I think that every Canadian startup could throw a couple of slides in their presentations and pitch decks that could help themselves and help build a stronger ecosystem in Canada. I was struck by the story of Jon Medved in Startup Nation including other startups in his pitch deck. It’s a simple thing. It demonstrates entrepreneurial density, provides social proof, and potentially helps create some FOMO in foreign investors. All from including 2 or 3 slides at the end of your presentation or pitch deck, particularly when you are travelling.
At StartupNorth, we’ve always believed that we as entrepreneurs should help each other out. The goal here is to raise the noise around Canadian startups and your friends and colleagues when you are travelling. There is a lot of amazing stuff going on in Canada. We don’t need public sector programs and not-for-profits to support us, we already do the things to grow our companies. And a little bit of extra effort to raise the attention of those around us. It won’t hurt, it will help.
Here are basic un-styled PowerPoint slides that include a set of recent fundings in Canada by US VCs and a second slide that lists a set of other local companies that the audience might find interesting. (I have added 24 companies I think are interesting).
Help us. Add the following slides to your presentations.
“It has been recognized as highly significant due to having two top-tier US funds investing at this level in a Canadian-based consumer internet company.”
We are seeing Canadian entrepreneurs build companies and demonstrate global traction. The changes to foreign investment related to Section 116 changes in the Tax Act, have allowed Canadian companies to go big and stay home. The changes to Section 116, coupled with the desire of Canadian entrepreneurs to go big and stay home. Evidenced by Wattpad’s big raise, Wave Accounting’s $12MM series B from Social+Capital, Hootsuite’s $20MM round from OMERS (sure they’re not foreign capital but its a big round), Shopify’s $22MM ($7M series A + $15M series B from Bessemer), Beyond The Rack’s $36MM raise, Fixmo’s $23.4MM Series C from KPCB, Achievers’ $24.5MM Series C from Sequoia, and others. There are startups and there is capital. It’s possible to build a growth company in Canada and raise foreign capital. The game has changed for Canadian VCs, geography limitations can help these funds identify early but it potentially will relegate many to second tier status if they can not enable their startups beyond their geographies.
The great thing in talking with many of these entrepreneurs is that they want to build successful companies in Canada. Allen Lau, CEO of Wattpad, mentioned that his desire was to grow a large successful company in Toronto. He is not looking to move the company. The same is true of my conversations with Kirk Simpson at Wave Accounting, Tobi at Shopify, Mike at Freshbooks, etc. There are a lot of reasons to want to be way from the tensions and pulls the exist in the Bay Area. Canadian startups have access to great talent. While there is some pull between the different startups, many of these companies aren’t competing with each other for employees or mindshare. Just check out Shopify’s recruiting video and tell me why you wouldn’t choose to work for Harley and Tobi instead of a financial institution or a government organization.
It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur in Canada. It’s a great time to work for a startup. You should check out the opportunities on the StartupNorth job board.
It’s not about the people who have raised the most money, or who have the biggest social graphs. It’s about who we expect to talk about over the next 12 months. Be it the ideas, the companies, the impact, etc. My goal was to find a mix of the unsung heroes, the founders, the developers, the doers, the troublemakers and the faces of different companies across Canada that we think are amazing/interesting. What do I mean by “interesting”? Well it depends. But these people are doing the stuff we’ll be talking about over the next 12 months.
The list is no particular order. But there is no denying it, these folks are the: