Scintilla Technologies

A company created by two ÉTS students is acquired by a Silicon Valley giant

November 17, 2015
Ahmed Hadjeres and Frédéric Morin.
When they were students at École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), Frédéric Morin and Ahmed Hadjeres vowed to be their own bosses and continue to have fun in the job market. The best way to achieve these ends, they decided, was to create their own company. In August 2013, they founded Scintilla Technologies, specializing in event-management technology solutions.

At the time, nothing seemed to distinguish Frédéric and Ahmed from their peers. Indeed, according to Fondation de l’entrepreneurship, a little over 36% of youths in Quebec aged 18 to 34 would like to launch their own business.
However, what set Frédéric and Ahmed apart from most other youths is that, in addition to making the leap from intention to action by founding their own company, they created a technology that was innovative enough to attract interest from Eventbrite. And they achieved all this in less than two years! “Actually,” says Frédéric Morin, now a graduate in software engineering, “we wanted to sell our products and services to Eventbrite, but they offered to buy the company instead.” That is how, in October 2015, Scintilla officially became the property of Eventbrite.

The germ of a good idea

It was while working as consultants during their studies that they came up with the idea of creating an IT solution for the management of events.

“Overseeing logistics for large-scale events requires moving a great number of IT devices around. These devices are sometimes located at problem sites, for example, where there is mud on the ground. There have even been cases where we needed to install optical cables under water. So, managing events is often tied up with major infrastructure,” explains Ahmed Hadjeres, who is studying electrical engineering.

The two entrepreneurial students were certain that IT technology could be used to streamline event-management. So they set about finding an effective technology that required less equipment.

Gradually, during their free time and evenings devoted to “beer and troubleshooting” and later on a full-time basis, they designed a system based on radio-frequency identification (RFID). Thanks to this system as well as hardware they created, they were able to manage all event logistics using an iPad or other mobile device. The solution, for example, can be used to manage guest lists or site-access for employees, spectators, artists or members of the media. In addition, this technology solution enables administrators to obtain data on target audiences or modify access rights quickly.

Their technology has since proved its worth. Major events such as Osheaga, C2 Montréal, Heavy Montréal, Nashville Oktoberfest, and Toronto’s Festival of Beer, to name just a few, have made use of Scintilla’s technology.

Today, the founders of Scintilla work for Eventbrite. Frédéric Morin lives in San Francisco. As for Ahmed Hadjeres, he is completing his undergraduate studies in electrical engineering at ÉTS while working for Eventbrite from Montreal.
This has been an extremely enriching experience for Frédéric and Ahmed, neither of whom is 30 years old yet. Their work gives them an opportunity to rub shoulders with iconic figures in Silicon Valley, including Kevin Hart, an investor and advisor to PayPal regarding start-ups, Simon Willison, a co-creator of the Django web framework, and Randy Befumo, Vice-President of Strategy at Eventbrite. “Meeting with these people is both very stimulating and very instructive,” says Frédéric Morin.

There is no doubt that the technology solution that was “made in Canada, designed on the Plateau, and assembled in Laval” will continue to meet with success under the California sun.
For information
Service des communications ÉTS
Chantal Crevier
514 396-8800, poste 7893

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