GrowLab on tour

GrowLab DemoDay 2011 - Some rights reserved by miketippett
AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by miketippett

Ok, it makes me laugh every time I read GrowLab. The only way it could be better is when someone describes the GrowLab companies as “GrowOps”. They really did a great job in creating a corporate name that has a set of nuanced meanings (well maybe it’s not so nuanced).

Our friends from GrowLab are heading out on tour to find their next cohort. They are coming to:

  • Toronto – February 13, 2012 Register
  • Waterloo – February 14, 2012 Register
  • Montreal – February 15, 2012 Register
  • Edmonton – February 22, 2012 Register
  • Calgary – February 23, 2012 Register

Sounds like an interesting night with Daniel Debow (LinkedIn, @ddebow), Debbie Landa (LinkedIn, @deblanda) and Jason Bailey (LinkedIn, @YVRJason) talking about startups, entrepreneurship, building companies in Canada, getting connected in the Valley, GrowConf, incubators and other fun things. The panel conversation is:

Are you an Entrepreneur or a Wantrepreneur?

What makes you different from other entrepreneurs trying to build start-ups? You are competing with thousands of entrepreneurs for the same resources, talent, and capital. How are you going to make sure that you attract the best people and funding? Is it about who you know or is it about how great your product is or the reach you have in the community?

In Toronto that I get to host the above conversation, it means that I’m going to have to represent for the “Wantrepreneur” side. Because there is too much awesomeness with Daniel, Jason and Debbie representing the “Entrepreneur” side. It should be a fun event and a great time for entrepreneurs to get or stay connected with each other. This is a great group to provide deep insight into the experience of building companies in Canada and selling them to Silicon Valley powerhouses.

Given the tour includes stops in Bucharest and Budapest, I can guarantee that someone will mention Summify (congrats guys).Also excited that Debbie and Jason will be joining us on Feb 16 for Founders & Funders.

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.