FounderFuel cohort explodes onto the scene

Disclosure: I am a mentor at FounderFuel, and I traveled  to Montreal in August 2011 to see most of these companies during the mentor matching. I’ve also mentored Willet as part of my role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EiR) at Velocity (@UWVelocity) in Waterloo. 

CC-BY-NC-SA Some rights reserved by Stuck in Customs
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I am/was impressed with the teams accepted into the 12 week FounderFuel program. Today is #FFDemoDay where after the past 12 weeks the companies get a chance to show the world what they’ve been working on. I love the art of the demo, it is so different than the pitch. I met all of the companies in August 2011 at the Mentor Matching Day, unfortunately I wasn’t able to travel to Montreal to see the demos today. It looks like the team at Founder Fuel is continuing Montreal Startup Up’s great track record of identifying and growing very early stage ventures.

I’m apparently having a bromance for the Real Ventures team.  John Stokes (@iamjohnstokes), JS Cournoyer (@jscournoyer), Mark MacLeod (@startupcfo), Allan MacIntosh and Ian Jeffrey (@ianjeffrey) are putting together programs and the funding to support a strong early stage technology ecosystem in Montreal. Keep up the phenomenal work guys.

The 2011 FounderFuel Cohort includes:

  • Playerize
    Playerize grows social and mobile games by providing player installs from diverse channels at huge scale.
    A mobile platform that helps students take control of their college life by powering the events, conversations and deals on campus.
  • Willet
    Willet is the missing step from social browsing into shopping, and converts the mindsets of people without intent to buy into paying customers.
  • Vuru
    Vuru takes complex financial statements and distills them down into clear, transparent reports that show investors the fundamentals that matter.
  • Seevibes
    The TV Ratings For Social Media Audience – measures engaged audience to provide relevant data that media and advertising industry need.
  • BlameStella
    Is your Internet contrivance up to snuff? Find out with BlameStella, the future of Web Monitoring .
  • PlayerTakesAll
    A viral campaign & referral management platform that enables advertisers to extend the reach of their marketing efforts by 50%.
  • Wavo is the easiest way to collect, manage and play the music and videos being shared on your social networks.
  • Editola
    Editola uses the community to build the most accurate view of every news story. The best articles, videos and opinions, all in one place.

Apply for FounderFuel 2012

The spring 2012 FounderFuel session is scheduled to start on February 20th 2012, and applicants may apply directly online at until January 7th 2012. An early review of candidates will begin on December 12th 2011.

FounderFuel DemoDay #FFDemoDay by deniszgonjanin
Photo by deniszgonjanin

Founder Fuel Jam Session in TO


Nothing like the last minute planning around here. Ian Jeffrey (LinkedIn, @ianmtl) from FounderFuel is planning on being in Toronto today (June 27, 2011) and tomorrow (June 28, 2011). He is planning on meeting with startups and founders to share his experiences launching FounderFuel, the mentorship and incubation/acceleration plan for participating startups and to talk about tech startups generally. If you are interested in talking with one of the emerging technology company incubators/accelerators you should come and talk to Ian and learn about what is being offered in Montreal. There is a lot of choice in the marketplace for entrepreneurs, and the best way to see the differences are to connect with the people behind the scenes like Ian and the FounderFuel team. This is a great way to evaluate the program, get introduced to the people, and connect.

FounderFuel Jam Session

June 28, 2011
7 PM EDT – Presentation & Overview
8 PM EDT – Startup 1-on-1s and discussion
Camaraderie Coworking, 102 Adelaide Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada [map]
Register to attend:

From the looks of Alexa Clark’s (@alexaclark) photo exposition at Camaraderie, it is a great space to host a startup. I know that Matt (@mattskilly) and Aron (@defrex) at Hipsell have their startup offices there. It is a great space for startups requiring a great work space, a central location, and the benefits of an enabled coworking culture.

Beer Station at Camaraderie - Some rights reserved by LexnGer
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GrowLab & FounderFuel Launch

The Blues Brothers Car
Attribution Some rights reserved by Stig Nygaard

Jake: Here’s the plan: we put the band back together, do some gigs, earn some bread, bang! We’ll have 5,000 bucks in no time.

Seems like I’ve been talking a lot about incubators, accelerators, catalysts, spark plugs, igniters and other programs designed to engage, educate and enable early-stage, emerging technology entrepreneurs. In the past 7 days, we’ve now seen the launch of new incubator/accelerator programs in both Vancouver and Montreal. The are 2 new programs both focused on bringing together the best talent, access to mentors, capital and networks beyond what many founders are capable of doing on their own. (Full disclosure: I am a mentor for FounderFuel).

Vancouver » GrowLab

GrowLabGrowLab has risen out of the ashes of BootupLabs. It includes a spectacular founding team that includes a group of people many of whom I call a friend, and even more importantly they are a group I deeply respect. The group includes:

The deadline to apply to the GrowLab program is June 15, 2011. Accepted startups and founders spend 3 months in Vancouver and 1 month in San Francisco with an intense mentorship program. The program also includes office space in both cities plus up to $25,000 in seed funding.

Montreal » FounderFuel

FounderFuelThe FounderFuel is a new accelerator program with support from the team who started Montreal Startup and Real Ventures. It is a accelerator program that has been seeded with Cdn$2MM and has put together a great mentorship group that includes 85 entrepreneurs, executives, VCs, angels (and me). Ian Jeffery is the General Manager and the Partner at Real Ventures responsible for making FounderFuel work. I first encountered Ian as a competitor to his startup TinyPictures (I was running product at Ambient Vector/Nakama back in 2006). Ian successfully raised a big chunk of money and then proceeded to execute and eventually sell Radar to Shutterfly. I agreed to be a mentor just to personally ensure I get access to the team of mentors. It is ridiculous! The list includes >84 phenomenal leaders, executives, investors, entrepreneurs and people from Montreal and around the world. A sample of the awesome mentors (sorry for every I am leaving out):

The deadline to apply to FounderFuel is July 1, 2011. Instead of a 4 month program, the FounderFuel program is “12 intense weeks”. It is also a cohort based program that provides $10,000/startup + $5,000/founder in exchange for 6% equity. The program provide access to mentors, office space in Notman House, and access to a culture and ecosystem that has bred success in the past.

One Observation

My one observation about both of these programs is that Debbie Landa was the only female listed. It is a really difficult and sad state. There are great number of female tech founders and leaders in Canada. I am disappointed not to see:

These programs need to do better on encouraging diversity and actively seeking out different viewpoints. The good news is that it is easily rectified.

Consider Applying

The deadlines for GrowLab and FounderFuel are approaching quickly. If you are interested in what hopefully is a world-class incubator/accelerator program you should definitely give careful consideration to these.