#LPGROW, It’s a Wrap.

On August 17, 2011, my desire to one day have a Canadian-wide Launch Party was finally realized as Bootup hosted the opening reception of the 2nd Annual Grow Conference in Vancouver, BC. From NB to BC, 15 startups from across Canada were selected to demo at the #LPGROW reception and mingle with over 750 investors, entrepreneurs and other influencers from all over Canada and the US.

Food.ee Demoing at #LPGROW

High Fives All Around
This was without a doubt our biggest Launch Party event ever. We could not have pulled it off without the support of our wonderful partners:

Payfirma
Vancouver born, Payfirma has answered Bootup’s prayers by finally solving our payment processing needs. Payfirma’s little chip plugs right into your iPhone to make it easy for you to take a credit card payment just about anywhere.  A huge thank you to the whole Payfirma team for being so supportive of LPGROW, Bootup and the whole startup community. Support this great, local company:

This may sound crazy but I have never just taken a cheque to pay for an event. We only partner with other companies and people, who truly care about and support entrepreneurs:
  • Initio Group – an Investment Group run by Managing Director, Mike Edwards. If you haven’t had a chance to meet or work with Mike yet, he’s one of the best angels an entrepreneur could ask for.
  • A Thinking Ape –  The Apes are making waves in Vancouver building seriously addictive games for the iPhone. The whole team rocks and we are happy they decided to call BC home. PS. They are Hiring!
  • LaBarge Weinstein –  A Canadian business law firm that totally gets startups. James Smith is a good guy, great lawyer and splits his time among startups from TDot to YVR. He’s on our top 3 referral list.
  • Freshbooks – One of Canada’s favorite companies makes it easy for startups and freelancers to save money and time on invoicing. Amazing product and customer service to boot! Bonus: Saul Colt is a genius WOM, who wears crazy pants.
  • Strutta – the platform behind the Launch @ GROW startup competition can help you create and manage beautiful branded promos online. Conversion without sacrificing your brand’s id! No coding necessary. (disclosure: Maura & Danny are founders)
  • Keith Spencer  – Keith is not only one of the best technology lawyers I know but someone, who dedicates a lot of personal time to help local startups and our tech community. They broke the mold with this guy.  Also, on our top 3 list.
  • Lonsdale Rentals – North Vancouver company Lonsdale Rentals came through again to support #LPGROW and provided us with all the things we needed to make the venue look great.  Super friendly staff. Don’t rent from anyone else!
  • Jet Cooper – A User Experience Agency in Toronto led by Satish Kanwar stepped up to help us with the LPGROW site, and twitter walls. Phew!
  • Layer 7 – Big thanks to Dimitri Sirota’s (one of the LP’s Co-founders) company for supporting our 11th event.
  • Queen’s Cross – From the beer to the flatbread pizzas, my good friend Chris Greenfield’s pub catered the entire event. Drop by his pub on Lonsdale in North Van. for a pint, ridiculously good food, and great staff. #Truth.
  • Yaletown Venture Partners-   I am looking forward to seeing YVP invest even more in the local startup community.
  • Urbandig – If you found yourself being served up a teacup sized portion of beer by a cheeky rabbit, you were not lost in a bad remake of Alice in Wonderland but rather at the UD booth. Big thanks to Team UD for throwing a great after party at the Hub in Yaletown! (disclosure: another company by Bootup ED, Maura)
  • Pop Chips & Smart Pics – If you nom nomed on their tasty chips or posed in the digital Photo booth, you have these two awesome companies to thank for all the fun.

Big thanks to our media sponsor, Techvibes for helping us spread the word and share your startup stories. True Story: Rob Lewis and his team can help you get your brand and message in front of thousands and thousands of readers. 

Bootup is run by a very passionate volunteer group of amazing entrepreneurs and startup peeps.  We seriously could not pull a rabbit out of a hat without their help (follow these awesome people now):

  • Sonia Ryan – Previously my right hand at Bootup and now a Trouble Maker at A Thinking Ape, Sonia hustled hard to make #LPGROW a stellar event. She’s awesome but you already knew that!
  • Janis Behan  – Janis is part of team Bootup and helped organize everything from setup to labels to bunny suits. We could not have done it without her.
  • Robin Leskiw – One of my dearest friends, who has been with me since LPV1 at Section 3.  She did everything from keep your wine glasses filled to clean up. ❤
  • Toan Dang, Eliz Sarobhasa, Alex Shipillo & Tammy Yik – Thank you so much for all of your help setting up that morning. Huge Help!
  • Pauline Lipska & David Cameron – You were amazing at working the crowd  and doing whatever was needed during the event.  So great.
  • Leila Pejman – A big supporter of ours and the tech community, Leila is always willing to lend a hand. Thanks for working the door and then some. Big Hugs!
  • Rohit Tandon – Designer, Producer and awesome DJ, spinned up some sweet tracks to set the mood.  Thank you.
  • Jodi Day – talented UI Designer and member of Team Strutta worked the door and made all of your beautiful name badges. I can always count on her.
  • Tina Hoang – Communications Manager at Strutta kept the line moving at the door and ran the entire #LPGROW Startup Competition from start to finish.  My hero.
  • Keighty Gallagher – Surprise, Surprise – one of our newest members of Team Strutta and pro hand sandwich maker helped Tina & Jodi keep things tight at the door. You Rock.
  • Mack Flavelle – also part of Team Bootup, Mack did everything from pick out super heros to wear a bunny suit. An entrepreneur himself, Mack knows how to hustle and #GSD.

Until Next Time
Thank you so much for joining us and showing the world that Canada is one of the best places in the world to bootup. We hope you made some new connections, had a chance to reunite with old friends, challenged some Apes to a game of Foosball, saved bags of money with Freshbooks, tasted one of Dave O’s favorite craft brews at the Urbandig booth, snapped a photo or two in the Pop Chips & Smart Pic’s Lounge and  maybe even closed some financing or landed a new customer or two.  Rock on.

You can find more photos of the event on Flickr, of course. 🙂

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Announced: 15 Startups to Demo at Launch@GROW

It’s the announcement you’ve all been waiting for! Our awesome judges have chosen the 15 Finalists to demo their startups at Launch @ GROW on August 17th.

Congratulations and good luck to all of the companies. Without further ado, here they are:

Launch @ GROW’s 15 Finalists:

Cargoh.com

  • Cargoh.com is a curated marketplace for independent artists and designers. View Cargoh.com’s entry.

Food.ee

  • Food.ee is the easiest way to order take out and delivery food online. View Food.ee’s entry.

Hipsell

  • Hipsell is the easiest way to buy and sell things. View Hipsell’s entry.

Hoseanna – Serving Busy Women Everywhere

  • Hoseanna.com is the new auto-ship service that delivers the monthly essentials women have to (but sometimes hate to) buy. View Hoseanna’s entry.

Jostle.me

  • The Jostle™ SaaS platform is the modern way for employees to navigate their organization and be more effective contributors. View Jostle.me’s entry.

MentionMapp

  • MentionMapp provides powerful new ways to understand the rapidly changing social network. Starting with Twitter, MentionMapp displays the unique characteristics of how messages map, through the social community. View MentionMapp’s entry.

Rocketr – Social Notetaking

  • Rocketr is a cloud-synced, web and mobile application, designed for social notetaking across your public and private groups. View Rocketr’s entry.

Storypanda

  • Storypanda is building an iPad publishing platform for kids and parent to co-create kids stories together. View Storypanda’s entry.

Summify

  • Summify creates a periodic summary of the most relevant news stories, from all of your social networks, and delivers it by email and on the web. View Summify’s entry.

Tiipz – A Social Platform for Micro Research

  • The Tiipz plaform gives businesses a brand new way to reach out and gain insights from customers by creating and sharing Micropinions. View Tiipz’ entry.

ToggleMe with Tradable Bits Platform

  • With ToggleMe, you can create custom Facebook Pages and Places in minutes, and use simple Apps to engage your fans/customers. View ToggleMe’s entry.

Unbounce – DIY Landing Pages

  • The Unbounce Landing Page Platform makes it easy to create, publish and A/B test targeted landing pages without having to rely on IT or web developers. View Unbounce’s entry.

Warranty Life – Manage all your purchases & warranties for free

  • Warranty Life provides free instant online access to receipts, product registration, warranty claim information and even manuals in one central place. View Warranty Life’s entry.

Wishpond.com

  • Wishpond is a shopping search engine that brings together all the products your local stores carry. View Wishpond’s entry.

ZapTap

  • ZapTap makes product-specific information and customized incentives available when and where in-store purchasing decisions are made. View ZapTap’s entry.

 

Media Coverage
Techvibes will be highlighting each of these 15 startups in the coming weeks leading up to the event. They have already profiled Vancouver startup, Unbounce.

Tickets
Also, if you are still looking for tickets to the Launch @ GROW Reception, there are a few left  here on Eventbrite.

Feel free to leave some love for the finalists in the comments below!

Top 15 Startups for Launch @ Grow (#LPGROW) to be Announced August 2nd

As you may already know, the voting round for the Startup competition for Launch at Grow has ended, and the Top 25 finalists have been chosen by voters to move on to the next round. Check out the 25 Semi-Finalists here.

Our top-notch judges, from across Canada and Silicon Valley, are currently in deliberation until July 30th. The top 15 companies that will get do demo their startup live during the Opening Reception of Grow Conference will be announced Tuesday, August 2. So stay tuned! Feel free to tell us who your favourite startups are in the comments below, too.

Thank you to ALL of the startups who entered, and to all of the voters for supporting Canada’s startup community.

Also, if you haven’t bought your ticket for the Launch @ GROW reception yet (they’re free if you are attending GROW Conference), you’d better hurry, as they’re selling out fast. We hope to see you all there!

 

Don’t Miss the VEF’s Year End Events

VEF Momentum Hosts GrowLab’s Mike Tippett

Join Vancouver Enterprise Forum (VEF) Momentum on Friday June 24th at 6pm at the Republic, as they host Mike Tippett, co-founder of NowPublic, and the Executive Director of GrowLab, Vancouver’s newest accelerator for early-stage startups and entrepreneurs. Mike will share some of his own experiences as an entrepreneur and talk about how incubators such as GrowLab can help accelerate the development of tech startups.

Get your ticket now as this event is sure to sell out.

VEF Year End BBQ Event, June 28

A Casual Chat With Jonathan Ehrlich, Former Head Of Marketing At Facebook and Founder of Google Ventures Backed Copius

VEF is delighted to welcome guest speaker, Jonathan Ehrlich, former Head of Consumer Marketing at Facebook and Vancouver resident. Jonathan will talk about about his role and why he decided to leave and start up a new tech company all over again.

Jonathan will also share war stories about life in the Valley during the roller coaster years of the dot-com boom and bust as one of the founders of Mobshop, an early group buying pioneer that raised tens of millions of dollars and arguably paved the way for companies like Groupon a decade later.

Please note that NO tickets will be available/sold on the night. Pre-registration only.  Tickets include a yummy BBQ dinner.

VEF Members/Student $45
Non-members $80

Registration at www.vef.org.

Deadline to Apply for GrowLab and Launch@GROW Fast Approaching

If you are an early stage startup, and you haven’t heard about GrowLab, Vancouver’s new startup accelerator, or the Launch @ GROW startup competition, you need to listen up!

Deadlines to apply for these amazing startup opportunities are coming up, and they’re coming up fast!

GrowLab: Vancouver Startup Accelerator

Deadline to Apply: June 15, 2011

GrowLab supports the world’s best entrepreneurs through seed funding, office space, mentorship & programming in Vancouver & San Francisco. GrowLab is now accepting applications for its Fall 2011 program, which begins August 15, 2011. Find out if you should apply. Five companies will be chosen for the first cohort.

GrowLab startups get access to:

  • Up to $25,000 in seed funding
  • Office space
  • Four months of intensive programming
  • Three months in Vancouver. One month in San Francisco

Deadline for Fall 2011 Program applications: June 15, 2011. Apply today!

Launch @ GROW Startup Competition

Deadline to Nominate Your Startup: June 17, 2011

Dealmaker Media and Launch Party Vancouver are joining forces to bring you Launch @ GROW, the opening reception for 2011 GROW Conference on August 17.

You could win the chance to be 1 of 15 companies to demo your startup at the Launch @ GROW reception, AND possibly qualify to be 1 of 4 companies, who get to pitch their startup live on stage during Day 2 of the GROW Conference, on August 18. The competition is open to startups across Canada.

You can nominate your startup by uploading a video, or a photo with a description of your company, on the competition site by June 17Don’t miss out on the June 17 deadline. Enter your startup today.

We will be highlighting entries throughout the competition. So, don’t wait until the last minute!

Good luck!

 

 

The PhoneGap Story with Brian LeRoux

On Wednesday, June 1st, we had Brian LeRoux from Nitobi come by Bootup to talk about the PhoneGap story and the future of mobile app development.

PhoneGap is the only open-source mobile framework that supports 6 platforms – Apple iOS, Android, Palm, Symbian, Blackberry, and even more platforms will be available soon. Nitobi built this framework for developers to decrease the difficulty of trying to build apps that will function across all mobile devices.

Brian gave some background on how Nitobi shifted from being mainly a product-based company to a service-based one, and how PhoneGap came together in the process. PhoneGap’s source code has been downloaded more than half a million times, and the open source community has jumped on board with fervor.

The entire presentation was based on the internet meme that Tanner Glass, of the Vancouver Canucks, can fight bears. Check out his slides from the presentation and you’ll see what I mean. It sounds like it makes no sense at all, but it was rather fitting, seeing as how Wednesday was Game 1 of Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Brian had some great advice & suggestions for other startups in regards to web & mobile development:

  • Bill hourly. Nitobi tracks their time to the minute, and never gives fixed bids on projects. Makes sense.
  • NO overtime. Longer hours are detrimental to success.
  • Speaking at conferences is one of their best marketing tools. Not a lot of devs like to do presentations, but it is great for word of mouth and getting your name and your product or service out there.
  • Ship early. If a client wants a project completed in a month, see if you can ship it in two weeks.
  • Find a really tough problem and attempt to solve it. It’s more than anyone else is doing.

Some of the main takeaways from the talk were:

  • Tech deprecates. You do not have to. Stay on top of new tech by talking to devs.
  • Facilitate learning within your team.
  • Use devs wisely. Ask them about their passion projects. What are they hacking on over the weekend?

 

Brian then went into the actual PhoneGap code structure and ran some quick demos to show devs how fast you could deploy a mobile app on the platform. This is where the developers got all excited. If you’re technical, we highly suggest you walk through the slides below to take a look at the freedom the platform provides your mobile ambitions. With HTML, CSS, and Javascript you’re up and one multiple devices in minutes.

It’s really remarkable.

You can view the rest of the presentation slides here:

A huge thanks to Brian and Nitobi for such an enjoyable and technically exciting event. We hope to continue these PhoneGap events to follow the technology as it matures.

Announcement: Launch Party to Host Opening Reception of the GROW Conference

Launch Party, a launchpad event for early stage tech startups, is teaming up with Dealmaker Media’s GROW Conference to host Launch @ GROW for the Opening Reception in Vancouver on August 17th, 2011. The event will attract over 600 attendees including top tier investors, entrepreneurs and influencers from across Canada and Silicon Valley. And we are looking for 15 of the hottest Canadian tech startups from Vancouver to PEI to showoff their wares at the event.

Nominate your Startup
All you have to do is create and upload a two-minute video describing your company to the Launch @ GROW Startup site no later than June 17 for consideration. Tell the world what makes your startup unique and why you should be one of 15 companies to demo at Launch @ Grow.

In order to be considered, you must:

  • Have launched within the past 18 months or plan to launch at GROW
  • Be a Canadian company
  • Have a demo or live site for voters and judges to view
  • Startups that have demoed previously at Launch Party in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton or Victoria can still enter Launch @ GROW

Voting Starts June 17
On June 17, the first round of voting will begin! At that time, you should rally your friends and local tech community to get out and vote because the top 25 startups with the highest ranking will move on to the Semi-Finals.

Semi-Finals
A panel of expert judges will review and rank the top 25 startups to determine the 15 companies to headline at Launch @ GROW.  From shiny boardrooms to quaint coffee shops, our judges hear all kinds of startup pitches everyday. Take this into consideration when creating your 2 minute startup video entry for the contest.

Danny Robinson, Martin Ertl and Maura Rodgers at Launch Party Vancouver 9

Pitch Live on Stage @ GROW
4 startups will be selected on August 17 to Pitch Live on Stage at the GROW Conference on August 18. You need to register to attend @growconf in order to be considered for the Final 4.

We will be telling the world about this Startup Competition and the Launch @ GROW event, so go enter now.

Follow the Launch Party Canada Team List for Updates.  Hashtag #LPGROW:

  • Ken Bautista – @kenbautista
  • Janis Behan – @janisbehan
  • Saul Colt – @saulcolt
  • Mack Flavelle – @mackflavelle
  • Tina Hoang – @t1nah
  • Satish Kanwar – @skanwar
  • Christian MacClean  – @fourslice
  • Danny Robinson – @dannyrobinson
  • Maura Rodgers – @maurar
  • Sonia Ryan  – @sonsryan
  • Derek Shanahan – @dshanahan