Next week is the Canadian Innovation Exchange. I sit on the Advisory Board and StartupNorth is an Association Partner. We are big fans of the event and have watched over the past few years as CIX has gone through changes and growth. It continues to evolve both the CIX Top 20 as well as the event. The focus in 2012 is about providing meaningful content and experiences for entrepreneurs. This is a change from the past where you might argue that the focus was on the investors attending. There is a strong focus on building an amazing event will attract amazing entrepreneurs, which in turn will attract amazing investors. And it the 2012 event looks to be very entrepreneur focused.
One of the bitches about this event used to be the pricing. There is a $199 entrepreneur ticket. Seriously, if you can’t justify the cost versus the opportunity to either see an amazing program or for the chance for random collisions with some of the best investors in the game actively deploying capital in the Canadian ecosystem.
This is your chance to hustle (see my comments about hustling at CVCA). Make your own luck. There will be people that buy products and the people that invest in companies at this event. Make something happen.
I love seeing Switch Video, an audience of VCs and companies that need video to grow their business. Bingo. Good hustle.
Buy a $199 ticket and figure out how to make serendity happen!
Where to start? Entrepreneur One-on-One with Jevon MacDonald Follow @jevon. Sure he sold his company to Salesforce, but you know he started a blog, this blog. Jevon is a great guy. He has helped me with my thinking about startups in Canada, the role of venture capital, and with corporate development. GoInstant was around for a little less than 24 months, but I know that Jevon will be talking about the >5 years of hustle at Firestoker and Dachis Group before GoInstant. It should be a great conversation for founders looking for an understanding of how an amazing overnight deal.
The trade off is that if you go see Jevon, you’ll have to skip How Emerging Companies Can Think, Appear and Act Like they are Bigger then They Are which features Daniel Debow Follow @ddebow, Michael Hyatt Follow @mhyattbluecat, Yona Shtern Follow @yshtern and Razor Suleman Follow @razorsuleman. This is about how to strategically build a reality distortion field. Should be fun to learn the secrets of these 4 crazy entrepreneurs.
We spend a lot of time focusing on Lean and pre-product/market fit companies. But there are equally difficult questions about culture and growth at scale. There is a panel hosted by Howard Gwin Follow @howardgwin and Derek Smyth Follow @derekjsmythwith Dan Shimmerman of Varicent and Michael Harris of BlueCat Networks. This should be a good mix for companies that are in the scaling cycle. Given that apparently everything that Howard and Derek touch turns to gold: Varicent, Dayforce, Rypple and they have their hands in others Desire2Learn, Hootsuite, Vision Critical and others.
And there are US VCs. There is Mike Katz Follow @MBKatz from Battery Ventures and Devdutt Yellurkar Follow @devdutt of Charles River Ventures (who invested in Influitive and Wave Accounting locally) and Alexander Kolicich of Mithril Capital Managment (and I don’t know the intricacies but Mithril is associated with Peter Thiel is associated with Valar Ventures who invested in ShopLocket).
If you can’t find content that can help you, you’re doing it wrong.
It’s not about the content
Seriously, it’s not about about content. It’s about the hallway conversations. The random collisions. But you need to be there and you need to participate to have the chance for those things to happen. There will be a lot fo interesting folks in Toronto early next week, you should figure out how to have a collision. And make your own luck!