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.
Advertisements

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.