Events to foster the entrepreneurial spirit.


May 1, 2017 Meg Marshall0

Insurance. It can sound like such a scary thing, but it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be really helpful and may be a legal requirement in some circumstances. If an entrepreneur has never had their own business before or never needed commercial liability it can be very overwhelming. It is important to note that home and auto insurance are usually considered separate policies than commercial liabilities and coverage. We caught up with KASE Insurance, who specialize in small business, manufacturing companies, commercial needs and have a big heart for startups. We spoke with the fun, dynamic yet extremely knowledgeable partners of KASE. Stanislav Kojokin and Arian Ebrahimi provided some phenomenal insight and provides various examples and stages of what type of insurance might be needed. 

Arian and Stanislav of KASE Insurance give some amazing tips to consider when to insure a startup.

Q: Why should a startup get insurance?

A: Many startups believe that they are not big enough to need insurance and want to wait until more sales are generated or more assets are purchased. The reality is that having insurance should be in the budget from day one. As soon as a company starts operations and has customers, protection is needed.

Q:  Even if a startup is an app (application) and NOT producing any tangible products, would they still need insurance?

A: If the startup is generating revenue, they need liability insurance to make sure they are protected. Even if the company does not have a tangible product, their customers could claim that they suffered a loss as a result of the professional advice or the completed operations of the start up, at which point the start up would have to defend itself.

Q: Are there certain legal documents that would classify a company as a startup?

A: No.

Q: At what stage or point should a startup consider insurance?

Insurance needs should be considered part of the budget of a startup, suggests KASE Insurance.

A: It will be a great idea for you to consult with an insurance advisor before any of the following:

KASE Study #1: Start up company about to launch the beta version of their new product or software. Their client asks them to provide proof of insurance before signing a contract.

Insurance solution: Errors & Omissions Liability (E&O), Cyber Liability

Why is it important:  This insurance coverage helps protect professional advice- and service- providing individuals and companies from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and certain damages awarded in such a civil lawsuit. The coverage focuses on alleged failure to perform on the part of, financial loss caused by, an error or omission in the service or product sold by the policyholder. These are potential causes for legal action that would not be covered by a General Liability Insurance Policy which addresses more direct forms of harm. Cyber/Network Liability can usually be added to an E&O Policy to protect your exposure of a network going down or private information leaking and causing financial damage.

KASE Study #2: The start up company has outgrown the co- working space, and is looking to move into the new private office. As a condition of the new lease agreement, they are required to provide proof of insurance to the new landlord.

Insurance solution: Commercial General Liability and a Commercial Property  

Why is it important: Commercial General Liability covers bodily injury or property damage cause to a 3rd party. Commercial Property coverage protects a business’s own business property within the office.  This policy can also cover the loss of use of the premises in the event of a covered loss such as a fire.

KASE Study # 3: You are trying to put a board in place made up of experienced industry veterans. One of the potential candidates is asking you if he will be covered under your company’s insurance policy.

Insurance Solution: Directors & Officers Liability (D&O) Insurance

Why is it important: Provides coverage for a loss as a result of a legal action brought for alleged wrongful acts in their capacity as directors and officers of the company

KASE Study # 4: You have hired employees to help you grow your start up.   

Insurance Solution: Employment Practices Liability

Why is it important: Protect your organizations against employee suits for discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, failure to hire, etc. The key here is to remember: Even if you are in the right, it doesn’t mean you will not have to defend yourself.

KASE Study #5: Your business cannot operate without you the founder, or one of your key employees. Investors are concerned about the company’s future should something health related happen to that individual.

Insurance Solution: Key Person Insurance

Why is it important:   

The insurance company will a lump sum of tax free money to the corporation. These funds can be used to compensate for the loss of sales or the cost to hire a replacement for key individual.

KASE Study #6: You want to attract and retain the right talent to help you grow your business and are in search of employee incentives.

Insurance Solution: Employee Benefits- Health coverage

Why is it important: Your employees will have piece of mind when it comes to health-related expenses should they have health related issues.

Q: What are common components that are included in insurance policies (specifically for startups)?

A:  First and foremost, the startup should obtain a commercial general liability policy to cover their products and their completed operations. Depending on what the startup does, they may want to consider errors and omissions insurance as coverage for professional liability is typically excluded from a commercial general liability policy.

Q: Why does KASE insurance like working with startups?

KASE Insurance specializes in commercial insurance and can truly help startups!

A: KASE Insurance is a start up! We know the struggles startups go through in getting the attention they need. Startups are often neglected because of their small size and potential for failure so as a result, they are not usually getting the right attention from their insurance brokers. KASE Insurance prides itself in being an active resource for insurance and risk management for companies of all sizes.

Q:  What are some of the common mistakes that startups can encounter if they don’t have insurance?

A: Many startups will consider insurance when their customer or a landlord is asking for proof of the coverage. At that point, the startup may be scrambling to find insurance and will likely purchase what is readily available to satisfy their contracts. With more time and attention, an insurance broker can shop the market and find a more suitable product for the startup to buy.

Now, please. Do yourself a favour and get some insurance and do not jeopardize your idea, team and dream.  

A big thank you to Stanislav and Arian from Kase for lending their time, insight and knowledge to better prepare and protect fellow startups and entrepreneurs.


March 6, 2017 Meg Marshall0

Welcome to the Toronto Waterloo Corridor. And guess what? Startup Tech Unleashed is certainly right smack in the middle of it. Both of our current Ontario monthly meetups are a part of this integral concept.

What is the TOWR Corridor?

It is a geographical segment of Ontario that stretches from Toronto and surrounding area to the Waterloo and surrounding area. According to Google Maps, the distance is 114 kilometers from city centre to city centre. Driving by car, it is a reasonable 90 minute trek down the 401.

It has been adopted by mayors of all cities, which include John Tory of Toronto, Berry Vrbanovic of Kitchener, and Dave Jaworsky of Waterloo. In fact, all 3 mayors visited Silicon Valley in April 2016 to entice American companies to expand operations in the Toronto Waterloo Corridor. The Toronto Star reported that Tory talked up, “…maternity leave, healthcare and Toronto being a safe city with mention of the diverse politics currently embroiling the US contrasted to Canada’s barrier-breaking and down to earth political leaders”.

What to Expect?

Innovation lives here in the Toronto Waterloo Corridor with 16 colleges and universities producing top talent.

All cities involved have created many programs and resources for startups and small businesses. In Toronto, the City has launched Enterprise Toronto and Startup Here Toronto. In Waterloo, hubs called Velocity and Communitech exist embracing talent and innovation.

The talent pool is enormous, diverse, and extremely well educated. notes that 6 million people make up this talent pool. With a total of 16 colleges and universities in the Toronto and Waterloo cities, the studies and programs of graduates is quite broad yet also very specialized. Many companies introduce themselves to schools and student before graduation to scoop up some amazing graduates. Alternatively, many people with fantastic work experience also reside in these areas.

Join in the movement like that of big organizations like Google, Facebook, Shopify, Amazon, Sales Force or begin the journey of building a startup here. This is where you want to be!


March 3, 2017 Meg Marshall0

Numbers have stood the test of time and should not be overlooked. We live in a world where numbers help us make important decisions from profit and loss to predicting growth and sustainability. With so many numbers coming every which way, they collect and create large pools of data. Luckily, there are organizations that can help us navigate these for those that may become overwhelmed by so many numbers.

We got the chance to meet up with Lewis from the Liberty Village based startup called ThinkData. They are “…changing the way we interact with external data”. He answers some questions on why he loves the startup world.

Q: What have some of the challenges been as a startup?

A: One of ThinkData’s cofounders, Bryan Smith, reminded me recently that the definition of a startup is, to him, a group of people who are trying to solve a problem with limited resources. For us, making external data available to businesses is a constantly evolving problem, but if it was easy someone would have done it by now. One of the challenges is not only developing an infrastructure that supports external data but also educating people on how valuable the resource actually is.

Q: What are some of the successes been as a startup?

The great people of ThinkData taking a break from data analysis and enjoying the company of one another. Photo courtesy of ThinkData.

A: Measuring success as a startup can be difficult, but I’m personally very proud of ThinkData’s platform, Namara, which is solving the problem of external data access. Breaking down the silos that separate data sources, standardizing tons of data, and just generally making it easy to use is no small feat. We were also fortunate enough to have been selected by the C100 as one of 20 companies that participated in their 48 hours in the Valley program, and in 2015 we were recognized by the Canadian Innovation Exchange as one of that years hottest companies. But really any startup that’s been around for a couple of years and has clients who are happy should consider themselves incredibly successful.      

Q: Name some of the most useful resources that any startup should tap into?

A: Toronto has become a really fertile breeding ground for startups. There are a few reasons for that, but I think that there’s been a really important focus on tech development in recent years and without them things would be a lot more difficult. We work very closely with MaRS and they’re doing great work. It’s also important to introduce yourself to other businesses in your community through a BIA network. Having a beer with someone sometimes turns into an amazing partnership opportunity.

Q: How could a startup of any size use data in their business development?

A: I don’t come from a data background, so I’m very sympathetic to the reality that when a lot of people hear “data” their eyes start to glaze over. Most businesses are already using data in their decisions, even if they’re not really aware that they’re doing so. But if you’re only using your own data, you’re really only seeing one piece of a much larger picture. Increasingly, external sources of data are the secret sauce that any company of any size can use to vault themselves to the next level of development. It’s really just a matter of starting with something small and seeing how it works for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all data, but there’s definitely data for everyone.  

For the curious minds out there – Statistics Canada is releasing the 2016 Census data in phases throughout the year. ThinkData can certainly help your startup or organization mine the numbers that are meaningful to your business. See below for the release dates of data as per the Statistics Canada website:

  • February 8th, 2017 – Population and dwelling counts
  • May 3rd, 2017 – Age and sex, Type of dwelling
  • August 2nd, 2017 – Families, households and marital status, Language
  • September 13th, 2017 – Income
  • October 25th, 2017 – Immigration and ethnocultural diversity, Housing, Aboriginal peoples
  • November 29th – Education, Labour, Journey to work, Language of work, Mobility and migration

To learn more about ThinkData, visit them online or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


December 9, 2016 Meg Marshall0

So what is a startup exactly? The term is used very loosely and to describe anything from someone with an entrepreneurial idea to a group of people trying to create a solution to a problem to even a specific type of culture. When the question is posed to many individuals or organizations, their answers are slightly different yet all have similar elements. We have compiled a list of few different definitions from media and government organizations to piece together themes.



As a global source for finance news, tips and strategies, we thought this would be a great definition to lead off the comparison with.

“A startup is a company that is in the first stage of its operations. These companies are often initially bankrolled by their entrepreneurial founders as they attempt to capitalize on developing a product or service for which they believe there is a demand.” – Investopia

Government of Canada


Found embedded within the Canadian Startup-Visa Application, the Government of Canada describes a startup as:

“…innovative entrepreneurs who have the potential to build dynamic companies that can compete on a global scale” – Government of Canada

Canada is the first company in the world to offer this unique yet modern type of opportunity called The Start-up Visa Program. It is an attempt to allow immigrant entrepreneurs a chance to contribute to the Canadian economy by way of job creation and to learn about the Canadian business market.

City of Toronto


“A startup is defined as an “organization formed to search for a repeatable
and scalable business model”. – City of Toronto

The City of of Toronto has committed itself to making a Startup Ecosystem with an extensive 5 year plan that can be viewed here. It identifies digital media, technology, advanced manufacturing and life sciences as key areas that startups are involved with.

Startup Here TO 


“…a newly established business or team project. Especially in the tech industry.” – Startup Here Toronto

Startup Here Toronto is a great platform that is really trying to draw the attention of others both in and out of Toronto as a destination hot spot for startups to consider setting up shop. They also support existing startups by featuring their story and promoting workshops and seminars throughout the city.

Urban Dictionary


We had to throw this source’s definition in for good measure and a chuckle. For those that don’t know what Urban Dictionary is, it is a resource to learn what various slang words mean, populated by the general public and often with obnoxious explanations.

“A recently formed company. In modern terminology, it has come to describe a company formed with a business model relying on the internet.” – Urban Dictionary

Common Elements from All Definitions

  • Ability to grow and expand, especially with employment
  • Technology based
  • Early to moderate stages of the business cycle

While none of these three out of four truly credible sources provide quantitative metrics or time frames, the definition will probably always remain very vague, and open to interpretation. Here at Startup Tech Unleashed, we embrace all entrepreneurs and creative innovative spirits.


November 17, 2016 Meg Marshall0

No idea is too far fetched or cray, as seen with one company. Airvinci, founded by Tarek Ibrahim, is on a mission to building a personal helicopter. Many other startups have great ideas like creating health care apps or a revolutionary fintech solution, but to build a flying machine is pretty incredible.


Soaring above gridlock traffic with an Airvinci personal helicopter. Image courtesy of 

Flying High

So we have all been stuck in gridlock traffic in some shape or form. Driving from work, stuck on a bus across trying to get across the city or in an Uber trying to make it on time for a romantic date. Ibrahim got frustrated one day and thought to himself that there has got to be a better and faster way to get from point A to point B. Until cities completely revamp highway infrastructure by adding in double or triple the amount of traffic lanes, any sort of automobile invention would not solve this problem. It then dawned on Ibrahim that if he could fly in a personal helicopter, then it would create an alternative option for commuters.

Personal Helicopters for the Masses


The Airvinci will be classified an Ultralight Aircraft. Photo courtesy of 

Of course we know that private jets exist, and my hobbyist pilots fly for fun on the weekends. A runway is needed for these aircrafts. The key element in the creation of the Airvinci machine is that it would be utilizing vertical take off and landing so that the need for a runway would be eliminated. A pilot’s license would not be required to operate an Airvinci aircraft, although some basic training would be prudent to safely fly it. The initial cost of the first couple of versions will be high, but as more and more are manufactured, the price would drop. The hope is that one day, the Airivinci would  be comparable in cost to a Honda Civic.

Design Specifics

A flying machine is a pretty amazing thing, but it has to be meticulously designed and no detail left unnoticed. The aircraft will be 9 feet tall and weigh less than 254 lbs so it can be classified as an Ultralight Aircraft. It will be able to carry up to 260 lbs and have a flight time of up to 10000 feet. Ducted fans will be used to reduce the risk factor. Two engines will power the aircraft, so if one fails, the security of the second one will kick in. To learn more technical details, click here.

Calling Toronto Home


Tarek Ibrahim is a creative mastermind, and one thing to note about him, he is always full of amazing energy and laughs. Photo taken by Meg Marshall. 

Toronto holds a special place in the heart of Ibrahim. Moving to Toronto in his teen years, he has experienced many great things here. He is a graduate from the University of Toronto with a degree in Architecture. Back in fall of 2015, he also had the amazing opportunity to be a guest speaker at the TedEx Toronto event. Toronto lends itself to being a fantastic central location to gain access to many resources whether it be finding someone with a particular skill set to help with a certain element of his project or just embracing the diversity of the city.

Stay tuned to see what is next for Airvinci and when they are ready to take over the skies. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.



July 23, 2016 brian prokopowich0
Aviva Ventures is coming to Canada and is ready to invest $180 million CAD over the next five years in high-potential digital startups around the globe. We are hosting our own ‘Dragons Den style’ event called Aviva Pitch Day in October at our newly built digital development shop in downtown Toronto. Call for submissions is now open!
We are looking for Canadian tech & digital startups who can offer innovative and creative ideas that will disrupt the insurance industry. Short-listed finalists will be invited to pitch their business idea to a panel of Aviva advisors for a chance to be considered for an investment of up to $10 million CAD.
Stay up-to-date on Pitch Day: