in Startups, Waterloo

The Gravedancer Fund

It’s painfully obvious and we should stop ignoring the facts: RIM is cratering and there is nothing that can be done to save them, short of firing the confused people who are running the show these days.

I won’t comment on what exactly is happening at RIM, there are more than enough people doing that these days, but instead I think it is time for Canada to think about how to mitigate our losses here as the attrition continues. I am more interested in how we go in to damage mitigation mode. I think there is an obvious thesis developing for one or two new funds to camp out in Waterloo and focus on extracting the value locked up in RIM.

A gravedancer fund would focus specifically on leveraging the talent and IP as it spins out of RIM in Waterloo. It would hasten the gutting, no doubt, but somebody has to do it and it may as well be someone based in Waterloo.

So, who is going to raise the Gravedancer Fund and where do I sign? Waterloo is on it’s way to becoming the center of startup activity in Canada and the death spiral of RIM needs to be seen as an opportunity, not a threat.

  1. I’m hopeful that folks like Kik, TribeHR and will be able to access some of the more experienced talent to help continue their growth. Given @techcapital:twitter deciding the landscape to raise a fund was not right in Waterloo, not sure how this would playout.

  2. I disagree with the first line ” RIM is cratering and there is nothing that can be done to save them”, but I do agree with the overall point that this should be seen as an opportunity.
    Companies have come back from much worse situations that RIM finds themselves in.  I think their main problem will be attracting developers who will write for their platform – its obvious now that they’re going to end up in 4th – after Android, iOS and Windows Mobile.  (Side note – Adobe may be their best friend with the ability to develop cross platform apps.)
    When Nortel crashed in Ottawa there were lots of startups that were able to absorb the extremely smart people. I’m sure Waterloo startups (and those around Waterloo) would salavate at the prospect of such great talent coming their way.Mike

  3. sort of like a “re-planting” of talent IMHO…wonder whether or not I’ll even be able to get a table for lunch tomorrow up at WildCraft….K/W’s big tech food spot…



  4. Remember what Michael Dell said in the 90s about what he’d do to fix Apple: “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders”.  Now it’s Dell that has a cloudier future as the PC loses ground to the tablet and smartphone.  I think the mobile war is like a boxing match, RIM won the first round, but they are taking such a beating in the second round of appstores and ecosystems that nobody is sure they can even make it to the third alive.  Can’t QNX and the Tablet OS play the same role in the revival of RIM as NeXT and OS X did in the revival of Apple?  The ground will shift underneath the mobile space again (cloud, HTML5?)… and as much as I can see the logic in trying to retain what value RIM has… I’d love to see startups trying to be there with the tools RIM will need to make a come back in the next round.

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  • That thing they said woud happen just happened – Ben Spigel June 25, 2011

    […] idea of a Grave Dancer Fund is interesting, but I’m not sure I think it’ll work. Then again, I’m a terrible […]