BC Government Funding for Startups

We have all heard about SR & ED! In fact, I have even heard some entrepreneurs refer to SR&ED as the Canadian version of seed funding.  But there are many programs and resources available to startups.  To shed some light on what is available at various stages of a companies growth, I reached out to Riz Kheraj, Industrial Technology Advisor for IRAP in BC.  Riz came to Bootup on January 19 to share his knowledge and provide more information on the resources available.

Riz broke Goverment funding into 3 stages:

  • Early Stage: (BC – Before Customers)
  • Early Customers (EC)
  • Customers Customers (CC)

There are plenty of programs available in the BC & EC stages.  As your company matures, and you are trying to scale your business – there is not a lot of government funding available to you.   Riz, who has worked in startups before, stressed that it always better to focus on getting real customers for your business rather than chasing and applying for government funding.  Some of the applications do take time to complete and require additional reporting once approved.  Some IRAP programs, for instance, require monthly reports with receipts to release additional funds.

Bootup is in the process of finishing up a handy little spreadsheet on all of the different government programs available, including deadlines and contact information.  Until then, check out Riz presentation below and please share your feedback and experiences on what government programs you may have utilized in the past for fellow entrepreneurs.

KPMG Prize Give-a-way at LPV10

“I had no idea what to expect from LPV10. I had a great feeling and went with it. Obviously, it was a good feeling.”  – Ramona Macleod

At Launch Party Vancouver 10, one of our sponsors KPMG decided to give away the seasons most coveted gadget. Upon arrival, all attendees were asked to drop their business cards into a box for a draw. Not a single attendee knew what was up for grabs. When Shana Korotash from KPMG pulled Ramona MacLeod’s name out of the box – Ramona was ecstatic. However, to win the prize — she had to entertain the crowd with a Christmas Carol. She sang her way to a brand spanking new iPad.

Shortly after LPV10, I saw Ramona at the Bootup offices where I learned she had signed up for the Bootup Garage program.  Ramona is working on a startup called BigMama, a site that makes it easy for students to rent textbooks.

You can follow BigMama on Twitter: @bigmamadotca

A huge congrats to Ramona for winning the iPad and a huge thanks to KPMG for supporting LPV10 and making the give-away possible.

This Week in Tech Events: Jan. 17 – Jan. 23, 2010

I can’t believe we are half-way through January already. Time sure does fly! I started to write this post and realized that our great friends at TechVibes had gone ahead and published – This Week in Events. So, I have gone ahead and included any cost details.

Angel Investor Overview Workshop

* Tuesday, January 19th – all day
* SFU Vancouver Campus
* Company Registrant: $330. Registration is closed.

Bootup presents Government Funding & Resources for Startups

* Wednesday, January 20th – 9:00am to 11:00am
* Bootup HQ
* Event is sold out. Registration is closed.

XcelerateU Workshop: HR Fundamentals to Drive Business Strategy

* Thursday, January 20th – 9:00am to noon
* BCTIA Boardroom
* Workshop: $75 Register here.

Events not included on TechVibes that you should check out this week.

  • Monday, January 17th
  • 11:30am
  • Wavefront, 1055 W Hastings St, Conference Room – Lower Level, Vancouver
  • Event is free. Registration is closed. Event is at capacity

Content Rules with C.C Chapman presented by Third Tuesday

  • Thursday, January 20th
  • 6:00pm
  • Ceili’s Irish Pub, 670 Smithe St., Vancouver
  • Event is sold out. Waitlist being coordinated.

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

Salesforce.com’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.

Bootup’s Going Going Back Back to Cali Cali

This week, Bootup’s heading back to the Valley. In tow, Team Bootup, Bootup Labs and BUL’s fresh crop of graduating companies: Summify, Compass Engine and Foodtree. The companies will be pitching to VC Firms, Angel Investors and participating in C100’s 48 Hours in the Valley. Bootup’s also teaming up with our friends at Metabridge to throw a reception at Kicklabs. Come on by if you’re in the SF. Register here.

Keep up with Bootup and follow our shenanigans while we’re away:

Team Bootup @bootup

Maura: @maurar
Sonia: @sonsryan

Team Bootup Labs @bootuplabs

Danny: @dannyrobinson

Team Summify @summify

Cristian: @cgst
Mircea: @mirceapasoi

Team Compass Engine @compassengine

Mack: @mackflavelle
Ben: @ben_hesketh

Team Foodtree @foodtree

Derek: @dshanahan
Anthony: @tonynicalo

Team Bootup after Bootup Labs Demo Days Last Year

This Week in Tech Events: Oct. 18 – Oct. 24, 2010

We hope everyone’s been joining this incredible Vancouver weather. What a beauty.

See you at the following events:

28th Angel Forum

  • Tuesday, October 19
  • 7:30am
  • SFU Downtown, 515 West Hastings St., Vancouver
  • Spaces still available for investors. Register here.

WaveFront 2010 AGM

  • Wednesday, October 20
  • 6:00pm
  • TELUS World of Science, 1455 Quebec St., Vancouver
  • $10 + taxes/fees = $11.50 | You receive burger + beer + ticket to the BODY WORLDS & The Brain exhibit

Upcoming Bootup Events

DemoCamp Vancouver 12

  • Wednesday, November 3rd
  • 5:30pm
  • The Lounge at Caprice, 965 Granville St., Vancouver
  • Event is free. Register here to confirm attendance.

Facebook Developer Garage

  • Monday, November 8
  • 4:00pm
  • District 319, 319 Main St., Vancouver
  • Event is free. Register here to confirm attendance.

Launch Party Vancouver 10

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

Add your Event

If you would like us to know about your tech event, please add it to our event group and post it on Techvibes Events.

Upcoming Tech Events

Sign up to our event list to find out more about upcoming Bootup Tech Events.  You can choose what type of events you want to be notified about from networking to investment pitch opportunities.  We’ll email you several weeks before events to let you know about registration deadlines and other important dates.

Who should be the next CEO of BCIC?

BCIC has been a big supporter of Bootup Entrepreneurial Society since we launched.  The entire team from the Board members and the CEO, Dean Rockwell to the Director of IT, Dean Prelazzi and Director of Marcom, Lin Kishore have been very supportive of the work we have been doing to help grow the startup ecosystem in BC.

Recently, BCIC announced that Dean Rockwell had decided to leave the organization to work within the private sector.  We have really enjoyed working with Rockwell. He’s one of the good guys, who really “gets it” and made many positive changes while he was at the helm of BCIC.  We are sad to see him go but wish him all the best with his next adventure.

That said – we need to find someone to fill Rockwell’s shoes and we thought **YOU** may have some great recommendations to share.  After working with BCIC and various government organizations for several years now, I’ve learned that there are few CEO roles in this province that have as big an influence on our tech community as the BC Innovation Council CEO.  It’s a very important position and we would love to see it filled with someone, who is as just as passionate about supporting and growing our technology community as Rockwell is.

What can YOU do?
View the job description and if you can think of a candidate, who would be the right person to lead the organization and be a strong voice for our technology community – email Kim Brooks from Corporate Recruiters – kim @ corporate [dot] bc [dot] ca with the candidate’s name and contact information.

See you at Connect 10 – Tuesday, October 12
Connect, a conference hosted by BCIC for early stage technology entrepreneurs, is coming up fast on Tuesday, October 12 at 4:oopm. Lane Merrifield, Founder of Club Penguin will be the keynote at the event. If you don’t have your ticket yet, grab one now!

This Week in Tech Events: Oct. 4 – Oct. 10, 2010

We can’t believe that it’s Q4 already. Where does the time go?

We hope to see you at the following BES recommended events.

MoMoVan: Mobile Advertising Hosted by DigiBC

  • Monday, October 4
  • 6:00pm
  • Granville Island Brewery, 1441 Cartwright St., Vancouver
  • Free for Members. Non-member: $28
  • Register here.

Orange Partner Meetup hosted by Wavefront

  • Friday, October 8
  • 8:30am
  • 1055 Hastings St. (Conference Centre – Lower Level, Vancouver
  • Free. Pre-registration is required, as seating is limited.

Startup Weekend Vancouver

  • Friday, October 8 – Sunday, October 10
  • 5:00pm
  • Bootup, 163 West Hastings St., Vancouver
  • $75 for entire weekend. Includes meals, beverages and turkey dinner.