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.

Video: A look Inside #LPGROW

Dan Kelly from Dank Media put together this great video recap of #LPGROW on August 17, 2011 featuring interviews by the lovely What’s Trending Host and Fellow Canadian, Shira Lazar and an inspiring speech by Payfirma‘s Founder and CEO, Michael Gokturk.

If you missed the event, you can see Shira’s interviews with the Founders from the top 4 Launch Party companies: Unbounce, Tiipz, Rocketr and Summify, highlights of the other 11 amazing LPGROW startups, snippets of a jampacked, lively room full of Canada’s best and brightest, and lots of bunnies hopping about.

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

Bootup Names Boris Wertz as New Chairman

Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson, Dave Shea, and Boris Wertz. Photo Credit: Raul Pacheco, #LPV5

The Bootup (BES) board is filled with entrepreneurs and investors, who are committed to helping the Vancouver startup ecosystem grow and thrive including Danny Robinson. Danny has acted as Chairman of the BES board since our very first meeting and has done an amazing job helping us stay true to our mission to inspire and support Canadian Internet entrepreneurs.

Over the past two years, Danny has invested in 10 new Internet companies (8 via Bootup Labs), co-founded BES and Launch Party Vancouver with me and mentored many other startups. I have known Danny a long time both professionally and personally. But anyone, who has seen Danny interact with startup founders can easily see that rolling up his sleeves and working with entrepreneurs is the thing he loves the most about his job. It’s truly inspiring to watch a founder(s) Danny has worked with take an idea, get traction and go on to build a great company.

As of today, Danny is leaving Bootup to become the new CEO of BCIC. Board member Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures has accepted the role as BES’ new Chairman. Like Danny, Boris is incredibly passionate about entrepreneurship and has invested a lot of his time and money into Vancouver’s startup ecosystem. We are really excited to have Boris step up as Chairman to build on what Danny has started. In addition, Jeff Magnusson has joined me as the interim COO at Bootup to help roll out our plan for a cool new space for Founders, which we will be sharing more details about very soon.

Thank you, Danny for sharing your knowledge and passion with us. We will miss you around here but are incredibly excited that you will be able to continue your work at BCIC. We think they are pretty darn lucky to have you and wish you all the best in your new role.

More good things to come in 2011!

Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson, Dave Shea and Boris Wertz – Photo Credit: Raul Pacheco, #LPV5″

OH at #GROWConf

All was atwitter last week in Vancouver as some of the best Internet entrepreneurs, influencers and investors flocked to our beautiful city from across Canada and Silicon Valley for the highly anticipated, first annual Grow Conference.

Here’s a little sample of funny, inspiring and thankful tweets and “overheards”  at the conference, around town and in the Bootup Labs office:

OH @growconf:

    • ellenlevy: nice to be back in Vancouver for the Grow 2010 Conference… last time I was here I was running the Vancouver marathon! #in
    • ericries: Feels like everyone I know is in Canada. Congrats #Grow “@danmartell: serious freakin’ #startup talent in this room http://yfrog.com/nekp6aj
    • RobHayes: Headed to #GROWconf up in Vancouver.  Can’t wait to get me some Tim Horton’s and a Molsen Canadian #broughtmytoque
    • tconrad: Vancouver is amazing — beautiful, clean, incredible setting. Met 100 inspiring Canadian entrepreneurs yesterday.
    • MayorGregor: potent morning @ grow conference. 450+ all stars in tech+finance. silicon valley #vancouver mashup#growconf
    • chrisarsenault: OH: @davemcclure to entrepreneurs: if you don’t feel “out of control” you aren’t going fast enough #growconf
    • jtoeman: Quantity of ipads at @growconf is astounding. Even for a tech conference it’s high.
    • barbie_t: The 2 rules from Lane Becker: #1 startups are hard, #2 nobody knows anything. Follow your own vision at the end of the day. #GrowConf
    • brian_wong: At #growconf – phenomenal day so far. Great to catch up with everyone!
    • kevin_swan: It’s not about accepting failing, it’s about not fearing failure – Lane Becker #growconf
    • robinaxon : 24 hours into the conf and the energy is still high. Tom Conrad from Pandora is just taking stage. #growconf
    • springad: @tconrad shares that Pandora has no product roadmap. Stays simble and allows them to react to market changes #growconf
    • alexcapehart: Maple Leaf Mafia. You heard it here first.#GrowConf (@deblanda, @flowtown)
    • sonsryan: building a billion dollar business in 2 years doesn’t accelerate how fast you’ll get through customs.#growconf
    • KatrinaCF: @Groupon’s Andrew Mason: “my biggest f**k up was waiting too long to launch”. #growconf #inspiring
    • @davemcclure just got the wave going in the conference room at #growconf!!
    • kevin_swan: They should put a 30 second delay on this panel with @davemcclure and @superrewardsCEO participating.#fbombs #growconf
    • GundersonLaw: awesome weekend @growconf . Many many thanks @deblanda. Top of the food chain event.
    • jeff : Back home. #growconf was a blast (congrats @deblanda). Jetlag + conference = beat. Way too many emails to dig in. Good night/week-end y’all!
    • bwertz: GROW was probably the best web conference ever organized in Canada – great speakers, very good networking, amazing event venue. #growconf
    • chrisalbinson: Awesome #growconf. @debbielanda rocks(-: Fun to see #c100 come north.

OH @growconf after parties and around town:

OH @bootuplabs:

    • foodtree: The @bootuplabs office is BUZZING. If you’re in town stop by for tech talk, wifi, and coffee. (magic combo, right?).
    • bmann: I’m not getting much “work” done, but there is a ton of @growconf related networking happening at @bootuplabs. MTL is in the house.
    • skanwar: Out @bootuplabs – great conversations with @sonsryan, @summify, @strutta and more. #growconf
    • davidcrow: @extremevp I’ve had so much fun with open office hours @bootuplabs @wavefrontac met many companies, must repeat in TO at EVP.
    • alkarim: Finding masses of inspiration all in one place.
    • kevindahl: Just “put yo weight on it” during slideshow karaoke @bootuplabs. Human centipede not allowed…
    • anulman: Thanks again, @bootuplabs! #PPTKgrow was loads of fun. Presents in your fridge.

Launch Party Vancouver 1-9 in Photos

At our first LPV in September 2007, we had 120 attendees and a handful of startups and at LPV9, we had 9 amazing companies and over 500 people in the room.  To me, this just proves Vancouver is for Startups and our community is growing.  Here’s a snapshot of LPV over the years.

LPV 1 – September 27, 2007
Section 3, Vancouver
120 attendees, 6 Startups

Photo Credit: Phillip Jeffrey

LPV 2 – Launch Party with a Twist
December 5, 2007
The Republic
Special Guests – Mike Macadaan, Shira Lazar, Bill Wetherell, David Robinson & Heather Vescent from Twiistup in Los Angeles.
200 attendees, 6 startups. Check out the Video here

Photo Credit: Duane Storey

LPV 3 – January 28, 2008
The Lamplighter
250 attendees,  6 startups

Photo Credit: Philip Jeffrey

LPV4 – May 21, 2008
The Republic
300 attendees, 7 Startups

Photo Credit: Ianiv & Arieanna

LPV5 – September 18, 2008
Unwine’d
300 attendees, 6 Startups

Photo Credits: Tris Hussey, Raul Pacheco

LPV6 – February 26, 2009
Uber Lounge
350 attendees, 6 Startups

Photo Credit: Bobby Dassler, Ianiv & Arieanna

LPV 7 – June 2, 2009
Uber Lounge
400 attendees, 7 Startups

Photo Credit: Jason Brown

LPV8 – Under the Launch Party with Dealmaker Media
September 16, 2009
Circa Resto Lounge
400+ people, 8 Startups

Photo Credit: Bootup Labs

LPV9 – June 17, 2010
The Roundhouse
Special Guests: C100 Organization, iNovia Capital, Dealmaker Media
500+ attendees, 9 Startups

Photo Credit: Jeremy Lim

Thanks for all the fun and support over the years.

To view more LPV photos or share some that you have taken, please add them to our Launch Party Photo Group on Flickr and tag them with LPV#.

Metabridge 2010 or Bust

After having a successful exit, I look back and found that in the early days the biggest challenge wasn’t the great idea we had, it was getting people worth talking too, to listen to what we had. – Steve Wandler, Founder of Metabridge

Last Thursday afternoon, Danny Robinson of Bootup Labs drove a big blue Suburban filled with 6 other entrepreneurs from Vancouver to Kelowna for the 2nd annual Metabridge event.  After a late start and a pitstop in Hope, BC to refuel at the iconic Hope Drive in & Restaurant, we were on our way!

Photo Credit : @dshanahan of Foodtree.com

Derek Shanahan of Foodtree, Lyal Avery of Outcome 3, Mack Flavelle of Compass Engine,  Cristian Strat of Summify and Dean Prelazzi of BCIC were all brave enough to make the trip with Danny at the helm. Both Derek and Cristian are from out of town so I was really happy they could join us and take in the beautiful scenery on the Coquahalla.  No companies were formed but many ideas were shared and my belly hurt from laughing so hard on the road to K-town.

Photo Credit : @dshanahan of Foodtree.com

Day 1
We arrived in Kelowna just in time to catch the bus to the Quails Gate Winery for the Welcome reception.  It was great to see so many old friends from Metabridge 1 including Ethan Anderson, Founder of Red Beacon, Peter Haubrich, Founder of ORIC, Jason Richards of Vineyard Networks and Gary Symons, Founder of Vericoder.  Unlike the first Metabridge, the room was full with many attendees from Vancouver and I was not the only female entrepreneur in the room.

Photo Credit : @dshanahan of Foodtree.com

Day 2
A pitch breakfast for attending startups kicked off Day 2 before a day of Golf or a Sparkling Hill Spa tour.  There were only 8 companies in attendance last year and over 30 startups at Metabridge 2.  Since I spent the day catching up on work, I did not get to experience either afternoon adventure personally but I heard that a full round of golf at the Okanagan Golf course was hands down the better choice!

Photo Credit : @stevewandler of Metabridge

Metabridge ended with a networking dinner at Earl’s Restaurant on the water. Various visiting VIPS were assigned seating throughout the venue and acted as hosts for each table.  I was paired up with Lars Lekkie from Hummer Winblad and Amy Leger of HuStream and Brent Bolleman from Axel Partners joined us.  I can’t sit still for very long so, as soon as dinner was over I was table hopping and mingling.  Without naming names, I made many great connections, who I intend to keep in touch with in the future.

Photo Credit : @dannyrobinson of Bootup Labs

Thanks
Many people were thanking Steve Wandler, the Founder and organizer of Metabridge throughout the evening and he deserved all the props he was getting.  It takes a lot of hard work to pull an event like this off successfully.  Luckily, he had the help of Chantelle Kshyk, Event Manager from Ostec, who is absolutely fantastic to ensure everything ran smoothly and left attendees raving.

Bring Back the Boat!
When I caught up with Steve at the end of Day 2 to thank him as well, he turned to me and said “I don’t want to just hear how great the event was.  I want to hear how I can make it better and better.”  To which, I replied – “well, I have a couple of ideas…”,  which includes a boat, Dale Fuller 😉 and a few other suggestions I will share with Steve the next time he is in town.

Photo Credit : @stevewandler from Metabridge 1

All and all it was a great event!  Kelowna has a growing and very supportive tech community.

Thank you Steve, Robert Fine, Chantelle and the entire Kelowna Tech Community for being such great hosts. You are welcome at casa Bootup anytime.

F5 Expo: The Secret to Success: Avoiding Start-up Pitfalls

If you fail, fail in style – Michael Fergusson on starting your own company.

On April 7th, I was amongst thousands who attended the F5 Expo, which was full of familiar faces, gadgets and mascots and buzzing with talks on innovation.

Cybele, Founder of Webnames.ca and me.

I sat in on the The Secret to Success: Avoiding Start-up Pitfalls panel with Bootup Labs’ Danny Robinson, HootSuite’s Ryan Holmes and Ayogo Games’ Michael Fergusson, and moderated by SoMedios’ Carisa Miklusak.

These startup stars shared their stories and opinions on passion vs. experience to funding and finding that work/life balance we all strive for.

Passion VS. Experience – What’s more important?

When looking for a Co-Founder or expanding your team, Ryan said he prefers passion over experience. “Passion cannot be taught or bought. When you are passionate, you will hustle hard and work through the hard knocks.”

Danny believes that passion and experience deliver the same result: “the ability to rely on your intuition to make the right decision.” Danny explains his thoughts on passion vs experience in more detail here.

Michael, on the other hand, felt that many startup founders lacked experience, but few lacked passion. Passion is usually what motivates entrepreneurs to start a business in the first place. “You obviously need both to succeed. Having said that, experience is usually what’s missing.”

Funding – When should you start raising money and which VC should you go after?

Ryan, Danny & Michael

Danny explained that it’s not about the firm, it’s about the partner. The partner is the one sitting on your board and is the person you keep updated with company stats and information.  It’s really important to establish a good relationship with your partner as they become a vital part of your start-up. He also mentioned that when raising money, you need to know how much money you need to raise, and once you have this number, work backwards.

Ryan believes that raising money is highly dependent on the circumstances. He suggested looking into angel investment and convertible debt earlier on if you can’t generate revenue from day one.

Michael didn’t comment too much on funding but did say that the process of raising money and managing investors should distract you as little as possible from your vision and plan for the company.

Balance – Why it’s important for you and your company.

Michael expressed the importance of work / life balance when starting your own company. You need to be distracted by these things, though, if you’re going to stay healthy (for yourself) and productive (for your business).

Ending Notes

In summary, the panel was insightful, personable and honest. They did a great job in painting a picture on how to avoid certain pitfalls when starting a company. Listening to how passionate they were about starting a company has me itching to start one of my own.  Who’s with me?

If you are an entrepreneur, who has been or is currently on the startup roller coaster, what do you think is important? What lessons have you learned?

Missed the show, here are some great shots by Jeremy Lim.

Connect ’09 Ticket Winners

During our Under the Launch Party Event (LPV8) on September 16, we held a draw for two free tickets to Connect ’09, a premier event for technology startups hosted by the BC Innovation Council (BCIC) on October 19, 2009 at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, BC.

And the Winners are…
Congratulations to LPV8 attendees, Carly Franklin of Magpie Social Media
and Dan Coburn of Atomic Robot for winning the tickets to Connect ’09. 
That night, Carly and Dan will enjoy panel sessions with industry experts, a technology expo, awards ceremony and great networking with other innovators in the BC technology community including BES Board members, Leonard Brody and Danny Robinson.

Leonard is the Keynote Speaker this year for Connect ’09. Among his many achievements, Leonard is an experienced entrepreneur, who co-founded NowPublic, a citizen generated news website that recently sold to local news network, Examiner.com. Having heard Leonard speak before, I believe you will walk away feeling inspired.

Danny has been starting and advising companies for over 15 years.  As Managing Director of Bootup Labs, he helps early stage digital media companies go from “concept to proof.”  Danny will be sharing his wisdom on the Accelerator Factor panel at 5pm. If you are launching a startup, you will want to attend this session.

Join Carly, Dan, Leonard, Danny and many more innovators and technology professionals at Connect ’09.  If you haven’t got a ticket already, you can learn more about the event and register at http://www.bcic.ca/connect