Category Archives: Ontario

Lean Startup Day @ MaRSDD on Dec 3, 2012

Lean Startup Day Toronto - Dec 3

The team at MaRS and JoltCo are providing local access to The Lean Startup Conference Livestream. Sure they’ve been crazy enough to invite me to host the event and a panel, but that shouldn’t keep you from attending. This is a full day event, it starts early (because we’re EST) and continues late (because the conference is PST).

The event is divided into 2 streams:

  1. Stream 1 – Hands on stories, workshops and discussion with people in the local ecosystem
  2. Stream 2 – Livestream of the conference from California and the program looks outstanding with Matt Brezina, Danny Kim, Jocelyn Wyatt, Stephanie Hay as well as the usual luminaries (Eric Reis, Steve Blank, etc.)

Great opportunity to connect with other founders and entrepreneurs. Talk about what is working, what hasn’t worked, and what else you can try. The benefit of having a strong community like we do in Toronto, is that we can get together and share. The community is not an end in of itself, it is a means to an end. And while entrepreneurship can be lonely, there is an accessible community of other entrepreneurs, mentors and others that can help.

First, you need to put yourself in a path for these unexpectedly good things. Second, you have to be able to see these serendipitous events — you have to make the connections. And third, you have to be able to act them. The definition of luck is that you were willing to do something.” Lane Becker

Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo, where is Montreal?

Startup Genome Ecosystem Ranking

The state of the Canadian cities in the StartupCompass Startup Ecosystem Report 2012 (Get the Report) is interesting. The Startup Ecosystem Report 2012 lists 3 Canadian cities:

  • Toronto # 8
  • Vancouver # 9
  • Waterloo # 16

It leaves Montreal out of the top 20, it might very well be # 21. But it is very hard to determine without the full report that is due out later in the year. I also find it very strange, given the strong Montreal supporters in the  ”Local startup ecosystem supporters” listed in the document:

The data reminds me of other analyst driven research companies (think GartnerAltimeter, etc.). The methodology leaves it open to bias. But it is a great stick in the sand based on our own community survey responses.

“The index is based on data from more than 50,000 startups around the world who are using the Startup Genome’s Startup Compass, an automated analyst in the cloud that helps businesses make better decisions via benchmarks and actionable recommendations.”

It will be interesting to continue to read the report and lessons for Canadian entrepreneurs.

Rush Week

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The next week has a set of crazy awesome events for  startups, founders, marketers, community builders and the like in Toronto. (Check out a fuller list of events at Toronto Startup Fall Event List 2012). Personally it looks like I will be attending JoltCo Demo Day, Royal Canadian Mint Challenge Awards Ceremony and A Conversation with Brad Feld about Startup Communities. If you’re interested in understanding Toronto’s startup landscape and participating, you could consider this rush week without the complete stupidity.

It feels like a crazy two weeks. I was in Halifax for HPX Digital last week. I skipped Hacking Health this weekend (Thing 1 learned to ride her bike this weekend, so it was totally worth skipping this event). This doesn’t event take into consideration that I’m going to see New Order on Oct 23 and there is a second show on Oct 24 with tickets still available.

Oct 23 – JoltCo Demo Day
Looks like an amazing cohort of startups presenting. Includes eProf, GreenGauge Mobile, ShelfLife, SlingRide, tout.it, Venngage. I’m excited to see the pitches/presentations and the progress that each of these teams has made. 
Oct 25 – Royal Canadian Mint Challenge Awards
What can I say I’m a judge…But seriously this event has an amazing lineup. David Wolman and some other big thinkers in commerce, currency and the future of money. The Royal Canadian Mint has done a great job.
Oct 25 – AndroidTO
This is a great lineup. Boris Chan of XtremeLabs who is on our 2011 Hot Sh!t ListMike Beltzner of Wattpad; Oleg Kosteur of Pair – back after raising $4.3MM, etc. If you are building on Android and in Toronto. Get tickets to this event!
Oct 25 – Startup Grind Toronto
A fireside chat with Nikhil Kalghatgi, an NYC-based VC with Softbank Capital, whose portfolio includes Huffington Post, Zynga (back when the model was working), Gilt Groupe and Buddy Media.
Oct 26 – TEDxToronto
Always inspiring talks this year includes Steve Page formerly of the Bare Naked Ladies, Dr. Joseph Cafazoo of eHealth Innovation, Sonya JF Barnett and Heather Jarvis of Slut Walk (ok not purely startup but it should be interesting)
Oct 29 – HackerNest Social
A fun, laid back social event to connect with developers, designers, marketers, and others. Hosted by ex-Extreme Labs participant Shaharris Beh (LinkedIn) and others.
Oct 30 – A Conversation with Brad Feld on the Starutp Community in Toronto
We’re hosting this event. Do you love or hate the Toronto startup community? Lots of people talk crap, but this is an opportunity to participate in a conversation with Brad Feld. Brad wrote the “Boulder Thesis” about growing, building and sustaining an entrepreneurial community in Boulder, CO. Join us and help make Toronto a better place for startups.
NOv 1 – Startup Ping Pong TO
Ping Pong, startups, do I need to say any more? Get your tickets! And come out and hustle.

Community is the platform on which all of our individual actions stand.

There are a lot of great events happening in the next 7 days. My advice is pick one or two events to attend and participate. A long time ago, Mark Kuznicki quoted me as saying “The Community is the Platform” and others have elaborated. My advice is get out there and participate.