Lean Startup Conference from Agile Vancouver (Discount!)

If you’re anywhere near a startup these days you’ve heard and are likely practicing agile development and lean startup methods to push your endeavor forward. It’s a movement that’s sweeping the entire technology ecosystem and Vancouver is lucky to have a few of the movement’s visionaries stopping into town to discuss the topic in detail.

Agile Vancouver is bringing the Lean Startup Conerence to Vancouver on May 5th and 6th, taking place in the Vancouver Airport Hilton.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear a collection of industry leaders shed light on lean startup methods and best practices, while connecting with your colleagues in the regional technology sphere who are practicing and refining lean practices in their own businesses.

Register Now

Tickets are still at early-bird rates of $150 for the weekend, thanks to sponsors…but the organizers are generously offering our Bootup audience 20% off tickets by clicking here.  They’re also a co-founder deal gets you a second ticket for half price, and their group deals chop 20% off of every ticket as well. Head over to the conference website for these details.

Agenda

The agenda for the weekend is packed with thought leaders from the lean startup movement. The first day will feature speakers and panels, with the second day offering you the chance to deep dive into specific aspect of lean development with some of the conference’s most exciting presenters. Below are a few of the people you’ll see at the Lean Startup Conference…

Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits

These two co-authored “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development for Tech Startups”. Brant has been bringing technology products to market for 17 years, and Patrick has two startups under his belt and is deeply involved in LA’s lean startup community (he’s also a 500 Startups mentor).

Ash Maurya

Ash founded USERrecycle, wrote Running Lean, and is probably worth the price of admission all alone. His personal blog is a rich resource of lean startup principles and will be speaking on functional application of techniques to move quickly, be decisive, and iterating for speed, learning, and focus.

Owen Rogers and Steve Jones

Owen and Steve employ agile practices at Pulse Energy to develop SaaS solutions for large customers, and should have a fresh and unique perspective on the subject for having transitioned their team into a hybrid form of traditional and lean development methods to reflect their company and customer profile. Steve is also a Canadian paper airline champion, which is always worth noting.

Rob Walling

Rob runs about a dozen lean software companies and wrote “Start Small, Stay Small“. He’s an advocate for hyper-fast go-to-market processes and writes SoftwarebyRob, one of the web’s most popular startup blogs.

Lots More

That’s just a primer; the list of speakers and presenters is chock full of founder insights, investment perspective, and practical agile methods for technology builders and entrepreneurs. The entire agenda is here.

If you’re already going or grab your ticket in the next few days, let us know! A bunch of us Bootuppers will be there, so let’s connect!

This Week in Tech Events, Feb. 28 – March 5, 2011

Bootup will be hosting a startup workshop with Danny Robinson:

Co-Founder’s & Captables

Here are some other local startup events worth checking out this week:

The Lean Startup with Eric Ries hosted by BCTIA

Introduction to Samsung Bada Platform hosted by WaveFront

  • Thursday, March 3 8:30-11am
  • WaveFront – 1055 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • Free

6th Annual Women In Film Festival – Digital Media Forum

  • Friday, March 4 9:ooam
  • Vancity Theatre – 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver
  • Tickets $75, WIFTV members and $90, non-members

If we missed  your event, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below.

For more tech events and news, you can also check out our media partner, Techvibes.

This Week in Tech Events, February 21-25, 2011

Good Morning Vancouver!  Hope everyone had an amazing weekend and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine.

This week is a busy one in tech as the VEF, BCTIA and Bootup are all hosting events we think you should check out:

Clean Tech Panel Discussion: How to Capitalize on Current Business Opportunities hosted by the VEF

  • Tuesday, February 22nd – 5:30pm
  • Vancity Theatre
  • If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, your outta luck.  This one is Sold Out!

Social Marketing Kung Fu, Yellow Belt – “Listening Everywhere” with Dave Olson hosted by Bootup

  • Wednesday, February 23 – 5:00-7:00pm
  • Bootup Entrepreneurial Society – 163 West Hastings, Suite 200 Vancouver
  • $30 for non-members

Mac McIntosh – Marketing for Leads and Sales hosted by BCTIA

  • Thursday, February 24th – 8:00am -12:30pm
  • The Sutton Place Hotel
  • Tickets are $155.
  • Friends of Bootup can receive 20% off by using the Promo Code: Bootup when registering.

If we missed  your event, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below.

For more tech events and news, you can also check out our media partner, Techvibes.

The Art of the Investor Pitch with Boris Wertz

There are many posts, books, and seminars out there already that cover how to pitch investors.  As entrepreneurs, it is important to realize that there are many ways to pitch investors and each investor is different. For instance, some investors may care more about the team than the idea where others may want to see real traction before they invest.  The most important thing you can do first is identify the right investors for your business and learn everything you can about how and what they invest in before reaching out.  The right investor will be more than just an injection of cash. The right investor will bring loads of value in the form of mentorship, connections and added credibility.

Considering that Boris Wertz is one of Canada’s most notable super angels, we thought it would be helpful to learn his tips on pitching early stage investors.  As an angel, Boris has invested in more than 20 early stage consumer Internet companies in the Pacific Northwest including Summify, Sparkbuy, Tynt, Suite101.com and Techvibes to name only a few and sees his share of approximately 150-200+ pitches per year.  Out of those 200+ pitches, he many only invest in about 5-6 companies,  which means you have to be pretty stellar to cut through all that noise and land a term sheet.

Step 1 – How to Find the Right Investor
I know you are busy building a company but you have to poke your head out of the garage once and a while to meet other entrepreneurs, angels etc. and get to know the influencers in your community.  Through your interactions and presence at events, you will quickly learn more about the types of investors you should consider approaching.  Boris stressed that you really need to do your homework before you start knocking on doors, so you do not waste anyone’s time.  Once you have compiled a list of investors, dig deeper to find out more about the stage (early stage vs. later) what sector (software vs. ecommerce), business model (b2b or b2c) and geography each investor is interested in as well as who you know that can personally introduce you.

Step 2-  The Warm Introduction
As I have learned first hand and Boris noted in his presentation, it is always best to get a warm introduction to an investor rather than cold call or shoot off an email out of the blue.  An introduction from someone an investor trusts and respects could make all the difference in getting you a face-to-face meeting.  And when you finally do get an introduction – don’t send the investor a 20 page business plan ahead of time. Just an executive summary with a link to your product will do.

Step 3-  Nail the Pitch
Nailing your pitch is way easier said then done but if you have done your homework and been introduced to the right investors, you are off to a great start.  Boris and many Internet investors I know look at the team first.  A strong team can weather many storms and iterate and pivot when needed.  The idea will change, so Boris recommends that in your first meeting you:

  • pitch yourself not the idea
  • show a product demo
  • focus on a the high level concept, rather than digging deep into the long term plans and financials
  • keep your pitchdeck to 10 slides. Something Guy Kawasaki also preaches

What Not to Do:

  • Ask Investor to sign an NDA – If you ask for an investor to sign an NDA, you may not even get past your first slide. Investors see hundreds of pitches every year and chances are there are many other entrepreneurs, who are working on a similar idea. If you ask your investor to sign an NDA, you look like an amateur.
  • Share a detailed business plan and financials. In your first meeting, going into too much detail is not necessary.  Explain what problem you are solving first and show a demo of the product if you can.
  • Schedule a 30 minute or more meeting – Any meeting longer than 30 minutes is too much for Boris. If you are pitching an investor and he starts asking questions, seems engaged and you go over the allotted 30 minutes, that’s probably a good sign.  If you aim to deliver your presentation in less than 20 minutes and allow time for questions, you will be in good shape.

Remember, every investor is different.  Boris likes to spend time getting to know you before he invests. Other investors will be quicker to write a check.  Venture Capitalists usually take 4-6 months, if not more to paper a deal.  So, the be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to raise funds.

Boris’ Presentation
If you missed Boris’s presentation, he has posted the presentation on his blog here.  Thanks again Boris, for dropping by.

What Have You Learned?
As always, we love hearing from you too. If you have an investor Do or Don’t that you learned a long the way, please share with the rest of us in the comments below.

NOTE: Next Bootup seminar will be on February 23 – Social Marketing Ku Fu, Yellow Belt “Listening Everywhere” with Dave Olson. Sign up. He rocks!

Eric Ries coming back to Vancouver on March 3

Eric Ries, creator of the Lean Startup Methodology is no stranger to Vancouver. He dropped by Bootup Labs in April ’09, met with the startups and showed off his lean mug.

Last year, Eric’s Startup Lessons Learned Conference was happening in San Francisco on April 23rd, 2010.  Troy Angrignon and Bootup teamed up to host the simulcast conference live in our Gastown digs.  More than 5o entrepreneurs and developers signed up to attend the simulcast.

And now, BCTIA is bringing Eric to back BC with stopovers in Kelowna, Victoria and ending his tour in Vancouver on March 3rd.  Using examples drawn from his own experiences in Silicon Valley, Eric will guide you through key areas proven to increase the success and creativity of your innovation and tech company from business strategy, product, engineering, QA, marketing and delivery.

All registrants will also receive a free copy of Eric’s new book “The Lean Startup”.

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear him speak. Register here.

Support the Startup Visa Canada Initiative

Working with and meeting entrepreneurs from around the Globe is one of the things I love most about my job.  And since I am very proud to call Canada my home, I want the rest of the world to know that not only is Canada a great place to live – it is also a great place to start a company.

That is why today, we are pleased to announce and support the launch of Startup Visa Canada – an initiative designed to attract the best entrepreneurial talent from around the world, create jobs and enable qualified immigrant entrepreneurs to obtain a visa to start a company in Canada by removing the current red tape.  Simply put, we want to make it easier for the future, bootstrapping Sergey Brin to be able to come to Canada to start the next Google.

Current Legislation
As it stands, the Canadian federal and provincial government’s entrepreneurial programs contain minimum personal fixed asset provisions of about $300,000 and a long approval process.  Many immigrant entrepreneurs just don’t have the money or capital required under these programs and are denied a visa to start a company here.

This needs to change.

Here is what Startup Visa Canada is proposing
The Startup Visa Canada Initiative would create an alternate visa program that:

  • would swap the minimum asset provisions with a minimum Canadian investment of $150,000.
  • enable qualified Immigrants to partner with local investor(s) to expedite their temporary work permits.
  • would require Immigrants to have at least a third equity position in their companies, be active in management and create at least 3 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs over the course of a 2-year program period.

Inspired by Startup Visa US
Startups Create Jobs. They boost the economy and help us compete on a global scale. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors like Dave McClure, Brad Feld, Paul Graham and Canadian born, Paul Kedrosky have been pushing this message hard and lobbying the US government to approve a Startup Visa program. As a result, legislation is now pending in Congress.  

Let’s Beat the Americans to the Punch!
In the next 30 days, we would like to get the support of at least 100 key influencers, including investors, entrepreneurs and industry associations. Then, we can take this initiative directly to the Federal Government.

To endorse this initiative:
  • visit the Startup Visa Canada site
  • submit your name and fill out the brief form
  • spread the word and share via Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Follow our blog and twitter for updates

Founder Story # 1 – Rick Perreault of Unbounce

Whenever I meet another entrepreneur at Bootup Garage or at tech events around town, I am eager to find out what inspired them to take the plunge into startup life, how they met their co-founders and their plans for changing the world. And since startup life is far from easy, I really enjoy hearing about the challenges a founder may have faced and how he/she pivoted to live another day.

At Bootup, it is not only our mission to inspire and support Canadian entrepreneurs – we also want to share their stories with you.  Starting NOW, we will be talking with various founders around town and sharing their videos on our site.  We are not professional videographers, nor do we possess mad editing skills like our friends at Giant Ant Media – Sonia just has a flip camera on her at all times and she is not afraid to use it.  If you have a Founder Story you would like to see or if you want to talk to us, email sonia at bootup [dot] ca or drop by our office.

And so without further ado, here’s our very first – of hopefully many,  Founder Stories:

Founder Story # 1
Rick Perreault, Unbounce

Unbounce is a DIY landing page platform for marketers, advertisers and designers.  Founded in late 2009, Unbounce was selected as one of the startups to join Bootup for Demo Days in the Valley in February 2010 and as one of the 8 showoffs to demo at Launch Party Vancouver 9 on June 17, 2010. At LPV9, Unbounce walked away with the Judge’s Choice award.

Sonia Ryan of Bootup caught up with Rick in his Gastown office to find out more about what they have been up to since LPV9 and what’s in store for 2011.

Looking Back at 2010

Happy New Year, Vancouver!

Like many of you, when the New Year hits I am contemplative. I take some time to look back at what I have accomplished and experienced and then make plans for the year ahead.

Since Bootup Entrepreneurial Society launched 18 months ago, we have organized more than 40 events and supported or sponsored over 12 other tech events.  Considering it is only Sonia and I with 5 event volunteers, you could say we have been a tad busy!

The two big highlights @bootup for me in 2010 were:

  • Grow 2010 – This was an incredible event that not only connected Canadian entrepreneurs with the Valley but also brought us closer together as a national startup community.  I am really looking forward to @growconf 2011 on August 17-19 in Vancouver.  Early bird tickets just went on sale yesterday, so scoop one up for nearly 1/2 price now. Trust me – the whole experience is worth every penny!
  • Bootup Garage – We launched the Garage Pilot Project on Dec. 1st in partnership with BCIC and the response has been so positive.  Actually Awesome.  We have the best line up of mentors hosting office hours on a regular basis, who are committed to helping startup founders. AND we have some really cool entrepreneurs already building startups in the Garage.  We will be featuring some of the companies and startup founders on our site in the weeks to come.

We look forward to seeing more startups take shape and grow in 2011.  Please feel free to comment or drop us a note if you have some startup news to share.

If you are interested in seeing what we have been up to in 2010, you can click through our slides below:


Launch Party Vancouver 10 Gratitude

We kicked off the season with a bang at our 10th Launch Party Vancouver event on December 1st.  There were many familiar faces as well as newcomers, who dropped by Canvas Lounge to check out some fresh Vancouver startups, mingle with friends and colleagues and even sit on Santa’s lap:

Santa's Helper, kk, Santa, and Danielle Sipple

Launch Party is not just about the startups but about bringing our community together to have fun.  Thank you so much for joining us and for showing the world that Vancouver is one of the best places to start a company. We hope you had as much fun as we did.

Good peeps at LPV10. Photo Credit: John Biehler

Please Raise Your Glass to:
We have said it before but it has to be said again – Our sponsors + a whole lot of love and passion are what makes all of our events and existence possible.  If you are starting a company and need help finding the right lawyer, bank, SEO company etc, you should consider some of partners. They are giving back to the community and want to work with startups:

  • Canpages – fastest growing local search company in Canada with a nationwide API for smart phone application developers.
  • Clark Wilson – Mark Longo & Brock Smith are two of the best startup lawyers in town.
  • Outcome 3 – Need help with SEO? Want to improve traffic and conversion rates, contact Outcome 3. This team has helped Bootup with our site and many other startups in town.
  • HSBC –  This bank is interested in working with startups and has inexpensive packages that could work for you.
  • Fasken Martineau – Their office may boast one of the nicest views in town, but Keith Spencer and Shahrooz Navabi have definitely given back to the startup community many times. Good guys & lawyers.
  • KPMG – Most startups may not need the services of a big accounting firm in the early days but KPMG wants to work with and support startups at an early stage.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn how they can help you.
  • FMC – Lawyer, Gal Smolar has worked in the Internet startup Industry for a long time and loves it. He moved to YVR via Israel. Reach out.
  • Strutta – the platform behind the LPV10 Startup Competition. (disclosure: Maura & Danny are founders)

Big thanks to our Media Sponsors for helping us spread the word and share your startup stories:

  • Techvibes – If you want to get the word out about your startup or an event, then look no further than local tech blog, Techvibes. Rob Lewis had to miss LPV10 (a 1st!!) to cover the Canadian New Media Awards in Toronto but as always, did a great job spreading the word ahead of time.
  • The Next Web – Tris Hussey, who is now writing for the Next Web Canada did a great job interviewing of all of the LPV10 Startup Showoffs.  Thanks Tris!  If you haven’t seen their videos yet, check them out!
  • Startup DigestJon Chui, the curator of YVR Startup Digest is doing an amazing job keeping us all informed of weekly tech events. If you are feeling out of the loop, sign up to receive your Monday morning update in your inbox every week.

We may be a small team by day but when we need help, awesome people like this always have our back:

  • Jodi Day – talented UI Designer and member of Team Strutta, who makes us laugh and kept things rolling at the LPV10 door!
  • Chrissy Chrzan – Communications Junkie, who happens to be new to Vancouver, made sure everyone got thru the line on time.
  • Maral Artang and marketing pro, Nicole Steele helped check everyone in-and-out at LPV10.
  • Laurent Munier – Big shout out to Laurent for helping us with event logistics and planning.
  • John Biehler – Thanks for all the great snaps of LPV10, JB.
  • Lyal Avery – For making sure Santa showed up on time and for always being there.
  • Jeff Magnusson – For lending a hand with set-up and LPV10 candy canes for Santa. 🙂

And Last but DEFINITELY NOT LEAST:

Sonia Ryan – is my right hand at Bootup.  Thanks for hustling everyday and caring so much about Bootup and the startup community.  You are the best. I have enjoyed working with you and watching you come into your own this past year.  BAM! ❤

Sonia Ryan, Shelly Roche, Derek Shanahan Photo Credit: Weston Trimestra

You can find more photos of the event on Flickr, of course. 🙂  Until next time, keep on rockin’ Vancouver

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.

Mentors
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.

Funding
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, http://lpv10.eventbrite.com