Jake: Here’s the plan: we put the band back together, do some gigs, earn some bread, bang! We’ll have 5,000 bucks in no time.
Seems like I’ve been talking a lot about incubators, accelerators, catalysts, spark plugs, igniters and other programs designed to engage, educate and enable early-stage, emerging technology entrepreneurs. In the past 7 days, we’ve now seen the launch of new incubator/accelerator programs in both Vancouver and Montreal. The are 2 new programs both focused on bringing together the best talent, access to mentors, capital and networks beyond what many founders are capable of doing on their own. (Full disclosure: I am a mentor for FounderFuel).
Vancouver » GrowLab
GrowLab has risen out of the ashes of BootupLabs. It includes a spectacular founding team that includes a group of people many of whom I call a friend, and even more importantly they are a group I deeply respect. The group includes:
- Boris Wertz (LinkedIn, @bwertz)
- Deb Landa (LinkedIn, @deblanda)
- Leonard Brody (LinkedIn, @lbrody)
- Jason Bailey (LinkedIn, @superrewardsceo)
- Michael Tippett (LinkedIn, @mtippett)
The deadline to apply to the GrowLab program is June 15, 2011. Accepted startups and founders spend 3 months in Vancouver and 1 month in San Francisco with an intense mentorship program. The program also includes office space in both cities plus up to $25,000 in seed funding.
Montreal » FounderFuel
The FounderFuel is a new accelerator program with support from the team who started Montreal Startup and Real Ventures. It is a accelerator program that has been seeded with Cdn$2MM and has put together a great mentorship group that includes 85 entrepreneurs, executives, VCs, angels (and me). Ian Jeffery is the General Manager and the Partner at Real Ventures responsible for making FounderFuel work. I first encountered Ian as a competitor to his startup TinyPictures (I was running product at Ambient Vector/Nakama back in 2006). Ian successfully raised a big chunk of money and then proceeded to execute and eventually sell Radar to Shutterfly. I agreed to be a mentor just to personally ensure I get access to the team of mentors. It is ridiculous! The list includes >84 phenomenal leaders, executives, investors, entrepreneurs and people from Montreal and around the world. A sample of the awesome mentors (sorry for every I am leaving out):
- Patrick Lor (LinkedIn)
- Alistair Croll (LinkedIn, @acroll)
- Marc Alloul (LinkedIn, @MarcAlloul)
- Mike Shaver (LinkedIn, @shaver)
- Mark MacLeod (LinkedIn, @startupcfo)
- Howard Gwin (LinkedIn, @howardgwin)
The deadline to apply to FounderFuel is July 1, 2011. Instead of a 4 month program, the FounderFuel program is “12 intense weeks”. It is also a cohort based program that provides $10,000/startup + $5,000/founder in exchange for 6% equity. The program provide access to mentors, office space in Notman House, and access to a culture and ecosystem that has bred success in the past.
My one observation about both of these programs is that Debbie Landa was the only female listed. It is a really difficult and sad state. There are great number of female tech founders and leaders in Canada. I am disappointed not to see:
- Leila Boujnane (@leilaboujnane), Idee Inc.
- Suzie Dingwall Williams (@suziedingwall), Venture Law Associates
- Maggie Fox (@maggiefox), Social Media Group
- Tara Hunt (@missrogue) & Cassandra Girard, Buyosphere
- Kristine Matulis (@kristinematulis), Firstround Marketing
- April Dunford (@AprilDunford), RocketWatcher
- Amber MacArthur (@ambermac), MGImedia
- Gosia Green (@heygosia), LearnHub
These programs need to do better on encouraging diversity and actively seeking out different viewpoints. The good news is that it is easily rectified.
The deadlines for GrowLab and FounderFuel are approaching quickly. If you are interested in what hopefully is a world-class incubator/accelerator program you should definitely give careful consideration to these.