Wednesday Wrap Up: Before Lunch Edition
Woo hoo! I managed to get this wrapped up before lunch this week. As always, please send in your links or stories for inclusion next week. Keep your eyes on events next week – Techvibes is calling it Angel & VC week, and there is definitely a lot of stuff going on.
Making Your Mark Entrepreneur Documentary Film
Jason Boritz and Jonathan Salemi contacted us late last week:
They’re looking for funding to do post production on this documentary. Check out more on the movie’s website, Making Your Mark.
Books for Startups
I put a call out for books that startups / entrepreneurs / etc. should be reading last week. Dave Smith left a comment, mentioning Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start and Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne. I also found local entrepreneur Mike Desjardins doing a little video on 6 must reads.
Tech funding and innovation in Canada
Ottawa-based Alec Saunders, CEO of Voice 2.0 startup Iotum, has been writing about the tech industry in Canada, investment levels compared to the US, and if we are innovating. His current post says that the “precursors of success are here”, and goes on to highlight several areas in Canada where innovative ecosystems could be built, listing the Waterloo / Golden Triangle area, Toronto, and Montreal.
I guess he doesn’t know about our own Pacific Northwest Golden Triangle of Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle. Education? Well, my own alma mater the University of Victoria has the second largest coop program behind Waterloo, and here on the mainland we have the UBC and SFU powerhouses, never mind more technical colleges like BCIT. The fact that we’re so close to the “down south” activity is another advantage (and I’m reminded of Bellingham-based Tatango, whose CEO Derek comes up here quite often).
I’ll close up by quoting Alec’s thoughts on venture funding in Canada, which I wholeheartedly agree with:
We have the educational institutions. We have a few of the anchor companies. The biggest missing ingredient to drive Canada’s technology industry is funding. Venture, as an investment class, has returned poorly in recent years, while natural resources have provided stellar returns for investors. It’s not a surprise that the Canadian venture sector is shrinking, not growing.
It’s also worth remembering that every dollar diverted from venture toward digging resources out of the ground is a mortgage on the future of all Canadians.
Addressing the venture funding gap should be a top priority for the Conservative government’s budget on January 26th. In fact, it should a top priority for every level of government from Federal to Provincial and even Municipal. We don’t necessarily need government funding for venture capital. We do, however, need conditions that encourage a private sector venture industry to prosper.
I think everyone agrees with this sentiment, so my one piece of commentary is that we need to get past highlighting the problems, and move on to creative solutions.
W2 Media ICT Cluster
This is a bit last minute, but Irwin Oostindie asked me to help get locals from the Gastown area to come out and help kick off the W2 Media ICT Cluster launch. It’s at 5pm on Thursday, Jan. 22nd, at the Shebeen. If you’re a CEO of a tech company in the area and want to hear more about building connections between businesses, please attend and share your ideas. You can find out more at http://www.creativetechnology.org/
Rizwan Kheraj works for the NRC / IRAP program here locally, and comes across a ton of info relevant to Canadian startups. Here are a couple of selected links from him received via email this week:
- Canadian Venture Capital Monitor is a “quarterly publication on the VC industry in Canada.” It covers VC activity in Canada. The Q3 2008 data just got released.
- Canada Summer Jobs 2009 has funding for “non-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewere employees to create high-quality summer job opportunities for students between the ages of 15 and 30”. The application process is between February 2nd and February 27th.
- Another last minute event for tomorrow night is the ARLO Industry Seminar on Competitive Intelligence (also in our Bootup Labs event group on Upcoming)