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…

 

 

 

#LPGROW, It’s a Wrap.

On August 17, 2011, my desire to one day have a Canadian-wide Launch Party was finally realized as Bootup hosted the opening reception of the 2nd Annual Grow Conference in Vancouver, BC. From NB to BC, 15 startups from across Canada were selected to demo at the #LPGROW reception and mingle with over 750 investors, entrepreneurs and other influencers from all over Canada and the US.

Food.ee Demoing at #LPGROW

High Fives All Around
This was without a doubt our biggest Launch Party event ever. We could not have pulled it off without the support of our wonderful partners:

Payfirma
Vancouver born, Payfirma has answered Bootup’s prayers by finally solving our payment processing needs. Payfirma’s little chip plugs right into your iPhone to make it easy for you to take a credit card payment just about anywhere.  A huge thank you to the whole Payfirma team for being so supportive of LPGROW, Bootup and the whole startup community. Support this great, local company:
This may sound crazy but I have never just taken a cheque to pay for an event. We only partner with other companies and people, who truly care about and support entrepreneurs:
  • Initio Group – an Investment Group run by Managing Director, Mike Edwards. If you haven’t had a chance to meet or work with Mike yet, he’s one of the best angels an entrepreneur could ask for.
  • A Thinking Ape –  The Apes are making waves in Vancouver building seriously addictive games for the iPhone. The whole team rocks and we are happy they decided to call BC home. PS. They are Hiring!
  • LaBarge Weinstein –  A Canadian business law firm that totally gets startups. James Smith is a good guy, great lawyer and splits his time among startups from TDot to YVR. He’s on our top 3 referral list.
  • Freshbooks – One of Canada’s favorite companies makes it easy for startups and freelancers to save money and time on invoicing. Amazing product and customer service to boot! Bonus: Saul Colt is a genius WOM, who wears crazy pants.
  • Strutta – the platform behind the Launch @ GROW startup competition can help you create and manage beautiful branded promos online. Conversion without sacrificing your brand’s id! No coding necessary. (disclosure: Maura & Danny are founders)
  • Keith Spencer  – Keith is not only one of the best technology lawyers I know but someone, who dedicates a lot of personal time to help local startups and our tech community. They broke the mold with this guy.  Also, on our top 3 list.
  • Lonsdale Rentals – North Vancouver company Lonsdale Rentals came through again to support #LPGROW and provided us with all the things we needed to make the venue look great.  Super friendly staff. Don’t rent from anyone else!
  • Jet Cooper – A User Experience Agency in Toronto led by Satish Kanwar stepped up to help us with the LPGROW site, and twitter walls. Phew!
  • Layer 7 – Big thanks to Dimitri Sirota’s (one of the LP’s Co-founders) company for supporting our 11th event.
  • Queen’s Cross – From the beer to the flatbread pizzas, my good friend Chris Greenfield’s pub catered the entire event. Drop by his pub on Lonsdale in North Van. for a pint, ridiculously good food, and great staff. #Truth.
  • Yaletown Venture Partners-   I am looking forward to seeing YVP invest even more in the local startup community.
  • Urbandig – If you found yourself being served up a teacup sized portion of beer by a cheeky rabbit, you were not lost in a bad remake of Alice in Wonderland but rather at the UD booth. Big thanks to Team UD for throwing a great after party at the Hub in Yaletown! (disclosure: another company by Bootup ED, Maura)
  • Pop Chips & Smart Pics – If you nom nomed on their tasty chips or posed in the digital Photo booth, you have these two awesome companies to thank for all the fun.

Big thanks to our media sponsor, Techvibes for helping us spread the word and share your startup stories. True Story: Rob Lewis and his team can help you get your brand and message in front of thousands and thousands of readers. 

Bootup is run by a very passionate volunteer group of amazing entrepreneurs and startup peeps.  We seriously could not pull a rabbit out of a hat without their help (follow these awesome people now):

  • Sonia Ryan – Previously my right hand at Bootup and now a Trouble Maker at A Thinking Ape, Sonia hustled hard to make #LPGROW a stellar event. She’s awesome but you already knew that!
  • Janis Behan  – Janis is part of team Bootup and helped organize everything from setup to labels to bunny suits. We could not have done it without her.
  • Robin Leskiw – One of my dearest friends, who has been with me since LPV1 at Section 3.  She did everything from keep your wine glasses filled to clean up. ❤
  • Toan Dang, Eliz Sarobhasa, Alex Shipillo & Tammy Yik – Thank you so much for all of your help setting up that morning. Huge Help!
  • Pauline Lipska & David Cameron – You were amazing at working the crowd  and doing whatever was needed during the event.  So great.
  • Leila Pejman – A big supporter of ours and the tech community, Leila is always willing to lend a hand. Thanks for working the door and then some. Big Hugs!
  • Rohit Tandon – Designer, Producer and awesome DJ, spinned up some sweet tracks to set the mood.  Thank you.
  • Jodi Day – talented UI Designer and member of Team Strutta worked the door and made all of your beautiful name badges. I can always count on her.
  • Tina Hoang – Communications Manager at Strutta kept the line moving at the door and ran the entire #LPGROW Startup Competition from start to finish.  My hero.
  • Keighty Gallagher – Surprise, Surprise – one of our newest members of Team Strutta and pro hand sandwich maker helped Tina & Jodi keep things tight at the door. You Rock.
  • Mack Flavelle – also part of Team Bootup, Mack did everything from pick out super heros to wear a bunny suit. An entrepreneur himself, Mack knows how to hustle and #GSD.

Until Next Time
Thank you so much for joining us and showing the world that Canada is one of the best places in the world to bootup. We hope you made some new connections, had a chance to reunite with old friends, challenged some Apes to a game of Foosball, saved bags of money with Freshbooks, tasted one of Dave O’s favorite craft brews at the Urbandig booth, snapped a photo or two in the Pop Chips & Smart Pic’s Lounge and  maybe even closed some financing or landed a new customer or two.  Rock on.

You can find more photos of the event on Flickr, of course. 🙂