Why YOU Should Be At Next Year’s StartupFest Montreal

Editor’s note: This is a cross post from Onboardly blog written by Renee Warren (@renee_warren) & Heather Ritchie (@heatheranne) of Onboardly. Follow them on Twitter @onboardly or Onboardly.com. This post was originally published in July 14, 2012.

@danmartell of @getmoreclarity presenting – Motivation Trumps Knowledge

Well, it certainly was a memorable event. With no surprise we heard some excellent speakers and saw the likes of Dave McClure flipping the bird. It wouldn’t be a startup event without such a character. And for the other startups we got the chance to talk to and (finally) meet, it was well worth our time, money and bearing the heat!

Upon arrival we bumped into the fabulous @Brydon who staggeringly spoke to us about the fun times had on the startup train. Then we quickly sat down to a chat with Caitlin and Neil of @CreamHR. We were wow’d by the projects they are working on. Mixing psychology with real-time job talent hiring, their product quickly allows you to determine if a candidate is in the top 15% of people qualified for a particular position.

Off to the festival we went meeting brilliant startup after startup, and of course reconnecting with some of our favorite people from events past including the always entertaining/stylish @davidcrow, the lovable gang from @bnotions, and a huge cohort from @launch36, et al.)

East Coast represent! @launch36 and more startups in attendance.

On Thursday night, we hosted a founders dinner at Holder – one of Montreal’s finest restaurants. Thanks to everyone who joined us to make the dinner conversation spectacular. We were outnumbered 16-2 guys/gals so considered ourselves very lucky ladies indeed.

@startupCFO, @DavidCrow, @heatherAnne, @renee_warren, @kenseto, @mattskilly, @zakhomuth, @andrewsider and many more at dinner.

Also a ton of fun was the Wavo launch party, where they turned l’Augerge Saint-Gabriel into a booming hotspot, DJ’ed by none other than Real Ventures Mark MacLeod (@StartupCFO) & FounderFuel’s Ian Jeffery (@ianmtl). True (semi-hidden) talent exposed!

We could go on to mention every single person we met (all amazing!), but this post would go on for years. Instead, we’ll do our best to explain how awesome it was in a few key points in hopes of enticing you to do next year (or go again!).

Why You Should Attend @StartupFest Montreal:

  1. It’s a mini SXSW without the pressure to attend every open bar party
  2. There is less swag than SXSW, which means you aren’t paying for extra weight for your suitcase with all the new T-shirts you’ve accumulated
  3. You get to see the same people more than once and actually get to know them (smaller groups = more meaningful conversations)
  4. The caliber of attendees is amazing – no fluff; just good people/good ideas
  5. You get the chance to pitch your startup to grandmothers and teenagers
  6. Investors galore throughout the mix of attendees; lots of opportunity for 1-on-1’s
  7. It is in one of Canada’s most amazing cities: Montreal
  8. The speakers are amazing; short 20-minute talks keep things moving swiftly
  9. The organizers ride around on scooters. Catch them if you can
  10. $50k Startup Prize! (Congrats @Jintronix!; and runner-up @openera on the @founderfuel prize.)
  11. Local food vendors in lieu of cafeteria fare; crepes, pasta, international delights
  12. Ice cream truck. Enough said
  13. Mentor tents, live TV interviews, and cold beer

While we’re just now coming down from our conference high (and catching up on our sleep), we wanted to take this opportunity to sincerely thank organizers for a great time. Philipe Telio, (@ptelio) you have done it again!  You guys killed it. And you can guarantee we’ll be there next year.

Au revoir Montreal. A bientot!

Renee & Heather

Crazy train

On the trip home from a conference last year, it struck me how lonely it was. Yes I talked with people on the train. I had wifi and a phone but I didn’t have anyone who had shared the awesome conference experience I’d just been through, I wanted to keep it going. Returning to my city, I wanted to keep it the momentum rolling there as well.

I happened to have attended an amazing conference named BitNorth. In the case of the crap conferences, the travel back and forth is even more torturous. BitNorth is unique in that it really attempts to leverage what are typically considered the fringe elements of conferences.

All this left me wondering if we could make crappy conferences better and great conferences awesome by explicitly building up the fringes. We, at ThreeFortyNine, are taking our first shot at it this July. We’re cheating by starting with an amazing conference with The International Startup Festival in Montreal. We’re getting ourselves our own first class car on a Via train to travel to the conference and back from Toronto, Guelph, or Kitchener-Waterloo. We’re filling the car with founders, funders and startup junkies. For us this experience starts when we hop on the train and it doesn’t end when the conference ends. It won’t even end when we get off the train since you’ll be returning to your city with a group of friends who’ve shared this experience with you. We’ll conspire, plan, meet and keep the momentum going.

In the case of the best roadtrips of my youth, I can hardly recall what our destination was. It’s the getting there I remember. It’s the getting there that was the starting point of something bigger.

Join us this July as we bring the Ontario startup scene to Montreal and give them a peek at who we are and what we’re building. Clearly we have limited seats on our train car so when we sell out, we’re sold out for realz.

Startup Festival’s amazing lineup

Startup Festival - Startups That Matter - July 11-13, 2012 in MontrealIt’s only 76 days (July 11-13, 2012) until Startup Festival in Montreal (are you planning on a roadtrip?), and the team has announced a spectacular set of speakers for the event.

If you don’t know who these people are, well you should. There are some like Deborah Schultz and Stowe Boyd that are some of the best thinkers about the role that new technology has on work, culture, experience, marketing and behaviour. Go read Debs’ “Dear Miss Manners: the Social Web – WTF?” or Stowe’s Work Talk Research including Data is the New Oil: From Privacy to Publicy. These individuals are talking about the social and political forces that will create the next generation of startups. They are simply amazing.

Did you know the Internet is for porn? Cindy Gallop gave a not to be missed talk at TED in 2009, Make Love Not Porn. She has been thinking about the role pornography, advertising and entertainment.

The rest of the schedule is bound to be equally amazing. I’m looking forward to my trip to Montreal. I hope you’ll join me.