Techopia Live: HackerNest preview + foreign entrepreneurs’ view of Ottawa

As Canadians, we’re often interested – some would argue obsessed – with how we’re viewed from abroad.

Admittedly, Techopia has similar questions about how outsiders view our startup scene. So on this week’s episode of Techopia Live, we spoke to two of the city’s transplanted entrepreneurs: France’s Eric Lavost, the founder of Eazylang, and TokenPet founder Flávio Banyai, who’s originally from Brazil.

Both are receiving support from Invest Ottawa with an eye to establishing their businesses here.

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Canada was always part of Lavost’s business plan, as the presence of the federal government was a natural draw for his online marketplace that connects professional translators and clients.

However, he said he’s also been impressed with the ease and eagerness of Ottawa residents to do business.

“It’s casual (and) it’s simple. There’s no fuss,” he said.

Banyai notes that Ottawa’s size means the city might not have the same depth of investors and potential customers as mega-cities such as São Paulo.

However, this isn’t always a bad thing for TokenPet, which makes animal ID systems, because there’s more competition for partners and business opportunities in larger cities.

“Here in Ottawa … it’s not hard to meet people and share experiences and collaborate with them,” Banyai said.


This week’s Techopia Live started off with a preview of Wednesday’s HackerNest at PageCloud’s Rideau Street headquarters.

HackerNest Tech Socials are designed to be a fun, relaxed way to connect with the local tech community.

“HackerNest is a global phenomenon,” said PageCloud brand ambassador Lauren Olson. “There are HackerNest tech social meetups happening in cities all around the world. We wanted to participate because it’s a great chance for us to interact, start dialogues and meet everybody else that’s in this exploding tech community in Ottawa.”

Oh, and there’s free beer, snacks, music and a panel of cool people that includes:

  • Graeme Barlow, chief marketing officer of Iversoft;

  • Henry Brown, manager of customer acquisition at PageCloud;

  • Annika Thurlow, global operations manager of HackerNest; and

  • Brian Clare, co-president of Ottawa Young Professionals.

Registration information and more details can be found online here.

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