Bounty Island Is Now Available in the App Store

Our friends over at Compass Engine have just released their second location based game, Bounty Island. Their latest version features an improved UI and tutorial.

How it Works
Players check in to various locations and venues to unlock maps, which will aid them in their hunt for the mysterious Bounty Island.  Along the way, players earn money, collect treasure, dodge critters and stuff themselves on exotic fruits to restore their energy levels as they explore the world around them.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to get this game out to market and show the world that location doesn’t just have to be about coupons and deals but can simply be fun. Bounty Island is going to prove that location can be used to personalize a game, and we all know that the more personal the game the more engaging it is,” said Compass Engine CEO Mack Flavelle.

Get It!
I have not downloaded the game yet but Flavelle told me that 1000’s of others like me already have!  And you can too as Bounty Island is now available in the App Store for the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone.

Founder Story #2 – Amielle Lake of Tagga Media

Founder Story #2

Amielle Lake, Tagga Media

Tagga Media is a mobile marketing company which was founded in Vancouver 3 years ago. Since launching at LPV5, Tagga has pivoted in and out of many different business models and will be announcing some new changes in early 2011. I sat with Amielle this week to find out what’s in store for Tagga this year.

Be sure to follow Tagga on Twitter to hear of their upcoming announcements!
Twitter: @tagga

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.

Buying great startup books in Vancouver

I caught the tail end of a discussion that Tris Hussey was having on Twitter about the availability of certain social media books on shelves here in Vancouver. In particular, Tris and a bunch of other people in Vancouver have authored books which are hard to buy locally.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about as well. I get a lot of young entrepreneurs coming through my office, and many of them would love to just be handed a manual so that they can educate themselves. Steve Blank’s 4 Steps to the Epiphany should be on local shelves, and there are a number of other business, marketing, and tech books that we should be able to just grab from a local store.

(To Americans that may be reading this and just screaming “Amazon” at the screen, is a neutered version of the .com, and while we can order from the .com as well, shipping + the border take longer and cost more)

So, I suggest that anyone interested in having books like this in stock band together and approach some local stores about having a really great Startup / Entrepreneurship / Social Media section. As Tris found out, Chapters et al all get marching orders from Toronto, so the big box stores are going to be hard to deal with.

The two stores I have in mind (conveniently located in Gastown, of course) are Biz Books (focused on Film & TV because of VFS proximity) and the SFU Bookstore in Harbour Centre. I’ve sent Biz Books an email suggesting the idea to them, so we’ll see what they say.

Books to recommend? Leave comments and links below, and we’ll approach the stores and see what they say.

Entrepreneurship Theme Song

Yesterday, I asked the question “If Entrepreneurship had a theme song, what would it be?” Some laughed and thought the question was weird. But, I think ENTREPRENEURSHIP should have a theme song. Everything has a theme song, you win a football game and there is a theme song. you go on a road trip and there is a theme song, you get my drift.

From those that responded, I compiled a list. If you have a song to add to the list, please comment. The holiday season is approaching and who doesn’t want an “Entrepreneurship ROCKS” playlist?

1 – Stronger – Kanye West

2 – Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

3 – A Team Theme Song

4 – Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

5 – Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell – Das Racist

6 – The Great Escape Theme Tune

7 – Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

I know with all the entrepreneurs around, we can double this list easily. So, please feel free to add 🙂

How to get started in Vancouver Tech

Trevor O is one of the founders of Layerboom Systems. This was originally posted on his personal blog at

I’ve been meeting quite a few people who are new to Vancouver and are looking to get involved in the local Web and Tech scenes. There’s quite a bit going on, and Google is your friend, but if you want to save some time here are the best places to go, meet people and see what’s going on. There’s also a score for how nerdy or business-y (?) the event is on a scale of 1-10.

Do your research

Nerdy: 5
Business: 4

Find out what you’re interested and search for companies based in Vancouver that do what you love. If you’re enthusiastic people will make time for you. Ask someone out for coffee or a pint and just talk. Don’t try and get a job, just figure out what’s going on. Like any “scene” you’re likely to hear conflicting viewpoints. Keep an open mind. Look for and talk with local bloggers and tech reporters. Look for events happening in your area. If you’re interested in Open source projects, find out if the people who work on them are in the area.

Democamp Vancouver

Nerdy: 7
Business: 5

Like most unconferences, Democamp is a loosely organized evening event where the people that attend make up the conference. In this case you bring an idea, and the idea is your demo. You don’t have to present, and it’s a good way to meet people that are interested in starting something new, or are working a project already. Democamp doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, so if you’re interested in helping out there, check out the site and get in touch.

Launch Party Vancouver

Nerdy: 4
Business: 8

Every few months local entrepreneurs who are launching their projects meet up to celebrate all their hard work. Walk around and talk with people and get to know the people behind these projects. Most of the time the executives are presenting but ask to chat with some of the developers if that’s more up your alley. This is usually a very social event where you’re bound to meet a lot of interesting people – just don’t be shy.

Bootup Labs

Nerdy: 8
Business: 6

Bootup Labs is a local startup incubator which helps companies go from “zero to fundable”. The offices are located at 375 Water St, in Gastown and house a rotating group of Vancouver based startups which are always looking for talented help. Bootup has an open door policy so if you’re new to the area you can generally just pop in, but I suggest getting in touch with them first to arrange a quick (<30 minute) chat. Everyone is really friendly, and it’s a good way to plug in, or at least get pointed in the right direction.  Bootup helps run a few of the events in town, so pay attention to their upcoming feed for things that are happening


Nerdy: 5
Business: 5

Techvibes is a tech community blog and business directory. It’s a really good way to get to know which businesses are in the area and what they do. They also publish a list of events happening in town that range from an Entrepreneurial to Developer focus.


Nerdy: 2
Business: 10

If you’re more into the business and entrepreneurial side of things, I suggest checking out Vancouver Enterprise Forum or VEF. VEF hosts events on a monthly basis and it’s a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals.

Developer Meetups

Nerdy: 10
Business: 3

There are plenty of developer meetups happening in town. The umbrella meetup for all of these is the VanDev network. Join that and you’re bound to meet quite a few people. The most popular is the Ruby/Merb/Rails meetup which has events on a monthly basis.

I hope that’s enough to get you started! Let me know if there’s anything else you want added to the list.

How Many Paddlers?

Most startups wrestle with how to trade off development velocity against burn rate. Certainly we have been agonizing over this at Jostle.

A good analogy is that you are selfishly manning a life raft to row to shore, which is weeks away. Your only provision is a case of pop. Do you invite others to join you in your boat?

To keep it simple, let’s consider the case of hiring helpers for a single (‘lead’) coder. These helpers will be less expensive and less productive than the lead coder, so the overall impact on when you run out of money and how much code you have at that point is not obvious.

And there is a training period where everyone is less productive. And an ongoing supervision/coordination cost for the lead.

I built a simple model that takes all these things into account. Contact me at if you would like a copy of this Excel model so you can play with your own assumptions.

Using my assumptions, with a $50 k runway to support this team, results in the chart below. The dynamic seems clear — adding people shortens the runway much faster than it adds output. Adding a person shortens the runway by 33% and increases the output by 18%.

Runway and Output as a function of Team Size

Runway and Output as a function of Team Size

We know having runway is super important since it provides time to learn from customers and iterate the product. In our paddling analogy this runway provides more time for a plane to fly over and point out the direction we should paddle.

Which I think means that it makes sense to add a person only if the fit is outstanding and you need their skills ‘to get to shore’. Back to the paddling analogy — you add a person if they fit in the boat and there is a headwind that requires their paddling output.

But this is just a model with lots of assumptions (which are very sensitive to exactly who we hire and what we use them for). The consensus at Jostle, which was based as much on intuition as this model, was to go ahead and add one “helper” to the team.

Know any great young developers looking for a startup adventure?