Past Meetup

Building a Connected Company: A Panel

This Meetup is past

344 people went


Hardware is one of the hottest topics in the startup industry right now. If the success of Kickstarter projects is any indication, it’s clear that people are supporting the trend towards tangible projects. With the Internet of Things market expected to grow $5 trillion ( over the next six years, the opportunities to build and grow a successful hardware company are growing exponentially.

Join us on March 19th as we discuss what it takes to hire in hardware, as well as the ins and outs of building a successful team in the world of connected devices. Check out Enlightli, the winners of the PCH Hardware Hackathon ( as well!

Whether you’re working in hardware, involved in other areas of the tech industry, or just interested in the scene, come out to meet others, network, and learn an insider’s perspective on the industry. Food and beverages are on us!


Katherine Hague is co-founder of ShopLocket, which was acquired by PCH International in January 2014. Katherine now acts as VP of The Blueprint for PCH, a site providing educational resources for the next generation of hardware innovation. Katherine was recently listed as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and has also been listed as one of Canada’s top tech stars by the Financial Post and as one of the 5 women to watch in wearable technology.

Featured panelists:

Zak Homuth is the CEO and founder of Upverter, the leading collaborative hardware design platform. As a child, Zak was always coming up with new businesses, and at 16 he put his high school education on hold to run his computer consulting business, which he grew to a dozen employees and hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. After closing the business and finishing his diploma, Zak studied Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo doing his co-op internships at IBM in Germany, Infosys in India, and at Sandvine in Waterloo, Ontario where he accepted a full-time job. Zak left Sandvine in 2011 to found Upverter.

Joel Yatscoff is an innovative product designer who works to develop novel ideas and technology into market ready products. He is the studio lead at Cortex Design in Toronto ,who are designing and project managing Canada's entry in the Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize for Cloud DX. Joel's past accomplishments include national and international design awards, multiple utility and design patents, coverage of his work on Gizmodo, and surviving a journey to Reddit's front page. When Joel isn't designing the future, he will be in a sailboat racing for bragging rights.

Alroy Almeida is the co-founder and business lead at Voltera. He is a University of Waterloo Mechatronics Engineering alumnus with a background in industrial electronics and biomedical devices. Voltera's circuit board prototyping tool enables professional hardware developers and hobbyists to cut their electronics development time from months to days.

Kevin Downing has nearly a decade of experience working with and for start-ups, with a specific focus in the cleantech and connected home markets. He leads the sales team and manages strategic relationships at MMB Networks, an emerging company offering ZigBee hardware, software and services. Prior to MMB, Kevin was the Manager of the Cleantech Practice at MaRS.

Pitch by:

Enlightli (

The team that recently won the PCH Hardware Hackathon ( competition. They are developing an LED bicycle helmet prototype powered by the electricity generated from the human body heat. At the heart of their 9 member team are three dynamic individuals: Sowad Al-Mughni,Timothy John Manas, and Dhrumil Mehta will be presenting the vision and spirit of Enlightli, along with their goal to improve the safety of cyclists everywhere.


Big thanks to our gracious sponsor Jobspring Partners ( who has made it possible for us to host this event.

Learn more about our sponsors:

MaRS ( Partner)

MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) cultivates high-impact ventures by providing expert advice and market research and making connections to talent, customers and capital. MaRS startup ventures have created 6,500 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised $1 billion in capital and generated $500 million in revenue.

Lighthouse Labs (

Lighthouse Labs has reimagined the developer bootcamp. After spending the last 1.5 years perfecting our groundbreaking program in Vancouver, we are launching right here in Toronto! It's about more than just learning to code: it's about becoming a developer. We've built our 8-week curriculum to hold students to a high standard of professional development while constantly iterating on that curriculum to keep it cutting-edge. We also believe development isn't always learned behind a computer. That's why Lighthouse Labs is teaching out of HIGHLINE (, Toronto's most dynamic tech hub, and is keeping class sizes small while employing 40+ senior developers as mentors and TAs.

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