verticals and levels – public and private – industrial and informational.  To hear every voice. It will be an amazing World.

But, it will take some seismic shifts to get there – and the shifts are much less about the technology that continues to leap quickly forward, and much more about the business models, assets, people and values that drive innovation… and the need to co-create.  Here are a few things that need to happen:

An end to ownership.  Proprietary protection of assets, data, intellectual property and relationships needs to be downgraded in favour of the potential for the greater advancement of the ecosystem as a whole.  

A change in roles.  Solution development must become more fluid and inclusive, drawing from all affected parties at every level. Not us vs. them, vendor or client. Just Us.

The development of protocols.  Simply, there needs to be a rulebook – a set of expectations and technical standardization – not for the protection of the individual or organization, but for the protection of the whole ecosystem – those who work in and on solutions and those who benefit from them.

A balanced advance.  The amazing world we are trying to build will require the collective intelligence and passion of all – every industry, every business, every relationship and interaction needs to be pulling in the same direction.  From founders to funders, large corporations to small, rookie to veteran.

A new level of respect and partnership.  Between people and between organizations.  Common goals can be achieved, but the model of relationships needs to shift.  To take a cue from the recent World Cup – playing for the tie can be very effective over competing for domination.  We must learn to share our strengths more freely and adopt smarter solutions more quickly.

An interconnected system.  A community of interaction.  It’s not impossible. It starts with well-intentioned groups of people with ideas and expertise to share – like Silicon Halton – and it grows from here, with more people with new ideas and expertise to share. Creating not just new connections, but innovative new ways by which to connect, and build an innovative ecosystem.

I wonder where we can go from here.  It will be an amazing World.

Photo: Fitz and Follwell

Lisa Denis

Lisa Denis

Founder, Emoggo

Lisa Denis is the founder of Emoggo, a proximity-based mobile directory and marketing platform designed to improve foot traffic and customer engagement for local retailers, restaurants and service providers. She is the founder of the Silicon Halton Women in Tech Peer-2-Peer and co-founder of TechIgniters, a technology incubator/accelerator launching in January 2019.

Silicon Halton Member Creates Ask Oakville Alexa App

Updated:  July 13/18 | By:  Chris Herbert

Brett Gillett, Chief Orbiter, at Curious Orbit attended Silicon Halton and the Town of Oakville’s meetup on Smart Cities last month. Brett has been supporting smart city initiatives over the past years and he continues to do so with the announcement of his “Ask Oakville Alexa App”.  Brett offers a newsletter that you can subscribe to here.


Hi Chris,

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Smart Cities meet up co-sponsored by the Town of Oakville and Silicon Halton.  It was interesting to have a chance to hear many different perspectives on what precisely a Smart City is.  Many people spoke at the event including town employees and consultants, as well as from Silicon Halton members.

After the formal part of the meeting had concluded I had the opportunity to chat with a few different folks about Smart Cities in general and in particular Open Data.  We talked about how in some cases there still seems to be a  lack of openness or in certain situations datasets which used to be publicly available are removed when the interests of those who are responsible for publishing and maintaining the data sets shift – or the technology responsible for storing the data makes it more difficult to publish.

I left the meeting energized and with a rediscovered sense that while Smart Cities are inevitable, the real value will come when the data collected is provided to citizens in a form they want, when they want it, and in ways that are easily consumable.

With the idea of making data accessible to consumers, I left the meeting with an idea for an Alexa app.  Over the last week, I’ve built a simple prototype Alexa app, called ‘Ask Oakville.’  Right now, you’re able to get information about your Oakville councilor, when the next town council meeting is scheduled and when should you put out your recycling, green bin or garbage.

Currently, I’ve added data manually from many sources – the town website (councillors and meetings) and the physically printed waste collection calendar, but I’m hoping in the future for some new data sets to be published so the application can be more easily maintained.

Here’s a simple overview of how I built the ‘Ask Oakville’ Alexa application.

(Graphic by Brett Gillett, Curious Orbit)

Until next week – get out there and build cool things,


— Chief Orbiter


Related links:


Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert

Cofounder, Silicon Halton

Chris Herbert is a social entrepreneur. His current ventures are: Silicon Halton, Mi6 Agency and TechIgniters. He's a former squash professional and passionate about helping entrepreneurs, technology companies and professionals achieve success. He's a proud Canadian and plans to make Halton region the greatest place on the planet to live, work and play.

Smart City Meetup with Silicon Halton and Town of Oakville

Updated: Jul 19/18 | By: Chris Herbert

And It Begins!

Tomorrow will be an interesting day as Silicon Halton members and key leaders from the Town of Oakville meet to discuss “Smart Cities” and the Town’s plans to revitalize the downtown core starting in 2019.

How’d This Meeting Surface?

In May, I met with some key town leaders to discuss ways in which Silicon Halton and the Town could connect and collaborate.

My goal was, and continues to be, for local technology companies and professionals to be an integral part in planning and shaping Oakville’s future.

We decided that the first step would be to have a meetup on the topic of “Smart Cities”. Key members of the Town’s leadership team, and WSP,  will be updating a group of Silicon Halton members on plans to revitalize the downtown core starting in 2019.

Major infrastructure upgrades like those planned for downtown Oakville are critical moments in time and an opportunity to reflect on the needs of the community and the role technology, in part, can play. It’s also an opportunity to bring interested parties and stakeholders together to collaborate and work together … especially local citizens and entrepreneurs.

Why Is This So Important?

There are many reasons why this meetup is important and why local groups, people, organizations and companies need to connect and collaborate together in new and better ways.

  • First, perhaps you’ve noticed that storm clouds are starting to form. The thunder you hear is the rhetoric and threats coming from south of our border. Lightning has hit the steel and aluminum industry already and there is the threat of a 25% tariff on auto imports.
  • Second, another clap of thunder is disruption. While an overused buzzword, disruption is ushering in new business models and companies that are changing how we travel (Uber), where we stay (AirBnB) and what we watch (Netflix). All are leveraging data, the cloud, software and the internet to create, deliver and capture value… and create jobs.
  • Third, the competition for talent and the race to lead in key emerging technology fields such as artificial intelligence, security, internet of things, additive manufacturing, robotics and autonomous vehicles is now happening between countries and not just companies. What country isn’t trying to be the leader in AI or Fintech? How do we compete against mega economies, such as China, where two AI companies recently raised over $1B in venture capital alone? We have less people, less resources and maybe we’re a bit complacent to boot.

What is a Smart City Anyways?

Is it technology that makes a city smart? Nope, in fact it can create the opposite effect. A smart city is one that establishes a community culture where connectivity, collaboration, cooperation, co-creation, innovation and shared success is baked into the way we think, feel and work… together for people with varying needs including people like Ron whom put this video together for us.

The reality is no one person or organization will make a city smart. Collectively we can and should work together so we can weather the storm and show the world how its done! Why not?



Related links:

(Image Source: TechTarget)

Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert is a social entrepreneur. His current ventures are: Silicon Halton, Mi6 Agency and TechIgniters. He's a former squash professional and passionate about helping entrepreneurs, technology companies and professionals achieve success. He's a proud Canadian and plans to make Halton region the greatest place on the planet to live, work and play.

My scores for this year’s TU20 Cup contestants

Updated: July 22/18 | By: Chris Herbert

On Saturday March 3rd, 2018 the second annual Tech Under Twenty Cup (TU20 Cup) took place. There were 13 teams and over 50 students from local high schools in Halton and Universities. I was a judge and I pledged to the teams that I would post my scores and comments publicly.

About the TU20 Cup

For those of you not familiar with the TU20 Cup, it is a multi-month event focused on motivating youth to get involved with technology and business. Teams of 2-6 students work with the help of a mentor to innovate a solution using technology relating to the yearly theme, in advance to the day of the event. This years’ theme was: how to make your town or city smarter.

How the Judging Worked

Each team had twelve minutes in front of the judging panels broken down as follows:

  • Two minute video about their business idea, product or project
  • Five minute presentation and demo
  • Five minute Q&A with judges panel

There were thirteen teams, six judges and two judging rounds:

  • Round One: teams and judges were split into two groups and presented concurrently in separate rooms to the judges. Participants, attendees and parents were welcome to sit in on the presentations. The top two teams for each group advanced to round two: the finals.
  • Round Two: The four finalists presented to all seven judges. Participants, attendees and parents were welcome to sit in on the presentations.

By the way, you can refer to the judging criteria document [link date: Mar 12/18]  for more details on how teams and judges were prepared by the TU20 executive.

How I Ranked the Teams

In round one, there were three judges including myself in our group. The teams that presented were: RouteE2M (E2M), SensorFlow (SF), Halton Flow (HF), EventHost (EH), Reach (REA) & A2B. Below are my scores:

Criteria Value E2M SF HF EH REA A2B Avg.
Presentation of project /10 5/10 8/10 10/10 8/10 9/10 5/10 7.5/10
Implementation of theme (making smarter cities) /15 13/15 11/15 14/15 11/15 12/15 10/15 11.8/15
Impact /15 12/15 12/15 14/15 13/15 14/15 8/15 12.2/15
Technical Product/Demo /20 18/20 7/20 18/20 14/20 14/20 14/20 14.2/20
Creativity & Innovation /20 15/20 14/20 18/20 16/20 18/20 15/20 16/20
Business plan /15 4/15 8/15 9/15 8/15 10/15 8/15 7.8/15
Project Video /5 3/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 3/5 3.5/5
Total /100 70/100 65/100 88/100 75/100 77/100 63/100 73/100
Place   4 5 1 3 2 6  

My top three, in this order, were Halton Flow, Reach and EventHost. But, I was one of three judges that were presented to and after factoring in their scores the top two in our group that were put forward for round two were: EventHost and Reach.

In round two, there were seven judges, and the top two teams from each group in round one presented. The teams that presented were: Road Alerts, Halton Info, Reach and EventHost. Below are my scores:

Criteria Value RA HI REA EH Avg.
Presentation of project /10 7/10 8/10 8/10 8/10 7.8/10
Implementation of theme (making smarter cities) /15 14/15 11/15 12/15 11/15 12/15
Impact /15 12/15 12/15 12/15 13/15 12.3/15
Technical Product/Demo /20 15/20 16/20 16/20 14/20 15.3/20
Creativity & Innovation /20 14/20 15/20 15/20 16/20 15/20
Business plan /15
Project Video /5 4/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 4.5/5
Total* /100 66/85 67/85 68/85 67/85 67/85
Place   4 2 1 2  

* Note: Judges were not provided with business plans to review from other group so it did not factor into my ranking. During the Q&A sessions I was silent when my groups two finalists were up to allow those judges who were seeing them for the first time to ask questions of the teams.

[NEW] A Word (or two) to All TU20 Cup Participants

After the 2017 TU20 Cup I put this video together that I hope entrepreneurs, of all ages, can use to help them stay motivated, not feel alone and remember to bake “value” into their business models. BTW, I’m a slow talker so bump up the video play speed to 1.25 or 1.5!


Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert

McRock Capital IIoT Symposium 2018

Here’s my next installment in Silicon Halton’s conversation series. I’m interviewing people within the SH community and beyond. The topics and reasons for each interview will vary but the common goal is to help our members and the community to grow.

For us growth is a core part of what keeps the heart of the Silicon Halton community beating. We want you to grow through learning, grow your networks, grow professionally, grow your company and do everything possible to help the hi-tech industry grow in Halton region.

Our Partnership with McRock Capital

Silicon Halton and Mi6 Agency are the exclusive media partners for the 2018 McRock IIoT Symposium

This annual event is very unique and a must attend event for entrepreneurs in the IoT space. The network and relationships that Whitney Rockley and Scott MacDonald and the McRock Capital team have and make in the IoT space are wide and deep.

I can’t stress enough how important the role they are playing in helping put Canada on the map is so many ways.

  • First, they attract corporate firms who are developing and looking to bring to market IoT solutions. These firms will invest in IoT startups and provide them access to their customers to validate and commercialize their IoT products.
  • Second, they get IoT and that they understand the challenges that IoT can solve for municipalities, manufacturers and other industrial segments.
  • Third, they don’t shy away from hardware. Something many software centric VCs do. The reality is hardware matters when it comes to IoT.
  • Fourth, they’re Canadian … eh! The entire team are what I like to call “McRock Stars” in startups and IoT. Too cheesy? 

Also, McRock Capital is different in many ways and as they say “they’re not your fathers VC“. 

Last year I chatted with Whitney about the 2017 event and this year it was Scott’s turn to chat about this year’s  IIoT Symposium. Check it out below.  

Interview with Scott MacDonald, General Partner at McRock Capital



Use the timeline to pick what you want to listen to | Full conversation transcript.

01:21 This is the 7th year for the IIoT Symposium. Why McRock Capital created this event and why it continues
04:56 What is it about this year that makes the event different than previous years?
08:23 How is corporate venture capital different from venture capital? Why is it important for IIoT startups to know the difference?
14:31 How startups are using the IIoT Symposium to network in order to get customers, develop partnerships and this year, a new opportunity,  pitch to raise capital. 
16:39 We talk about this year’s IIoT Awards: 1) IIoT Entrepreneur of the Year; 2) IIoT Corporate Leader of the Year and, 3) IIoT Diversity Leader of the Year
19:26 McRock’s tracking of diversity within their portfolio of companies.
20:27 The fun side of the IIoT Symposium. Jazz, inspiration, arts and laughs! 


Chris Herbert

Chris Herbert


Chris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.

Silicon Halton Meetup #102 – IoT in Smart Cities

Silicon Halton Meetup #102 – IoT in Smart Cities

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

Imagine fixed-purposed computing IoT devices contained in elements of a community’s transportation grid – stop signs, traffic lights, parking spots, buses, etc. For example, imagine knowing the exact time a bus will arrive at your stop because the bus is transmitting its GPS location to a central system, and an app on your smartphone is reading that data? (oh wait, that one is already being done). This one example of one element – combining enough elements results in the community being thought of as a Smart City.

This meetup will feature presentations by Smart City experts, with a focus on Linear Assets:

  • Roads
  • Streets
  • Highways
  • and anything that happens on these surfaces

You will also be treated to the TechUnder20 2018 Cup team Pot Hole. These teens will demo their RoadAlerts product, a roadway pot hole heat-mapping application they conceived, built, then pitched at this year’s TU20Cup event – their application leverages GEOTAB’s open data. GEOTABs provides aggregated data blanketing every major urban roadway throughout North America and coverage in over 100 countries.

Following the presentations, the invited Smart City experts will answer your questions on how the Internet of Things is being used in Linear Assets to build Smart Cities.

IoT Panelists

Town of Oakville
Business Solutions & Analytics
Frank Goehner

VP, Business Intelligence
Mike Branch

MI6 Agency
Certified IoT Professional
Chris Herbert

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