There is nothing extraordinary about the Batavia House. On the outside, anyway.
But inside the six-bedroom bungalow on Batavia Place, it's all about the extraordinary. Financial Post Tech Desk editor Matt Hartley dove inside the home to uncover an amazing story: this university frat house is actually a top-secret incubator for major Canadian startups.
Located near RIM's global headquarters, Batavia House is filled with Canadian entrepreneurs founding successful companies whose reach extends to Silicon Valley. Owners Michael and Stephen Litt have housed such companies as Allerta, TwitSprout, and Vidyard—the latter of which is a finalist for New Canadian Startup of 2011 in the First Annual Canadian Startup Awards. Both Allerta and Vidyard have been through Silicon Valley's Y Combinator investment program, with Vidyard having already raised nearly $2 million.
Although the Litt brothers didn’t intend the house to become a refuge for recent Waterloo grads hoping to build technology companies, the home has evolved into an informal incubator, as the various occupants challenge one another to innovate and create.
Having so many entrepreneurs living and working together under one roof not only enables the various founders to share tools, but also to discuss strategies for growing their businesses and where to look for outside help. The companies have helped one another find lawyers, accountants and other advisors.
Watch out, VeloCity and Communitech! Batavia House is on a roll.
Photo: Glenn Lowson, National Post