Hot Sh!t 2012 Nominations

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It’s been 376 days since I put together the Hot Sh!t List 2011. And we’re looking to round out the list with some the next generation of to be watched entrepreneurs. Who in Canada is better than all the rest?  Perhaps we’ll can get custom awards modelled after  Philippe Starck’s Flamme D’Or.

Who do you think should be on the list? Help us find the next generation of up and coming Canadians. In particular we’re looking for those folks behind the scenes, the developers, business developers, growth hackers, marketers, etc. that often don’t get the sames recognitions as the CEO or founders. But they are critical to the success of Canadian startups.

Hot Sh!t List Nomination

Canada is full of hot sh!t developers, designers and entrepreneurs. And we're trying to build a list of them. Tell us who you think should be on the list?
  • In less than 140 characters tell us, why this person is hot sh!t. What have they done for us lately. What are the major discoveries to this person has to show, or what are the serious growth numbers.

Blueseed or Canada?

I was recently asked to comment on Blueseed. And I have not been following the issue very closely. I have held a number of non-resident visas during my stay in the US as a student, employee and entrepreneur. I have held at various times during my time in the US an F1 visa, H1B visa, TN-1, B-1 and been an applicant for permanent residency. So I understand the intricacies of working with INS and making sure that I hold the appropriate entry documentation at all times. So I understand for many foreign entrepreneurs the bureaucracy that drives an initiative like Blueseed and the reforms for the StartupVisa initiative when trying to get access to the US.

But why do Canadian entrepreneurs care? If you can’t get into the US on an appropriate visa, should you care about an offshore community.

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For Canadian entrepreneurs and founders looking to immigrate to Canada, we have a number of very similar benefits to the US, and we are probably an even better place for most people to live. There are a number of benefits just based on our proximity to US cities with strong startup ecosystems.  Vancouver is in the same timezone as the Bay area. Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal are in the same timezone as Boston and New York. I think that Canadian startup ecosystems are amazing and I’m not alone (see Startup Genome’s report and their methodology). Toronto placed #4, Vancouver #16 and Montreal #25. We have strong story of investments (Hootsuite, WaveAccounting, Fixmo, ScribbleLive, Kik, Wattpad, TribeHR, Achievers, etc.) and exits (Dayforce, Rypple, Varicent, Postrank, PushLife, Bumptop, SocialDeck, Cognovision, Radian6, etc.). The next 5 years look like a great time for startups in Canada.

Canada is a great place to live

Mercer cites Vancouver (5) followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (22)  as having the best quality of living. The Economist cites Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto as #3, 4 & 5 best places to live (see’s_most_livable_cities). We have a ways go to improve compared to places like Norway (Canada #20 on best place to be a mom). All in all, the quality of life in Canada is amazing. The access to health care, education, culture, capital, security, is unmatched (in my opinion). Sure it’s a little cold but man it just makes patio weather so much more valuable.

Connecting beyond Canada’s borders

We have a growing expat support community with The C100. With strong ties in the Bay area, NYC, Boston and now the UK. We have a Canadian government that is starting consultation on a new “startup visa” for new immigrants.

Canada is an awesome place to be an entrepreneur. And we offer a high quality of life. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

CVCA, #FFdemoday and AccelerateMTL

Chris Arsenault (LinkedIn, AngelList, @chrisarsenault) sent me a message yesterday about writing about the CVCA conference. And I was looking at the conference trying to figure out why as an entrepreneur that I might want to attend this event. It is “the premiere networking and professional development event for Canada’s venture capital and private equity industry”. Well I don’t work in venture capital or the private equity industry, and the professional development I can get that at Ladies Learning Code or Udemy or O’Reilly. So why should I care? Maybe a “free Blackberry Playbook” would get me to pay for the registration. Disclosure: RIM is a sponsor of StartupNorth, though we don’t have any free Playbooks. 

Then it struck me.

  1. FounderFuel DemoDay
  2. AccelerateMTL
  3. CVCA

My goodness, this is an incredible opportunity for Canadian entrepreneurs. If you plan this correctly, you can connect with investors, other founders, folks form NYC, Boston, the Bay area. While the specific sessions at CVCA aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, you could sit in the lobby at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and meet every investor in one shot.

CVCA attendees will have a “free Blackberry Playbook” . Just like LinkedIn, I’d be building an HTML5 optimized version of my application and making sure as hell it works like gold on a Playbook (which has a great implementation of WebKit browser). You could call the Fairmont and set up an espresso stand and give away coffee to everyone that demos your application. Hell if nothing else a big sign with “Free Latte” for all of the hung over CVCA attendees and have a student running to a local coffee shop for fulfillment. Great opportunity to get out and hustle.

On top of all of this you get to see some brilliant demos at Founder Fuel. This is going to be a killer event, and you could make it a very interesting opportunity to get in front of potential investors, partners and folks from outside Canada for relatively little cost.