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Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

By Bryan Watson

In support of the innovation community in Canada, the Canadian Technology Accelerator via the Canadian Innovation Exchange, in partnership with DFAIT and the Consulate General in San Francisco, have launched what is called the “Plug and Play Tech Centre (PnP)” for early-stage start-ups to more developed players.

What is Pnp? – A Centre that is located in the heart of the Valley where three qualified Canadian companies will stay for three months (rent paid for) starting in June of 2011.

What will these qualified Canadian companies do? – Work alongside over 150 tech start-ups from more than 20 countries, meet with experiences mentors and advisors guiding growth and development in the Valley, gain introductions to local angel networks and VC firms, gain access to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.

What is defined as a qualified company? – Any Canadian-based tech company working in Digital Media and Information and Communications Technology.

How does one apply for the program? – Fill out a profile on the CIX website (www.canadianinnovationexchange.com) before March 11, 2011.  The CIX Committee will review submissions and announce their selected companies in early April.

Reposted from National Angel Capital Organization

Throughout his career, both in Canada and the UK, Bryan J. Watson has been a champion of entrepreneurship as a vector for the commercialization of advanced technologies. Upon his return to Canada in 2004, Bryan established his venture development consulting practice to help emerging-growth companies overcome the barriers to success they face in the Canadian commercialization ecosystem.  Visit Bryan’s blog and the National Angel Capital Organization.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By David Crow

Well.caAli Asaria and Well.ca are changing the way Canadians buy online. We’ve covered Well.ca’s funding in 2007 and again in 2009. And today they are announcing an addition $2.3MM in angel financing. That’s crazy, $2.3MM in angel financing. The financing includes some very interesting individuals including:

That’s right, I’m guessing that some pretty prominent angels from AngelList are investing in Canadian companies. If that’s not changing the game of raising money in Canada, I don’t know what is. Ali has done a great job bringing together a Canadian institutional investor (who is smartly adapting to a changing game) with local and international angels.

What’s the money for?

Growth. Well.ca has opened a Toronto office in the new CSI Annex at Bloor and Bathurst. They have recently hired Paige Malling as VP, Marketing away from Sears.ca.  The money is going to expansion. I learned today that Well.ca is the largest online diaper retailer in Canada. You don’t need to be a parent to know that diapers are a big deal, Amazon just spent $540MM on diapers (well Diapers.com). The Well.ca team has figured out the backend systems to attract customers, fulfill orders and generate revenue (hopefully a profit). Expanding the categories and footprint into Canadian homes beyond health and beauty is a logical next step. It reminds me of a online retailer based in Seattle, WA that started with books and continues to expand their categories.

Congratulations Ali and the Well.ca! Now that you’ve closed additional funding the hard work starts.

Reposted from StartUpNorth

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By David Crow

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario announced a new Investing in Business Innovation program. The program offers matching grants for early-stage venture funding. This is a $190 Million  program running from 2010-2014.

There are provisions for startups and angel networks. Since we’re StartupNorth, let’s try to deal with the startup side first.

  • Startups who receive a term sheet from a qualified angel investor (as defined by the Ontario Securities Commission) or venture capital firm (registered with the Canadian Venture Capital association) are eligible to apply for up $1 Million in loan from the federal government.
  • Restrictions:
    • Start-up businesses will be eligible for repayable contributions up to $1 million for no more than one-third (33⅓ percent) of total eligible and supported project costs.
    • An angel and/or venture capital investor(s) must be committed to provide at least two-thirds (66⅔ percent) of the cash contribution toward eligible and supported project costs.
    • In-kind contributions related to mentoring, networking, and other business skills cannot be considered as part of the angel or venture capital investor’s cash contribution.
    • A maximum of one project per eligible start-up SME can be funded under the initiative.
    • Direct eligible costs for start-up businesses may include:
      • Labour, capital and operating expenditures;
      • Materials and supplies;
      • Consulting and/or professional fees (limited to market rate); and,
      • Minor and non-capital acquisitions (e.g., software).
    • All project activities must be completed by March 31, 2014;

Basically there is federal government matching loans up to $1 Million for startups that are raising angel or venture funding in Southern Ontario. This is a fantastic start.

It’s great for startups in Southern Ontario, it’s curious that the program is only available in Southern Ontario. Why not all of Canada? How are the repayment terms set? Is this a zero percent interest loan from the Federal Government? Does the term sheet have to be equity investment? Is convertible debt eligible? How do startups “demonstrate they are using business mentoring, counseling, or related services”?

Reposted from StartUp North

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By David Crow

Boris Wertz asks where are all the Canadian super angels?

“So when I check Angellist, the most important directory of angels in North-America and Europe, I only find 3 Canadian angels (of a total of 350 registered on the site), two in Vancouver (Danny Robinson and myself) and one in Edmonton (Kevin Swan).”

While Angellist is not the comprehensive list of global angel investors, it is the best list of Internet and mobile investors around. It has folks like:

There are angel groups in Canada. You can see the great work that our friend Bryan Watson at the National Angel Capital Association is doing to educate and advocate for angel investments, they provide a great list of angel groups in Canada. There are the efforts of groups like Maple Leaf Angels and the work of Randall Howard with the Golden Triangle Angelnet. And you can see the work that ad-hoc events like Founders and Funders to connect angels with emerging technologies and early-stage companies and founders.

However there are less well know angels like:

The thing that makes Angellist so amazing is the self-service nature of first person connection. You don’t need to know the right people. It provides one click, direct access to the key players in the economy of emerging companies. It’s something that is missing from the Canadian scene. The best part of Angellist is that Nivi and Naval validate and reference check all of the angel investors, so the wannabes are edited out. This is an edited list of the best angels actively doing deals.

Here’s hoping that more Canadian angels take the time to complete their Angellist profile.

Reposted from StartUp North

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. At Microsoft Canada, he is responsible for helping Canadian start-ups gain access to software, support and visibility in the Microsoft ecosystem through programs like BizSpark (details at microsoft.com/bizspark). David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Baris Akyurek,  Guest Blogger

The other day I was thinking about why I haven’t seen as many female Angels at events. I know many Canadian women who are entrepreneurs but for some reason they do not seem to invest in early-stage companies as often as men.

About 20% of the students in my finance and accounting classes in business school were women. The figure shrank to 5% in my Private Equity and Venture Capital class.  The reason? I am not too sure (I sense a good research opportunity).  There are many successful female entrepreneurs, there are many successful women in the capital markets, but there seem not to be many female Angels, at least in Canada.

Countering this trend is Ms. Anna Sofat, who founded the first female-backed angel investor group in the U.K., called Addidi.  According to the website, Addidi is dedicated to finding wealth management solutions that suit women – and their partners and families.

NACO would love to see more women follow in her footsteps and attend our events as well.  We run ahead of the curve (established in 2009 US statistics from the Center for Venture Research where 11.3% of Angels are women) in having three fine women Angels on our board.  Also, in our draft renewal of our Best Practices, we note that the participation of women in the process of due diligence is essential for a true evaluation.

If you are a female investor and are interested in Angel Investing in Canada, please do not hesitate to contact us… we would love to hear from you! After all, wouldn’t you want to found the first female-backed Angel Investing fund in Canada, akin to Golden Seeds in the United States?

Reposted from National Angel Capital Organization. Baris Akyurek is a  NACO associate.

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By David Crow

Our friends at the C100 are hosting 20 Canadian companies on May 18-20, 2010 in Silicon Valley. Interesting tradeoff, accepted startups will need to weigh participation in the C100 with participation at OCE Discovery, MeshU and Mesh (assuming you don’t win the GOAP ticket from StartupCamp Montreal). It shouldn’t be a huge debate, because the opportunity to engage with Canadian mentors in Silicon Valley should be pretty straightforward for most startups.

This is a variant of TechStars for Canadians. You get the chance to connect with the most connected Canadians in Silicon Valley. You can the opportunity to pitch, receive mentorship, and gain access to business development resources. This is a great opportunity for local startups to gain access to markets, companies, and decision makers in Silicon Valley.

“These customers and markets don’t need to be located in Canada. In fact, Canada can often serve as a providing ground, an incubator, for a variety of market segments. We need to leverage the unique attributes of a diverse population of immigrants for the creative tension of differing viewpoints, and to help forge connections with remote markets.” Creating a Venture Culture, The Mark News

It is an opportunity for a Canadian startup to build locally and market globally.

Requirements

To qualify, companies must:

  • Be substantially Canadian in leadership, employees or location
  • Have a product/service with users/customers
  • Be in a position to expand its business in the U.S. and internationally
  • Be willing to cover its own expenses (flights, hotel, some meals)
  • Be endorsed by a C100 Charter Member or a C100 Seed Partner
  • Apply online

Reposted from StartUp North

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. At Microsoft Canada, he is responsible for helping Canadian start-ups gain access to software, support and visibility in the Microsoft ecosystem through programs like BizSpark (details at microsoft.com/bizspark). David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow

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david crowBy David Crow

Part 2

Reposted from StartupNorth post.

In my Part 1 yesterday I talked about reading Michael Cusumano’s Dealing with the Venture Capital Crisis in the October 2009 issue of Communications of the ACM, and how I was struck by the idea that our geographical proximity to the US, advanced economy, good universities and strong intellectual property rights might be the spawning ground for new ventures, sources of wealth, social welfare and employment.

I suggested we look at the positive factors and exploit the constraints to build opportunities and isolated two of these where entrepreneurs can have an impact.

  • Advanced economies
  • Sophisticated customers
  • Good universities
  • Strong intellectual property rights
  • Favorable tax laws
  • Vibrant entrepreneurial cultures

Sophisticated customers

For entrepreneurs, we need to work on helping develop sophisticated customers. Often these customers are located near where the entrepreneur is building their product or service offering. However, this is not a requirement. Entrepreneur should look for sophisticated customers around the globe. Including customers in your product design and development process is key to creating products that meet customer needs and to developing more sophisticated customers. Steve Blank and Eric Reis have proposed the Customer Development Manifesto and Lean Startup as ways for founders to engage customers in the earliest work. All startups should read these posts.

Vibrant entrepreneurial cultures

Isn’t this what we’re trying to do? Read our thoughts on:

Part of the reason that we are lucky enough to have Dave McClure in Toronto (and he had a great time). First Round Capital had office hours with Chris Fralic and Phin Barnes. We continue to see folks from Atlas Ventures, General Catalyst, and Microsoft (Don Dodge presented at StartupEmpire and will be presenting at CIX). This is a result of your participation. Canadian cities have a lot of buzz and attention based on the things that are going on.

It’s cumulative!

It is the force of a thousand butterflies flapping their wings. All of the blogging, twittering, attending conferences, showing up to events, participating online. It’s about the DemoCamps, Launch Parties, StartupDrinks, Social Media Breakfasts, Third Tuesdays, Founders & Funders, NEWTECH, SproutUps, Meshes, and everything else.  It is a cumulative effect. It doesn’t take a lot of extra effort, but it adds up to the rest of the world paying attention to the noise.

We have great spokespersons like Saul Colt, Mathew Ingram, Mike Lee, Michael McDerment, Leila Boujnane, Brian Sharwood, Sarah Prevette, Pema Hagen, Bryan Watson, Anand Agarawala and others running around the world telling their stories of being a startup and the reasons they are doing it in Toronto. In Vancouver there’s Robert Scales, Kris Krug, Boris Mann, BootupLabs, Boris Wertz, Andre Charland, amd others. In Montreal it’s Austin Hill, Heri Rakotomalala, John Stokes, George Favvas, Ben Yoskovitz, Fred Ngo, Pinny Gniwisch, Ray Luk and others. Let’s not forget Social Media Breakfast, StartupOttawa, Scott Lake, Allan Isfan, Jacqui Murphy, and everyone that I’ve missed (it’s on purpose, because I don’t like you any more and I hate your startups).

But it is up to us to make noise. It’s up to us to build successful companies. It’s up to us to make Canada a better place for startups. No one is going to walk in and make it easier. We all have to participate and build a vibrant entrepreneurial culture. We need to talk about entrepreneurship as a career path. We need to talk to politicians about policy decisions.

So the first rule of being an entrepreneur is to reach out. Invite a friend. Make a connection. Tell a customer. Most of all, do the things that make the ecosystem better for you.

David Crow is an emerging technology and start-up advocate/evangelist. At Microsoft Canada, he is responsible for helping Canadian start-ups gain access to software, support and visibility in the Microsoft ecosystem through programs like BizSpark (details at microsoft.com/bizspark). David blogs at http://davidcrow.ca/ and http://startupnorth.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @davidcrow

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