Why YOU Should Be At Next Year’s StartupFest Montreal

Editor’s note: This is a cross post from Onboardly blog written by Renee Warren (@renee_warren) & Heather Ritchie (@heatheranne) of Onboardly. Follow them on Twitter @onboardly or Onboardly.com. This post was originally published in July 14, 2012.

@danmartell of @getmoreclarity presenting – Motivation Trumps Knowledge

Well, it certainly was a memorable event. With no surprise we heard some excellent speakers and saw the likes of Dave McClure flipping the bird. It wouldn’t be a startup event without such a character. And for the other startups we got the chance to talk to and (finally) meet, it was well worth our time, money and bearing the heat!

Upon arrival we bumped into the fabulous @Brydon who staggeringly spoke to us about the fun times had on the startup train. Then we quickly sat down to a chat with Caitlin and Neil of @CreamHR. We were wow’d by the projects they are working on. Mixing psychology with real-time job talent hiring, their product quickly allows you to determine if a candidate is in the top 15% of people qualified for a particular position.

Off to the festival we went meeting brilliant startup after startup, and of course reconnecting with some of our favorite people from events past including the always entertaining/stylish @davidcrow, the lovable gang from @bnotions, and a huge cohort from @launch36, et al.)

East Coast represent! @launch36 and more startups in attendance.

On Thursday night, we hosted a founders dinner at Holder – one of Montreal’s finest restaurants. Thanks to everyone who joined us to make the dinner conversation spectacular. We were outnumbered 16-2 guys/gals so considered ourselves very lucky ladies indeed.

@startupCFO, @DavidCrow, @heatherAnne, @renee_warren, @kenseto, @mattskilly, @zakhomuth, @andrewsider and many more at dinner.

Also a ton of fun was the Wavo launch party, where they turned l’Augerge Saint-Gabriel into a booming hotspot, DJ’ed by none other than Real Ventures Mark MacLeod (@StartupCFO) & FounderFuel’s Ian Jeffery (@ianmtl). True (semi-hidden) talent exposed!

We could go on to mention every single person we met (all amazing!), but this post would go on for years. Instead, we’ll do our best to explain how awesome it was in a few key points in hopes of enticing you to do next year (or go again!).

Why You Should Attend @StartupFest Montreal:

  1. It’s a mini SXSW without the pressure to attend every open bar party
  2. There is less swag than SXSW, which means you aren’t paying for extra weight for your suitcase with all the new T-shirts you’ve accumulated
  3. You get to see the same people more than once and actually get to know them (smaller groups = more meaningful conversations)
  4. The caliber of attendees is amazing – no fluff; just good people/good ideas
  5. You get the chance to pitch your startup to grandmothers and teenagers
  6. Investors galore throughout the mix of attendees; lots of opportunity for 1-on-1’s
  7. It is in one of Canada’s most amazing cities: Montreal
  8. The speakers are amazing; short 20-minute talks keep things moving swiftly
  9. The organizers ride around on scooters. Catch them if you can
  10. $50k Startup Prize! (Congrats @Jintronix!; and runner-up @openera on the @founderfuel prize.)
  11. Local food vendors in lieu of cafeteria fare; crepes, pasta, international delights
  12. Ice cream truck. Enough said
  13. Mentor tents, live TV interviews, and cold beer

While we’re just now coming down from our conference high (and catching up on our sleep), we wanted to take this opportunity to sincerely thank organizers for a great time. Philipe Telio, (@ptelio) you have done it again!  You guys killed it. And you can guarantee we’ll be there next year.

Au revoir Montreal. A bientot!

Renee & Heather

Meet StartupNorth’s Rich New Benefactor…

Yes, that’s right. Our very own Jevon Macdonald reportedly has sold GoInstant to Salesforce for $70mm big smackers.

Forbes – http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2012/07/09/salesforce-com-reportedly-to-buy-goinstant-for-70m-plus/

Tech Crunch – http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/09/salesforce-com-reported-to-buy-goinstant-for-70-million/

Somehow missing from the GoInstant story is that they had picked up an extremely impressive list of customers, including several of the top ecommerce brands for whom I’m sure salesforce.com wanted deeper presence.

In fact its a double pay day for startupnorth. Jonas Brandon also was one of the super early investors in GoInstant and I’m sure is taking home a nice chunk of change.

Big Congrats to Jevon and the GoInstant Team, its not every day a small startup based out of Halifax builds $70mm of value in a short 2 year period and gets acquired by one the most successful technology companies.

June 2012 in Review

Market Analysis & Industry News

“2.3 billion people are now globally connected by the Internet. There are 1.1 billion mobile 3G subscribers. Almost 30 percent of all US adults now own a tablet. Mobile is cited as source of 8% of all e-commerce.” from Forbes citing Mary Meeker’s 2012 Internet Trends

A must read post by Rick Segal on the Secret VC Handbook. If you are considering raising institutional money, you should read Rick Segal’s (@ricksegal) The Secret VC Handbook:

“The debate between building native applications vs. mobile web sites has raged.” from Adam Nash’s (@adamnash) User Acquisition: Mobile applications and the Mobile Web

“Global population 7 billion. Mobile phone subscriptions 6 billion. Internet users 2.3 billion.” from The App Generation

What are the typical top sources of customers for early-stage SaaS companies?

Company Announcements

Mike Beltzner joined Wattpad as Head of Product.

Extreme Startups Demo Day featured keynotes from 500 Startups Paul Singh (@paulsingh) and Mayfield Fund’s Tim Chang (@timechange), with launch of Shoplocket, Granify, Gijit, and SimplyUs and Verelo.

Plug and Play Tech Center announces cohort of Canadian startups for StartupCamp that includes Pinerly and Willet.

Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone announced four new tech startups moving in including: Komodo OpenLab, YC grad KytePhone, Electric Courage and Virtual Next.


Company Description Amount Investors
Wattpad Wattpad is the world’s largest online community of readers and writers. $17.3MM Khosla Ventures, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Union Square Ventures, Golden Venture Partners
Lightspeed LightSpeed’s technology provides retailers with powerful tools that reinvent the shopping experience using Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones for retail management tools $30MM Accel Partners
BuildDirect BuildDirect is North America’s largest online destination for heavy weight building materials $16MM OMERS Ventures
Blacksquare BlackSquare is a leading market innovation for direct to consumer wine ecommerce globally. Seed Undisclosed
CommunityLend $3MM non-brokered private placement from a single investor
Novidev Santé Active Novidev Santé Active is a Québec agri-food business that has developed Vegetal IntelligenceTM, a unique process that preserves all the fruit’s natural bioactive compounds, and will be marketing its first ’super fruit juices’ under the Anti+ brand. $1.3MM 15 private Anges Québec investors including Charles Boulanger and Desjardins Innovatech