XX Tech Founders

Rochelle Grayson by Tris Hussey

Rochelle Grayson photo by Tris Hussey

An entrepreneur asked me last night, at StartupDrinks Toronto, if I knew any women entrepreneurs in Canada. Here is a list of entrepreneurs and advisors that I can think of off the top of my head. It also prompted me to reread Tereza Nemessanyi’s OpEd about women founders and the notion of an XX Combinator. I look at our events and many of my interactions with entrepreneurs and it is distinctly male, probably more specific it’s young males between 18-30 (the good news is that it’s no longer distinctly white university educated males it’s a mix of cultures and nations of origin though it’s still very male).

“Much of what we think of as innovation is the creative tension between differing viewpoints” – Xerox PARC

There’s a strong need to celebrate our differences. The diversity (and acceptance of differences) is one of the things that makes this a great spot for startups. The large number of cultures, ages, and other factors make for great teams and for opportunities for something special to emerge.

Leila BoujnaneAnd I was thinking about my daughters, and reflecting about the great women entrepreneurs and change makers that I’m met recently (and some I’ve only read about). This list is by no means comprehensive, but it meant to help others find inspiration in the great companies being started in Canada. The list includes::

I know that I’m missing a lot of founders. Let me know directly or help add folks in the comments.

CIX 2010 Submission Deadline

Canadian Innovation ExchangeThis is your friendly neighbourhood startup spider reminder that the Early Bird Tickets and Submissions to Canada’s Most Innovative Company competition are due tomorrow on October 1, 2010.The 2009 winner was CognoVision and we’ve written about the finalists in the past. The goal is to provide value to all of the finalists and submission. Canadian companies in ICT, Cleantech and Digital Media are encouraged to Submit Your Profile!

How are companies chosen?

Companies are evaluated by a selection committee agains 4 criteria. Basically it’s the same stab in the dark we all make when picking investments. One of the key criteria is traction, i.e., there are more mid-to-later stage companies. But it’s less about company age and more about state of corporate development. There’s a preference to companies that are able to demonstrate traction (think customers, intellectual property, partnerships, etc.).

  • Quality of Innovation
  • Market Potential / Viability
  • Management / Industry Experience
  • Competitive Positioning

Who does the choosing?

Check out the 2009 selection committee, they are some of the most respected folks in the Canadian VC, academic and business circles. The list includes folks like:

The team at Achilles Media has been extremely receptive to entrepreneur and community feedback. They have made changes to the submission process, the ticketing for finalists, and continue to try to evolve the program and benefits for submitting companies to up the value. The realization is that media exposure is a small part of the benefit to the CIX Finalists. They are doing a great job to make CIX participation a valuable decision for Canadian companies. The best part, if you have an idea about what would make CIX more valuable to you, send it to the Achilles Media team they are open to making things better. Make sure you check out the 2010 program and think about an Early Bird ticket.

The first step is to Submit Your Profile!

The Next 36

The Next 36The Next 36 is a new program at the University of Toronto that “aims to transform Canada’s most promising undergraduates into high impact entrepreneurs”.  The program is founded by Reza Satchu and Tim Hodgson. Mr. Satchu was the founder of SupplierMarket which sold to Ariba in 2000 (for a reported $581MM) and founder of StorageNow Holdings sold to InStorage REIT. SupplierMarket was a Sequoia Capital company and was eventually acquired for approximately $581MM. Mr. Hodgson was CEO of Goldman Sachs Canada and is connected on the finance and banking side.

The program is aimed at identifying 36 high potential undergraduate students that are in entrepreneurship. It provides a program that includes:

  • Personal mentorship from Canada’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs (think Anthony Lacavera, Kevin O’Leary, Nadir Mohammed and others)
  • Support for the development of your own mobile app company
  • Combination of academic theory, business mentorship and practical entrepreneurial experience
  • A powerful peer network with 35 of Canada’s most talented and innovative students
  • $25,000 scholarship for each student selected

It’s an interesting opportunity to build a mobile application, get a $25,000 scholarship, build the personal network with the most powerful business folks in Canada. It’s an interesting opportunity for the Next 36 team to partner with other local organizations like MEIC long with their existing corporate sponsors.