Class of ‘99
“This is probably too technical for a 250-word profile” interrupts Christian, but John is on a roll. He’s explaining how their Ottawa-based business, FileCatalyst, works. “Large files, files that used to take companies days to transfer, are sent across the world in a matter of minutes.” What follows is a series of acronyms and complex computer-speak, but the two offer an anecdote to simplify matters: They worked with a major broadcaster during the Sochi Olympics. In the past, said broadcaster would have had to send an entire editing crew and studio across the world to cut the day’s footage down. But FileCatalyst’s accelerated file-transfer software allowed them to transfer all the raw footage back to the States, where the broadcaster’s in-house editing teams could do most of the work. “[Without us] those files would still be transferring today,” says Christian.
Solving an industry’s cost-prohibitive, time-consuming processes is the bread and butter of start-up tech firms and it’s what earned John and Christian a technical Emmy this year. Beyond Sochi, their software helps film and television studios—who in the past used to snail mail hard-drives and film reels across the country—send large media files around the world, saving studios literal days in downtime between edits.
As for what’s next, the two former computer science students—who used to hunker down in the basement of the Johnson building, rebuilding computers—say the sky’s the limit: “This technology has applications beyond film and television… we’re looking to explore new areas… and we’re always hiring.”