Hardware Workshop: May 2-3

underpants-gnomes

Step 1. Start a hardware company.
Step 2. ?
Step 3. Profit.

If it were only that easy. You can ask  PebbleInteraXonThalmic, Bionym, PUSH Strength, Kiwi WearablesClearPath Robotics among others about the challenges of designing, testing, manufacturing and distributing a hardware-based company. There are a lot of subtle , unexpected complexity in moving from bits to atoms. And one of the best ways to learn about complexity is from operators made mistakes and found a way to do it.

There is a Toronto based event happening called the Hardware Workshop happening May 2-3, 2014. The event is hosted by Marc Barros (Moment) and organized locally by Katherine Hague (Shoplocket) and Zak Homuth (Upverter). It features an amazing set of people with real world experience in all aspects of building hardware-based businesses, including:

It looks like a great workshop at an amazing price. Looks like the workshop costs are covering the out-of-pocket expense of the organizers for food to allow participants to focus on the content and learning opportunity. (Seriously, do the math $75 * 75 = $5,625 barely covers the catering costs).

“What makes this workshop unique is the quality of the content, the deep operational experience of the teachers, and the long term connections you will make. Hand curated, each teacher covers a unique topic that falls within the startup’s life cycle from an idea to reaching market fit.”

If you’re interested in learning about building a hardware startup and about the mistakes that others have made (so you can avoid them). This should be a fun 2 days. Apply to attend.

[Disclosure: I am an investor in Upverter. ]

Mesh 14 Hosted Startup Program

Photo by Daniel Solis http://danielsolisblog.blogspot.ca/2013/05/appearing-at-mesh13-conference-in.html

I love Mesh Conference. I’ve called it “Toronto’s most important DIY conference“. It is an event that ebbs and flows with the opinions and interests of it’s founders:

It starts like a joke, did you hear the one about the marketer, the lawyer, the journalist, the founder and travel guy? These guys are all successful in their own right. And they continue to bring together a unique viewpoint that is different than the corporate marketing events and tradeshows. This is something about the underlying currents at the intersection of technology, marketing, politics and culture. I’m hoping they continue to bring people who challenge  existing ideas and frameworks. (My keynote invite would go to Shanley Kane of Model View Culture.)

One of the interesting additions to the program has been a separate startup track. I’d like to see a little more overlap in the participating startups with the audience and attendees interest. It is great to see early-stage companies getting local support to reach the Mesh audience. The Mesh 14 Hosted Startup Program provides:

  • Complimentary registration;
  • Demo Alley;
  • and 15 Minutes of Fame presentation.

Apply Now | 60 days left

Photo Credit

Where’s Waldo?

CC-BY-NC-SA-20 Some rights reserved by Jameson42

I’ve written about CIX Top 20 Follow @CIXCommunity in 2008200920102011 and 2012. To follow my pattern here is my post for 2013. Full disclosure: I sit on the Advisory Board for CIX. 

There are 3 core events in the Canadian startup calendar:

There are other happenings and gatherings ranging from NxNE to HPX Digital to Mesh to the C100 events. If you need a reminder about the state of the Toronto startup ecosystem, make sure you check out my now 14 month old but still relevant post, Don’t Panic.

Each of the above events is optimized for different audience needs. CIX brings the  viewpoint of Canadian investors (if you care). The advisory board is primarily venture capitalists (a few lawyers, a couple of CEOs and  one evangelist):

  • Roger Chabra, Rho Ventures
  • Boris Wertz, Version One Ventures
  • Mark MacLeod, Freshbooks (recovering VC)
  • Barry Gekiere, IAF
  • Joe Catalfamo, Summerhill VP
  • Justin LaFayette, Georgian Partners

The advisory board is 44 people big. And approximately 30 are doing some form of investment. It’s almost 70% are actively making investments in technology companies. There is very strong Canadian VC and investor representation in the group that advise and plan the conference content.

And it shows in the content, of the 67 scheduled speakers (as of Nov 14), 19 of the speakers are from the advisory board – that’s 28% of the content. (It’s even higher if you include partners and others from firms of advisory board members). If you want to know what Canadian VCs and investors are thinking, this is the best way to see what is important. They define this conference. They provide the content and the voices at the conference.

So why go?

CIX gives you insight in to the types of companies, IP and traction that Canadian investors are currently looking for. It is the barometer of the “high potential growth technology companies” in Canada. It will be interesting to see what everyone thinks are the hot companies and trends. The panels and policy discussions are the things that Canadian investors are grasping and struggling with. It will be interesting to hear the conversations.

You might argue that as an entrepreneur you don’t care about these conversations. They don’t help you grow your business, build your product, or acquire customers. But they do provide you insight into the mind set of the people you are trying to raise money from. That might be the thing that gives you an unfair advantage in understanding their decision making process this year.

I love that 2 of my personal investments Upverter and OpenCare made the Top 20. Full disclosure: My employer, OMERS Ventures, is an investor in 360 incentives. I’m also excited to check in on Breather, Bionym, AxonifyHubba and others. The CIX Top 20 has turned out some of the best companies in the past 5 years.

It is possible to make your luck at CIX (just remember the preferred method of connecting).

Photo Credits

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