Make your own luck at CIX

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Next week is the Canadian Innovation Exchange. I sit on the Advisory Board and StartupNorth is an Association Partner. We are big fans of the event  and have watched over the past few years as CIX has gone through changes and growth. It continues to evolve both the CIX Top 20 as well as the event. The focus in 2012 is about providing meaningful content and experiences for entrepreneurs. This is a change from the past  where you might argue that the focus was on the investors attending. There is a strong focus on building an amazing event will attract amazing entrepreneurs, which in turn will attract amazing investors. And it the 2012 event looks to be very entrepreneur focused.

Entrepreneur Pricing

One of the bitches about this event used to be the pricing. There is a $199 entrepreneur ticket. Seriously, if you can’t justify the cost versus the opportunity to either see an amazing program or for the chance for random collisions with some of the best investors in the game actively deploying capital in the Canadian ecosystem.

This is your chance to hustle (see my comments about hustling at CVCA). Make your own luck. There will be people that buy products and the people that invest in companies at this event. Make something happen.

I love seeing Switch Video, an audience of VCs and companies that need video to grow their business. Bingo. Good hustle.

Buy a $199 ticket and figure out how to make serendity happen!

Entrepreneur Content

Where to start? Entrepreneur One-on-One with Jevon MacDonald . Sure he sold his company to Salesforce, but you know he started a blog, this blog. Jevon is a great guy. He has helped me with my thinking about startups in Canada, the role of venture capital, and with corporate development. GoInstant was around for a little less than 24 months, but I know that Jevon will be talking about the >5 years of hustle at Firestoker and Dachis Group before GoInstant. It should be a great conversation for founders looking for an understanding of how an amazing overnight deal.

The trade off is that if you go see Jevon, you’ll have to skip How Emerging Companies Can Think, Appear and Act Like they are Bigger then They Are which features Daniel Debow , Michael Hyatt , Yona Shtern and Razor Suleman . This is about how to strategically build a reality distortion field. Should be fun to learn the secrets of these 4 crazy entrepreneurs.

We spend a lot of time focusing on Lean and pre-product/market fit companies. But there are equally difficult questions about culture and growth at scale. There is a panel hosted by Howard Gwin and Derek Smyth with Dan Shimmerman of Varicent and Michael Harris of BlueCat Networks. This should be a good mix for companies that are in the scaling cycle. Given that apparently everything that Howard and Derek touch turns to gold: Varicent, Dayforce, Rypple and they have their hands in others Desire2Learn, Hootsuite, Vision Critical and others.

And there are US VCs. There is Mike Katz from Battery Ventures and Devdutt Yellurkar of Charles River Ventures (who invested in Influitive and Wave Accounting locally) and Alexander Kolicich of Mithril Capital Managment (and I don’t know the intricacies but Mithril is associated with Peter Thiel is associated with  Valar Ventures who invested in ShopLocket).

If you can’t find content that can help you, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s not about the content

Seriously, it’s not about about content. It’s about the hallway conversations. The random collisions. But you need to be there and you need to participate to have the chance for those things to happen. There will be a lot fo interesting folks in Toronto early next week, you should figure out how to have a collision. And make your own luck!

Register to attend CIX 2012


Who Will Be Canada’s Hot Startups in 2012?

Editor’s note: This is a cross post from Mark Evans Tech written by Mark Evans of ME Consulting. Follow him on Twitter @markevans or This post was originally published in January 3, 2012 on

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The flurry of high-tech deals last year saw a bunch of promising startups snapped up – Zite, Rypple, PostRank, PushLife, Tungle and Five Mobile to name a few.

The encouraging part of the Canadian landscape is the growing number of high-quality startups being created and, thankfully, funded. It means that rather than having M&A activity “hollow” things out, there are more startups ready to step into the spotlight.

So, who are the Canadian startups that warrant our attention in 2012?

Who’s going to grow in a major way, attract a significant number of users and customers, launch exciting initiatives, or be acquired. Granted, it’s a subjective list but it is an interesting way to speculate on companies that will capture the spotlight this year. If you leave a comment, I’ll update the list.

To get the ball rolling, here are some of my choices for the “Hot Startup” list:

  • ScribbleLive, the world’s leading real-time content creation and publishing company whose clients include Reuters, AP and FA.
  • WineAlign, which cracked the 100,000 unique visitor mark for the first time in December
  • 500px, one of the leading places to display and share beautiful photography
  • Pressly, whose technology is helping publishers create mobile Web sites that embrace the “swipe and read” functionality of apps
  • QuickMobile, one of the leading event and conference mobile application developers
  • Atomic Reach, which makes it easier for brand to discover, publish and market content
  • Wave Accounting, which recently raised $5-million to drive growth of its free online accounting service
  • Keek, which offers a video-based social network
  • Fixmo, a mobile security company that recently raised $23-million
  • TribeHR, which develops human resources service for small and medium businesses
  • GoInstant, which is creating technology that lets people co-browse a Web site at the same time.

Note: ScribbleLive and Atomic Reach are digital marketing clients of my company, ME Consulting.
Editor’s note: This is a cross post from Mark Evans Tech written by Mark Evans of ME Consulting. Follow him on Twitter @markevans or This post was originally published in January 3, 2012 on