New Ventures BC 2008 Mentor Panel Two
My brain is still a little melted today from participating in the New Ventures BC mentor panel yesterday. 9am to 5pm, 8 presentations, 30 minutes for lunch, and short breaks between presentations. Wow.
For starters, let me say that this highlights the activity that is going on in Vancouver. Regardless of the specifics of the particular business model or idea, I was impressed by the way all the founders presented their companies and discussed their ideas.
As well, I really enjoyed hearing the varied feedback from the entire room of mentors. Everybody came from varying backgrounds, so it was great to hear the different perspectives that people had. One issue that came up a couple of times was the slippery slope of business feedback vs. presentation feedback (the mentors started riffing on the business). At the end of the day, the New Ventures BC program is a competition, and this event was to help the founders tune their investor presentations. Explaining your product or service succinctly and in an exciting, believable way, with the dollars and cents to back it up and show investor value.
The room I was in (there were three in total) had a technology / web focus. There were quite a few familiar faces presenting, but also some that were completely new to me. I’m trying to encourage new companies that I come across to enter themselves in StartupIndex.ca (we also have a company directory which we’re trying to figure out how to tune: the current list of companies are ones that we’ve spoken to the founders at length, and have extra information in our private Extranet).
Without further ado, here are the companies that presented to us:
- ClicVue: a home theater video aggregator — hardware plus a software based remote
- Project Opus: a revamped spin on the album — digital artist subscriptions for fans (I’m not getting this quite right, but I don’t know how public this is…I’m excited by this concept)
- CrowdTrust: personal identity and knowledge management
- QCDocs: the small business ERP (Sean the founder is our accountant, and we are going to be using QCDocs for all the startups that come through Bootup)
- AdHack: eBay for advertising, DIY advertising — disrupting the ad industry
- CloudTel: fully hosted business VoIP
- DreamBank: give dreams, not stuff
- Adventure Engine: a booking engine for adventure travel operators
The complete list of 30 finalists is on the NVBC blog. Aside from the official blog, Diaries of a Suburban Startup has been posting great content related to the competition, the startups, and the founders involved.
I spent some time posting commentary to my personal Twitter account. Unfortunately, my favourite Twitter tracker Twemes was affected by Twitter API breakage, so this Twitter search will have to do as an archive. Two of my favourite quotes are James Sherrett from AdHack mentioning the phrase “return on attention“, and David Gratton from Project Opus stating that the new “[music] album is a living document rather than an artifact”.
NVBC is definitely a great event that provides real value to the local entrepreneurial community. I myself participated in it 4 years ago when I came back to Vancouver, not to launch a company, but to go to the various seminars and meet the local community. NVBC should be on every entrepreneur’s list to attend. Thanks to Bob de Wit for asking us to participate.
Finally, special thanks to Andrew Kumar for loaning me an SFU wireless login so I could research companies and their competitors as they presented.