Creative technology firms betting on Hamilton

By Meredith MacLeod from The Hamilton Spectator

Dale Mugford is placing a big bet on Hamilton and he says there is no other city worth the risk.

Mugford and his B.C.-based partner Duane Storey have left their home offices to move their company, Brave New Code, into its first office.

The company is one of the great success stories of the city’s digital media sector, a cluster growing in profile and size in the city.

“It’s an online world, but we’re hoping to plant a flag in the sand here in Hamilton,” said Mugford, who moved here from Mississauga in 2006. He was immediately captivated by the dusty raw space in the newly remodeled Empire Times building on King William Street.

The 2,100-square-foot space was originally slated to be three units.

“I said, ‘What if we took the whole thing?’ I had this vision of a space that doesn’t exist right now in Hamilton. You see them in Toronto or New York or Vancouver, but it’s not yet in Hamilton.”

Mugford and Storey have sunk about $20,000 in leasehold improvements into their new office, including the construction of a glassed-in boardroom.

The space is more than the five people working at Brave New Code need at the moment, but there are a couple of shared work space tenants lined up and Mugford is looking for two more.

Its plug-in, WPTouch, which provides an easy way to convert websites into content for tablets and phones has been downloaded a staggering six million times since 2008.

The number is impressive, but perhaps more so is the fact that the first iPhone was released only a year before and the iPad arrived in 2010.

“We were ahead of the curve for the mobile explosion. We just knew the iPhone was the future and we were excited by the technology.”

It’s hard to fully quantify how big the digital media sector – populated by web and mobile developers, gaming companies, animators, graphic designers, and a range of video, photo and sound artists using technology – has grown in the city.

See here for the full story.