Calgary startup spotlight: Politburo

By: Lloyed Lobo

A recent article in the Ottawa Citizen suggested that American spies can snoop through Canadians’ computer data — including that of political organizations and without warrants — if the data resides within popular US cloud computing services.

Demand for cloud services has exploded as companies and governments can cut operating costs significantly. However, The Treasury Board, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner and others have long warned of the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of trans-border communications and cloud computing.

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Enter The Politburo and its new platform, Cloud Workspace, which currently features over 350 software applications from service providers such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Adobe, Sage, and Quickbooks to name a few. Dubbed as the first 100% Canadian hosted cloud marketplace, if you use any of the applications on the Cloud Workspace, all your data will be hosted in Canadian data centers eliminating data privacy concerns.

The Cloud Workspace is currently only available to consumers via authorized channel partners of The Politburo. We recently talked to the Founder and CEO, Robert Hart, to learn more.

How did you come up with the idea for your startup? Was there an “ah-ha” moment? 

I’ve been involved in cloud policy through the Canadian Cloud Council for quite sometime and everyone I’ve interacted with has expressed interest in a Canadian hosted cloud marketplace so they can take advantage of the cost savings without worrying about privacy issues and the US Patriot Act.

After discussing this with several enterprises and government organizations, I wanted to be the first to do something about it and The Politburo was born. I believe this represents a turning point in the Canadian cloud industry and will allow our country to more effectively compete in the global field of cloud computing,

Are there any key individuals outside of your organization that have been of great help to your startup?

Timothy Grayson, Director epost Product Development at Canada Post, Jim Love, CIO at IT World Canada, Dan Murphy, President at Cloud Security Alliance – Canadian Chapter, Jae Reichel, Co-Founder iTel Networks and Kamloops Innovation Center, and Shahab Khan, Startup Canada.

What’s new with your startup that we can share? 

We’ve received great reception in the cloud community and the media.  We’re also partnering with various organizations to launch a free monthly event across Canada called Cloud Works to educate people on innovation and advancements in cloud computing.

Personally, do you think it is more difficult to raise capital or find the right talent?

Neither.  We are very lucky and fortunate to live an ecosystem bursting with talented, disruptive and entrepreneurial individuals.  The emergence of the cloud has enabled startups to create, deploy and test software applications very quickly and cost-effectively.  The Canadian cloud industry is rapidly evolving with many startups being launched that will challenge some of the global cloud market leaders.  In my opinion, if you sell anything that’s innovative, disruptive and delivered as a service these days, you can raise capital.  It’s called “Capital-as-a-Service”.

What has contributed to your success to this point?

Contribute to community.  Build a culture of camaraderie, vision, creativity, purpose, and disruption.  There is no room for cynicism in a startup.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask for forgiveness.  And if you only have a $1 left in the bank, spend it on PR.  I believe Bill Gates said that!

What made you choose to go down the path of entrepreneurship? 

We are all pretty much unmanageable at this point in our career.  I don’t think a large enterprise would hire us.  We are disturbers.  We like to break things for fun.

What are your thoughts on Calgary’s startup community? 

I think Calgary has a relatively flourishing startup community, but it does seem a little “cliquey” doesn’t it?  It needs some new blood, some new leaders.

What’s your ask right now?

We need friends, partners and lovers who share a like-minded vision of blowing up the Canadian IT Cartel and building a truly open and democratized cloud ecosystem.  A Private “Cloud-in-a-box” doesn’t evolve – it dies every time.  Clouds need to be public – and create exponential value for the community, the marketplace, and the country.  The Politburo is building Canada’s Global Cloud Ecosystem.  Join us, what are you waiting for?  Email me anytime at

Lloyed Lobo covers Calgary’s tech startup community.  He is a Partner at Boast Capital and the VP of Community Evangelism at Startup Calgary.

This interview was originally published by Startup Calgary, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating the tech startup community in Calgary. For more information, visit

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