Though he’s originally from the Congo, 22-year-old Ned Nadima said he found it a bigger culture shock moving here from Montreal than going to Montreal from the Congo. Nevertheless he seems to have settled in here, most notably at Invest Ottawa, where he is CEO of eCelery Inc, formerly Denilson Inc.
The name change came very recently. “We officially changed the company name to eCelery Inc to focus our marketing effort to one brand.”
The vision will begin to come to life this April, when eCelery Inc has the soft launch of their product, with a demo release of the website with the app available for free download. Then they’ll have a bigger launch in June, with the release of the mobile app for iOS and Android products.
Focus is not something Ned has ever had a problem with. After graduating last year from the University of Ottawa with a degree in marketing, he leapt straight into entrepreneurship. His first project was a software program called Croomer, which was designed to help student entrepreneurs like himself find co-founders to work on ideas. His other projects occurred as frequently as he could make the cash to support them, whether that was working at Costco, or his five day stint as a dishwasher. “I worked there just long enough to get enough money to go back to work,” said Nadima.
“The market wasn’t there,” said Nadima. Although he had to scrap the project, he ended up finding the perfect co-founders for Denilson Inc anyway. They all met whilst at university. “[We were] the perfect founding team, the golden triangle.” Along with Chief Operating Officer Cyril Moukarzel and Chief Technical Officer Mathieu Jobin, they officially incorporated last October. The plan is to stay in Invest Ottawa for a year, then start looking for a new office. That’s far from hard and fast however.
“Everything will depend on the market,” said Nadima. “Ever since Nortel fell, there’s been a huge impact on entrepreneurs. There’s still a lot of work to do, that’s why it takes Canadian start-ups 2-3 years longer than American ones.”
Nevertheless, everyone is staying focused on what’s happening right now. Their flagship product, eCelery, is another software program, this one aimed at creating a comprehensive, all in one diet and nutrition program, containing price comparison tools for various grocery chains, a program that finds recipes for you to make based on ingredients you input, and other tools. “Zero-think dieting,” said Jobin.
Ned’s original vision for the company (Denilson in this case) was to create healthcare software for hospitals. Both Cyril and Mathieu have found themselves bringing Ned back down to earth in various ways. “He can come to me with a big vision, we can discuss it, I’m more the ‘bring back to reality’ guy. We never butt heads,” said Moukarzel.
Similarly, Jobin has had his own occasions to bring Ned down to Earth again. “At one point he wanted to design throat sensors to count calories,” he said with a laugh. “We work backwards from his idea until we have something feasible and that I can do.”
Despite their sometime roles as the voices of reason, they both expressed how much they enjoy working with Ned. “He’s been great, he’s really good at running things and very aggressive in pushing the company,” said Jobin.
“He’s hard working, motivated; he’s the visionary,” said Moukarzel.
In the meantime, the focus is on what’s happening right now. “We’re bootstrapping,” said Nadima. “We’re looking for some investors, but we’d like to get validation first, give them a reason to invest,” said Moukarzel.