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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UX & Design for Startups with Mike Macadaan, Dec. 1st

For most startups, user experience is considered a luxury rather than a necessity. Many of us are just trying to get our product/site out there fast and plan to focus on design and user experience when we have more resources. But everyone from startup superheroes Eric Ries and Paul Graham to Dave McClure will tell you that UX is incredibly important and startups should be thinking about it from day 1:

“It’s very important in the first phase [of Y Combinator], perhaps more important than anything else. We encourage startups to build the smallest thing they can as fast as they can and then get it in front of users immediately to test whether they like it.” – Paul Graham on UX .

“Design and marketing aren’t just as important as engineering: They are way more important.” – Dave McClure on the Value of Design.

We have hosted talks and workshops on everything from lean startup methodology to term sheet negotiations but we have yet to cover the importance of UX from the get go. So, I approached one of the best people in the biz, Mike Macadaan-  the current VP of UX & Design at MySpace and asked him to come speak in Vancouver.

Mike Macadaan with team and new MySpace logo

Knowing that Mike has spent the last year Redesigning MySpace, I thought it would be a perfect time for him to come to Vancouver to share his recent UX challenges and experiences, as well as what he has learned over the past 10 years.  On top of his experience, Mike is an all around good guy, who is very plugged in to the tech and startup communities in SF & LA.  Some of you may remember that Mike visited us once before when we co-hosted our second Launch Party event together, Launch Party with a Twiist in December 2007.

Few Tickets Left
Whether you are an Internet entrepreneur, investor, designer, product marketer, or a web developer- you should not miss what is sure to be a very informative and fun talk on December 1, 2010 at 9am-12pm at Bootup HQ, 163 West Hastings – Suite 200.  There are still some spots left, so scoop one up now.

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#.