Weekend Reading – May 31, 2008

Founders & Funders Toronto is coming! Founders & Funders Toronto is coming!! Now back to your regularly scheduled weekend programming:

Mark Dowds is showcasing BrainPark on Global TV this morning at 11:30am. If you miss the segment and forget to set your Tivo, not to worry, it will be available after the airing here: www.ceotv.com

Mark McQueen, of Wellington Financial, prods the BDC for crowding private investors out of venture debt deals.

Fundfindr is vetting startups for Dragon’s Den.

A number of Canadian companies including Mployd, StandoutJobs, NowPublic, StumbleUpon, and DabbleDB won SEOMOZ’s annual Web 2.0 Awards.

Ugly details emerge with regards to the $165M MRI Fund.

Mike McDerment, of FreshBooks, points out why founder’s should be answering the customer support line.

Our very own Chris Long and Jevon MacDonald were interviewed for an article about StartupIndex in IT World Canada.

Check out these fun TinEye searches… I just love Idee contests!

In case you missed mesh08, RabbleTV has five full sessions online now. Click on the ‘On Demand’ button on the video player to watch them.

GigPark got featured on TechCrunch.

Some legal advice care of Rob Hyndman: just go build the thing.

The Code Factory – Ottawa Co-Working Space

The Code Factory is having its grand opening tonight in Ottawa. The Code Factory is a shared office space for startups and freelancers.

Here in Toronto we had The Indoor Playground for a few years, but due to some problems with their landlord, they had to close up shop. Co-working spaces tend to be indicators of healthy entrepreneurial communities and it is nice to see Ottawa get such a great looking option.

The grand opening takes place tonight, at 5:30pm at Suite 200 – 246 Queen Street (between Bank and Kent).

David Crow recently covered co-working in Canada on our sister site CommunityNorth.ca where is also included a list of other known co-working spaces in Canada.

Pride and Prejudice – Why startups need community

I was feeling extraordinarily proud of Idée last night when I saw that they received glowing coverage on TechCrunch. It is well deserved, and it seems like they are just getting started in terms of press coverage. They recently had a huge profile in the Financial Post, written by David George-Cosh (who has been getting more and more connected with the Toronto community as of late). We have been tracking Idée for a while now.

Then as I kept flipping through my news feeds, I came across an embarrassing update about MediaScrape, which Heri and Mathew Ingram both covered well. When we first posted about MediaScrape, Tyler Cavell, the founder, responded in a much more succinct way than he did to TechCrunch’s latest post. Heri had even convinced me to lay off and see how things work out.

I almost feel like I am doing Idée a disservice by mentioning them in the same post as MediaScrape. Where Idée has focused on perfecting their technology and winning customers, MediaScrape seems to be prone to distraction and tends to make simple matters much more confusing and difficult than necessary.

Heri made the point in his post yesterday that when entrepreneurs are disconnected from their local community, they seem to be more likely to go off the rails. I think Heri is on to something that investors need to take in to consideration when investing.

Again, Leila and the crew at Idée are a great contrast and example of how to do things right. While Idée is possibly the busiest startup in Canada, and one that is spending its own money (ie: they have no time to waste), they still manage to be tightly connected to the community here in Toronto. Leila is constantly organizing, co-organizing or speaking at events, and when she isn’t doing that, she spends a lot of time each week mentoring other startups.

Capazoo and MediaScrape, according to Heri, have never made it out to a single Montreal event and have generally kept a distance from their local startup community.

Perhaps one of the measures that investors, both Angels and VCs, take in to account when deciding whether they want to put money in to a startup or an entrepreneur should be whether or not that person has been able to take the time to connect with a community of startups. That way you know they have a social and professional circle that will keep them accountable, demand progress and that will criticize their execution, rather than patting them on the back and telling them they are going to be rich.

If your friends tell you that you will be rich and famous, then you have the wrong friends.