Bootup Puts A Bow On It and Passes the Torch to Launch Academy and Van Pixel Crafters

On June 12, Bootup Entrepreneurial Society hosted our last #hurrah to celebrate the past three years and say thank you to our many supporters, advisors, and all of the entrepreneurs, who hustle hard everyday to build something that matters in Vancouver.

I didn’t get a chance to say all of the things I wanted to last night. So, if you will indulge me, here goes…

It’s in Our Blood.
One of the questions I was frequently asked over the past three years was why were we doing this?  If you are an entrepreneur, you will understand my answer was quite simple: From our amazing board and mentors to our GSD organizing committee, we were and forever will be entrepreneurs. And when you have risked it all and sold your house to seed fund your startup, helping other entrepreneurs is just part of your DNA.

As fellow Yankee and local Vancouver entrepreneur, Paul DeJoe of Ecquire so eloquently wrote in his popular Quora response about What it feels like to be a Startup CEO:

You start to see that the word “entrepreneur” is a personality. It’s difficult to talk to your friends that are not risking the same things you are, because they are content with not pushing themselves or putting it all out there in the public with the likelihood of failure staring at them every day. You start to turn a lot of your conversations with relatives into how they might exploit opportunities for profit. Those close to you will view your focus as something completely different because they don’t understand. You don’t blame them. They can’t understand if they haven’t done it themselves. It’s why you will gravitate towards other entrepreneurs. You will find reward in helping other entrepreneurs.

Finding reward in helping other entrepreneurs was at the heart of everything we did at Bootup.   One day last March, I recall looking around Bootup and noting an international mix of entrepreneurs from Belgium, Czechlovakia, England, Singapore, Canada, and the US, working out of our office. I kid you not. I loved that they felt welcome at Bootup and that many of them were choosing to start their companies here, in Vancouver. It was a very cool moment for me and something you can’t really quantify.

By the Numbers.
I have worked with and met some incredibly talented people and I am really proud of what we have accomplished over the past three years. While there are many things I can’t quantify or measure, I can tell you that our team:

  • Organized 100 startup events and supported many others like Metabridge and Grow Conference.
  • Welcomed 10,000 attendees
  • Launched 95 companies
  • Hosted more than 30 startup talks with experienced mentors like Brad Feld, Dan Martell, Mike Macadaan, Paul Kedrosky, Dave Olson, Guy Kawasaki, Jonathan Ehrlich, Matt Galligan, Tom Higgins, Patrick Lor and many others
  • Launched Bootup Garage Pilot Program and had over 40 signups
  • Worked with 40 Local Mentors and hosted regular office hours at Bootup including Boris Wertz, Jason Bailey, Ryan Holmes, Dennis Pilarinos, Danny Robinson, Milun Tesovic, and David Ascher to name a few
  • Brought 8 startups to SF on a road trip to pitch Valley VCs
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
You have all made a huge difference and helped many.  Thanks again.
Passing the Torch.
If you are looking for great startup events and programs for entrepreneurs, here are two organizations you need to check out and get behind:
  • Launch Academy a collaborative community space for tech founders and hackers was founded by Ray Walia, Jesse Heaslip and Roger Patterson. It is everything that Bootup Garage aspired to be and they are just getting started. If you are looking for a place to start your company and learn from the best, you should apply now. Their space is presently located in the GrowLab open office.  We need this in Vancouver. Support this and get involved.
  • VanPixelCrafters is a community driven organization recently founded by Boris Mann and Mack Flavelle. Boris and Mack have been organizing popular tech events like Democamp, Lean Startup talks and HackVan since I have known them. Vanpixelcraft will continue to put on community tech events targeted at the web, software, and design craftspeople of Vancouver and share your startup stories on their blog. If you want to help out or contribute, you should get at them.
As for me, I am still here to help.  I will be focused on working with Mike Edwards at Initio Group, my startups, supporting the groups above and personally, trying to spend more time with my growing family.
It’s been a good run!  Thanks for everything.
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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!

 

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!

 

 

BCIC Town Hall with CEO Danny Robinson

How are we going to make BC the best place in the world to start and grow technology companies? Well, BC Innovation Council’s CEO, Danny Robinson, has a plan. And we all have to help.

Yesterday at the BCIC Town Hall, to a packed room at SFU Segal Graduate School of Business, Danny shared BCIC’s mission, strategies and guiding principles that will help to fortify BC’s technology ecosystem, and support the creation of thousands of new technology jobs in BC.

Prior to the Town Hall meeting, Danny wrote a blog post outlining these strategies and principles. At the meeting, which was also viewable via webcast, Danny explained BCIC’s plan in further detail, ensuring us that are to be no holes whatsoever in the technology entrepreneurial ecosystem. Danny further stated that this new mission can not be completed by one person, or one organization alone – that in order for BC to become be THE technology hub of North America, the startup community has to work together.

BCIC’s intention is to actively monitor the quality and availability of the support programs available to BC entrepreneurs, and ensure that there is always somewhere, in every region, for entrepreneurs to go for help in every stage or technology sector. Whether companies anchor, exit, or fail, BC will still benefit from the knowledge and experience gained. As Danny stated, “Never believe anyone that says they did it right the first time.” Those failures mean that they might get it right the next time. Or even the next time.

BCIC is also currently developing software to be able to track and help entrepreneurs as they progress through the stages with their startup companies.

An important item to mention, is that everything BCIC does, or plans to do, is going to be fully transparent. All of their plans will go up on their VOTE site, for the public to give feedback on, before they happen. And every year, program ideas available to entrepreneurs will go back up on VOTE, to re-evaluate them, and see if anyone has any suggestions to improve on them.

Entrepreneurs have already been pitching program ideas on the site, and voting and commenting on them. BCIC is reviewing all suggestions and will be responding to each of them. An entrepreneur added Bootup Garage to the list of Programs on Vote.BCIC.ca and it is the top Voted suggestion on the site.  Thanks so much to everyone who voted and commented.

Lastly, Danny reminded the crowd that we, the entrepreneurs in BC, need to start telling our stories “loudly and proudly.” Not enough people know that major startups like Flickr and HootSuite were started in Vancouver, BC.

At the end of the presentation, Danny opened up the floor to questions, and those watching via webcast could also contribute via twitter throught the hashtag: #BCICTownHall.

The webcast and Danny’s presentation slides are now available online, or below, for those that missed the first Town Hall, but if you already have ideas or suggestions on how to improve BC’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, make sure to drop by http://vote.bcic.ca/ to contribute them.

 

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

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