We can’t all be founders

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“We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” – Will Rogers

It’s true now even more than when Joe Kraus (@jkrauswrote in 2005 (original post), “it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur” (see Mark Suster’s brillant post on the startup explosion and on changes in the software industry). But is there too much of a good thing? Mark Evans asks if there “are too many startups?”. I think the question that Mark is really asking is not are there too many startups, but is it too easy to become a founder.

We put a lot of focus on the founders of early stage ventures. But let’s face it, not everyone is or should be a founder (See: Founders versus Early Employees). We need to start and grow companies. This is more than just a whole bunch of 1 and 2 person pre-seed startups. We need people to want to cut their chops at Wattpad, Wave Accounting, Well.ca, Lightspeed Retail, Fixmo, Shopify, Kik, Hootsuite and other startups. People that can grow a company to 500 million users and beyond.

“Being an early hire at a startup gives an individual the ability to make tremendous impact on an organization as it grows – and both the founders and those hires should know it.” David Beisel

We need to create companies that create opportunities for employees to become their Chamath Palihapitiya and Andy Johns or Adam Nash. There are a number of Canadian startups that are poised to break out. All they need is a few key people to make a huge difference. I tried to highlight a mix of founders and the people behind the scenes on the Hot Sh!t List (2011, 2012). There are the founders that we always talk about, but there are people behind the scenes that are driving.

“Cross-pollination among companies is what drives so much of innovation, so I would not project a lot onto this event” – Brett Taylor (@btaylor)

We’ve seen a number of young founders build brillant products and then move to new roles. Josh Davey (@joshdaveyLinkedIn) founded BurstN and is now killing it at Chango. Daniel Patricio (LinkedIn, @danielparticio) founded Pinpoint Social and is building products at Jet Cooper. Ben Yoskovitz (LinkedIn, @byosko) founded StandoutJobs and NextMontreal, is now the VP Product at GoInstant. There are lots of opportunities at Canadian startups for entrepreneurial employees to make a huge impact!

Looking for a gig at a Canadian startup? Check out the StartupNorth Job board which features jobs like:

More reading on starting your own vs joining a startup:


Round13 Capital puts founders first

Scott Pelton, Bruce Croxon and John Eckert - Round13 Capital

Round 13 CapitalWhat’s interesting about the Round13 Capital announcement today isn’t the size of the fund – they are targeting $100MM. It isn’t the people who are involved – they are amazing. It isn’t the LPs – they are different. The team, Bruce Croxon, John Eckert and Scott Pelton, are bringing together a group of entrepreneurs to serve as mentors. This is not uncommon in the US with a number of funds like SoftTech VCFelicis Ventures, Founders Fund and similar to Founder Collective (if you are interested read the Kauffman Foundation’s Do Entrepreneurs Make Good VCs? [PDF]).

“Venture capital firms with a greater fraction of entrepreneur VCs have better firm performance. The positive relation between entrepreneur VCs and performance is stronger for venture capital firms specializing in high-tech industries and in early-stage investment.”
— Do Entrepreneurs Make Good VCs – Entrepreneurial Finance and Innovation Conference – The Kauffman Foundation

The Round13 Capital team has done an amazing job of bring together founders with exits as both LPs in the fund, and more importantly as mentors for their portfolio companies. This is a critical differentiator for Canadian entrepreneurs. Hopefully the Round13 fund will close and they can start funding Canadian entrepreneurs soon.

Round13 Investors/Founders

This is great new for Canadian entrepreneurs!

Extreme Demo Day

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Extreme Startups has announced the Demo Day for the first cohort of companies. We’ve written about Extreme Startups in the past, we’ve covered some of the cohort including Shoplocket, and we think a number of cohort qualifies as Hot Sh!t (Jeff Lawrence (LinkedIn, @datajeff) of Granify; Michael Curry (LinkedIn, @mikecurry) of Verelo and Andrew Louis (LinkedIn, @hyfen) of ShopLocket).

Extreme Startups

Companies presenting at Demo Day are:

Get a ticket or an invite

There are no shortage of events for startups in Toronto, ranging from the originator but currently offline DemoCamp to the reinvigorated SproutUpTO. But DemoDay is shaping up to be an exciting event, with a full house, I heard that there were over 400 confirmed attendees with a large number coming in from Montreal, New York, Boston and the Bay area.

The demos are happening on June 19, 2012 from 1-4pm. There is a post demo social happening starting at 8pm. StartupNorth is proud to be supporting both the demo event and the evening social.

StartupNorth.ca is a proud partner with Extreme Startups. Sign up for our mailing list (we use Mailchimp to publish our RSS feed to subscribers) and we'll randomly select 5 subscribers for tickets to the Extreme Demo Day and Social on June 19, 2012.