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1 week ago

Hey everyone,

Which accounting software do you use to run your startup?

We are in the process of looking for one and would love to hear everyone’s opinion to make a better decision

Looking for something with robust inventory solution because we have multiple warehouses.
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Currently using quickbooks (desktop), but hoping to switch to Xero soon.

I used to work in Accounting SaaS and always recommended Stitch labs for those with complex inventory: www.stitchlabs.com/new/?utm_expid=.s-ca-038Rp-zjBOz_eHlGA.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google...

How are you currently managing your accounting Jad Azar? I work in this space and have found that the best choice often depends on where data lives today and how it's being processed/analyzed by you/your team.

Speak to Mark Canes he can help

I run a bookkeeping/accounting firm and we prefer Xero plus an inventory solution like Dear or Unleashed. PM me if you have any questions

Joey Steben

We use Xero. It’s quite intuitive and flexible

xero!

We made the switch from QBO to Xero!

Although Xero's core inventory functionality is good, for more complex scenarios you're better suited using a third-party/add-on apps like Dear, Unleashed, Stitch Labs, etc. Various clients of ours use Dear integrated to Xero and I can confirm that Dear supports multiple warehouses, including integrations to e-commerce platforms (Shopify for example). Feel free to DM me if you have further questions - happy to help!

Started using Xero but customers and investors forced us over to QuickBooks.

Hey folks... I've heard terrible things about how Xero handles (or rather don't handle well) Canadian payroll, taxes, etc. Can anybody share their experiences related to Xero vs Quickbooks payroll differences with me here, or privately? PS: I have a new respect for all the accountants / bookkeepers / finance folks in this group.

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1 day ago

SheEO Venture applications are open in Canada until Nov 1, 2019

Please help us spread the word.

10 questions. No pitch decks. No attachments. No jargon

Criteria:

Majority woman-owned (51%+), women-led, able to articulate how you are creating a better world.

I'm here for your q's - AMA (ask me anything).
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SheEO Venture applications are open in Canada until Nov 1, 2019

Please help us spread the word.

10 questions. No pitch decks. No attachments. No jargon

Criteria:

Majority woman-owned (51%+), women-led, able to articulate how you are creating a better world.

Im here for your qs - AMA (ask me anything).

4 days ago

Anyone dealt with Transferwise (and their APIs)? Love to know if they were able to hook up a Canadian bank account and how seamless paying out bulk recipients are. ... See MoreSee Less

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Abdul Naushad

Not sure they can do bulk payments, but check out remitr.ca

I have used it quite a bit and it has been a breeze each time. Paying out of Canadian system is often slower- but moving from UK or US to Canada was completed within a few hours.

It's one of the better experiences I've had in a long time, huge fan of Transferwise. But also unsure on bulk payments.

4 months ago

Question for the group : potential contract with Enterprise client. Will be bringing this to one of their preferred "vendors of record" Does anyone have experience working with ProCom or The Select Group or TEKSystems? ... See MoreSee Less

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Go with The Select Group, dealt with the others and well.....

In 2010 I did some work for a large company and had to go through Procom (I wasn't given a choice). Procom had a team dedicated to this large client, and as far as I could tell the team consisted of one competent person and a bunch of incompetents (including the manager). It was difficult to get paid. I don't know whether things got better later.

Thanks!

I have dealt with PROCOM for years and never had an issue. Easy to use systems and never issues with payment for services. They are slowly catching up with their ability to digitally sign contracts; otherwise it's fine. It depends on your expectation of service as well...I expect very little from them other than being a necessary intermediary with some clients.

Finally re found this post. To follow up, I went with Procom. Their time sheet software has been good, and no problems with payments. They are just a necessary intermediate with the client, but I’ve been happy. Many thanks to Adam Thackeray, John Rose, and Rohan Jayasekera for chiming in.

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6 days ago

Let's talk Marketing. I'm seeing a pattern in some tech startups where they are afraid to hire a strong/senior marketing person too early. They tend to stick with tactical marketing roles instead of a strategic CMO one that can move the needle for the company alongside the CEO.
- In the Toronto/Waterloo area, which strong marketing people come to your mind who are making a difference in startups under 100 employees?
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I find startups tend to just hire people like me who are an outsourced CMO - consultant. Someone who has scaled and exited. And then internally they have more tactical roles.

Cerys Goodall is the amazing CMO at Inner Space.

I’m a senior marketer, and from conversations I’ve had when I was looking at startups, I think the answer to your question is in two parts. The first is that many startups simply don’t understand the value of marketing beyond providing sales leads, and certainly don’t understand the benefits of brand-building. (If the startup is founded by an engineer or a salesperson, it’s simply a lack of exposure.) Part two likely has to do with cost: experienced senior marketers are expensive (not to mention the dollars required to build a significant brand), so if a company didn’t see the value of marketing, it would be difficult to justify the investment. (For context, I’ve worked at Fortune 500 companies and startups. My background can be found here: www.linkedin.com/in/pullara )

I think the operative word is afford vs afraid.. if you’re pre-Series A anyway. Would love to bring on a senior marketing leader with extensive SaaS experience to MediSeen. However, going rate for top VP/C-level marketing talent in the current market is $150-200k salary ++. Happy to have several on our advisory board. What stage are you referring to William?

William I 100% agree with you and could debate and educate startups all day long on why it’s critical to be strategic from the BEGINNING. In fact, I recently wrote an article about this. (See below) That said, I also agree with Daniel that startups are reluctant to invest in a strategic thinker because cashflow is imperative to the success of a growing company. Which is why I offer various compensation structures (for example equity) to startups that I believe in and work with. Are you open to having a conversation? For reference: notablelife.com/tips-to-scale-your-startup-at-a-fraction-of-the-cost/

I’m with Emily on this one. There’s an incredible shortage of senior-level marketing talent in North America so a startup would be very wise to consider an outsourced solution. My guesstimate is there’s one (good quality) senior-level marketer available for every 100 startups. These folks don’t grow on trees!

100% agree. And Agree with Dan’s comment - the coat of marketing talent with 10+ years and strategic vision, along with a team to execute is $$

🙌 this

I’d prefer to see a full time, competent, senior marketing talent internal to every tech startup but most can’t afford that. Or, frankly, need it full time. Thirty years of helping startups bring their technology to market led me to develop the virtual CMO model I and a group of skilled senior associates deployed for about 10 years. It was the perfect way for startups to access the strategic direction and ongoing program guidance they desperately needed to marshall internal tactical roles as they grew big enough to warrant bringing on a full time CMO. Our bigger problem in engaging with startups, though, was not making the case for internal versus outsourced. It was making the case for marketing itself. Too many startups simply don’t see any value in the function beyond a basic tactical activity or two. And when the needle doesn’t move, it just confirms their anti-marketing bias.

Because everyone thinks they are a marketer :)

100% agree. There's way too much focus on "doing" marketing based on belief that it drives awareness, leads, and sales. The problem is that doing is ineffective without a strategic plan, strong brand positioning, and insight into the people - customers, media, analysts, investors, etc. - who matter to you. From 10 years of consulting to B2B startups, their inability to recognize the importance of strategy was extremely frustrating and puzzling.

I'm 100% in agreement and Mark Evans makes excellent points. Companies need to invest in their future and in individuals with the experience, maturity and wisdom to realize their big vision. For some reason, the marketing role is often shortchanged. Five years experience in a tactical role doesn't cut it folks! I will add however that the right individual for a startup needs to be able to traverse from doing strategy and planning to execution. I've also witnessed startups/scaleups who hire this big glorious CMO type with big company experience, whose idea of execution is writing cheques. So look for someone who has the experience, but with an entrepreneurial mindset, who has a capacity to continuously learn and adapt and is willing to roll up her/his sleeves to do the work.

Agreement with everyone who has mentioned cost/value issues. Having worked with many in the tech sector in Waterloo, many see marketing as a downstream after thought effort. To be fair, many have taken marketing courses at college/university and have access to advisers via various incubators, so hard skills have always been prioritised. This is especially since engineering/computer science interests have always dominated this area leading to an entrenchment bias. Relatability/fit is also incredibly important. Most founders/employees are going to be close in age, know that going narwhal/unicorn is remote, so having a good time working on something exciting with people they can relate to, makes up for the lack of traditional compensation.

Many great points made by many in this thread on affordability. There is more to be considered when making your first marketing hire as strategy is needed to drive the impact but budget and resources are also need to be allocated to execute on the strategy. Startups need to balance the budget for both to drive results. Having a mix of strategic consulting & inhouse talent that can execute can be a solution to scale.

The fad of "growth hacking" or attempting has shifted the mindset at many start ups the wrong way.

seed funded CAD definition < 250k will not afford; the CAD policy incentive is R&D through SRED not angel/VC tax credits = incentive the capital and this function would get hired earlier on - Big difference vs. competitors at same stage-gate in US - will invest earlier in CMO and give up the equity in hybrid structure for total comp.

William Mougayar thanks for putting this out there. From what I've seen, there are so many excellent reasons for a startup to not bring in a CMO early on. Cost and Readiness are the first two that top the list. Building a startup is always an exercise in priorities - limited resources means tough decisions on where to invest. Hiring a full time CMO early is a big financial commitment. Not just to pay them, but to reap the full ROI of that investment you're going to need $$ behind them to build a team and deliver results. Depending on what stage you are at, it's just not a wise way to spend your limited $$. If marketing is not your top need then invest elsewhere. For example, there is no point in making a deep investment in marketing if you still haven't proven your model because you then risk that all that $$ in marketing is going to fail because the other parts of your business can't support or reap the value. So, for me, rule #1 is don't go there until you are clear that "investing in marketing is a top priority and I have the $$ to put behind it". You may still need some marketing/customer acquisition in the mean time so being scrappy and bringing in some smart folks to test and learn it just what you need for now. Now, when you ARE ready to build out marketing, what I have observed is that it's now a challenge to know what kind of CMO or marketing leader you need. So, even though you may be prepared to hire one, many founders are scared that they will hire the wrong one - and then they waste those $$ on the wrong person (not necessarily a bad CMO, just the wrong one for what they need) and any other $$ that they spend along the way...then they are now further behind on hiring the right person and poorer for it. If you are super clear that you know what you need then find your CMO and go to town. But if you don't, then starting with a Fractional CMO can help. They can work with the founder/CEO to sort through goals and objectives and then build the strategy and from there outline the team and budget that are needed to deliver. And they can get all that happening and moving forward and operating. At the same time they are working with the CEO to "discover" the critical skills and mandate that the CMO needs to own. Eventually, that Fractional CMO can then help you hire your full time CMO. That way you get to work with a senior marketing to define the requirements for your eventual full time CMO while, in parallel, moving the business forward. In the past few years I've seen more Fractional CMOs surface and I really believe it's because a number of senior marketing leaders have seen what you have observed and are hoping to help great startups remove the risk/fear by taking a less risky/less expensive approach to moving forward while, at the same time, helping them get a much better line of site into what the right CMO looks like and can start to demonstrate the value that a strong leader can bring to the business.

How many startups ended up as roadkill because they built something that nobody actually knew they needed? This, regardless of how good the brochure and trade show booth looked. There is "marketing" and there is "marketing". Buyer beware.

I’m seeing a ton of scaleups struggle to find a CMO

I met with a few startups and the challenge was that they didn't know what the challenge was. It was about filling a directive that came from somewhere else. The forced process created awkward interactions that didn't really didn't go anywhere. Fractional CMO's are a nice little band-aid however taking some courses like Tim Dolan puts on would be a huge help in facilitating a process that works for everyone.

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4 days ago

Hey everyone, hoping to get some help with scheduling. Specifically outside of core business hours, Alberta labour laws, etc.

For context, we have a support team in-house - some people are part-time and on-call, full time. We like it obviously because it's fluid and we can require assistance as needed, but it doesn't necessarily scale, and it's not good for the employee.
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Chris Karkada

6 days ago

What is the community doing around explainer videos? After some research, I've been disappointed by the quality of what I've found.

Am I wasting my time looking for a cookie-cutter solution? It feels like one of those times where you spend a few hundred bucks, but eventually, fork over $$$ when you realize you need better output.

Is there a decent shop out there doing a good job, without breaking the bank? At this point, I don't even know what kind of budget I'd need for a video I'd be happy with.

Any help or insight out there would be very appreciated.
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Currently, I write ours and we have an in-house video guy that does the video/animations as needed. If needed, we get a voiceover artist from voices.com. BUT I totally understand that you probably don't have these internal resources, so when I used to work at Sysomos we made a bunch of our videos with the team at www.think33.ca/. They were good to work with and their prices were good (at the time, which was several years ago). But I'd be happy to put you in touch with the owner if you want to inquire about their current work & prices.

We used www.kickervideo.com/ a few years back. They're out of Calgary and were very affordable for a 60 second video. We did have to do a lot of work with them on the concept/script but we have a particularly complex product.

I used Fiverr to do ours - I think I pulled them off for about $300-$500 each. I just found the best available on Fiverr, and had them create scripts/graphics/voice overs, etc. They're still available here: www.staffy.ca/pages/about.html They're not *amazing*, but they were good enough for when we needed them.

Ben, I’ll message you now. We do videos but also of course, happy to help you find the right solution.

She's on Top

Send me a note! There might be an entirely different approach worth considering 🙂

Following this thread, we're looking for the same thing

cc Hiep Vu Photography + Motion

Fiverr

Have a look at Flikli. Richard Adkin will sort you out.

Using Michael LittLitt's platform Vidyard. Also check with Stephen O'Donnell and VideoMyJob.

Loving this thread and feedback!

Based on my work with clients, the issue is that most folks don't think through the story, and too often go straight to the how vs speaking to the customer why. A story that follows the hero's journey and focuses on the customer's pain points will create a compelling narrative and form a stronger connection with the viewer. If you are using a lower-cost outsourcer (like Fiverr) you really can only look to them for execution. You'll need to take responsibility for that story and the script that goes with it. Or, you make the investment in a really good video firm who have strong visual storytelling capabilities (they come at a cost).

We at FundThrough just created one. We used Key West Video www.keywestvideo.com/ and were great to deal with.

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2 weeks ago

Can someone recommend a lawyer who could rewrite our North American SaaS agreement/SLA? It's too long, to cumbersome and needs to be more clear and concise.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
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Do you need the terms to be changed? What is the jurisdiction (e.g. Quebec, Ontario). I got lots of suggestions for you.

Andre Garber should have someone that can help you out

I’d highly recommend Adam R Freedman - small shop, doesn’t overcharge, great work.

2 weeks ago

**Founders:** what else did you include in your spreadsheet as you were building up your investor list for a friends and family round?

So far I've been thinking about the strategic impact, the likelihood they would invest and how close I am with them.
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**Founders:** what else did you include in your spreadsheet as you were building up your investor list for a friends and family round?

So far Ive been thinking about the strategic impact, the likelihood they would invest and how close I am with them.

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Will they invest in your location (eg. If they are a SV-based VC, are they interested in investing in Toronto). Will they lead your round? Do they have follow-on funding for your next round? Do they have an active fund? (Sort of like “is the computer plugged in?”) Do they invest in your industry? Have they invested in your competitors? Have they had an exit from a previous investment in your industry or similar industry? How large of a fund do they have and does the “VC math” make sense for your round size? Do you know any of their portfolio founders and can they introduce you? —- You can drive yourself crazy with all of the possible columns... in the end it is a numbers game. But you can save yourself a lot of time by figuring out who you should talk to and build a relationship with.

Make sure F&F understand what they are getting into when taking their money. They should be aligned with the outcome you are shooting for. i.e. working towards a big exit that require a lot of equity fuel, therefor dilution. No prospects for dividends. 8+ year hold period. High probability of not getting your money back. On the other hand, there's a shot for a really big return on investment plus the satisfaction knowing that you supported a new company and helped fund jobs.

2 weeks ago

Hi! A colleague and I are organizing our company off-site this January. Any recommendations for unique team building activities or facilitations in Toronto? Something out of the norm? (no bowling or escape rooms). Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks! ... See MoreSee Less

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I haven't experienced this personally yet - but met with the Facilitator the other day and she has a unique program: www.redwinginstitute.com/team-building-programs/ It's based on a Toronto Discovery Walk - so may or may not be a fit for Winter.

We enjoyed LOB for team building

Rent out a roller rink, do the edge walk, rent a karaoke room, do a private cooking class

Many of the folks in this group have experienced a Confab with Sandra Kahale. And she also does small company retreats at a cottage within an hour’s drive or the city - the same setting where she hosts Confabs. Happy to connect you with her if she’s not already part of your network.

Connect with Alexis Dean. This is right in her wheelhouse, and I have no doubt that she can make some suggestions and if you need help, step in to do the planning. She's truly brilliant when it comes to great ideas, locking them down, facilitating, etc.

Nir Zahavi Sean Hoff

I second Alexis Dean, and also recommend connecting with Luis Serrano.

If your team is 20+ people happy to chat! I have amazing facilitators running play filled sessions twentyonetoys.ca/pages/professional-development-play-workshops

Also recommending Alexis Dean. I've been to her retreats before and they are amazing! ❤

Check out the tech startup Robin.

The Argonaut Rowing Club does corporate learn to row group activities down on the waterfront!

"Adult Camp" is amazing. They also program team building activities. camptimberlane.ca/rent/

I took my whole company hiking in Collingwood last January. Half of them HATED it... and talked about it for months. *lol* Highly recommended.

TreeTop Trekking is good fun!

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3 weeks ago

Have you (or do you know someone who has) successfully transitioned into the tech sector from a different industry or role by taking a thoughtful approach to showcasing your skills to a hiring manager in order to demonstrate that you could do the job and stand out in the applicant pool? As an example, I have a friend who was a video producer trying to get product management. To get the hiring manager's attention he built a product roadmap for his target company's mobile app that he knew they wanted to launch.

If so, I'd love to talk to you about sharing your experience. For context, I'm working with group of candidates whose jobs are being threatened by automation and are looking to transition to sales roles at tech companies and we'd love to bring in a couple of people to share their experience of how they got a job with no previous experience. Would also love to connect with any hiring managers who hired someone who used this approach.

Thank you for any leads or insights!
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I’m a CPA who worked as a FP&A manager and transitioned into a tech startup working as a CSM. Feel free to shoot me a message!

Miriam Shuval did this.

Love that you’re doing this!

4 weeks ago

Does anyone have a boutique digital marketing agency or freelancer they can recommend that's based in Toronto? Thanks in advance! ... See MoreSee Less

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Hey Shnane. I'd suggest talking to Jeff Howard from Evoke, or Kate Driscoll from Lux9. (I'm a client of Lux9, but have had great conversations with everybody I mentioned during our process)

Have you considered chatting with 2Social Inc. great local agency with amazing leadership.

Hi Shnane Liem-Abbrusci, let's talk about what you need. Feel free to reach out at [email protected]

would love to see if we can help! [email protected]

I’d love to know more about what support you may need. Check out www.thinkhatch.ca and shoot me an email if you want to chat [email protected] 😊

Alex WIlson at fookcommunications.com

Spodek & Co. may be a good fit Eden Spodek spodekandco.com/what-we-do/

Shnane Liem-Abbrusci please let me know how I can help.

Kamil Rextin at 42 Agency for sure!

Depending on the stage of your business I’m happy to chat as well.

John Yorke at Rain Growth Agency

Hi! We are a boutique marketing agency focusing on Canadian Tech startups. Will be happy to collaborate group3.ca

You have some great options above. Can you tell us more about what you’re looking for? What industry are you in?

Happy to chat

Ecentricarts

Hello👋 Not sure what specific service you're looking for, but I specialize in brand design, print, packaging and social assets. Www.javolio.com

Acquire Agency and Michael Cronin are amazing

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4 weeks ago

Hey folks,

Do you know an IP lawyer who can help draft an agreement to use with a freelance platform (Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr...). An agreement the freelancer will sign so it accommodates Canadian law and transfer of IP.

Thanks!
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If you don’t need anything complicated, there are a bunch of free/cheap ones online you can use. Check out www.lawdepot.ca/contracts/independent-contractor-agreement/?loc=CA (free trial)

I have colleagues who can assist. Fasken is the leading law firm for emerging tech companies in Canada

Darielle at AWE Legal specializes in this space.

I'm an IP lawyer, and would be happy to help. [email protected]

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3 weeks ago

Wondering if anyone is interested in volunteering some advice on an HR issue we're facing relating to providing accommodations for employees. If you're willing to have your brain picked, please feel free to message me directly so that we can take this offline. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend so far! ... See MoreSee Less

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I might be able to help... for trickier things, I’d prob check with Johnathan Nightingale from Raw Signal or Nora Jenkins Townson from Bright+Early.

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