Announcing David Cohen’s Visit to Toronto and Waterloo, April 22-23 2014

I’m very excited to announce that David Cohen, Founder  & CEO of Techstars will visit Toronto and Waterloo, April 22nd-23rd 2014.

David Cohen PicTechstars is the largest accelerator network in the world, with programs running in New York, Boston, Boulder, Austin, New York City, Seattle, Chicago and London, UK.

This is David’s second Canadian visit (he was a speaker at Startup Empire in 2008), but this time I’m going to take him around to a few startups and tech accelerators in Toronto and Waterloo.

The two main public events that you don’t want to miss will be the fireside chat interviews, similar to the previous one I did with Albert Wenger on Oct 23rd 2013. David loves to interact with entrepreneurs, so we’ll be in for a treat during the Q&A period.

Schedule Details

  • Toronto: April 22nd, 5:30PM-8PM. Location: OneEleven Centre, 111 Richmond West, 5th Floor. Register early at $9, before the price goes up to $11.
  • Waterloo: April 23rd, 6PM-8:30PM. Location: Tannery Event Centre at the Communitech Hub, 151 Charles Street West. Details will be posted on the Communitech Events page.

As a preamble to this visit, I asked David a few questions:

Q- Why have you decided to spend 2 days in Toronto and Waterloo?
David: I’ve been hearing about the fantastic startup community that has evolved there, and I want to see it with my own eyes!

Q- What important trends are you seeing in the tech/VC startup scene that young entrepreneurs should know about?
David: I think there are now about 10 great startup communities in the world to build Internet startups. I won’t start a war by saying which cities I am referring to. However, part of my personal mission and part of the mission of Techstars is to bolster that number to 50 or 100. We can do it. The idea that you have to be in Silicon Valley is so passé now. Sure, that’s one great place to be. But there is widely available information about great startups starting in many other communities now, so it’s certainly not the only place these days. I love that our generation gets to drive this change.

Q- Reflect on 2014 vs. 2007 when you ran the first program, and where Techstars might be in 2018?
David: Well, in 2007 this was nothing more than an experiment. Could we use a little capital and a ton of intense mentorship and the support of an entire community to attract great startups to apply? It turns out we could. Would they be able to raise money? Yup, $500M and climbing. Would they be successful? Yup, 33 exits now and billions in portfolio value. It has far exceeded my expectations. We have taken the idea of mentorship driven accelerators to great markets in the US. I can see us expanding a bit internationally in the coming years. We are also helping amazing corporations like Disney, Barclays, Sprint, R/GA, Kaplan, and more by running accelerators for them as they “give first” to founders in their areas of expertise. We’ll do more of that.

These 2 events will be sold out to capacity, so I’m inviting you to register asap, for Toronto or Waterloo.

David Cohen’s Bio

David Cohen is the Founder, CEO and Managing Partner of Techstars. Previously, David was a founder of several software and web technology companies. He was the founder and CTO of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation (NASDAQ: ZOLL) in 1999. You can read about it in No Vision, All Drive [Amazon]. David was also the founder and CEO of, a music service which was sold to in 2006. He also had what he likes to think of as a “graceful failure” in between.

David is an active startup advocate, advisor, board member, and technology advisor who comments on these topics on his blog at He recently co-authored Do More Faster with Brad Feld.  He is also very active at the University of Colorado, serving as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Computer Science Department, the Entrepreneurial Advisory Board at Silicon Flatirons, and the Board of Advisors of the Deming Center Venture Fund. He is a member of the selection committee for Venture Capital in the Rockies, and runs the Colorado chapter of the Open Angel Forum. His hobbies are technology, software/web startups, business history, and tennis. He is married to the coolest girl he’s ever met and has three amazing kids who always seem to be teaching him something new.

Toronto Location

OneEleven, 111 Richmond Street West, 5th Floor, Toronto. OneEleven is Toronto’s newest accelerator. It’s your chance to visit this brand new 15,000 square feet facility, dedicated to accelerate the commercialization of cutting edge research and development for the economic prosperity of the region.

Eventbrite - Fireside Chat with David Cohen, CEO of Techstars


OneEleven, 111 Richmond Street West, 5th Floor, Toronto. OneEleven is Toronto’s newest accelerator. It’s your chance to visit this brand new 15,000 square feet facility, dedicated to accelerate the commercialization of cutting edge research and development for the economic prosperity of the region.

This event is organized by Startup Management and hosted by OneEleven. It is made possible due to a sponsorship of OMERS Ventures.



Startup Management is a knowledge resource for growing, scaling-up and managing startups.

OMERS Ventures invests in companies with significant growth potential and market opportunities, seeking partners with a shared vision of building a vibrant knowledge economy.

OneEleven is a unique centre for commercialization that will create the talent and technologies that shape our future in ‘Big Data’.

Eventbrite - Fireside Chat with David Cohen, CEO of Techstars

Mesh 14 Hosted Startup Program

Photo by Daniel Solis

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

The children are our future

CC-BY-20 LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by regan76

We’ve been talking about how much support and infrastructure has changes for young entrepreneurs. When I graduated from the University of Waterloo, I did not know about startups. I looked at places like Interval Research Corporation, Xerox PARC, Advanced Technology Group as where new technology and innovative products were built and launched. When I thought about becoming an “entrepreneur”, it looked more like owning a sports store or being a consultant. I did not have role models or experiences that showed me the path to becoming an entrepreneur.

I have been lucky to be a part of the creation of UW VeloCity. VeloCity happened because of a generous donation by Ted Livingston, the vision of Bud Walker and  the leadership of Jesse Rodgers. For me, VeloCity was that thing I wish I had as an undergrad, beyond the cooperative education. The simplicity and support that high potential growth, technology companies were something that I could do (sure I had a degree in Kinesiology, but I was building software on NeXT machines). I did not have context or exposure to founders and the “startup” mindset.

It is great to see the support that IAF continues to offer Ontario entrepreneurs. The announcement of the Youth Investment Accelerator Fund is amazing. It was launched in 2013. We haven’t talked a lot about it as a funding source. But it is unique. The program invests up to $250,000 per company in technology-based startups founded by entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

The program has announced it first investments that include:

Go read Ian Hardy’s BetaKit piece for more details on the companies.

I continue to be surprised at the level of support for Canadian entrepreneurs with the government programs. There are conversations that need to be had about the efficacy of the direct versus indirect investing and services model. And it seems like this is happening at many levels from the Venture Capital Action Plan. (This is a conversation that needs much social lubricant – bring on the whisky).

I love seeing the changes and support of entrepreneurship as a career path with programs like UW VeloCity, Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, UofT Creative Destruction Lab and others. The additional support of programs like the Youth IAF (and the IAF proper) where capital is deployed by real VCs to companies is fantastic.

Keep up the good work Barry, Michelle, Scott, Jared, Rob and the whole team.