Hey, Vancouver! Hope you’ve all had an awesome time celebrating on Canada Day! We’ve had some amazing highlights since organizing Startup Weekend Vancouver last November — with a number of our Startup Weekend participants like ConceptKicker, Votely, and My Green Space competing the Global Startup Battle (who, by the way, competed against 3,200 teams from 83 countries where ConceptKicker took home the title as the 2014 GSB Champion!) and now, Startup Weekend has become a part of the Techstars family with UP Global.
This year, we want to go above and beyond on hosting yet another epic Startup Weekend. After much anticipation, we’re excited to announce that the 2015 Startup Weekend Vancouver will take place on the weekend of November 20-22, 2015. With the support of our Venue Sponsor, Unbounce, Vancouver techies and aspiring entrepreneurs are invited to take a plunge into the world of entrepreneurship in just 54 hours.
Not sure what Startup Weekend is about? Find out more on our website — and stay tuned for our upcoming blog series featuring some of our past participants and various members of the Vancouver startup community.
Be sure to follow us on social media for more exciting announcements, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter below!
In case you missed our mass tweeting yesterday or haven’t picked up from the headline of this post, ConceptKicker has just beat out the world at Global Startup Battle 2014! It was announced yesterday via this blog post and we couldn’t be happier about the news!
About Global Startup Battle
Global Startup Battle (GSB), is a global event during Global Entrepreneurship Week in which startups that competed in Startup Weekends from around the world compete to show they are the best new idea and win an amazing basket of prizes. It’s the biggest startup competition where over 25,000 entrepreneurs from 83 countries came together to fight for the title.
There are 5 different tracks that the teams could enter, each with their own requirements and rules. The most important one though was the Champions Track. This was an exclusive track only available to those teams who had placed in the top 3 at their local Startup Weekend. It’s the track where we find out who is the best of the best.
The Road to Victory
The battle lasted for two weeks and happened in phases. The first phase required teams to win their regions. For ConceptKicker, this was the US West/Canada region — competing against startups from cities like San Francisco and Toronto (home of last year’s winning team).
To win the region required gathering votes. A lot of votes. ConceptKicker rallied hard though, utilizing social media, personal networks, and anything else they could to get the word out. To their success, all the hard work paid off and they were able to make it into the top two spots needed to make it into the finals.
The finals were to be decided very differently though. This time they were being judged by the experts on the merits of their startup. You know, experts like Daymond John (Shark Tank), Nas (Music Icon & Tech Investor), Dan Martell (Clarity), Chris Hollod (A-Grade Investments), and Lesa Mitchell (Network for Scale). So we waited for the judges to review and announce their decision. That is until yesterday when we finally heard that our Vancouver-based startup, ConceptKicker, was the big winner of Global Startup Battle 2014!!
Excuse me while I cheer uncontrollably for a minute… “WOOHOO!!!!”
Belief in Their Idea
Perhaps the most inspirational story about ConceptKicker is how they came to be. For anyone in the startup world, you always hear sayings like “if you believe in your idea, don’t give up — even if others tell you it’ll never happen or that it will fail”. This is exactly what happened with ConceptKicker at Startup Weekend Vancouver.
On the Friday of the weekend, everyone pitches their idea and then the participants vote on which ideas they liked and wanted to work on for the weekend. The top voted ideas then get teams formed around them. We tell everyone that if your idea isn’t picked that it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea but to join one of the other ideas voted in or, if they can recruit enough people on their idea, then they can still form their team. Usually if you’re not voted in, it’s pretty hard to get support and build a team.
Tony, who pitched the idea of ConceptKicker, was pretty bummed that his idea wasn’t one of the top 15 ideas voted on. I remember him coming to me and asking if he could still build his idea. We understood his determination and told him that if he could get at least another 3 people behind his idea that we’d let him build on it for the weekend.
Tony struggled for a while and had trouble recruiting a team as people were more interested in the other ‘popular’ ideas. However, eventually, he got his small team and so we let him build. And build they did. In fact, between Friday evening and Saturday morning he was able to recruit a team of 9 talented people who would then go on to win Startup Weekend Vancouver — and now Global Startup Battle.
It’s inspiring to think about the determination, persistence, and belief Tony had in his idea. Too many entrepreneurs give up when others tell them “no” or when things get tough. While ConceptKicker is only at the beginning of their already very successful journey, I look forward to seeing them demonstrate more of this entrepreneurial spirit and be an example for other aspiring entrepreneurs — in Vancouver and the world.
Congratulations guys! You’ve worked hard and deserve all the success!
Startup Weekend Vancouver was an action packed weekend to say the least. There were lots of great ideas, inspiring moments, and many lost hours of sleep. However, even with the short timeline (Nov 14-16) to build out a company, it was awesome to see such great presentations and business ideas come out of the weekend.
After the 50 ideas from participants were pitched on Friday, everyone voted on their favorites and 15 ideas were picked to form teams. However, during the forming, one idea dissolved and another idea (ConceptKicker) formed – regardless of not being voted as a favorite. More on that in a moment.
Here is the line-up of the teams and ideas that were pitched to judges at the end of the weekend on Sunday:
The Winning Teams
The battle was fierce and so many of the ideas were great, well thought out, and presented well. The judges had a big task ahead of them to hand out our baskets of prizes.
The results of Startup Weekend Vancouver 2014 were as follows:
First Place: ConceptKicker
Runner-up: My Green Space
Third Place: Votely
Best “Purpose-Driven Idea” (Sponsored by Spring.is): Votely
Best Decentralized Idea (Sponsored by Vancouver Bitcoin Community): Reband
The most amazing and inspirational story of the weekend though had to come from ConceptKicker. Despite being told “No” because the idea was not voted as a favorite on the Friday, Tony Yang was determined to build out his idea. He persevered with his entrepreneurial attitude and was able to form a team. This team then would go on to win the weekend! It’s a complete underdog story but also a prime example of how you cannot give up on your dreams or your idea if you believe in it – even if no one else does.
Congrats to ConceptKicker and all the teams for an awesome weekend!
Weren’t able to make the event? Don’t worry!
Whether you were at the event or not, we have lots of pictures so you can feel like you were there (or relive the memories and experience)! Our full library of photos from the event is available for you to view, download, and share!
Clio has become a major presence in Vancouver’s tech scene and has grown from a small firm with three employees in 2007 to more than 130 strong with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, and Dublin, Ireland. As I walked into their office I was quickly greeted by one of their staff who kindly fixed me a cup of coffee and informed Christopher Yeh, Clio’s Talent Specialist. As I slipped my coffee and welcomed the sense of invigoration brought on by the caffeine, I began to notice the extensive renovations that were underway. Seeing the completed renovations gave visitors a sense of professionalism and growth but the friendliness of the staff and decor showed guests that Clio still has the heart of a scrappy startup. It was during this thought that Christopher and Derek Bolen, Clio’s communications coordinator, arrived.
I was surprised by the amount of attention I garnered, but realized perhaps this is one of the reasons why Clio has come so far: They treat everyone who comes their way with great importance and proudly Canadian hospitality. After the initial introductions, we quickly settled into a meeting room and began the interview.
1. What is Clio and what industry are you in?
We’re a SaaS company that provides the leading cloud-based product in the legal practice management space. We help lawyers be awesome at what they do with an accessible, user-friendly software solution that incorporates time tracking, billing, document management, client management, and calendaring.
2. How did Clio go from two friends working together to a successful startup with three offices (Vancouver, Toronto and Dublin)?
Jack and Rian met at elementary school in Edmonton and have been best of friends ever since. Rian moved to Vancouver for work and Jack stayed in Alberta, but they always knew they wanted to start a business together. They were already working full-time jobs and were doing contract work on the side to make money for ‘business’ trips to Las Vegas. At the time, back in 2007-08, they happened to pick up a contract job with the Law Society of BC and their conversations led to discussions on how unfeasible practice management software was in the legal space for small legal firms. These firms did not have the capital to purchase and set up the servers that were required to run what was then the standard practice management software: unwieldy on-premise software. The conversation led Jack and Rian to a lightbulb moment that gave them the motivation to build a cloud-based platform to address the pain points associated with incumbents. Taking inspiration from companies like Salesforce and 37Signals, they coded the first version of their cloud-based software in Ruby on Rails—and the rest, as they say, is history.
3. Success is about learning from those who have succeeded before you; what qualities should Startup Weekend participants who wish to build a Saas (particularly cloud-based software) learn from Clio?
When Clio launched, it was the first cloud-based legal practice management software to market. Being the first mover was an advantage for the company as it was able to do business with a large and underserved market. As time passed we saw other companies throw their hats into the ring which reminded us to not rest our laurels. In the SaaS market it’s not necessarily about who’s first, it’s about who’s best, so it’s critical to iterate and improve upon the product and consistently add new features clients tell us they want.
4. Vancouver has been named one of the best places to create a startup. Can you please tell us what resources Startup Weekend participants can capitalize on in order to maximize their growth and momentum?
We’re incredibly fortunate to live in a tech hub like Vancouver that was grown organically from grassroots innovation. Vancouverites aspiring to be startup founders are a fortunate lot as they have access to homegrown mentorship opportunities that a lot of people yearn for. There are many intelligent and successful leaders within the Greater Vancouver area who are extremely open, accessible, and willing share their experiences. Lastly, Vancouverites are becoming less inclined to leave the city, preferring to build their startup here. The city has some great accelerators and incubators as well as becoming known for its pool of great talent, and while VC attention was scarce before, they have started to keep a keen eye on Vancouver-built companies.
5. How can Startup Weekend participants maximize their social media presence and marketing efforts over the 54-hour event?
Startup Weekend hashtags have always drawn a lot of attention and action during and after the event. Hashtags gives participants the opportunity to reach out to individuals and community influencers to gain visibility on the web they wouldn’t usually have had the opportunity. It’s also crucial to remember for participants to engage in discussions rather than use social media as a tool for a one way marketing push.
6. What are some of Clio’s upcoming milestones and events that excite you?
We held Clio’s second annual user conference down in Chicago on September 22nd where we made a great number of new feature announcements. We believe these new features will catapult the company to the next level. Locally, we’re growing at an incredible rate. We’re in the midst of our office renovations and our aim is to be identified as the next major tech anchor within the startup community. We’re hoping to grow into that role through mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and startups and helping them succeed.
In the world of startups, creativity and innovation will always trump heritage and background. Take Picatic, a startup founded in humble Saskatoon that has been making waves in the event management industry for the past two years. Jayesh Parmar, Picatic’s CEO and co-founder shares with us how Picatic is removing barriers and lowering costs with its “Fair Pay” model and how event organizers and small medium businesses cough* your startup* cough can utilize its upcoming products.
Through their travels to Toronto, New York City, Vancouver and Silicon Valley, Team Picatic realized that although they had a slick platform, an establish user base and are generating a profit they were competing in a crowded space with giants like Eventbrite and Ticketfly. While they came to the realization that their platform was a “me too” product during their travels, the exposure to other ideas and businesses also gave Jayesh and the Picatic team ideas on how to expand and stand out from the event ticketing pack. With service fees skyrocketing as high as 62% markup, consumers around the world were desperate for a solution. Jayesh went back to his investors and proposed an audacious idea: Fair Pay.
Fair Pay empowers event organizers to pay what they believe is fair for utilizing Picatic’s services, whether it’s ticketing and/or crowdfunding an event. With the exception of payment processing fee, it does away with the old fee model such as application, setup, service and transaction fees.On top of choosing their own service fee costs, organizers are empowered to create beautiful event websites through an intuitive user experience. Picatic’s features help organizers sell more tickets as does the new value add feature; Picatic Pro for the professional market. In an industry where dominant companies push event organizers and venues to sign long term exclusivity contracts means the cost of missed opportunities are passed on as service charges onto ticket buyers. Fair Pay aims to break the stranglehold by offering event organizers the freedom of choice and ticket buyers’ freedom from miscellaneous fees.
Although it took some time to convince all the investors, the ideas paid off handsomely. When Fair Pay rolled out, not only were people purchasing through Picatic, it was getting referral business as well. Revisions and feedback loops increased compliance (payment) from 62% of its users to as high as 92% with payment ranging from 1.5% to 3% of their net revenue. Metrics built within the platform help Team Picatic perform cohort analysis and discovering which cohorts (usually businesses) were generating the most revenue per event, paying the most for the use of Picatic’s services and frequency in use. Team Picatic knew they were onto something. Within a year of offering both services the company saw over 100,000 tickets produced, 45,000 account signups, $4.2 million gross revenue and year over year growth calculated at over 100%. Understanding customer loyalty is critical to the company’s long term business, Team Picatic measured its own net promoter score. Where a 6 is high in the ticketing industry, the Picatic platform was rated at 9.16, in Jayesh’s own words: “People love our product.” This is mighty impressive for a startup that hasn’t spent a dime on marketing or advertising.
Looking to the future and realizing the potential in decentralization, Team Picatic plans to double down on their achievements by introducing a white label product for small and medium businesses and API for events. Beta tested and soft launched to Picatic’s clients and international partners, the white label product enables businesses to make use of Picatic services and brand it as their own. From Jayesh’s perspective API is where software to software communication is headed. These days, an event management company’s software integration is decided by its IT department rather than event organizers. Picatic’s API easily integrates its services with client’s software without the IT department worrying about disrupting existing tech infrastructure concerns and webhooks. Jayesh concluded that giving power to the people and the event organizers had one underlying premise: “When the consumer purchases, it’s going to be ridiculously easy.”
Being ideally positioned, Picatic has concrete metrics to support it’s customer cost of acquisition, average revenue per user and customer lifetime value. The company has a strong team, proven traction and a disruptive product that will lead to increased profits and fuel it’s current accelerated growth. In an 18 billion dollar general assembly market, Picatic is ready to scale and become the market leader.
The media portrays founders as visionaries braving against the odds and changing the world while emerging to become financially successful. This portrayal of glamour and wealth has led many to pursue the path of startup creation. As with any large influx of interest arising from the potential of glamour and wealth, scruples may be left in the wayside in the pursuit of success. The media have in recent years have covered a slew of scandals within the startup world. From betrayal, to sexual harassment to misogynous comments on founder’s own social media accounts, the list of questionable ethics goes on and on. According to an article on Pando Daily, even VCs are uncomfortable with this shift in founders’ character. It seems that the greed mentality which many still associate with Wall Street bankers since the 2008 financial recession has spread to startup hubs and become ingrained as a part of its culture as well. However, there are still founders working against that grain of thinking. Alan Clements, co-founder and director of dana.io, a “mindful crowdfunding” startup for artists, activists and innovators, hopes the idea behind dana.io and its utilization will change the greed mentality shared by many founders in startup communities across the world. Alan, an author, activist, and former Buddhist monk in Burma (aka Myanmar), shares with us the philosophy behind dana.io, how it works and how dana.io can benefit Startup weekend participants.
Dana is the term in ancient Sanskrit originating from the Pali Buddhist canon for unconditional giving and the practice of generosity. Buddhist practitioners hold the belief that all life is interconnected. “Our intention is run a first class Zen-like crowdfunding platform driven by dana consciousness, that fosters a global culture of caring with giving or dana as the ground of liberation,” states Alan. “The basis of dana.io is to operate as a mindful crowdfunding platform; mindful meaning, that by utilizing dana.io’s services one is focused on creating conscious or mindful relationships with each other.”
To bring one’s vision to dana.io, project creators only need to setup a complimentary account, and create a project page with a pitch video in order to then start a crowdfunding campaign. To ensure campaigns are effectively developed, the platform freely provides users with customer service and professional and coherent online guides. One such guide, the ‘dana.io guide to mindful crowdfunding’ covers the a – z of how to build and run a successful crowdfunding campaign, including such topics as how to craft a great pitch video and guidelines on creating a set of great gifts or rewards campaigners offer to donors based on their level of contribution. To give supporters as many options as possible for making donations, dana.io uniquely enables and encourages donors to make use of offline payments such as cheques and wire transfers as well as facilitate use of crypto-currency, such as Bitcoin.
Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, dana.io offers a voluntary payment model. This comes in the form of a sliding “dana scale,” gifting or paying-forward a percentage of funds raised through one’s campaign. In the spirit of dana, Alanand fellow co-founder and CTO, Scott Nelson, have agreed to cap their salaries and instead invest the majority of income from voluntary payments into dana.io services and fund campaigns through the creation of a “dana pool.” When this feature is fully developed, votes will be held on a weekly basis by the community of campaigners to decide which campaigns will receive “dana funds.” Since coming on beta a little over 4 months ago, there have been close to 50 campaigns, with tens of thousands of dollars raised for projects, including films, books, music albums, and human rights initiatives. From such a brilliant start, there’s every indication that a huge demand exists for dana.io’s services as well as an appreciation for their dana practice of goodwill.
The team behind dana.io feels honored to offer the services provided by their crowdfunding platform to all Startup Weekend participants. They hope with the assistance of the platform, participants will find the playing field more leveled when facing existing incumbents of their industry. They consider it to be their gift back to the heart of innovation and contribution to the startup community. Coming out from my interview with Alan, I feel relieved that there are those within the startup community working to embody kindness and generosity. It is up to us to see how we can instill this in our startup ventures as well.
Banks — careful, steady, conservative. Tech startups — frenetic, disruptive, edgy.
Can two such seemingly different cultures get along? TD Bank Financial Group thinks so.
“TD is proud of its strong culture of innovation,” says Jeff Martin, senior vice-president and chief information officer, direct channels technology solutions “We are continually looking for opportunities to improve our products, services and ultimately our customer experience.”
TD knows a thing or two about building businesses and balancing risk and growth. It has worked with entrepreneurs for 160 years, which is why its involvement in Startup Weekend Nov. 14-16 in five Canadian cities — Vancouver, Quebec City, Fredericton, Halifax and St. John’s — is such a great fit.
Held around the world, Startup Weekends bring together entrepreneurs for 54 hours of intense business development that concludes with a pitch to a panel of experienced executives. As part of its sponsorship, TD has a panelist in each of these five cities.
To kick off Startup Weekend, Jeff Martin talks about banking and startup cultures; and why Startup Weekend is such a fantastic opportunity for both.
Why is TD a Startup weekend sponsor?
TD has always encouraged innovation that will benefit banking and our customers. This forum is a great way to connect with the community and hear a lot of different ideas. We’re attracted to the high-energy/ high creativity environment – which is what Startup Weekend offers: a way to tap into that creativity to find ideas we may have not thought of using traditional methods.
What are some of the customer trends in banking that drive the interest in ideas at the startup level?
The biggest trend is mobilization. Take mobile deposit as an example. We just launched this capability at TD, and have already seen over 115,000 cheques deposited this way in just two weeks.
Startup Weekends give you a front seat on some really smart ideas from some really smart people. What do you think startup entrepreneurs can learn from TD?
Historically, startups had to go through a very long on-boarding process. Now we can work with them, to help them understand the needs of a bank while they mature that product more quickly, so we can launch it when customers are ready.
I think the biggest thing the bank can offer is perspective. . . on what we think is important to bring to market, and the attributes of what they’re doing that we think are viable in our industry . . . They will definitely get value from working with a 160-year-old company that has gone through a lot of change, and is very stable and thoughtful about what it does.
What would you tell an entrepreneur about preparing for the Startup Weekend experience?
They should rest-up, and come with ideas that are well-formed, with an action plan about how to escalate them quickly. Always think about what’s in it for the customer. How does this benefit people? If they are always thinking about the benefit to the end-user, it will help to create viable products. That customer may be the bank; but ultimately, it is the bank serving its customers.
There is so much technology advancement happening today, I wouldn’t put limits around what we want to achieve. People are always inventing new ways to make banking more comfortable. We’re not at the end of it, that’s for sure
We are a group of mindful creatives who have come together to develop a crowdfunding platform designed to support collaborative artistry and activism – our fellow revolutionaries changing global consciousness. Our name, dana.io is a concept from ancient India at the time of the Buddha and is understood as the inspired support of generously sustaining a vision based on its value to society. Born from a love of service, dana is the practice of using one’s own freedom to support the freedom of others.
Our dream is to support other artists, activists, authors, and entrepreneurs in actualizing their dreams. We will provide a free, dana-driven crowdfunding model whereby there is NO mandatory fee to access our services. We want donors and campaigners to PayForward whatever they feel inspired to PayForward. This could be 10% of a donation, 90%, or 0%.
It’s your freedom to choose.
We provide a complete range of strategic wrongful dismissal labour and employment related negotiation and litigation services to employees and employers from our offices on False Creek in Vancouver, BC. Murray Tevlin and Dan Gleadle both have over 30 years experience as lawyers representing employees and employers at all levels of trial and appeal courts in British Columbia – right up to the Supreme Court of Canada. Working with an efficient team of specialist lawyers, staff and consultants, we offer our clients the full advantage of leading technology, and a project based selection of the appropriate professionals to achieve creative solutions to labour and employment matters – issues which are often sensitive and always important.
Blair Curtis, David McWhinnie, John Chesko, Martin Sheard and Chris Beneteau round out our team of lawyers and together, we bring the skills needed to resolve our client’s concerns, with maximum efficiency.
We have extensive experience in strategic planning, achieving real results for our clients in all of BC’s leading industries.
D&B Cloud Innovation Center
Dun & Bradstreet is the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses.
At the D&B Cloud Innovation Center, we make beautiful, smart and user-driven analytics software. With the largest B2B database in the world, we’re doing something big. We’re mobilizing data in new and better ways to deliver deeper insights for businesses around the globe. And of course, we’re 100% cloud.
The Center was founded in April 2014 following the acquisition of analytics startup Indicee.
Futurpreneur Canada (formerly the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, or CYBF) has been fuelling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for nearly two decades. We are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Our internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,800 volunteer mentors.
Futurpreneur Canada is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, the Canadian member of The Prince’s Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
IOT Design Shop
IoT Design Shop is an internal startup that has been challenged with managing the Internet of Things strategy for our parent company, Finger Food Studios.
The IoT Design Shop is an internal startup devoted entirely to pursuing the IoT. Our goal is to apply the same commitment to innovation and quality which has made our App business a massive success to hardware and physical device Engineering.
We’re actively building products that will disrupt a number of markets but are also available for consulting and development contracts on Internet of Things, Smart Devices, Sensors and Wearables projects. Using our Core technology we are capable of developing full ecosystems for connected devices.
Designmodo is one of the most popular Design and Web Development blogs in the world. It covers tutorials, design trends, blogging, coding, tips, freebies as well as inspirational posts. The blog is a great resource for both beginners and advanced designers looking to expand and improve their knowledge. The site is visited by companies and is used as a reference by many design and coding schools.
We are based in New York, NY and Republic of Moldova
There’s always something about catching up with friends we haven’t seen in a while that gets us excited, whether it’s to trade stories, reminisce good times or simply have a good conversation. My meeting was with Jesse Heaslip, one of the most proactive members of Vancouver’s startup community. I’ve known Jesse since 2011 and co-organized Startup Weekend with him in 2012, so when I found out he was mentoring at this year’s Startup Weekend, I contacted him for an interview. I haven’t seen Jesse in over a year and half, and anticipated him sharing his passion about his new startup Bex.io and involvement in the bitcoin market and imparting sagely advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. I was not disappointed.
How did Jesse come to create startup in the bitcoin space? Two years prior to the founding of Bex.io, Jesse was introduced to the bitcoin market at a meetup group. Prices for a single bitcoin had doubled from $3 to $6 in a span of two months he was strongly encouraged to invest savings into the market. Being a veteran in the startup scene, Jesse had seen tech fads come and go, “bitcoin” sounded like a online pyramid scheme, too good to be true, or was it? Using an entrepreneur’s innate curiosity, time and research skills, he dug for more information.
What he was told about bitcoin at the meetup had been true. The combination of decentralized authority and public ledger had eliminated the need for a third party to mediate transactions resulting in significant decrease of service fees. Jesse was unsure whether his findings were accurate and objective at first so he had enlisted his peers to take a second look at his findings. Even the most skeptical of his startup colleagues had agreed his research on cryptocurrency had been unbiased when they delved into the information he had given them and agreed the bitcoin had a lot of potential.
It was after having pulled off a very successful Startup Weekend during late August of 2012 that Jesse would find an opportunity to start his venture in the bitcoin marketplace. After pursuing a handful of opportunities during the fall of 2012, Jesse partnered with a couple individuals on a project in the bitcoin space in January 2013; that project became what is known as Bex.io today.
Just what is Bex.io? In Jesse’s own words: “It’s a bitcoin brokerage platform that empowers individuals and companies alike around the world to start their own bitcoin exchange. We provide technology and networks within the banking and regulatory fields. This allows our clients to focus on their business.”
To establish relationships in bitcoin, banking and regulations fields across the globe, Jesse travelled to cities such as Buenos Aires, Singapore, Dublin, Amsterdam, New York, San Francisco, Berlin and Ljubljana, Slovenia to speak and participate in bitcoin conferences and meetups as well as network with people working in the banking and regulations industry. Since its inception 2013, Bex.io has received 800 partnership applications from 57 countries and grown from a team of 3 to 7 people. To Jesse and the team at Bex.io, the growth of the company and travels across the world has validated their business idea and the bitcoin market as a world wide phenomenon.
So what advice does he have for Startup Weekend participants? “Startup weekend is about more than just trying to launch a company in 54 hours.” Jesse said. “Focus on the process of building something worthwhile, focus on having a great time and bonding with other participants.” For those who are adamant about creating a startup? “Success depends on the founders follow through and execution day after day month after month and year after year. At the same time founders have to be objective enough to see the flaws of the idea and be receptive to input. While many people will put stock on a founders IQ, EQ is just as if not more critical to the startup’s success” Jesse emphasized.
Using his own experience with Bex.io, Jesse warns us: “Media, be it online articles or movies have given people a romantic and even glamorous view of what launching a startup is like. Creating an internet startup or a small technology company can be incredibly difficult in terms it’s process and toll it takes on your mind. Founders may have to deal with challenges like having the team fallout, not finding investors or having customers disappear. For Bex.io, we have lost customers due to a shift in regulations and other external factors which we had no control over. Participants must realize that creating a tech startup is risky business as it’s an evolving space where the only constant is change.” So if not for the romanticised vision why create a startup? “While the monetary factor of a big exit sounds enticing, if anyone asked a thriving startup its founder his reasons for creating the company, it’s never the money but the potential impact the startup can have on the society, in other words, vision.”
Mobify helps global retailers and brands deliver exceptional mobile shopping experiences.
Mobify is a mobile commerce platform used by leading brands and retailers to drive hundreds of millions of dollars in mobile revenue every year.
Founded in 2007, Mobify has grown into a global technology company, with headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, and a wide network of implementation partners in North America, Brazil, Australia and Japan.
Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs starting a business.
We are a group of forward-thinking lawyers who have built a progressive business law firm based on a more passionate & personal way of practising commercial law.
What makes us different? We like to challenge the legal status quo. We promise value, and guarantee it. We believe you should like your lawyer. We seek clients we believe in. And we are passionate about our work.
Vancouver is home to some of today’s most innovative entrepreneurs, and we act for many of them. We’re not just talking tech, either – this practice group also includes inventive clients in the fitness, publishing, food and fashion industries (to name a few). Some turn to us for our affordably priced STARTUP Package, others seek our expertise when it comes time to raise capital, grow their revenues or sell their business to industry giants.
Launch Academy is a pre¬accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs execute on their startups through education, mentorship, lean metrics and networking opportunities. Launch Academy has established an environment where ideas are vetted, business models are tested and successes are celebrated.
Founded on the values of innovation, opportunities and accountability, Launch Academy addresses the lack of startup education and resources affecting Vancouver entrepreneurs. Launch Academy aims to build a vibrant startup ecosystem and a prosperous economy where new jobs are created and new markets are discovered.
In just over a year Launch Academy has grown from 12 desks in a shared office with GrowLab to a beautiful 12,000 sq. ft office in the heart of Gastown, dubbed The Centre for Entrepreneurship in Vancouver. Launch Academy houses over 70 startups and 150 entrepreneurs. The Centre for Entrepreneurship is also home to Vancouver’s largest accelerator¬ GrowLab, Microsoft’s new Windows Apps Lab, Garibaldi Capital, BDC Venture Capital, Lighthouse Labs, Strutta, Perch, and more.
To date, Launch Academy has helped over 180 entrepreneurs build their teams, raise seed rounds, get accepted into accelerator programs, form new strategic partnerships, acquire new customers, hire their first employee and, most importantly, fail fast and pivot.
Boast Capital is a team of engineers and finance professionals with over 20 years experience helping companies in Canada and the U.S. successfully claim and maximize R&D tax credits. We specialize in the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) program, Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) program and the US R&D Tax Credit program.
We have offices in Calgary, Vancouver and Silicon Valley.