Rock Your Vote – 2 days left in the LPV10 Startup Competition

At Launch Party Vancouver 5, we introduced the first ever LPV Startup Competition to provide the startup showoffs with additional exposure. It’s been a fun addition to our live event and a great way for the startups to reach people, who can not make it to LPV in person.

Vote for People’s Choice – LPV10
The 9 startup showoffs for LPV10 have all uploaded 2 minute videos about their companies and the polls have been open now for the past two weeks. If you have not voted for your favorite startup yet, go to the LPV10 Startup Competition Website and VOTE by 12pm, December 1.

The 3 startups with the most community votes right now are:

  1. Foodtree – a site that helps you discover where your food is from and connects you directly to it’s origin, so you can feel confident about the food you eat.
  2. Clinicbook – helps people find healthcare and check wait times at clinics in their area.
  3. Xkey – From fishing charters to adventure expeditions, activity operators use XKey to manage bookings, collect reservations, and generate bookings online, 24/7.

Judges Choice
In addition, we select high profile judges for each competition, who invest in and/or have started their own Internet companies. Each judge takes the time to review and rank each video as well as provide valuable feedback to each startup. And as usual, we think the judges for LPV10 are kind of a big deal:

This Week in Tech Events: Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, 2010

Hope to see you all on December 1st for our event filled day 🙂

User Experience Design with MySpace’s VP of UX, Mike Macadaan

  • Wednesday, December 1
  • 8:30am
  • Bootup – 163 West Hastings St., Suite 200, Vancouver
  • $50. Buy here.

Bootup Garage Pilot Program Open-House

  • Wednesday, December 1
  • 12:30pm
  • Bootup – 163 West Hastings St., Suite 200, Vancouver

Launch Party Vancouver 10

  • Wednesday, December 1
  • 6:00pm
  • Canvas Lounge, 99 Powell St., Vancouver
  • Regular Ticket: $30
  • Buy here.

Building a Successful Start-Up with Dave Schappell hosted by VEF Momentum

  • Friday, December 3
  • 6:00pm
  • Republic – 958 Granville St., Vancouver
  • Early Bird Ticket: $10
  • Buy here.

UX & Design for Startups with Mike Macadaan, Dec. 1st

For most startups, user experience is considered a luxury rather than a necessity. Many of us are just trying to get our product/site out there fast and plan to focus on design and user experience when we have more resources. But everyone from startup superheroes Eric Ries and Paul Graham to Dave McClure will tell you that UX is incredibly important and startups should be thinking about it from day 1:

“It’s very important in the first phase [of Y Combinator], perhaps more important than anything else. We encourage startups to build the smallest thing they can as fast as they can and then get it in front of users immediately to test whether they like it.” – Paul Graham on UX .

“Design and marketing aren’t just as important as engineering: They are way more important.” – Dave McClure on the Value of Design.

We have hosted talks and workshops on everything from lean startup methodology to term sheet negotiations but we have yet to cover the importance of UX from the get go. So, I approached one of the best people in the biz, Mike Macadaan-  the current VP of UX & Design at MySpace and asked him to come speak in Vancouver.

Mike Macadaan with team and new MySpace logo

Knowing that Mike has spent the last year Redesigning MySpace, I thought it would be a perfect time for him to come to Vancouver to share his recent UX challenges and experiences, as well as what he has learned over the past 10 years.  On top of his experience, Mike is an all around good guy, who is very plugged in to the tech and startup communities in SF & LA.  Some of you may remember that Mike visited us once before when we co-hosted our second Launch Party event together, Launch Party with a Twiist in December 2007.

Few Tickets Left
Whether you are an Internet entrepreneur, investor, designer, product marketer, or a web developer- you should not miss what is sure to be a very informative and fun talk on December 1, 2010 at 9am-12pm at Bootup HQ, 163 West Hastings – Suite 200.  There are still some spots left, so scoop one up now.

Bootup – We are Just Getting Started.

As many of you have heard, Bootup Labs Managing Director and Co-Founder, Danny Robinson recently accepted the role of CEO of BCIC.   There has always been a bit of confusion with the Accelerator and the Non-profit b/c we share the Bootup name and understandably so.  But, BES has always been an independent organization. We have our own team, an independent Board, have to make our own money and raise our own funds. When Danny moved on to BCIC, the only thing that changed was he stepped down from our Board and Boris Wertz of WMedia Ventures stepped up as our Chairman.

In the past two years since we started Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, we have organized more than 40 of our own events and supported many other associations, organizations and international companies in their efforts as well.  These events include mentor talks and workshops, Democamps, Mentor speed dating, Co-Founder speed dating, Launch Party Vancouver, Facebook Developer Garage and more.  We have seen companies like UnbounceMobifyHootsuiteAyogoGistYowza and Weddingful attend and launch their companies at various BES events and continue to thrive.  We are their biggest fans and we want to see all of these companies and more hit it out of the park.

We have come this far with a team of 2 full time employees and the support of some amazing volunteers including Mack FlavelleParveen KalerLyal AveryBoris Mann, Angela Baldonero, Jodi Day, Tina Hoang, Ross Howard Jones, Alexa BoothJordan Behan, and Derek Shanahan, a rock star Board of Directors,  our sponsors and countless others, who have stepped up to help at many of our events.

What’s Next – Bootup Garage, an open space for Founders to Bootup
Bootup (BES) has always had an open door policy. We love having people drop by, plug in and work away while they are visiting from Toronto, SF, Boulder and even France.  Working in an environment like this is exciting and inspiring.  And as an entrepreneur, who’s first startup’s HQ was in my garage, I really appreciate and thrive on being surrounded by others, who are taking the same risks or have been there and can help me navigate through the sometimes unpredictable and challenging waters of entrepreneurship.

With this in mind, BES is launching the Bootup Garage Pilot Program.  The Bootup Garage is something we believe every healthy startup ecosystem needs and we want to create a space where Internet founders and developers know they can come, connect and hack away on their idea in a very supportive, collaborative and inspiring environment.  It is not meant to be a co-working space, where you rent a desk on a monthly basis.  The space will support new ventures from their earliest single-founder ideation stage through small-team prototype development, until the startup has achieved proof of demand and is ready to accept funding or establish their own workspace.

We have lined up dozens of mentors already, who love Vancouver and want to support Canadian entrepreneurs.  Mentors will be on site, hosting office hours on a weekly basis (if not more) at Bootup Garage and you can set up meetings based on their schedule.  Everyone from Jason Bailey of Super Rewards, Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures, Boris Mann of IQMetrix, Angela Baldonero of Return Path, tech artist Kris Krug, David Ascher of Mozilla Messaging and Stewart Butterfield of Glitch and Flickr are on board and we are just getting started!  The list and mentor calendar will be posted soon.  Thanks to everyone for your support.

Bootup is a non-profit, supported by many wonderful partners and sponsors including BCIC, who has been a big supporter of us before Danny ever interviewed for the CEO job.  While BCIC has funded us again this year, which includes this pilot project, we are also talking to many other private and government organizations to help us in our mission to support and inspire entrepreneurship in BC and Canada.  If you are interested, please contact us or come to our Open House: 

Open House
On December 1, from 12:30-2:30pm – we invite you to an Open House at Bootup – 163 West Hastings St., Suite 200. Come find out more about the Pilot program, ask questions, meet other entrepreneurs and mentors and check out the space.

If you are interested in the new space, sponsorship or being a mentor, you can send me an email – maura [at] bootup [dot] ca or jeff [at] bootup [dot] ca or sonia [at] bootup [dot] ca, come to the Open House on Dec. 1st or connect with all of us at Launch Party Vancouver 10,

VIP Packages available at #LPV10

Is kicking the season off with style your thing? Well then, Team Bootup has a great offer for you. We have coordinated VIP Packages for LPV10, starting at $600. If you’re a startup or a tech company this is a great way to celebrate the holiday with your team. Packages include:

  • tickets to event
  • VIP service & canapes for your guests
  • drink tickets a plenty
  • VIP Table with Company Signage

And who knows, maybe even Santa will pay you a visit with his friendly helpers 🙂

Fore more details, contact Sonia Ryan at sonia (at) bootup (dot) ca by Friday, November 26th at 2pm.

This Week in Tech Events: Nov. 22 – Nov. 28, 2010

Bootup’s been extremely busy prepping for some awesome upcoming events and we’re excited to team up with the VEF for Term Sheet Theatre this week. See you all there.

Term Sheet Theatre hosted by Bootup & VEF

  • Tuesday, November 23rd
  • 5:30pm
  • Vancity Theatre – 1181 Seymour St., Vancouver
  • Free for members. $45 for non-member.
  • Buy tickets here.

Upcoming Bootup Events

User Experience Design with MySpace’s VP of UX, Mike Macadaan

  • Wednesday, December 1
  • 8:30am
  • Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, 163 West Hastings St., Suite 200, Vancouver
  • $50. Buy here.

Launch Party Vancouver 10

  • Wednesday, December 1
  • 6:00pm
  • Canvas Lounge, 99 Powell St., Vancouver
  • Early bird: $20
  • Buy here.

Bootup Names Boris Wertz as New Chairman

Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson, Dave Shea, and Boris Wertz. Photo Credit: Raul Pacheco, #LPV5

The Bootup (BES) board is filled with entrepreneurs and investors, who are committed to helping the Vancouver startup ecosystem grow and thrive including Danny Robinson. Danny has acted as Chairman of the BES board since our very first meeting and has done an amazing job helping us stay true to our mission to inspire and support Canadian Internet entrepreneurs.

Over the past two years, Danny has invested in 10 new Internet companies (8 via Bootup Labs), co-founded BES and Launch Party Vancouver with me and mentored many other startups. I have known Danny a long time both professionally and personally. But anyone, who has seen Danny interact with startup founders can easily see that rolling up his sleeves and working with entrepreneurs is the thing he loves the most about his job. It’s truly inspiring to watch a founder(s) Danny has worked with take an idea, get traction and go on to build a great company.

As of today, Danny is leaving Bootup to become the new CEO of BCIC. Board member Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures has accepted the role as BES’ new Chairman. Like Danny, Boris is incredibly passionate about entrepreneurship and has invested a lot of his time and money into Vancouver’s startup ecosystem. We are really excited to have Boris step up as Chairman to build on what Danny has started. In addition, Jeff Magnusson has joined me as the interim COO at Bootup to help roll out our plan for a cool new space for Founders, which we will be sharing more details about very soon.

Thank you, Danny for sharing your knowledge and passion with us. We will miss you around here but are incredibly excited that you will be able to continue your work at BCIC. We think they are pretty darn lucky to have you and wish you all the best in your new role.

More good things to come in 2011!

Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson, Dave Shea and Boris Wertz – Photo Credit: Raul Pacheco, #LPV5″

Announced: Launch Party Vancouver 10 Showoffs

After going through a lot of very good applications for LPV10, we are happy to announce the following 9 Startups that will demo at LPV10 on December 1st.

In no particular order, here are the companies:


Clinicbook is a local health care website that helps over 60 000 Canadians each month find health care in a convenient and timely manner through consumer reviews and its up-to-date search directory. After launching the feature where the live wait time at walk-in clinics is displayed, Clinicbook will be demoing its online booking system for dental appointments in Greater Vancouver.


Foodtree helps you discover where your food is from and connects you directly with the source, so you can feel confident about the food you buy. Just like a family tree, a Foodtree traces the origins of your food from the farm, ocean or forest right to your table. For example, a quick search on Foodtreecan tell you not only where you can buy the freshest local salmon in your area but also provide you with detailed information on the fisherman, who caught it. With Foodtree, transparent (or reliable) and relevant food information is finally at your fingertips.


We’ve spent the past year and a half building OpenCal – the web’s most beautiful and easy-to-use online appointment system. With OpenCal, service-based businesses (think hair salons, massage therapists, anyone that sells their time) can receive appointments online 24/7, manage their staff’s schedules, track clients, create insightful reports, and lots of other cool things.

Panty by Post

Make the Postman Blush. Panty by Post delivers French panties right to your door, no matter where in the world you live. When your pretty panty surprise arrives monthly, the nostalgia of the packaging, note and tissue paper is a sensual experience bound to generate a mood to help you discover your inner sexiness. This means you can enjoy a taste of French romance every month (wink). Or, share this sensual surprise as a thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one. They’ll love you for it. There is also a line for brides, plus sizes and Briefs in a Box for men.


Geotoko is a promotional campaign management platform for geo-location based services. By leveraging existing API’s that provide checkin functionality (foursquare, gowalla, twitter, etc…), Geotoko help businesses engage their customers.  By creating simple self serve tools to create, manage and track promotional campaigns and reward loyal costumers, Geotoko aims to reduce the friction for businesses to get into the growing geo-location trend.  We’ll be officially launching our app at LPV.


We are a hosted application and infrastructure monitoring service that will be launching at LPV10.


TaxiNow a free iPhone app that allows passengers to see the exact location of nearby available taxis on their iPhone map and hail them with one simple click. And passengers can track the taxi all the way to their pickup location through Apple’s GPS. Our goal is to make the the experience of hailing a taxi way better. The taxi industry is inefficient and we’re certain we can reduce the amount of time passengers wait for taxis and reduce the idle time for drivers. TaxiNow is available to any passenger and driver, anywhere in the world but the initial focus will be in Vancouver, Canada. We plan on rolling this out to other cities across Canada and revolutionize the way taxis are hailed. This will be the official launch of TaxiNow. We will demo the product and actually hail a taxi to Canvas Lounge to show how just how powerful what we have built is!


RSI is a company that offers software solutions, support and first class customer service for the hospitality industry. Our latest project is an amazing new product called XKey Activity Management System, which provides activity vendors the opportunity to maximize their revenues by having their inventory online! We will demo our visually appealing online booking engine, the seamless reservation integration, the personalized confirmations and the ability to use XKey as a Central Reservation System for multiple vendors (ie. Vancouver Attractions)!


AppGrower is a service meant to increase the traffic for social apps mainly on Facebook and other social game platforms. Appgrower will offer a pay per install campaign allowing the app developer to set the sale rate of their traffic.

We’ve created a list on Twitter, so you can follow these startups here.

If you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, there are still some regular tickets available. Buy here.

See you at the event.

Facebook Developer Garage Vancouver Recap

When I told Dennis Pilarinos from Microsoft that I wanted to do a technology event with someone from Facebook, he recommended and introduced me to his friend Mike Vernal – Director of Engineering for Facebook Platforms. As much as I wish I could code, I am not a developer.  I just wanted to see an event like this happen again in Vancouver.  So, with a little help from Dennis, Jason Bailey and other local tech friends,  Bootup hosted the 4th Facebook Developer Garage in Vancouver last night at District 319.

Lean Startup Panel
Before the Facebook Garage began, local entrepreneurs Boris Mann, Eric Woodward, Mischa Steiner Jovic and Mack Flavelle along with investor, Brent Holliday debated the pros and cons of the Lean Startup Model.  Eric Woodward is clearly not a fan of this approach to starting a company, while Boris Mann could see both sides of the debate and talked about some of the basic concepts that Eric Ries professes.  As an investor, Brent explained how the lean startup methodology has had an impact on Venture investing – noting that big VCs, who used to invest millions of money at the Series A stage are now willing to invest as little as $200,000.  Many thanks to Mack Flavelle for organizing this panel and for moderating a very lively discussion that was cut short to keep us on schedule.  This panel clearly could have gone on for quite some time.

Eric Woodward, Boris Mann & Mischa Steiner Jovic

Russ Ovans, Backstage Technologies

When I decided to organize the Garage last August, Jason Bailey introduced me to a number of potential speakers including Russ Ovans, Founder of BackStage, which was acquired by Real Networks.  Jason and Russ met at the last FB Dev. Garage back in 2007. Despite this fact, 🙂 Russ agreed to talk at the garage before hopping on a plane to London to speak at another conference.

Russ talked about the Economic approach to social game design and shared some of the things he learned while building Backstage.  For starters, Russ noted that Backstage was not in the game building business but rather the money making business. In short, Backstage builds virtual economies. Russ has learned first hand that people will pay real money for virtual goods if they are 1) coveted, 2) can be used by owner at free will and 3) can be exchanged.

J.Joly – dimeRocker
If you have met J. and the dimeRocker team, you already know that they are very proud of their company and are pretty excited about their latest product, the dimeRocker Arcade.  J. and Wolfgang from dimeRocker demoed how game developers could use Arcade to quickly deploy their games on Facebook in less than one hour.  The dimeRocker arcade supports Unity, Flash and includes leaderboards, achievements and monetization.  As an example, J. explained that the app TopBar used Arcade to deploy to Facebook about one week ago and jumped from 4000 to 160,000 users.  Attendee Josh Nilson tweeted “@dimerocker arcade looks great indies and devs should take a look #fbdevyvr”  dimeRocker is a developer driven company, so I am sure they would love your feedback once you take Arcade for a spin.

Brad, Lyal, J.Joly & Andrew of dimeRocker

Paul Prescod, CTO – Ayogo Games
Have you ever tried to build a house on sand?  Well, that’s exactly how Paul feels about building and deploying apps on Facebook.  Paul explained that Facebook likes to break things and is clearly not the most stable platform as FB likes to deploy at least once per week.   But rather than jumping ship or pulling your hair out in frustration, Paul encouraged developers to be Nimble, and deploy in an a

utomated fashion.  He stressed that you have to be on call 24/7 to be prepared when FB breaks things.  Paul has also learned that FB’s documentation is not always right and their product roadmap is not nearly on track.  Therefore, developers should build based on the FB plan as it stands today – not 6 months from now.  And if all else fails – just copy Zynga.

There were definitely a lot of heads nodding and laughs throughout Paul’s presentation.

Pizza Break
After Paul’s talk, everyone beelined to the main lounge to nosh on some pizza, a beer and network for a bit at District 319.

Mike Vernal – Director of Engineering for Facebook Platform
We were thrilled that Mike took the time out of his crazy busy schedule to come to Vancouver and personally share some updates about the FB platform, answer questions and connect with local developers.  Mike even included his cell phone on the big screen, which surprised many including @rootsmith who tweeted: “Wow, dude from facebook just posted his cell #. Crazy! #fbdevyvr”  It was a bold move but shows that Mike is interested in hearing from you.

Mike discussed everything from how the Like button has driven higher conversion rates to how their research has shown that users are drawn to people’s “faces” first.  With more than 200M people using their mobile phone to access Facebook every month, Mike said that “Mobile is really going nuts for us right now…” and that they want to be integrated on all platforms.

Mike Vernal, Elmer Sotto from FB Toronto and Jason Bailey from Super Rewards

Parveen Kaler – Smartful Studios
Out of all the talks, Parveen was the only one, who pulled up some scary code on the big screen while smiling and saying, “This will give PHP devs a heart attack.”  Parveen could have easily talked for 30 minutes about IOS/SDK but cut his talk down to 10 minutes because we were running over schedule.

Parveen Kaler and Tom from Compass Engine

Jason Bailey – Founder of SuperRewards (acquired by AdKnowledge)
If there is anyone in town, who understands how to make money on Facebook – it’s Jason but rather than give his presentation on Super Rewards, he decided to leave more room for networking, beer and leftover pizza.

Many thanks to Jason for being the MC and helping connect me with Russ and others, to Mike Vernal for flying up, to Dennis Pilarinos from Microsoft, Elmer Sotto from FB Toronto and to all of the great speakers, who carved out some time to share their experiences and lessons with the rest of us!

Pics from last night can be found here.  Please tag yourself and share with others.

Boris Mann also posted more about his Lean Dev Discussion at FB Garage YVR here.

DemoCamp Vancouver 12 in Photos

Last night’s DemoCamp Vancouver was a great success as Maura mentions in the post below. This is the 5th DemoCamp that I have attended since working at Bootup. I can still remember my first DemoCamp at Workspace. I had NO idea what I had signed up for. For me, DemoCamp has been a fun event to meet new people and share laughs with some old friends. Last night was no exception.

Here’s a collaboration of some iPhone snaps from Bootup’ers.

14 super awesome lighting pitches.

Full house at the Lounge on Granville

Techvibes Rob Lewis and 49 Pixels Justin Kozuch

KPMG’s Jacqueline Gustafson and Shana Korotash’s Dave Orchard & Microsoft’s Dennis Pilarinos

DemoCamp regulars: Roland Tanglao, John Biehler & Dave Drucker 🙂

6 Final Pitches at 4 minutes each

If anyone else happened to take pictures at the event, please tag them with #dcv12 or share with me: sonia (at) bootup (dot) ca. I’d love to add them to our Facebook Events Page.

Hope to see you all at Launch Party Vancouver 10. Register here.