Resource Spotlight: Blakes

As one of Canada’s top business law firms, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes) provides exceptional legal services to leading businesses around the world. Their recently-launched Nitro program is a unique project offering designed to help guide and manage the progress of technology companies in the seed and growth phases of their development, while helping to reduce cost and risk.

We asked a few questions to get to know them better.

Why are you looking forward to being a part of the Catalyst137 project?

We’re excited to be here. By having a presence in the world’s largest IoT manufacturing space in one of the world’s leading technology clusters, we will be able to work closely with the companies that will shape the future of Canadian business.

Our office in Catalyst137 will be used as a space for meetings, collaboration, and even for dropping in to find out how our lawyers can help your business.

How will your on-site services benefit tech start-ups specifically?

We want to see Canadian start-ups succeed. Our Nitro program offers exceptional work supervised by experienced people – including lawyers who’ve worked with start-ups for almost two decades. By being a part of Catalyst, we will become more immersed in the tech start-up community in Kitchener-Waterloo. This will allow us to better understand the challenges and obstacles that tech start-ups face, and this knowledge will make it easier for us to help them succeed.

Is there anything about the Waterloo Region in particular that draws you to this project?

Kitchener-Waterloo is one of the world’s leading technology clusters, and I have watched the start-up community grow considerably since I was an engineering student at the University of Waterloo. Since we launched Nitro in the summer, we’ve placed additional focus on the region’s start-up community, but there is no substitute for actually being here. We’re looking forward to becoming a bigger part of what is, in my view, one of the most exciting technology environments on earth.

If you’d like to learn more about Blakes, please email

Tenant Spotlight: PCC

In an ever-changing business landscape, PCC imagines better IT integration. This is why they provide modular, reconfigurable solutions and long-term support to ensure the technology changes along with their clients’ needs. They design and deploy the right solutions by combining the best of audio visual, sound masking, data cabling, MNEC (Mass Notification and Emergency Communications) systems, and more.

We asked a few questions to get to know them better.

Why are you looking forward to being a part of the Catalyst137 project?

Making connections fit is our expertise. As a major IoT space, Catalyst137 is the perfect complement to this work.

One of our top core values is collaboration. Not only does the smart IT integration that we are completing for the Catalyst137 space reflect this, but so do the relationships and partnerships we have already begun forming with our fellow tenants, such as Miovision.

How will your on-site services benefit tech start-ups specifically?

Tech start-ups are always changing. From minor adjustments, to major growth and moves, they need their technology to adapt. Our modular systems make workspace changes simpler, faster, and much less expensive to implement. These benefits mean our systems create assets rather than sunken costs. Our systems are reliable, which means tech teams can lean on them to do their job.

Is there anything about the Waterloo Region in particular that draws you to this project?

With our alternate offices located in the west, we were seeking the ideal region to continue our expansion. The Waterloo Region became the obvious choice upon visiting the Catalyst137 space. It is the perfect spot for our research and development work as we strive towards making full IoT connectivity a reality in the workplace. The region, and Catalyst137 specifically, has proven to consist of open-minded, collaborative teams who are ready to share and receive knowledge, and this has made it a great fit for us. We are thrilled to already have several Catalyst137 partnerships in full swing with more on the horizon!

Resource Spotlight: SnapPea Design

SnapPea Design is a product design and engineering firm that works with companies – big and small – to solve interesting problems. With their user-centered approach, they help their clients build compelling digital and physical products.

We asked them a few questions so that you could get to know them a little better.

Why are you looking forward to being a part of the Catalyst137 project?

Our background lies in connected devices, so being a part of the world’s largest Internet of Things (IoT) space is a huge draw. We’re looking forward to connecting and collaborating with Miovision and other like-minded companies in the space.  

How will your on-site services benefit tech start-ups specifically?

We love to challenge ideas. We’ll make sure that start-ups question everything from their business model to the needs of their users. It’s not always what a start-up wants, but it’s often that outside perspective that helps to transform a good idea into a great product. When they’re ready, we’ll help them design, engineer, and manufacture a product that hits their cost targets and delivers a fantastic user experience.

Is there anything about the Waterloo Region in particular that draws you to this project?

The Waterloo Region has an incredible talent pool, especially in the IoT space. We believe that being part of Catalyst137 will not only better connect us to the community, but also give us an opportunity to help grow and develop the thriving start-up and tech sector.

Here are a few examples of SnapPea Design’s products:


The mask for O2 Canada. These masks have even been donated to those affected by wildfires in British Columbia.

O2 Canada: Innovative oxygen masks that have recently been donated to those affected by wildfires in BC


UI Design for a new CloudTax, an application that is a faster and easier way to submit your taxes.

CloudTax: UI Design for a new Canadian tax application that provides a faster and easier way to submit your taxes


Resource Spotlight: SigmaPoint

Catalyst has partnered with SigmaPoint to bring faster turn-around, shorter lead time and better forecasting flexibility to our on-site manufacturers. SigmaPoint prides themselves on responding to requests live, which means no more inventory surplus, no more waste, and no more complicated offshore relationships.

We asked them a few questions so that you could get to know them a little better.

Why are you looking forward to being a part of the Catalyst137 project?

Catalyst137 will give SigmaPoint the opportunity to work with startups and manufacturers in their early stages of research and development, at the prototype and new product introduction levels. We want the help them to meet their aggressive time-to-market goals while keeping in mind the ability to quickly and cost-effectively go to volume production right here in Canada.


How will your on-site services benefit tech start-ups specifically?

Sigmapoint will have a dedicated team of New Product Introduction experts who will accompany our customers for Bill of Material management, component and product\test engineering and project management. We will have a complete surface mount line on site in order to quickly manufacture printed circuit board assembly. We will also have the ability to provide Design for Manufacturing (DFX) feedback and post-mortem reports for immediate product improvements. Finally, our supply chain analytic capabilities via Kanaxis RapidResponse and our operational lean manufacturing culture will prepare our customer for what to expect when they are ready to go to volume production.

Is there anything about the Waterloo Region in particular that draws you to this project?

Waterloo Region is a hotbed of innovation not only in the IoT arena, but in many other high-tech sectors. SigmaPoint is excited to be part of innovative teams who want to reshape how technology should be developed and manufactured locally. We know that we’ll fit right into the Catalyst137 community!


Partner Feature: Miovision


Our first partner feature goes to Miovision, whose CEO is a co-founder of the Catalyst137 project. Miovision is Catalyst’s anchor tenant, and is set to move into the building this summer. Backed by the world’s most advanced traffic AI, their innovations in traffic signal planning and operations have made it possible for cities to improve the transportation experience for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Miovision’s technology is now being used in over 17,000 municipalities worldwide.

SpectrumAlertAs our world becomes more connected, cities are realizing the benefits of smart signals. One of Miovision’s IoT-enabled products, Spectrum, makes traffic signals smarter by connecting existing city infrastructure to the Internet. With Spectrum, traffic signals can be managed remotely, and real-time alerts can be sent to the traffic engineer if there’s an issue. And while smart signals make managing traffic a whole lot easier, that’s not all they can do – when applied as the foundation for a city’s infrastructure, a universal communications network emerges, which allows for other IoT-enabled “things” to connect. Think irrigation sensors, autonomous vehicles, and smart streetlights; the possibilities are endless.

Enter the upcoming Smart Cities Challenge: a $300-million program proposed by the 2017 Federal Budget that will inspire cities all over Canada to “get smart”. This means implementing open data initiatives, creating in-depth strategies surrounding the future of AI, and really focusing on how we can use the Internet of Things and connected tech to make people’s lives better. Miovision can’t wait to participate in the program and lead the charge when it comes to Smart City innovation.


Resource Spotlight: Clausehound

Catalyst has partnered with Clausehound to bring start-up-focused legal resources to our community. Clausehound assists entrepreneurs, early-stage start-ups, and small businesses to draft legal documents, helping them to be more efficient and cost-effective. Clausehound provides free online access to over 150 agreements and tens of thousands of legal clauses, contracts, news articles, and lawyer commentary.

We asked them a few questions so that you could get to know them a little better.

Why are you looking forward to being a part of Catalyst137?

We’re interested in being part of Catalyst137 because of the opportunity to work directly alongside other passionate entrepreneurs, and get their input on how we can best shape our product for their use. Catalyst is home to numerous high-tech businesses, and this will provide a fantastic opportunity for everyone to learn from one another and for Clausehound to continuously improve the way we support entrepreneurial growth.

How will your on-site services benefit tech start-ups?

Clausehound will provide credits to be used by resident start-ups at Catalyst to acquire legal agreements, offer discounted review services by our affiliated lawyers, and regularly provide the community with learning materials to enable companies to perform their own legal drafting.

What is it about the Waterloo Region that draws you to this project?

Waterloo Region is the pinnacle of the technology space in Canada. Clausehound’s CEO, Rajah, is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and Clausehound continues to recruit students and graduates from the University. Over the years, nobody has spent more time at Mel’s Diner, or has taken more tours of the Brick Brewing Company, than Rajah.


Welcome Home

With the official launch of Catalyst137 last week, we announced that our first tenants would be Miovision, whose CEO Kurtis McBride has been an integral part of making this vision come to life. Kurtis and team came to visit their future workplace for their monthly town hall meeting on June 24, 2016. We opened the doors wide at 9am and invited them in to get their first glimpse of the raw,yet full of potential space that they will call home in the Spring of 2017. 

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With smiles spread wide across their faces, they walked … or biked … or rollerbladed …. or scootered through the currently empty building, checking out every nook and cranny. You could see them envisioning what the squash courts were going to look like, enjoying a few pints after work on the patio of the future pub, perhaps even planning the ultimate obstacle course within the massive space.


As Kurtis toured them around, describing his vision for the building, many of the same comments echoed throughout the crowd: “Wow, this is massive”, “Can’t wait for next year” or “I’m excited and proud to be a part of this company”. Certainly no disappointed faces in this crowd.

So to the staff of Miovision – Welcome Home!