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September 9, 2008 / Boris Mann

International Incubators

Singaporean visitors @ Bootup

There are incubator-style companies and funds springing up all over the world. Y Combinator in Cambridge and the Bay Area, and TechStars in Boulder are the ones that we at Bootup identify with most strongly. And yes, we don’t like to use the term incubator since previous versions had very different models than today’s crop.

This past Thursday, Zac Boon came by to visit us. He’s with McLean Watson Capital, out of Toronto, Ottawa, and Singapore, and also runs Thymos Capital, based in Singapore. Their “who we are” sounds pretty familiar — it’s great to find similar concepts springing up:

a private business incubator which focuses on mentoring, seeding and creating successful Interactive Digital Media startups in Singapore with unique competitive advantages – sustainable businesses that are fundamentally sound and financially viable when they leave our incubation process.

Zac was on his way to the Bay Area with one of his mentored founders, and stopped off in Vancouver to see what’s happening here. We talked a bit about the challenges of smaller environments — Singapore is of course a city state, with about 4.5M people, and all of BC is about 4.4M people. This is definitely an area where we’ll keep talking — would it make sense to work with our governments to sponsor some cross pollination between BC and Singapore? I think so, so it’s time for me to go bug some of my contacts in the Ministry of Economic Development…

On the other side of the world, we’ve been watching SeedCamp in London, England. Chris Comella from BuzzPal did a great “blink” reaction on his top SeedCamp picks, and will also be heading to London to hang out with the SeedCampers even though he didn’t get picked. That’s initiative!

While I’m talking about Europe, a pointer to ClipperZ is in order — the team is another “friend of Bootup” that I’ve kept a connection with for years. They have tools for building “zero knowledge” web applications that apply to security and identity online. Their updated intro to zero knowledge web apps and ClipperZ is on SlideShare.



  1. Stefan / Sep 9 2008 6:46 pm

    Hey guys – we are one of those international companies in the same space and we also don’t like the term incubator. As it happens I will be in Vancouver next week (Monday / Tuesday). Any chance for a meet up?



  2. Boris Mann / Sep 9 2008 9:16 pm

    Hi Stefan! Just sent you an email, would love to meet and discuss further with you.

  3. chrisco / Sep 9 2008 9:36 pm

    Thanks for the shout out, Boris.

    Cheers from Sweden,
    and next week London,

    PS: BuzzPal is sponsoring its first-ever event
    next week, too: TechCrunch/Seedcamp Tech Talk.

  4. chrisco / Sep 9 2008 11:47 pm

    Was just checking out ClipperZ. Very interesting.

    I have been (and still am) searching for a great solution to my password-related problems (I know you guys do more than that), but I don’t think it exists yet. Currently I use encrypted volumes.

    Everything seems so fuzzy in the space right now. The pieces to the puzzle are in front of us, but nobody (as far as I can tell) has assembled them yet (in a great way — for the user).

    I think it is a big opportunity (everybody online needs and many will pay), but I agree that cryptographic stuff should be open-source so people who know how can “trust, but verify” (and publish results, debate, test, improve the system, etc.).

    Looking forward to checking out ClipperZ more!

    Cheers again,

    PS: This is what I want: 2-factor authentication with my MOBILE PHONE being the token (and some security around that — lots of options there).

  5. Andrew / Sep 12 2008 6:38 am

    The term ‘incubator’ isn’t ideal, but then if other people recognise it then it’s fairly unavoidable. We prefer the term ‘virtual technology incubator’, which makes it clearer that we’re specifically focused on technology and that we run a very light-weight model – very different from the traditional bricks and mortar classic approach in this field.

    SeedCamp is definitely looking interesting and there’s also the Google Developer Day coming up next week in London, which is always a good opportunity to mingle and spot the next big idea.

  6. Sarah / Sep 1 2010 7:09 pm

    Do not trust Zac Boon.

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