It was December 1, 2000 and I was packing up my desk at Spinway, the company I started over two years previously with Danny Robinson, Zach Levow and Michael Perone. Spinway was our first real start-up. A company we started in the house Danny, Zach and I shared on Cowper Street in Palo Alto, CA, just around the corner from the infamous HP garage and the birthplace of Silicon Valley.
Smack dab in the middle of the dot com boom and the ripest entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world, we grew our fledging ISP from launch to 8M users in only 11months. It was an amazing journey full of hard lessons and wonderful relationships formed. And while it was also a crash course in shareholder agreements and venture financing, my biggest takeaway from “my first time” was how important the relationships we made and the community we nurtured were to achieving success not only at the time but well into the future.
A week after Spinway was acquired, I was thrown head first into an entirely different type of venture called Parenthood. With very little time to think about what was next, what was right – we headed to Vancouver.
And here I am. 3 start-ups deep.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because I get asked all the time – Why Vancouver? Why would you want to start a company here over Silicon Valley? And Why BES?
And my answer is, 1) I married a Canadian and 2) “Vancouver is my home now.” A great team with a good idea can start and build a company just about anywhere. I have had many opportunities to go back to CA and Boston but this is where I want to raise my family and grow my business and my next business after that…
As Brad Feld reminded us when he visited us last May – it takes time to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and a commitment from us all to work together to make that happen. Many of you have been invested in this community long before I got here (ahem Boris Mann, Kris Krug, Dave Olson, Roland Tanglao, Jordan Behan and Megan Cole to name just a few) and welcomed me with open arms. Thank you for that. You are part of the reason I am still here and why the Vancouver technology community has such a strong foundation. We started Launch Party and BES to give back, build on the foundation you started and make it easier for early stage entrepreneurs moving forward to start and grow their digital media businesses here.
And we want to hear from you!
As a community driven non-profit organization, we only want to bring in mentors or put on events or workshops that will help you take your idea and build a successful business out it. While we have a few things on the calendar, we really want to hear from you:
- What kind of workshops would you like to see? (example: How to negotiate a term sheet?, What is a Captable? Branding 101? )
- Who would you like to connect with and learn from? (Example: Brad Feld, Guy Kawasaki, Dave McClure)
- Does an open, co-working space interest you?
- What else do you think we need to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Feel free to comment on this post, vote on speakers or offer suggestions at wantit.bootup.ca or email me directly at maura [at] bootup.ca anytime.
Want to volunteer?
Thanks to volunteers, who have donated their time in the past like Warren Frey and Tris Hussey, (and the many others!) we have been able to keep the cost of our events down and increase awareness as well. Your support has truly made all the difference. If you want to get involved and help with PR, LPV or Democamp etc, we would love it. And if you have a digital media event or initiative you are working on that you would like our help with, let us know.
Thanks for your continued support and your feedback.