Caps off to this beer-and-tech collaboration Alex Kinsella June 8, 2016 Columns, Ecosystem, Tech About Town You have heard Waterloo Region has the second-highest density of startups behind Silicon Valley. This high density of startups acts as the Oort cloud that produces high-velocity, scale-up tech companies like Sortable. In addition to startups and scale-ups, Waterloo Region claims to be the birthplace of the Ontario craft beer explosion. Next Wednesday, June 15, the tech and beer communities will join forces for the first Startups and Beer event. Startups and Beer brings together five local tech companies and five local brewers (well, four and a cidery). The idea for the event incubated with the fine folks at Sortable. They shopped the idea around to other companies in town. Axonify, Magnet Forensics, Vidyard, and Dejero Labs signed up. “We (Sortable) could have done this alone,” said Brenden Sherratt, Digital Marketer at Sortable, “but having these companies brings different groups of people who may not know Dejero or Axonify.” No stranger to the local tech scene, Descendants, Elora Brewing, Block 3 Brewing, Abe Erb, and KW Craft Cider joined as the beverage providers. “Interesting stuff always happens where paths meet,” said Jim Murphy, CEO of Elora Brewing and President of Boltmade. “Craft beer and tech are natural friends, with tons of cultural and philosophical overlap – from the life of craftsmanship, to the adventure of trying and supporting new innovation.” The lists of companies and breweries aren’t the only drawing point for Startups and Beers. “The space was very important. We wanted an undeveloped, raw space,” Sherratt said. “We wanted a space people haven’t seen.” The soon-to-be-redeveloped 276 King St. W. in downtown Kitchener held the perfect mix of availability and design. “Craig Beattie and Perimeter Development are great supporters,” Sherratt said. Each tech company will be paired up with a brewer in the former Eaton department store space. “Startups are works in progress,” Sherratt said, “and the space reflects that mindset.” Registration for Startups and Beer is free, with donations being accepted for The Working Centre. # # # Pop in my CD and let me run a rhyme and put your car on cruise control and lay back ’cause I see and hear that . . .Dejero Labs and Aeryon Labs aren’t normally competitors, but on Thursday, June 9, 6-8 p.m., teams from each company will be playing each other in a match of bubble soccer at Max’s Golf Centre (800 King St. N. Waterloo). . . Saturday, June 11 at 11 a.m., come celebrate the grand opening of Descendants Beer & Beverage Co. (319 Victoria St. N., Kitchener) . . . Finally, downtown Kitchener will be full of amazing aromas during the King StrEATery. You can find 20 food trucks and live music on King Street, noon-7 p.m.